The Actipro Blog

All the latest UI control development news from Actipro

Actipro Blog 2010 Q1 posting summary

What we accomplished

In Quarter 1 of 2010 we added some very major new features to SyntaxEditor for WPF: complete code outlining support, hidden regions, intra-text adornments, and IME support.  Navigation for WPF saw the addition of a ZoomContentControl, which allows you to scroll through large content easily.

We added designer support, item templates, and toolbox integration for our products in Visual Studio 2010.

What’s coming next

We have been a little quieter on the blog the past couple months but that’s because we’ve been hard at work trying to prep WPF Studio 2010.1 so that it’s ready to go the week of Visual Studio 2010’s release in mid-April.  WPF Studio 2010.1 will be moving to target .NET 3.5 SP1 and we will be including sample projects in VS 2010 format, optionally with VS 2008 format as well.

We have some big updates to our existing products, some of which we’ll give some more info on as we get closer to launch.

We are going to be launching a new WPF control product with WPF Studio 2010.1 too.

We also have been building up our product infrastructure for a Silverlight Studio 2010.1 bundle.  This has taken a while but we are plugging through it and hope to get a public beta out in the May timeframe.  The first version will include SyntaxEditor for Silverlight and a Silverlight version of the unnamed new product.

Finally, we are very close to having a re-launch of our wpfpedia.com WPF resource guide site ready.  We’re really excited about it and we think you will be too when you get to see and use it.  The new design is very “web 2.0”.

Keep an eye on our blog for more details on all of the above.

Blog post list

Here is a quick categorized list of blog postings made in this quarter.  More...

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Preview of upcoming Ribbon for WPF updates

The WPF Studio 2010.1 version that is planned for release in April includes a number of updates to Ribbon.  We’ll highlight some of these over the coming days.

Ribbon templates updated to the “Scenic” look

Many customers have voiced their opinions that we need to migrate to the newer ribbon look that is in the Windows 7 “Scenic” ribbon, and the Office 2010 ribbon.  So that’s what we’ve done… here is a preview of how the Ribbon will look in the 2010.1 version:

RibbonMainDemo

And here is a screenshot of the Ribbon in its Office blue theme when not using glass, and the application button is clicked… More...

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We’re hiring WPF and Silverlight UI control developers

ActiproSoftware350

Actipro Software consists of an elite, fun team of software developers who love building user interface controls for our customers.  We're looking for young, energetic WPF and/or Silverlight software developers to join our development team, working directly on our product offerings such as WPF Studio!

This is a full-time position, although we could accommodate a part-time position as well.

If you are interested, please read on to get a feel for whether your skill set would be a match.  Or if you know others who may be interested in this sort of position, please forward the information on.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities involved in this position will be diverse, and we’re happy to tailor the responsibilities to your strengths.  In general though, this is what the position entails:

  • Designing and implementing new UI control products for the WPF and Silverlight platforms.
  • Enhancing existing Actipro control products.
  • Porting existing Actipro WPF control products to Silverlight.
  • Interacting with customers in a support capacity.

Benefits

The benefits of joining our Actipro team are:

  • Being part of a highly-motivated group of developers who have passion for what they do.
  • Be on the cutting edge of Microsoft technology, with a company who is a Visual Studio partner.
  • Build great software components that are used in thousands of companies and make a difference in the industry.
  • Work remotely from home.
  • Flexible hours.

Qualifications

We are only looking at candidates who possess these required qualifications:

  • A US citizen who lives in the US.
  • Several months of experience developing C# WPF and/or Silverlight projects, and a solid understanding of the framework.
  • Able to work independently with little supervision.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Somewhat familiar with Actipro products.
  • Must not (or plan to) be working for any competitor of Actipro, or any other company that would cause a conflict of interest with Actipro.

We have extra interest in candidates who have these additional qualifications:

  • An ambitious drive to come up with and present new ideas.
  • Prior control development and/or architecture experience.
  • A team-friendly, fun personality.
  • Graphics and design skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • A good eye for UI.
  • A community contributor for WPF/Silverlight technology.

How to apply

If you are interested in joining our team, please visit our Employment Opportunities page and click the Apply Now button at the bottom of the page.

https://www.actiprosoftware.com/Company/Jobs.aspx

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Filed under: Actipro, General

What we’re working on in early 2010

We’ve been getting a lot of e-mails asking about what we’re currently working on, when new releases are planned, etc.  So I’d like to give an update on our plans for the next couple months.

WPF Studio 2010.1

We’re working hard on WPF Studio 2010.1.  Our plan is to have it out in the April or May 2010 timeframe at the latest.  Here are some of the updates we have planned for it:

Target .NET 3.5 SP1

As mentioned in a previous blog post, WPF Studio 2010.1 will move to target .NET 3.5 SP1.  This will enable us to take advantage of new features that aren’t available in .NET 3.0.

Source codebase move to VS 2010

All our source code for WPF Studio will be moved to VS 2010 projects.

VS 2010 sample projects

WPF Studio 2009.2 ships with VS 2008 projects that can be converted to VS 2010 format when they are opened in VS 2010.  Our designer functionality in 2009.2 already has been designed to function in VS 2010 properly.  However to make things easier for customers, we will ship VS 2010 and VS 2008 variations of the sample projects in WPF Studio 2010.1, thereby saving you from having to run the project conversion in VS.

New WPF control product

A brand new WPF control product is being developed that will ship with WPF Studio 2010.1.  We’re pretty excited about it and will give some more information on it when we get closer to release.

Ribbon updates

We’re working on updates for the Ribbon control to make it look more like Office 2010.  In addition, the glow effects in the title bar will be created with shader effects since the bitmap effects we previously used are no longer supported in .NET 4.0.

SyntaxEditor updates

The ability to create and support multiple highlighting style registries has been added.  This means that you can have one registry set up for general code editing, another for console windows, etc.

Miscellaneous

Other miscellaneous updates will be included for various products.

Silverlight Studio 2010.1

We’re excited to finally be bringing to market some Silverlight controls.  They will initially be released in a new Silverlight Studio 2010.1 bundle, due out when or soon after WPF Studio 2010.1 is released.

What’s included?

The first Silverlight Studio version will include a beta release of our SyntaxEditor control, and a Silverlight version of the new unnamed product that is being added in WPF Studio 2010.1.  There also is a Silverlight Shared Library that has a bunch of helpful common components and controls.

Silverlight 3 or 4?

Right now our code is being developed for SL3, but we may switch to SL4 if it is released before Silverlight Studio is ready to go.  This could add a small delay in our release date but we’d much rather support the latest and greatest, especially since SL4 will enable us to support some additional SyntaxEditor functionality in the future that we can’t do in SL3.

Building a product infrastructure

We’re currently working on building a product infrastructure for Silverlight that helps aid in code compatibility between Silverlight and WPF.  Since this is the first time we’re getting into Silverlight, we’ve had to construct a new product licensing mechanism, a new control theming mechanism, and other infrastructure items needed to support a set of quality commercial controls.

We’ve been building a new Sample Browser for our Silverlight controls too, similar to our WPF Sample Browser.  We’ll try and get some screenshots posted soon.

WPFpedia.com reimplementation

We have been planning a complete reimplementation of our wpfpedia.com reference guide site for a while now.  It will become a completely separate web site from our main Actipro site and has been rebuilt from scratch using ASP MVC and the latest web technologies to provide the ideal place for you to go when trying to learn how to do something in WPF.

More news on this very soon!

Summary

As you can see, there are a lot of items on our plate right now but we’re chugging through them.  2010 is going to be an exciting time for us and our customers, especially with the new development tools like Visual Studio 2010 coming our way shortly.

WPF Studio 2010.1 will require .NET 3.5 SP1

We’re currently hard at work on WPF Studio 2010.1, which we hope to launch in the next couple months.  We plan on it including a number of enhancements to existing products along with a brand new unannounced product.

VS2010Logo

Now that .NET 4.0 is almost upon us with the upcoming release of Visual Studio 2010, we have made a change to the minimum requirements for our products.  Right now in WPF Studio 2009.2 our products target .NET 3.0, but starting with WPF Studio 2010.1 we will be targeting .NET 3.5 SP1.

This of course means that your apps that will use WPF Studio 2010.1 products will require .NET 3.5 SP1 or later so please plan accordingly.  If you must keep a .NET 3.0 or 3.5 (non-SP1) minimum requirement in effect, then stick with WPF Studio 2009.2 until you are able to move to .NET 3.5 SP1.

Based on our poll data, nearly everyone who has responded is already on .NET 3.5 SP1 or is planning on moving to it shortly, so hopefully this will not be an issue for anyone.

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Filed under: Actipro, In development, WPF

SyntaxEditor for WPF adds IME (input method editor) support

The most recent release of WPF Studio, 2009.2 build 515, added complete IME editing support to the SyntaxEditor control.  This has been a highly requested feature item so we’re pleased to introduce it.

What is IME?

The input method editor (IME) is a Window feature that allows users to enter characters and symbols not found on their input device.  For instance, it allows Western keyboards to enter Chinese, Japanese, etc. characters.

Unfortunately WPF’s support of IME is spotty, and it only is supported in TextBoxBase controls.  Since SyntaxEditor doesn’t inherit TextBoxBase (we need to track text on our own), the only way to add it was via Windows API calls.  Thus while the IME input features will now work by default in Windows apps, they will not work in XBAPs because of security.

IME in action

Here’s a sample of how it works.  We have started up our demo application and in the Windows language bar, enabled Japanese Hiragana input.

Ime1

At the cursor we’ll type the A key on our Western keyboard.

Ime2

A small popup appears that “looks” like it’s inline with the code editor.  A Japanese glyph is displayed.  If we accept the glyph we can press Enter to insert it.  We could type other characters to make different glyphs or enter a number of glyphs at one time.

Ime3 

To end this demo, we have pressed Enter and the glyph has been inserted into our code editor.

Summary

Now that SyntaxEditor has full support for IME and bi-di text, it is an ideal editor control for use in any global application.

Filed under: Actipro, New features, WPF