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Last month we posted that we were beginning development of a new TreeView replacement control that addressed the many shortcomings of the native WPF TreeView, and were asking for input at that time. We've been working on this control for both WPF and UWP and have made very good progress.
Thus far these features have been completed:
Here's a screenshot of a recent sample being put together for the control:
In this sample, we have two levels of nodes. The top-most level is folders (whose icons actually toggle with the expand/collapse state), while the inner level has checkboxes and buttons that allow for a dialog to be displayed when clicked for further configuration.
Double-clicking a folder item will toggle its expansion state, while double-clicking a checkable node will toggle its checked state. This sample also shows usage of a DataTemplateSelector to pick which DataTemplate to use for each node.
The control is coming along really nicely and our goal is to match general features found in the VS Solution Explorer. The features above are implemented for both WPF and UWP. We still have more features planned before we open up a beta.
If you have any other suggestions, please either write our support address with your feedback or join our Slack discussion on the topic and chat right with us. The benefit of the chat option is that we are posting screenshots and asking for feature input right during development. It gives you an opportunity to give direct feedback and help guide features.
In this quarter, we completed work on the major rewrite of our popular Docking/MDI product for WPF. The entire product was rewritten from the ground up to support next generation docking window features, all while maintaining a similar overall public API. In the new version, floating documents become full-featured secondary dock hosts that even support docked tool windows around them. This sort of thing is wonderful for end users with multiple monitors. Fast subtle animations are used throughout the product to give the interface a more vibrant feel. New layout properties and features are available that govern the size of containers (including min/max sizes), set initial floating window size, etc. Interop content support is improved even further. MVVM support is enhanced with many more bindable properties, default location determination for opening windows, and more. Download the 2016.1 version to take the best WPF docking window framework for a test drive.
And best of all, we didn't just make it for WPF. The entire product was written to be compatible with Universal Windows too! Download our Universal Windows controls to see a beta of the same docking window framework there.
The WPF Controls 2016.1 version added the Docking/MDI features described above, along with 14 new Office 2016-like themes that use accent colors, improved window chrome rendering, Metro themes built right into the Shared library, SyntaxEditor light/dark Metro image sets, and much more.
The Universal Windows Controls 2016.1 version was our first release for that platform. It was a port of our older WinRT/XAML Controls and included everything in those, along with the Docking/MDI beta.
Our Code Writer app also saw a new minor version, which will be the last one before a major new version for Windows 10 is released.
Finally, we have created a Slack team that enables you, our customers, to chat directly with us regarding new products and features.
We're currently working on a custom TreeView control that will support more features than the native WPF TreeView. Our goal is to support the rich functionality of a control like the TreeView in Visual Studio's Solution Explorer tool window. It's being written from scratch for both WPF and Universal Windows using virtualization to keep it very speedy, and is capable of multi-selection, easy bring-into-view, etc. If you'd like to give us feedback on what you'd like to see in a new TreeView control, now is the time to get your feedback in! Either email our support address with your feedback or join our Slack discussion on the topic. Slack is preferred because we are sharing screenshots there and frequently ask for comments on feature areas. After this base control is completed, we'll move into some more new complex data presentation controls like multi-column trees.
We've started on the design of the updates for the Windows 10 version of our Code Writer app. We've got a UI design that looks promising and is a bit of of a UWP take on popular apps like VS Code and Sublime. We also have a Slack channel where we're discussing that, so please sign up to see where things are headed and get your feedback in.
Universal Controls 2016.1 build 303 has been released and is now available for download. This version adds a beta of our Docking/MDI product, making it possible to include docking tool windows and/or a multiple-document interface in your apps for Universal Windows apps. SyntaxEditor also includes two new Metro-themed image sets that can be used.
The Docking/MDI beta included in this version includes nearly all the docking window functionality found in the WPF version of our Docking/MDI controls. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think.
See the announcement post for the detailed list of enhancements and updates in this build.
Do you want to chat with us about what we're working on next? Register to join our Slack team and help guide our future development efforts!
Anyone who has worked with the native WPF TreeView knows that its API is difficult to use (compared to the WinForms TreeView) and the performance isn't very good when binding to large large data sets.
We have started developing a completely custom implementation of a TreeView control that isn't based on the native TreeView control. We'd love to get your input now during our design and prototyping phase on the following items:
Please either write our support address with your feedback or join our Slack discussion on the topic and chat right with us. The benefit of the chat option is that you can see what others are saying and throw in your two cents as well.
WPF Controls 2016.1 build 631 has been released and is now available for download. This build contains numerous minor features, updates, and bug fixes across the various WPF control product range.
It is highly recommended that v2016.1 customers upgrade to this build since it fixes all issues that have been discovered in the major Docking/MDI control updates that were part of the first 2016.1 release.
The first 2016.1 release added new Metro themes that have accent colors, like in the screenshot below.
The QAT buttons on the upper left of the window were originally wider in Office 2016, matching the width of the system minimize, maximize, and close title bar buttons. However in the most recent Office 2016 update, the QAT button width was reduced and we've updated their size in this build to match.
We now offer a way to provide real-time communication between you and our development team, via the free Slack messaging app. The app can be accessed directly in a web browser (https://actipro.slack.com/) or via Slack's excellent desktop and mobile apps.
The purpose of chat offering is to facilitate interaction with our development team, so that we can collaborate together on new product feature ideas, show screenshots of work-in-progress, and even provide access to preview builds of new features. This is all designed to allow you to play a larger part in steering our future work.
We currently have Slack channels related to our UI controls, the Code Writer app, and a general tech discussion.
Please note that the Slack channels aren't for technical support or sales-related questions. Use existing support/sales mechanisms for those.
Since Slack is geared around private team chats, you must be added to our Actipro team before you can join in the discussion. All you have to do is click the Request to Join button on our development team chat page and email us the requested info. We'll add you to our Slack team and you'll receive an invitation in your e-mail.
Whether you are already a licensed customer of our UI controls, just evaluating them, or are a Code Writer user, we'd love to have you get involved in the discussion.
Many of you are aware that we created a free text and code app named Code Writer that is found in the Windows Store. It is an excellent tech demo of our commercial SyntaxEditor code editor control (available for all Microsoft UI platforms) and makes a great replacement for Notepad.
We're pleased to announce that we've just created a dedicated @CodeWriterApp Twitter account for the Code Writer app, making it easier to stay on top of the latest app news.
Click the View button above to access the app's Twitter feed and be sure to Follow it!
A bit of history about the app... Code Writer was one of the first high-quality Windows 8 apps in the Windows Store. Its user interface was originally optimized and designed for full screen usage, making use of app bars, etc. While the user interface is still clean and minimalistic, its current UI design needs rethinking for windowed usage in Windows 10. Even with a somewhat dated UI paradigm, the app is consistently rated well over 4 stars, which is a testament to the quality of the app.
We have started working on a revamped UI design for a future Windows 10 version and would love to discuss it with you, our users. Please register to join our Slack team and join the #codewriter channel once added so we can throw around ideas for Code Writer v3.0.
Did you know that in the new 2016.1 version of our WPF Control's Docking/MDI product, you can quickly access another docking window tab in the same container by pressing Ctrl+[tabnumber]? This also works in the Docking/MDI beta for Universal Windows.
For instance, in the tabbed MDI screenshot above, if I press Ctrl+2, the Document2.txt document would be selected. And Ctrl+3 would select Document3.txt.
Ctrl+[tabnumber] will select the "normal" tab that has that tab index. What if there are pinned tabs though? Pinned tabs have an unpin button displayed on them and appear first in the tab list. The same concept applies there but you'd press Ctrl+Alt+[tabnumber], where the tab number there is the tab index within the "pinned" tabs.
The same Ctrl+[tabnumber] keyboard shortcut will even work in docked tool windows when two or more tool windows are attached (tabbed) to each other.
The Alt+- keyboard shortcut will show the options menu for the current tool window, when the focused tool window is docked in a tool window container.
The Alt+- keyboard shortcut will also show a focused document's context menu when in tabbed MDI.
The Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow keyboard shortcut will display the document list menu in tabbed MDI.
These keyboard shortcuts are great for end users to be aware of and provide access to common docking functionality, all via the keyboard.
A couple weeks back, we released our first set of Universal Windows controls. And right before that, all the work we've been doing on Docking/MDI for WPF (codenamed vNext) the past few months was released as part of our 2016.1 WPF Controls. Docking/MDI's internals were rewritten from scratch to support all the latest docking window oriented functionality found in apps like Visual Studio 2015 and the feedback on the new version has been tremendous.
Here's the really exciting part for Universal Windows app devs… Part of that vNext rewrite was to also ensure that the same Docking/MDI API and design would work in Universal Windows apps! And today we are formally announcing that we are looking for beta testers to try it out.
This SyntaxEditor and Docking/MDI combination screenshot shows a tabbed MDI and tool windows docked around it:
Are you making a Universal Windows line of business app or any other app that would benefit from docking tool windows and/or a fully-managed tabbed or windows multiple document interface? Then look no further. The Docking/MDI product for Universal Windows has nearly the entire feature set of the amazing WPF version!
If you'd like to help beta test this brand new product for your Universal Windows app, e-mail our support address to request beta access. In your email, please give us an overview of the app you're developing and how you plan to integrate docking windows and/or MDI into it.
Code Writer v2.5, our free text/code editor app, is now published to the Windows Store. Please note that the new version may take several hours to show up in the Store.
Are you interested in adding code or text editing abilities to your own Windows Store apps? SyntaxEditor for Universal Windows allows you to build apps just like Code Writer. Download a free evaluation to try it out.
Check out all the new features added to Code Writer…
See the Summary section for info on our future plans to give the app a UI refresh designed for Windows 10. In the meantime, we've made the app's Settings easier to access in Windows 10. It can be done in two places:
The first is from the hamburger menu on the upper left of the app window.
The second is from the bottom app bar that shows when you press Windows+Z or click the status bar ellipses ("…") to show the app bars in the Editor screen.
The Browse picker's 'All Files' file type filter can now open unregistered file types. It comes up by default allowing *.* files to be opened.
If you drop down the file type filter, all file extensions are now sorted alphabetically.
Alt+Up and Alt+Down can now be used to move the selected lines up and down.
New options for Eastern fonts are now available in the Editor settings flyout.
A HTML5 doctype is now added by default to the HTML, PHP, and ASP new document templates.
HTML auto-completion for void elements will no longer self-close certain tags like <br>.
Several other updates are included:
This update adds several features that have been requested by our users. It will likely be the last version released for Windows 8.1. Now that our Universal Windows Controls are released, our goal is to get Code Writer upgraded to the Universal platform and give it a UI refresh that is better designed for windowed usage.
Have any suggestions for a refreshed Windows 10 UI? Now is the time to post them in the app's discussion forum.
You can also download a free evaluation of our SyntaxEditor control for Universal Windows, which lets you add advanced code and text editing to your own Windows Store apps.