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Introducing the Progress Developer Studio for OpenEdge Visual Designer : Concepts : Visual container types

Visual container types

As the starting point for building an OpenEdge GUI for .NET, you create a visual container by using one of three Progress Developer Studio for OpenEdge wizards: New ABL Form, New ABL Dialog, or New ABL MDI Form.

ABL Form

The New ABL Form wizard creates a blank form.

ABL Dialog

The New ABL dialog wizard creates a simple dialog with standard OK and Cancel buttons. An event subscription and event logic for a click are pre-coded for each of these buttons.


The New ABL MDI form wizard creates a form enabled for multiple-document interface functionality, meaning that it can be the parent of child forms. The form includes a menu strip and a toolbar containing common menus (File, Edit, View, Tools, Windows, Help) and command buttons (New, Open, Save, Print, Print Preview, and Help) with pre-coded event subscriptions and logic. It also includes a status bar at the bottom.
The menu strip, toolbar, and status bar have special design-time behavior: Any of these default container objects, or any of the controls on them, when clicked, launches an embedded tool that provides an easy way to add new controls. Note that these tools do not appear on the form at run time.
Note: It is possible to embed an ABL application window, such as a window developed with OpenEdge AppBuilder, in any form. For example, you can create an MDI form that includes an ABL window as a child. However, you must manually write the ABL code to do this. The Visual Designer does not support programming tasks related to ABL windows. For instructions on embedding windows in forms, see OpenEdge Development: GUI for .NET Programming.