by Igor Katenov, the lead developer at 10Tec
More and more people have been using true 64-bit operating systems that bring us all the benefits of the modern 64-bit CPUs. Software developers, from their side, should also meet the expectations of end users and provide them with quality 64-bit applications. Grid components are an essential part of most user interfaces, and thus many developers are searching for a good 64-bit OCX grid.
We are often asked whether our iGrid OCX grid can be used for 64-bit application development. In fact, this question can mean two different problems: whether iGrid is a true 64-bit OCX, or can it work without any problems in 64-bit versions of Windows while it is used in legacy 32-bit applications. We will try to give a comprehensive answer to this question.
Is iGrid a true 64-bit OCX grid?
The short answer to this question is "no", and it will never be so. The first versions of 10Tec iGrid were released in far 2000, and the development environment remains the same. It is Visual Basic 6, or the classic VB, whose compiler can produce only 32-bit executable code. Yes, it is a real problem for all VB6 developers, and there is no solution for it (read, for instance, this discussion we instantiated at StackOverflow).
Does iGrid work well in 64-bit Windows?
Despite the fact that iGrid OCX is built with 32-bit VB6, this control is constantly being supported by us and we always check it in every new release of the MS Windows OS, especially in the 64-bit editions. And our customers and we can prove that this OCX grid works without any compatibility problems in 32-bit traditional apps in such modern 64-bit versions of Windows as Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1:
While supporting iGrid, we check not only its compatibility with 64-bit versions of the OS, but we try to keep its interface and functionality modern too. For instance, latest versions of MS Windows provide us with good interface enhancements like visual styles. Our OCX grid control automatically uses the OS visual styles in its constituent elements like column headers and scroll bars, so you have the same look-and-feel of the standard OS applications like the Windows Explorer. If you compare iGrid to other well-known grid controls like MS FlexGrid OCX, you will see that their development were abandoned many years ago and they do not support these advanced OS features.
If we look at the problem of the 64-bit OCX grid control from all points of view and analyze what the market can offer (we mean both free and non-free grid products), we may come to a conclusion that practically all grid controls remain 32-bit and most likely we will never see their native 64-bit implementations. Thus, if we need to write an app that uses OCXs and can work both in the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows, perhaps, the smartest choice is to use a 32-bit OCX grid that is still supported, has no compatibility issues with 64-bit Windows and implement main modern OS features like visual styles. 10Tec iGrid OCX is one of those few products.