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In this quarter, we've focused on completing the Docking/MDI vNext features that have been described in this blog thus far, along with many others, making it the most feature-rich product of its kind for WPF. Docking/MDI vNext is now feature complete and will ship in the upcoming 2016.1 version.
Another set of major work that will be included in the 2016.1 WPF Controls is updates to our theming system. We have fully-implemented seven color options for both the Office 2016-like Colorful and White themes, bringing a total of 14 new themes to the WPF controls. We are moving our Metro themes directly into the Shared library so that Metro Light will now be the default theme for all Windows 8.x and 10 systems. The old Luna/Royale themes that are for XP appearance are being moved into their own separate assembly. Since Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP, moving these themes out reduces the Shared assembly size while still allowing the themes to be utilized programmatically by apps that want them.
Finally, we have been porting the WinRT/XAML controls to UWP and while most of this work is complete, there were unexpected issues introduced by UWP's usage of .NET Native that we had to work with Microsoft to overcome.
The launch of our 2016.1 versions is just around the corner that will contain massive enhancements described for WPF per above.
We will also continue wrapping up the UWP controls. Please write our support address if you are interesting in help beta test them.
While the final testing of our major Docking/MDI vNext enhancements is ongoing (the result of which will be in the WPF Controls 2016.1 release), we're also working on other new features for the 2016.1 release. Part of these updates will be some adjustments to themes.
For some quick background, our WindowChrome class can be attached to any WPF Window to custom render its chrome, using the Actipro Themes. In the most recent 2015.1 build, we updated the WindowChrome outer shadow to render similar to other Windows 10 apps so that it fits right in with Windows 10.
For our upcoming 2016.1 version, we are making more adjustments. Title bar buttons in the Metro themes are now the standard size found in other Windows 10 apps, which are much more touch friendly since they are significantly larger than before. We also have updated the Close button to use red highlights on hover (see screenshot below) and press, similar to Windows 10 buttons.
The new 2016.1 appearance of Metro themed title bar buttons
In 2016.1, the title bar buttons have the fresh new crisp glyphs that match Windows 10 as well. Compare the title bar buttons in the above screenshot to the buttons in the same app in our 2015.1 version:
The 2015.1 appearance of Metro themed title bar buttons
These sort of UI enhancements to our Metro themes are subtle, yet they really help your app's visual cohesiveness with Windows 10.
The features described above will be available in the 2016.1 version of our WPF controls.
Alongside the development of Docking/MDI vNext for WPF, we have been working on porting our WinRT/XAML Controls to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This is a full port of our existing controls available for the WinRT/XAML platform, but made for UWP and Windows 10 app development.
We are currently looking for beta testers for these controls. If you would like to participate in beta testing, please contact our support address.
We've spent the last several months working intensely on completely rebuilding the internals of our market-leading WPF Docking/MDI product. This project is called "Docking/MDI vNext" and keeps the same general API surface, while providing even more advanced features in every area of the product, evolving it into a true best-of-breed docking tool window and MDI functionality solution.
Great news… after several months of development and testing, Docking/MDI vNext is now out of beta and considered complete! Check out our recent blog posts to see a list of several of the major features that are included in this new version.
The updates we made will be released as part of our WPF Controls 2016.1 offering that will likely officially roll out live in January or early February. We'll have a full summary of the new features on the blog then.
If you would like to get a preview build of 2016.1 and start working with everything now, please write our support address. The major Docking/MDI vNext updates are considered code complete and stable at this point. We have new and updated samples and documentation, updated Prism 6.1 compatibility, and a lot more. The documentation gives detail on all new features and any breaking changes you might encounter. We'd love to get some more users including it their apps and giving us some final feedback before a public release.
New maintenances of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls have been released and are now available for download.
These releases mostly focus on minor feature additions and bug fixes as we prepare to start work on our 2016.1 versions. See these announcement posts for the detailed list of enhancements and updates:
A couple weeks ago we began the beta testing process for Docking/MDI vNext and thus far, it's been going very well. The product has proven to be very stable and only a handful of minor tweaks and adjustments have been needed. At this point, the product is considered feature-complete for its first shipping version.
We've been spending time during this beta testing period improving some samples and adding/updating lots of product documentation. There are an enormous number of new features in vNext, so we want to make sure we cover everything.
Our plan is to launch final 2015.1 version maintenance releases next week and then start transitioning internally to 2016.1 codebases. Then we'll begin swapping in Docking/MDI vNext in place of the classic Docking/MDI product and will get all the related samples, documentation, etc. merged and ready to go.
We've been posting on our blog about many of the major new features coming your way in vNext. We're pleased to announce that all of those features are now code-complete and we are preparing for a private beta test.
We already have received numerous beta tester requests. If you have written us, we will be contacting you in the next several days!
If you are an existing customer and haven't yet contacted us about being a beta tester, please write our support address, tell us how you plan to use the vNext beta in your applications, and we'll get you signed up into the beta program. We look forward to hearing from you!
by Bill Henning (Actipro)
In this quarter, we've primarily been focused on code development of our Docking/MDI vNext version. This has been a massive undertaking since we've been reworking nearly all of the internals, while keeping most of the public API the same, to improve the design and add an enormous number of features that have been requested by our customers. The update log for this version is now many pages long and enables Docking/MDI to support all the UI features you find in the most premier modern IDEs like Visual Studio. You're going to love it!
We also have been working on porting the WinRT/XAML controls to UWP.
We are close to the end of the code development stage for Docking/MDI vNext, which means we're also nearing the beta testing phase. We can't wait to get it into your hands. If you would like to help beta test this new version, please write our support address. Keep watching this blog for more development news.
We plan to launch the UWP version of our WinRT/XAML controls in the next few weeks too.
As mentioned in this previous post, we've been looking for ideas to further improve our WPF Docking/MDI product, which already is the market leader for docking tool window and MDI functionality. We've committed to working on a complete internal restructuring of the product that we will call Docking/MDI vNext. We're doing our best to keep the same general API surface, while providing even more advanced features in every area of the product. We've collected suggestions from our customers over the past several years and are working to meet them as best we can with Docking/MDI vNext.
In today's post, we'll show a new feature coming in Docking/MDI vNext that lets you limit floating window sizes.
Let's first have a look at a typical docking window layout here, where we have several tabbed documents that take up much of the screen real estate.
What happens when you drag to float a document, or float it via its context menu, is that you normally get a floating window of the same size. You can see this in the next screenshot, where much of the entire dock site is now covered by the floating window.
While apps like Visual Studio do this, we've added the ability for you to limit how large you want the floating window to be. In this last screenshot, we've handled a new dock site event that lets us customize the floating window size before it's displayed. We've limited its size to a maximum of 600x300 and the result is this appearance when the document is floated:
We personally like this feature because the document is still a decent size but doesn't obscure everything behind it.
The feature described above is completely optional. By default, everything will work as in the second screenshot when you float a large document. But by handling the new event and applying some size-limiting logic in it, you can easily get results like in the last screenshot.
Docking/MDI vNext is currently near the end of its code development stages. Please contact us via email if you are an existing customer and would like to sign up as a beta tester for vNext. If you have any other suggestions for improving Docking/MDI, now is the time to get them in. We'll post more updates on our vNext improvements soon.
In the meantime, please download our current Docking/MDI control product and give it a spin.
As mentioned in the previous post, we are currently working on enhancements for the MVVM support our Docking/MDI controls provide. In today's post, we'll talk about new code being added that allows you to specify a default location for new tool windows that are opened.
As in the current version, when a tool window has already been in the dock site layout and then is closed, it leaves a breadcrumb behind so that it knows exactly where to appear when reopened later. In vNext, for tool windows that are being opened for the first time and don't yet have a breadcrumb available, default location information is now requested.
The new DockingWindow.WindowGroupName property can be set on tool windows that have an affinity. Each window in a 'group' should have the same property value. A window being opened for the first time will look for other open members of the group in the same state so that it can attach to them.
DockingWindow also has a new DefaultLocationRequestAction property that can be set to a lambda that is passed a special event args instance. The event args allows you to programmatically designate a dock target (such as a dock host or other tool window) and optional side upon which to dock. Then the new DockSite.WindowDefaultLocationRequested event fires and allows for the similar logic to be applied, but at a centralized location.
If no dock target is designated by the action or event, then the window will dock against the primary dock host using the side specified by the window's new DefaultDockSide property.
With the properties and events mentioned above, vNext now gives you full control over where brand new tool windows will open in a layout by default. These capabilities are essential for MVVM scenarios.
If you don't want to get into writing any code, simply set the WindowGroupName and DefaultDockSide properties. Or if you do wish to have more complex logic and find-grained control, use either the DefaultLocationRequestAction or WindowDefaultLocationRequested event to supply your logic. The choice is yours!
Docking/MDI vNext is currently still in mid-development stages but is progressing very well. Please contact us via email if you are an existing customer and would like to sign up as a beta tester for vNext. If you have any other suggestions for improving Docking/MDI, now is the time to get them in. We'll post more updates on our vNext improvements soon.