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    Can't work out how to design cascading menus in VisualBuilder

    v11.1p_2018-01-16/EVAL Development Only


    I am just trying to design my first application which I want to have a menu bar (File, View, etc. with sub menu items) and then some search/selection fields and then a list of data as a table.

    I just can't seem to work out how to create the menu bar in the VisualDesigner. I have tried the ToolStrip and I think I can make the top level menus, but then nothing inside them. I'm not convinced that is the right widget. I have looked at one of the showcase examples and that seems to use a Tree. I can't see that though in the Component Library (top right of the VB). Any clues?

    Thanks Mark.

    Hi Mark, although it's possible to get further than you have with Visual Builder, ultimately you are not using the right tool: this is a tool for designers, not developers. Take a look at this FAQ for more context.



      Thanks for that. Although I am a developer I am evaluating SmartGWT for use by other staff who will be doing the designing. I want to have a single screen definition that will be used by the program, but which also can be worked on by the designer.

      I would certainly like to know how I can get further as I have been trying for quite a few hours without much success. I suspect this is partly because I have been using GWT for a few years and my thinking is orientated towards that in terms of layouts and components. I suspect you are saying that the VB does not allow me to design all the menus and that I will have to do some XML editing myself. I would just like that assertion either confirmed or corrected so I don't waste time trying to achieve the impossible.

      Thanks very much, Mark.


        You create a cascading Menu by dragging a Menu onto a MenuItem (the dragged menu becomes menuItem.submenu).

        However, there are definitely things a developer can do from XML that can't be done within Visual Builder yet - mostly things a designer would not do.

        What concrete scenarios of altering a screen's design did you have in mind for designer / developer collaboration via Visual Builder?

        Note that we have a second tool, Reify, that provides a different workflow for developer / designer collaboration. This is more appropriate for less technical designers, who might be overwhelmed in Visual Builder.



          Thank you again. What you say makes sense and I was trying to do that but I can only find a menu item on the Context menu. The only other similar looking thing is the toolstrip. I am trying to use the ToolStrip because it seems closest to what I might want (menu bar). I have attached a screen shot of my components library to ensure we are talking about the same thing. Sorry if I am missing something obvious.

          Thanks, Mark.
          Attached Files


            The set of components that appears in the palette is configurable, both to focus the editing interactions for particular user groups, and to enable you to add your own. It looks like the default set may have been accidentally trimmed in a way that would stop non-context menus from being built, we're checking on this.

            In the meantime, you could configure the tool to just add a MenuButton, however, you haven't answered our questions regarding usage, so right now it still seems a strong possibility that you are headed down the wrong path entirely, so we'd again suggest switching back to the approaches covered for developers in the QuickStart Guide before delving too deeply into Visual Builder, at least before you've planned out areas of collaborative editing with your designer that actually make sense (menus is not a typical example of this, as of course every menu item has an action it triggers, and the actions it is safe to have designers implement are somewhat limited).


              We've made a couple of fixes for your issue. First, we've added a Menu selection under the ToolStripMenuButton in the component palette. There is no difference from the Context Menu option but is less confusing and in a more convenient location. Secondly, the issue of dragging a menu and menu items into the menu button now creates the correct XML and can be tested within VB. All of this will be available in builds starting on Feb 22.


                Hello again,

                Apologies but been a bit sick these last few days so not checked the forum - on the mend now.

                My situation is probably rare in that we are looking at a (very) likely project to convert an IBM iSeries product to Java. A technical colleague has used an iSeries IDE which has a designer, but the programming language is RPG and he doesn't know Java. We had talked about using the iSeries IDE but with Java on the back end, but I could see this was going to be messy with lots of manual plumbing. I have been trying to find a solution that uses our GWT experience and also has a designer so I can involve my iSeries colleague. SmartGWT seems to tick most of the boxes, probably more than anything else I can find anyway.

                I accept that VisualBuilder is not an IDE, but it seems pretty good as a screen designer. As another forum contributor noted, having the design separate from the code is a good thing. As it happens, this is also an iSeries way of doing things.

                Menu changes by my colleague may include - adding menu items that will have to be implemented, or possibly just changing the wording. I will just be treating the menus as part of the screen design.

                Thank you very much for making some changes for me, I will download and install them later today.

                With grateful thanks, Mark.