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ComponentSource Professional Partner

Building Grid-Enabled Applications for International Businesses

TGA Technologies, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, is the developer of sophisticated computer-based paging terminals and technologies for the paging and messaging industry. As the Director of Engineering at TGA, James Dabbs develops new technologies for the company’s core paging business, and works on custom projects for public and private sector organizations. In his role as TGA’s primary applications developer and chief technologist, Dabbs has frequently used grid controls for displaying database files and text-based files. But recently, when he took on a project that required him to use a grid to display characters from a non-Latin alphabet, he found that none of the major brand grid controls could handle the job.

"We were asked to create an application that required us to display non-Latin text in a grid," said Dabbs. "But we quickly found that with the major brand grid control we were using, it was impossible for users who are running the English version of Windows 95 or 98 to display non-Latin characters."

Dabbs and his team proceeded to test virtually all of the brand name grids on the market, yet none had the capabilities that he needed. "I was shocked," said Dabbs. "We contacted the technical support people at all the grid control developers and we got the same answer from every one of them: ‘No—our grids don’t support non-Latin characters in Windows 95/98, and we don’t plan to support them anytime soon.’"

Having found all the major grid control products inadequate for his international development project, Dabbs turned to Inabyte, Inc., developer of the InaGrid Active X grid control. Mark Hennessy, president of Inabyte, recalls the conversation: "To be honest, before James contacted us we had never considered the implications of using non-Latin character-based data in our grid before," said Hennessy. "So when he called it was an eye-opening conversation, and we started looking into the Unicode Standard characters. Within a couple of weeks we were able to develop a beta version of our product that supported the Unicode Standard, and James began using it to display non-Latin text within the application his team was working on."

"When Inabyte upgraded their Active X grid control to support non-Latin characters they essentially supplied us with the tools we needed to get our product out the door," said Dabbs. Inabyte has gone on to incorporate the new Unicode functionality, along with expanded edit and data display capabilities, and an IntelliMouse feature, in the most recent release of InaGrid.

A Responsive Development Partner

After his experience working on an international, multilingual development project, James Dabbs feels InaGrid has the potential to usher in a new generation of grid controls. "TGA can’t be the only company running into this dead end with non-Latin alphabet characters," he said. "Computer users who work in an international setting have been living with this problem for a long time. And with the increasing importance of the Internet, international business is going to require more and better multilingual applications. There is very little software that can bridge the gaps that exist right now between the various languages and alphabets. InaGrid is a big step in the right direction. For us, this new component is a profound improvement over the status quo. It simply dwarfs everything else on the market."

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