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Hey everyone, we've been working very diligently on the 2017.1 version of our WPF controls for the past several months and a public beta is almost ready. We'd love as many customers as possible to participate in the beta. First, let's give an overview of what's new in the 2017.1 version.
In the 2017.1 version, we reimplemented all Editors controls to be faster and more lightweight in terms of elements/bindings, and to use a common codebase with the Universal Windows Editors product. The new designs are better optimized for use in large quantities such as within data grids or property grids.
Every new edit box control has more fine-grained control over the step values. Now a native TextBox control is used for input, which allows for more free-form editing, IME input, and better UIA support.
New and improved drop-down pickers have been designed for each edit box. The pickers are optimized for mouse, pen, and touch-based entry. The screenshot above shows the BrushEditBox and the new BrushPicker drop-down control. Altering any edit box's drop-down is simply a matter of providing an alternate Style for its picker control.
New edit boxes have been added for the Byte, Int16, and Single numeric types, along with dedicated date-only (DateEditBox) and time-only (TimeEditBox seen above) variations of DateTimeEditBox.
Our customers have requested custom tree controls from us for a while now and we delivered in this version. We now offer a new TreeListBox control that is a single column tree similar to a native TreeView but optimized for MVVM usage, virtualization, and speed. It supports nearly all of the advanced features you'll find in a tree control like the Visual Studio Solution Explorer tree.
We also offer a new TreeListView control that is built upon the TreeListBox control but displays multiple columns similar to a ListView. Each column supports its own distinct user interface via data templates.
Both of these controls are packaged in a new Grids product.
While the PropertyGrid control found in our 2016.1 and earlier versions was very feature-rich, its performance sometimes left much to be desired and customization via property editors wasn't very straightforward.
In the 2017.1 version, PropertyGrid has been rewritten from scratch and constructed around the foundation provided by the new TreeListBox and TreeListView controls. It's now lightning fast and loads complex objects (like the properties of itself) almost instantly. A lot of this is due to simplification of the internal object model, use of virtualization techniques, and fewer overall UI elements. You'll definitely notice the speed increase.
The core object model used to track properties and categories has been improved and creating custom property editors is much more straightforward now.
The new PropertyGrid is part of the Grids product as well.
If you'd like to help us beta test the product, please write our support address and let us know your existing 2016.1 license information. We will notify you as soon as the public beta is ready and will send you a 2017.1 license if your subscription is still active.
The code for the beta is near complete and should be pretty stable. We have a full array of samples and documentation has been completely updated, including conversion notes.
We also will be chatting about the beta in our Slack channels so please join if you have Slack.
In the last blog post on our TreeListBox control development, we announced that the TreeListBox control was ready for closed alpha testing. TreeListBox is a new control that has much of the same functionality as the tree control found in the Visual Studio Solution Explorer.
In today's post, I'd like to announce a new TreeListView control that is now also ready for alpha testing. The TreeListView control is a multi-column variant of the TreeListBox control that renders similar to a standard ListView but has all the tree and advanced features found in TreeListBox.
The animation above shows several of the features found in this new control such as node expansion, column resizing, column reordering, column header context menus, and more.
Thus far these TreeListView features have been completed:
If you would like to start working with either of the controls and provide us with feedback, please write our support address or chat with us on Slack to sign up for testing. Now is the time to contribute your additional feature ideas and report bugs. Anyone who has a WPF Studio license is fully licensed to use the control in their apps.
In the last blog post on our TreeListBox control development, we talked about new features like async loading and inline editing that were added. In today's post, we'll talk about some more new features and we're also announcing that the alpha test of this control is now ready.
If you would like to start working with the control and provide us with feedback, please write our support address or chat with us on Slack to sign up for testing. Now is the time to contribute your additional feature ideas and report bugs. Anyone who has a WPF Studio license is fully licensed to use the control in their apps.
Since our new post, we've continued to enhance the control and add new features. First, you now can optionally display the root item in the control. When you choose not to do so (the default), the root node's children will be the top-level items.
There is now more control over expandability and when children are queried.
A robust drag and drop system supports dragging to external controls, dragging and dropping on the same control, and dropping from external controls. You have full control over the visual feedback that is provided and what happens when a drop executes.
The control supports data virtualization when virtualized lists of child items are used. With data virtualization, it's possible to support paged retrieval of items as they are requested for display.
A couple new options determine how far items are indented based on their depth.
Thus far these features have been completed (New! marks new features since the last post):
The TreeListBox control is now ready for alpha testing. Please contact us via our ticket system or in Slack to sign up for testing and send in your feedback. We will continue to refine the API based on your feedback before a future final release.
In the last blog post on our TreeListBox control development, we gave a list of features that have been implemented so far and showed a screenshot of sample usage with rendering customization. In today's post, we'll show some more usage scenarios, will request your immediate input for drag/drop, and will give an updated feature list.
First, what's new since the last post? We now have multiple options for governing if and when the determination of expander display is made for a node. This is handy when you want to do minimal data model access checking for children, or when you know for certain that a node never has child nodes.
We now support optional async loading features where you'll be able to utilize a new RingSpinner control (or any other busy indicator) to relay a loading state to the end user. Async loading means that potentially lengthy operations such as file or database access won't block the UI thread when expanding a node.
Here's an example of async loading, where a simulated random delay is invoked when expanding each file folder:
Notice how the UI remains fully responsive even while loading items.
Inline editing is fully supported when enabled. Press F2 or single click on a node's content to enter edit mode where a new text value can be entered. Pressing Enter or losing focus commits the value, while pressing Esc cancels the edit.
An event will fire when an item requests a context menu. Dynamically create the menu for that particular item (or the entire multi-item selection).
Drag and drop is one of the last features we want to get in place before an alpha test version is prepared of the control. This is a complex topic since it involves single/multi-selected items (that could be at various tree depths) being dragged and dropped at other depths, or even dragged externally. Likewise, external items could be dragged onto the control. We want to get your feedback now as we start on drag/drop features to ensure we meet all your needs!
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.
The TreeListBox control continues to progress well and its feature set is coming right in line with the VS Solution Explorer's tree control's feature set. We look forward to discussing drag/drop feature requirements with you via our ticket system or in Slack!
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.
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.
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.
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.