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Layout of user interfaces
Ampersand is meant for back-end design. It offers no features for front-end design. For that purpose we advise you use contemporary front-end tools for web-based applications. Your Ampersand application is designed to be adaptable, especially for this purpose.
However, Ampersand offers a few layout features that let you place items. It has three built-in layout options, colums, rows and tabs, which you can mix freely.

Table layout

The column layout uses BOX <TABLE> to instruct the front-end application to use a tabular layout in user interfaces. Here is an example of a service, which uses the table layout.
INTERFACE Overview : "_SESSION" cRud
BOX <TABS>
[ Students : V[SESSION*Student] cRuD
BOX <TABLE>
[ "Student" : I[Student] cRud
, "Enrolled for" : isEnrolledFor cRUD
, "Course" : takes CRUD
]
, Course : V[SESSION*Course] cRuD
BOX <TABLE>
[ "Course" : I cRud
, "Modules" : isPartOf~ CRUD
]
, Modules : V[SESSION*Module] cRud
BOX <TABLE>
[ "Modules" : I cRuD
, "Course" : isPartOf cRUd
, "Students" : isEnrolledFor~ CRUD
]
]
This service shows three columns in the user interface, Students, Course and Modules. The first column is not readable, because the CRUD annotation blocks this column for reading. It would have shown students in each row, because the target of V[SESSION*Student]is Student. The second column shows courses in two columns, Course and Modules. The third column shows modules in three columns. This is what the user will see on the screen.
Column-oriented layout of a user interface with columns in each row

ROW layout

The row layout uses BOX <FORM> to instruct the front-end application to layout the user interface row by row. Here is an example of a service, which uses the row layout on the top level.
INTERFACE Overview : "_SESSION" cRud
BOX <FORM>
[ Students : V[SESSION*Student] cRuD
BOX <FORM>
[ "Student" : I[Student] CRUD
, "Enrolled for" : isEnrolledFor cRUD
, "Course" : takes CRUD
]
, Course : V[SESSION*Course] CRUD
BOX <FORM>
[ "Course" : I cRud
, "Modules" : isPartOf~ CRUD
]
]
This service shows three rows in the user interface, Students, Course and Modules. The first column shows students in each of its rows. Each student is shown in the column layout. The second row shows courses in two columns, Course and Modules. Please read about templates if you are curious which other ways of displaying information there are besides BOX <FORM>. Please read the explanation of CRUD annotations if you are curious about the CRUD annotations. This is what the user will see on the screen.
Row-oriented layout of a user interface with columns in each row

Tabs layout

The column layout uses BOX <TABS> to instruct the front-end application to tabs in the user interface. Here is an example of a service, which uses the column layout.
INTERFACE Overview : "_SESSION" cRud
BOX <TABS>
[ Students : V[SESSION*Student] cRuD
BOX <TABLE>
[ "Student" : I[Student] CRUD
, "Enrolled for" : isEnrolledFor cRUD
, "Course" : takes CRUD
]
, Course : V[SESSION*Course] CRUD
BOX <TABLE>
[ "Course" : I cRud
, "Modules" : isPartOf~ CRUD
]
, Modules : V[SESSION*Module] cRud
BOX <TABLE>
[ "Modules" : I cRuD
, "Course" : isPartOf cRud
, "Students" : isEnrolledFor~ CRUD
]
]
This service shows three tabs in the user interface, Students, Course and Modules. Only one tab is shown at a time, to avoid cluttered data. This is what the user will see on the screen.
Tab-oriented layout with column layout in tab "Modules"
We have discussed the COLS, ROWS, and TABS layout options. Please note that these options do not change the semantics; whatever your options, Ampersand displays the same data in the same fields.
If these options are not enough, you can enhance your application with your own layouts.
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Table layout
ROW layout
Tabs layout