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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.
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, I'd like to list some key updates that will improve MVVM usage.
In the current version of Docking/MDI, you are able to two-way bind to the DockingWindow.IsOpen property. When set to true, the docking window will be opened and added to the layout. Likewise, setting IsOpen to false will close the docking window and remove it from the layout.
For vNext, we're adding an IsActive property that effectively returns when DockSite.ActiveWindow is the docking window. A number of customers requested that we add this property and make it settable. If you bind to the property and set IsActive to true, it will not only open the window, but will also ensure it is activated (has focus).
The current version has a DockingWindow.State property, but it is read-only. For vNext, we are adding a setter so that your view models can bind to it. As an example, this allows you to create a new tool view model, set its State property to AutoHide, and then set IsOpen = true to effectively open the container tool window in auto-hide state.
The current version requires an attached behavior for MVVM scenarios that would watch DockSite events and open/position docking windows appropriately. With the various property and functionality enhancements we're making, this no longer is needed for common scenarios.
A next step we are going to be working on is how to specify the default location for tool windows that are created in MVVM scenarios. We want your feedback for this. Please let us know how you'd like to be able to specify that a container docking window should default dock to the right side of the dock site, or dock below another tool window, or attach to another tool window, or auto-hide to the bottom, or float at a location, etc. for MVVM scenarios. Now is the time to submit your feedback for this feature. Thanks for your help!
Our current production version of Docking/MDI fully supports the optional MVVM pattern for managing both tool and document windows. The design generally follows that of a standard ItemsControl.
We are revisiting all of this right now in our vNext implementation and want to hear from you, our customers, on what improvements or feature additions would help you out when working with MVVM-based docking windows.
If you could reply to the above questions in the comments or email our support address, it would be most welcome. Now is the time to send your feedback as we are currently working in this area. Thanks!
Visual Studio 2015, the latest version of Microsoft's IDE, officially released the other day and we updated our WPF and WinRT controls yesterday for compatibility with it. Grab the latest maintenance releases from our download page.
The new maintenance releases also contain a number of other minor updates as described in these announcement posts:
In our previous post, we showed several new tabbed MDI features including read-only glyphs, tab layout kinds, and context menu options. In today's post we'll show another new feature coming to tabbed MDI, which is the optional new tab button.
When the new tab button is enabled, a button shows up at the end of the tab list. This tab button is best used when the tab overflow mode is set to shrink tabs. Upon clicking the new tab button, an event fires allowing you to be notified that the end user is requesting a new tab.
Here's a small demo we made with tabs that look like a Chrome browser. The animation sequence shows how tabs can be dragged around in an animated fashion and then when the new tab button is clicked, new tabs are added.
The sample above is using a completely custom tab and new tab button chrome. Default styling of a new tab button has a plus button glyph.
New tab buttons are great for use in certain application scenarios such as browsers. vNext easily brings the option of using them to your own apps.
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.
In the meantime, please download our current Docking/MDI control product and give it a spin.
In the last post, we showed how vNext will support full-featured tabbed MDI with docked tool windows in a floating container. In today's post, we will focus on several other new features coming to tabbed MDI.
First, we have a new built-in read-only glyph that shows in a tab when the document window is marked read-only. You can see it at the beginning of the animation sequence below.
Second, we've added the ability to designate the kind of layout a tab will use when in tabbed MDI mode. The default option is Normal. There also is a Pinned layout kind. Pinned tabs appear to the left of normal tabs and have an unpin button on them. When unpinned, a pinned tab returns back to Normal state. A third state is a Preview state where the tab appears on the right side of the container using an alternate appearance, and has a Keep Tab Open button on it, also available on the context menu. Clicking that button returns the tab to a Normal state. A preview tab is generally used as a temporary tab that can disappear when no longer needed.
Third, we've added more menu items to the context menu that shows for tabbed MDI. In the animation sequence, you can see new Close Others and Close All Documents menu items. Close Others will close all other tabs in the same container. Close All Documents will close all tabs in any tabbed MDI container.
These are all advanced features that have been requested by our customers and are coming to Docking/MDI vNext.
In this quarter, we published the 2015.1 versions of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls, along with maintenance releases of our WinForms controls. These versions included several new controls and some big feature enhancements for our existing controls. Check out the release posts for more detail.
In recent weeks, we've been primary focused on the development of our Docking/MDI vNext product. We are completely reworking the internals of our popular Docking/MDI for WPF product, adding an enormous number of major new features along the way. Most of the new features are a direct result of customer requests. We've started detailing some of the new features in blog posts and watch for many more to posts come. For instance, updates to tabbed MDI are progressing well and you'll soon have new features at your fingertips like pinning tabs, having preview (right-aligned) tabs as in Visual Studio, etc.
New maintenances of our WPF, Silverlight, WinRT/XAML and WinForms controls have been released and are now available for download.
These releases mostly focus on minor feature additions and bug fixes. See these announcement posts for the detailed list of enhancements and updates:
In our previous post, we discussed some new features coming to standard MDI. In today's post we'll get into one of the largest new features coming in vNext, which is the ability to have a full-featured MDI with docked tool window support in a floating container.
In the current 2015.1 version, you can float document and tool windows. Each document window goes into its own floating container, while tool windows can be combined in floating containers. Many customers have requested that we allow a full MDI in floating containers and that's what we're bringing to vNext. Let's have a first look at how this will work.
Here we have a main window that contains two tabbed documents (docked next to each other) and tool windows in various locations docked around the MDI area.
Next I drag the Document1.txt tab into its own floating container. Then I drag Document2.txt and using dock guides, attach it to the first document. This is a new feature that couldn't be done before.
Finally I drag the Solution Explorer and dock it next to the MDI in the floating container. Again, this is a new feature that couldn't be done before. The end result is a single DockSite that has two fully-functional DockHosts in it, one that is primary (within the DockSite) and one that is in a floating container.
Floating MDI features have been requested by a number of customers and we're very happy to deliver them in vNext. This feature set allows your single app to have multiple MDI areas that can be most effectively used in multiple monitor scenarios. Your end users will love it!
In yesterday's post, we talked about a new optional size-to-content feature coming to standard MDI. In today's post we'll get into some other new features: standard MDI dock target and context menus.
One new addition is that now standard MDI can accept an "attach" (center dock guide) when dragging tool windows around. If the tool windows are dropped on the center dock guide, they immediately become documents in the standard MDI.
Another new feature is the ability to right-click on a standard MDI window's title bar or click its icon (if any) to see a context menu. We'll be expanding the options on the context menu further in the future.
Let's see all of this in action!
In this animation, we drag the Solution Explorer and Class View tool windows around. You can see the dock guides displayed for the standard MDI area. At first, we dock the tool windows to the left of MDI, keeping them still in a Docked state. Then we "attach" (center) dock them into the standard MDI and they become documents.
You can see the context menu that comes up when the title bar is right-clicked.
These great new features will be part of Docking/MDI vNext, with plenty more on the way!
The past several days, we have been refining standard (windowed) MDI and adding several features. In today's blog post, I'd like to show a new feature coming to standard MDI, which is the ability to resize to content when first displayed.
There is a new option on the DockingWindow class that can be set to hint that when the docking window opens in standard MDI, it will automatically size-to-content. In this example, a Document1.txt docking window has a simple TextBox in it and the special size-to-content mode activated (which is off by default):
When opened in standard MDI, the window sizes to content and appears in the workspace area. Now if we manually execute the Cascade method, or if we would have originally kept the size-to-content option off, the docking window will look like this:
In this case, it is using a standardized formula for setting the width and height.
The ability to automatically resize a standard MDI docking window on load will be delivered in vNext. This is another user-requested feature.