DevExperience has a nice control called XtraLayoutControl. Basically it allows you to have your own form designer at run-time.
But it can easily do more than just reshuffling of existing items for the Desktop UI. You can design forms that will be rendered on Desktop and Web alike.
eXpressAppFramework team has started using its capabilities of the design management, but I believe they can go even further if they:
- Forget about pseudo-groups with custom orientation flags and keep positioning and size information of the design elements.
- Add a couple of simple layout elements that are stored in the layout only (i.e. LayoutLabel, LayoutImage).
- Use full design information for rendering detail views on the Web.
- Forget about the model and persist the design in the DB.
- Actually it is quite easy to go even further on this read and push all view schemas, data schemas and even form storage schema (if they implement Forms) to the database (thus allowing to change all that on-the-fly).All the above items are quite easy to implement. I know that for sure since they constitute logically separate module in xLim 2 – “Record and Form Management” (Flexible Grids + Details + Forms) and that has already been done more than once.
There’s even more of that. I believe that the information generated by the XtraLayoutControl is enough to create similar interfaces not only for Web and Desktop, but for WPF and GTK# also (would not you want to have the perspective of reusing your nicely crafted forms on Linux platforms?)