Multiple Document Interface MDI applications

Multiple Document Interface is a means for applications to simultaneously open and display two or more files, within the same application. For example, you might use MDI to allow a word-processing application to open and display several documents simultaneously and provide the user with a way to quickly switch among those open documents. Likewise, you might use MDI to create a spreadsheet application that enables users to have several spreadsheets open at once, for example to compare sales figures or interest charges.

MDI applications provide a convenient way to view and exchange data among multiple documents that share a common workspace. The common workspace is often referred to as the "parent" or "frame." In a Delphi MDI application, the frame is always the application's main form.

Within the frame window other windows, often called "child" windows, can be opened. Each child window appears and behaves the same way. The application documents, or other data, are opened inside the child windows. These documents can all be of the same format, or they can be a mix of file formats supported by the MDI application.

At design time, you create the MDI frame form as the main application form, and you create the child form as a template for the application's child windows. You can create more than one type of child form, but MDI applications support only one frame form.

This section describes the following steps involved in creating a basic MDI application for text manipulation:

  • Creating the MDI frame form
  • Creating the MDI child form
  • Creating the application menus
  • Merging the application menus
  • Creating child windows at run time

You'll want to save your work periodically as you follow the steps this chapter outlines.

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