Layout

This article discusses layout in the web client. Layout is a design process that specifies how controls appear on a page.

Introduction

Layout is a design process that specifies how the controls on a page appear in the web client. Layout occurs within container controls. The following table lists the container controls.

Container Description
Form.Design The root of the page. It functions as a special kind of container.
Group The general-purpose container control. Group controls can be nested as required.
Tab A control that contains TabPage controls and has many possible Tab.Style values, such as Tab, FastTab, Vertical Tab, and Panorama.
TabPage The appearance of each TabPage control depends on its Tab.Style value.
ButtonGroup A special type of Group control that contains buttons.

A grid is a special type of control that has some container behaviors, such as flexible sizing (SizeToAvailable). However, a grid has special visualizations and isn't a general-purpose container control.

Layout: Dynamics AX 2012 vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition

Layout in Dynamics AX 2012

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, the arrangement of controls in containers is almost always vertical, and columns are manually set to provide some horizontal spread.

Examples

Columns=1 1 2 3 Columns=2 1 4 2 5 3 In Dynamics AX 2012, sizing is achieved via the Height and Width properties. If Height and Width are set to Auto, the size is as large as the child controls require. If Height and Width are set to Column, the container is as large as it can be within the parent container. By default, Height and Width are set to Auto for every container.

Layout in Finance and Operations

In Finance and Operations, layout is controlled by the same basic properties that control layout in Dynamics AX 2012. However, additional options have been added to support a more responsive layout. In particular, the layout of a page is based on the following factors:

  • The arrangement method that is specified by the ArrangeMethod property.
  • The columns that are specified by the Columns property.
  • The sizing that is specified by the HeightMode, WidthMode, Height, and Width properties.

ArrangeMethod property

The ArrangeMethod property specifies a base arrangement method for a container. In Finance and Operations, the old values were maintained. Additionally, a new property that is named HorizontalWrap was added primarily for panoramas, especially for tile layouts. The following table describes the various options for the ArrangeMethod property.

Option Description
Vertical Controls are arranged vertically. If columns is also used, controls are arranged vertically inside of the generated columns. This option is the default value for Groups and TabPages (where Tab.Style isn't set to Panorama).
HorizontalLeft Controls are arranged horizontally and are left-aligned inside the parent container.
HorizontalRight Controls are arranged horizontally and are right-aligned inside the parent container.
HorizontalWrap Controls are arranged inside columns of fixed width that wrap horizontally. This option is typically used for tile layouts in panorama sections. This option is the default value for TabPages (where Tab.Style=Panorama).

ColumnsMode property

In Finance and Operations, a new Fill option was added to support responsive layouts. When this property value is set, columns automatically flow as required. The following table describes the various options for the ColumnsMode property.

Option Description
Fill Columns are generated to fill the available horizontal space or vertical space, depending on the container type. If the container is a Panorama-style tab, Columns=Fill generates columns to fill along the vertical axis. For all other containers (Group, Tab-style tabs, and all other styles of tabs), Columns=Fill generates columns to fill along the horizontal axis.
Fixed Specify the number of columns that the Columns property should generate. Controls are evenly distributed among the columns, and their order is maintained. If the controls can't be distributed evenly among the columns, the leftmost columns receive extra controls first. This option is the default value for all controls.

HeightMode/WidthMode properties

In Finance and Operations, sizing is still accomplished via the size properties WidthMode+Width and HeightMode+Height. The following table described the various options for these properties.

Option Description
SizeToAvailable Fill the available space along the vertical (or horizontal) axis inside the parent container. If the parent container has SizeToContent height (or width), the child's height (or width) is also SizeToContent, unless there is a sibling in the container that can provide a height (or width). This option is the default value for Grids and Tabs (of all styles).
SizeToContent The height (or width) of the container should be the height (or width) of its contents. This option is the default value for Groups and all other controls except Tabs. FastTabs that aren't always expanded also have SizeToContent height.
Manual The height (or width) is sized manually. Use HeightMode=Manual (or WidthMode=Manual), and set Height (or Width) to a fixed number of pixels. Note: We recommend that you not use manual heights (and widths), because they don't adapt to changes in form density.

Note that, currently, Auto still exists as an option. If this value is used, the behavior is determined automatically at run time. Typically, a value of Auto for these properties causes the same behavior as a value of SizeToContent, as in Dynamics AX 2012.

Interactions between the ArrangeMethod and Columns properties

If ArrangeMethod=HorizontalLeft or HorizontalRight, the Columns property has no effect, because items are laid out in strict horizontal arrangement and no wrapping is used. If ArrangeMethod=Vertical, columns are arranged vertically, and the controls are either distributed evenly among the columns (Fixed), or distributed to fill the available horizontal or vertical space (Fill). If ArrangeMethod=HorizontalWrap, columns are arranged, and horizontal wrapping is used at a fixed column width of 280 px. Typically, this option is used to wrap tile layouts.

Examples

ArrangeMethod=HorizontalWrap

ArrangeMethod=HorizontalWrap and Columns=1

1 2
3 4
5

ArrangeMethod=HorizontalWrap and Columns=2

1 2 6 7
3 4 8 9
5

ArrangeMethod=HorizontalWrap and Columns=Fill For this example, we assume that only three lines of items can fit in the container height.

1 2 7 8 13 14
3 4 9 10 15
5 6 11 12

ArrangeMethod=Vertical

ArrangeMethod=Vertical and Columns=1

1
2
3

ArrangeMethod=Vertical and Columns=2

1 5
2 6
3 7
4 8

ArrangeMethod=Vertical and Columns=Fill For this example, we assume that only three lines of items can fit in the container height.

1 4 7
2 5 8
3 6

ArrangeMethod=Vertical and Columns=Fill on a FastTab For this example, we assume that the width of the FastTab can fit four columns.

1 3 5 7
2 4 6 8

Breakable groups

When you use ColumnsMode=Fill to dynamically create columns, based on the amount of available space, groups of fields can be split into multiple columns. The Breakable property that was added to Group controls helps developers guarantee that controls in a group aren't broken up across columns. The default value for this property is Yes, which indicates that the contents of the group can be split between groups. To keep a group together all the time, set Breakable to No. Note that Breakable applies only to the first level in nested groups.

Guidelines for using layout properties

ColumnsMode=Fill

  • Don't nest containers that have ColumnsMode set to Fill. Set ColumnsMode to Fill only on the direct parent container of the controls/fields that you want to responsively fill the available space.
  • Don't set HeightMode to SizeToAvailable on any child controls of a container that has ColumnsMode set to Fill. ColumnsMode=Fill tries to calculate an average height of all controls across columns to balance them as much as possible. However, our layout CSS and calculations can't handle SizeToAvailable children, and this setting doesn't necessarily make sense.
  • Don't set WidthMode to SizeToAvailable on any child controls of a container that has ColumnsMode set to Fill. Otherwise, the child controls will take up all the available width, and all controls will appear in one column.
  • Container that have ColumnsMode=Fill should have WidthMode set to SizeToAvailable (if you're using fill-width containers such as Tabs and Groups) or HeightMode set to SizeToAvailable (if you're using fill-height containers such as Panorama sections).

HeightMode/WidthMode=SizeToAvailable

  • If you use WidthMode=SizeToAvailable, make sure that parent containers in the form have WidthMode set to SizeToAvailable, not SizeToContent. SizeToAvailable containers inside SizeToContent containers are overridden and become SizeToContent containers.

See also

User interface development home page