The Actipro Blog

All the latest UI control development news from Actipro

Code Writer v1.6 Released

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We just published v1.6 of Code Writer, our free text/code editor app, to the Windows Store.  This version adds new advanced editing functionality for the XML and XAML file types, and further improves upon touch interaction.

TabbedMdi

New XML/XAML Editing Features

These new features are now available when editing XML or XAML files:

  • Code outlining (folding) - Lets you expand/collapse block elements via the new outlining margin.
  • End tag auto-complete - When completing a start tag, the appropriate end tag will be inserted.
  • Quick info - Show when hovering over a tag or attribute, and give more information about the namespace and hierarchy.
  • Smart indent - Moves the caret to the appropriate indent level after Enter is pressed.
  • Syntax error reporting - Places red squiggle lines under syntax errors.  Hover over them to get more information.
  • Text formatting - Makes the code more readable by formatting it.

These new features will increase XML/XAML file editing productivity dramatically!

New Advanced Editing Gallery Operations

The Advanced Editing gallery has three new operations:

  • Trim all trailing whitespace - Removes all whitespace at the end of any line.
  • Format document - Formats the entire document (only available for languages that support text formatting).
  • Format selection - Formats the selected text (only available for languages that support text formatting).

Margins Hide for Snapped View

This new version automatically hides the line number and outlining margins when Code Writer enters snapped view.  This allows the limited screen real estate to be maximized for the code itself.

Touch Interaction and Performance Improvements

The touch-based selection grippers have been adjusted and enhanced based on usability testing.  Also numerous performance optimizations have been made to the core editor itself to improve the editing experience.

Summary

With the latest advanced editing features for XML/XAML, Code Writer is quickly becoming a go-to app for these file types.

Go to the Windows Store to download it, and help us by tweeting about the app!

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Filed under: Actipro, Apps, New features

WPF Controls 2013.1 Released

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Actipro WPF Controls 2013.1 have been released and is now available for download. This version adds a new full-size Charts product, a Metro Dark theme, a complete reimagining of the Sample Browser's UI, and some great new SyntaxEditor functionality.

Major new features are described below.  See the announcement post for the detailed list of enhancements and updates.

ProductHeadingWPFCharts

Our new full-size Charts product has been added, allowing you to create stunning charts for your apps.  See this announcement post and this first look post for a couple other chart screenshots.

Line Charts

LineChartType_thumb[1]

A line chart renders quantitative data as a series of points connected by line segments. Lines can be straight, curved, or stepped. Markers can optionally be displayed based on type (such as first/last, high/low, negative, etc.).

Scatter Charts

ScatterChartType_thumb[1]

Scatter charts render data points where each point is represented by a marker. Markers can use numerous built-in shapes or can be set to use custom shapes.

Area Charts

AreaStackedChartType_thumb[1]

An area chart is a derivative of a line chart, where the area between the line and axis is filled in. As with line charts, areas can also be rendered using straight, curved, or stepped lines

Bar Charts

BarStackedChartType_thumb[1]

A bar chart displays rectangular bars with lengths proportional to the values they represent. Bar spacing can be set and the bars can be changed to render horizontally instead.

ProductHeadingWPFSyntaxEditor

Indicators

IndicatorsBreakpoints_thumb

A rich object model for supporting indicators has been added.  Indicators are special "tagged" regions of text that optionally display a glyph in the indicator margin and optionally highlight the text range with special styles.  Built-in indicators include bookmarks, breakpoints, and current statement indicators.  Custom indicators can easily be created as well.

See this bookmark indictors post and this debugging indicators post for much more detail on indicators and examples of functionality.

Line Terminator Backgrounds

When a style that has a background encompasses a line terminator, it now will render the background of the line terminator's virtual character.

A new property BackgroundSpansVirtualSpace property has been added to highlighting styles that when set to true, will extend the background over a line terminator to cover all the way to the right edge of the view.

Trim All Trailing Whitespace

A new edit action has been added to trim all trailing whitespace in the entire document, regardless of the current selection.

CollectionTagger<T> Enhancements

The CollectionTagger<T> class has received a large number of new methods that make it easier than ever to manage a collection of tagged regions.

.NET Languages Add-on - Text Formatting

Text formatters have been added to the C# and VB languages in the .NET Languages Add-on, which beautify code by adjusting whitespace and making it more readable.

TextFormatting_thumb

See this C# text formatter post and this VB text formatter post for more information and examples of the formatting results.

.NET Languages Add-on - Attribute IntelliPrompt

AttributeIntelliPrompt_thumb[1]

Full automated IntelliPrompt while editing C# and VB attributes is now included.

.NET Languages Add-on - Implicit Variable Type IntelliPrompt

Automated IntelliPrompt quick info now displays when hovering over var in C# or Dim in VB.

ImplicitTypes_thumb

See this blog post for some more information and screenshots.

ProductHeadingWPFThemes

Metro Dark Theme

A Metro Dark theme has been implemented that renders similar to Visual Studio 2012's dark theme.  This new theme affects all controls and even can apply to native WPF controls.

MetroDark

Actipro Themes for WPF now provides implementations of all system themes, three Office themes, and three Metro themes!

See this blog post showing several screenshots of the new Metro Dark theme in action.

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Filed under: Actipro, New features, WPF

Silverlight Controls 2013.1 Released

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Actipro Silverlight Controls 2013.1 has been released and is now available for download. This version adds a new full-size Charts product, a complete reimagining of the Sample Browser's UI, and some great new SyntaxEditor functionality.

Major new features are described below.  See the announcement post for the detailed list of enhancements and updates.

Note:  Version 2013.1 updates the Silverlight controls to target the Silverlight 5 platform.

ProductHeadingSilverlightCharts

Our new full-size Charts product has been added, allowing you to create stunning charts for your apps.  See this announcement post and this first look post for a couple other chart screenshots.

Line Charts

LineChartType

A line chart renders quantitative data as a series of points connected by line segments. Lines can be straight, curved, or stepped. Markers can optionally be displayed based on type (such as first/last, high/low, negative, etc.).

Scatter Charts

ScatterChartType

Scatter charts render data points where each point is represented by a marker. Markers can use numerous built-in shapes or can be set to use custom shapes.

Area Charts

AreaStackedChartType

An area chart is a derivative of a line chart, where the area between the line and axis is filled in. As with line charts, areas can also be rendered using straight, curved, or stepped lines

Bar Charts

BarStackedChartType

A bar chart displays rectangular bars with lengths proportional to the values they represent. Bar spacing can be set and the bars can be changed to render horizontally instead.

ProductHeadingSilverlightSyntaxEditor

Indicators

IndicatorsBreakpoints

A rich object model for supporting indicators has been added.  Indicators are special "tagged" regions of text that optionally display a glyph in the indicator margin and optionally highlight the text range with special styles.  Built-in indicators include bookmarks, breakpoints, and current statement indicators.  Custom indicators can easily be created as well.

See this bookmark indictors post and this debugging indicators post for much more detail on indicators and examples of functionality.

TextFormattingMode Support

SyntaxEditor's text rendering has been updated to support Silverlight 5's TextOptions.TextFormattingMode property setting.  This feature allows for improved text clarity.

Line Terminator Backgrounds

When a style that has a background encompasses a line terminator, it now will render the background of the line terminator's virtual character.

A new property BackgroundSpansVirtualSpace property has been added to highlighting styles that when set to true, will extend the background over a line terminator to cover all the way to the right edge of the view.

Trim All Trailing Whitespace

A new edit action has been added to trim all trailing whitespace in the entire document, regardless of the current selection.

CollectionTagger<T> Enhancements

The CollectionTagger<T> class has received a large number of new methods that make it easier than ever to manage a collection of tagged regions.

.NET Languages Add-on - Text Formatting

Text formatters have been added to the C# and VB languages in the .NET Languages Add-on, which beautify code by adjusting whitespace and making it more readable.

TextFormatting

See this C# text formatter post and this VB text formatter post for more information and examples of the formatting results.

.NET Languages Add-on - Attribute IntelliPrompt

AttributeIntelliPrompt

Full automated IntelliPrompt while editing C# and VB attributes is now included.

.NET Languages Add-on - Implicit Variable Type IntelliPrompt

Automated IntelliPrompt quick info now displays when hovering over var in C# or Dim in VB.

ImplicitTypes

See this blog post for some more information and screenshots.

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WPF Controls 2012.2 Build 574 Released

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Today we published new maintenance releases of our WPF control products.  The maintenance release contains numerous tweaks and bug fixes across the various WPF control products.  It is highly recommended that if you are on v2012.2, you download and switch to this new build.

See the announcement post for the detailed list of enhancements and updates.

We are finishing up and doing a final review of v2013.1 now.  We hope to publish it next week!

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Filed under: Actipro, WPF

First Look at Charts - Financial Dashboard Demo

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We've just about wrapped everything up for the 2013.1 versions of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls and hope to have them out next week.

As mentioned in a previous post, this new version introduces a new full-size Charts product to complement our existing Micro Charts controls product.

In this post I'd like to show a screenshot of one of the demos that comes with Charts:

Financial

This demo shows a simulated financial dashboard where the charted values refresh and scroll every few seconds.  You can click on a stock on the left side to view its detail in the large chart on the right.

The new Charts product, this sample, and many more QuickStarts are coming soon in the 2013.1 version!

SyntaxEditor - Debugging Indicators

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Last week we blogged about how indicators are coming to the WPF and Silverlight SyntaxEditor controls in their 2013.1 versions.  Indicators are special "tagged" regions of text that optionally display a glyph in the indicator margin or highlight the text range with special styles.

In that previous post, we showed off bookmark indicators.  Today, I'd like to show off the other two built-in kinds:  breakpoints and current statement indicators.

Visual Debugging

A new QuickStart we are adding is a simulated debugging experience.  It allows you to set breakpoint indicators on various C# lines and then enter a debugger break state when executing the code.

Debugging1

You can see how three breakpoint indicators have been added.  Our implementation of breakpoint indicators includes an IsEnabled property.  When set to false, the indicator renders differently to reflect its disabled state.

Breakpoints in this sample can be added via the Toggle Breakpoint toolbar button.  Or alternatively, you can click the indicator margin (where the glyphs appear) to toggle a breakpoint.  We include the full source code for showing how to interact with that margin by intercepting mouse events.

Let's click the Run button.

Debugging2

The first breakpoint is located and we set a current statement indicator.  This kind of indicator uses a yellow arrow glyph and renders the background of its contained text in yellow.  It is set up to be higher in z-order than breakpoints.

This screenshot also shows how content providers for quick info can be set up for when the mouse hovers over a glyph.  The displayed quick info content can be generated on-demand.

Let's click the Run button again.

Debugging3

The current statement indicator uses the built-in indicator search API to locate the next enabled breakpoint.  It skips over the one in the middle that is disabled and lands on the third breakpoint.

Summary

Although the debugging experience here is simulated, by hooking up these indicator features to a debugger for your language, you can easily implement a full debugging UI for your code editor.

These new features and sample will be in the 2013.1 version.

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WPF and Silverlight Sample Browsers Redesigned

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With the 2013.1 versions of our WPF and Silverlight controls coming soon, I'd like to take this time to showcase the major redesign we just did to our Sample Browser applications in both platforms.

The Sample Browser is the main project that houses the hundreds of demos and QuickStarts for our many UI control products.  While the current Sample Browser design is functional, it was built several years back and needed a refresh.  We wanted to simplify things a bit and bring more of a modern UI feel to it.

Let's take a look at the result!

Product Selection

SampleBrowser1

When first starting the Sample Browser, you are brought to a Product Selection page.  Scroll horizontally to see the various control product sets we offer.  Click on a product to dive into it.  Let's click the Micro Charts product.

Product Feature Summary

SampleBrowser2

The Micro Charts' Feature Summary page appears.  It has a brief overview of the product and numerous screenshot links that take you directly into the samples.  By scrolling right, we can continue to learn more about the product with bullet lists of features.

Note how the Samples section tells us that there are 29 total samples available.  By clicking the Feature Summary drop-down heading at the top, a backstage-like pane appears that lists the titles of all the samples.  Click any of the sample title hyperlinks there to jump directly to the related sample.

SampleBrowser2b

Let's click the Call Center demo link.

Product Sample

SampleBrowser3

We now have moved directly into the related sample.  In this case, it's the Call Center demo for Micro Charts.

It's easy to browse through samples.  The Previous Sample and Next Sample buttons at the top cycle through the samples for this product.  Or as mentioned before, you can click the large heading drop-down (that currently reads Call Center in this screenshot) to see a list of links for all the samples.

Clicking the Home icon on the upper left returns us to the Product Selection page.

Other Options

The three drop-down buttons on the upper right are important too and can be used from anywhere in the app.

The Theme drop-down lets you change the current theme.  Choose from our various system, Office, or Metro themes.  And the entire app window will update immediately.  Note how the root window here is using our WindowChrome class to provide custom chrome.

The Discover drop-down provides access to various Actipro-related web sites.

The Tools drop-down gives access to documentation, several utilities (like our String Resource Browser), the Release History documents, and more.

Summary

We've put a lot of extensive work into the redesign of our Sample Browser app.  We really hope you enjoy the new modern look when you get your hands on it, upon the release of the 2013.1 version.

SyntaxEditor - Bookmark Indicators

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One of the feature areas we're adding to WPF and Silverlight SyntaxEditor controls is the ability to create indicators, which are special "tagged" regions of text that optionally display a glyph in the indicator margin or highlight the text range with special styles.

Several built-in indicator types will come with SyntaxEditor, one of them being bookmarks.

Bookmark Indicators

Bookmarks are line-based indicators, meaning they associate themselves with a single line of text.  Even as the line gets edited, they remain associated with a single full line.  They move around with the same logic found in Visual Studio's code editor.

Let's see what they look like:

Bookmarks

In this screenshot, we show three bookmarks rendered in the indicator margin on the left.  Our default implementation of bookmarks only renders glyphs in the margin, and doesn't highlight the marked line in the text area in any way (but you could optionally do this too if you wanted).

The toggle bookmark button checks to see if a bookmark is already on the caret's line.  If there is one, it removes it.  If there isn't one, it adds a new bookmark.  Clear all bookmarks removes them all from the document.

The previous and next bookmark buttons use our indicator search API to find another indicator based on an initial line.  In this case, we pass in the line that contains the caret and find the previous/next indicator.  If one is found, we move the caret to that line.

Summary

These features will be in the 2013.1 versions of the WPF and Silverlight SyntaxEditor controls.

We are still working on the design and implementation of indicators.  If you have any feature suggestions, now is the time to contact us!  Please comment here or e-mail us with your ideas and questions.

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Announcing Our Upcoming Charts Products

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As we finally draw near the release of the 2013.1 versions of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls, I'd like to take this opportunity to announce a new product being added to all three platforms:  full size charts!

The platforms mentioned above already have our Micro Charts product, which is ideal for visualizing data in small sizes, such as in grids or dashboards.  Customers have asked for complementary large charts that have multiple-axis support, grid lines, etc.  And we have delivered.  The 2013.1 versions will be receiving full size charts, and as usual, the API will be the same among the three platforms, allowing you to easily port code around.

First Look

Let's take a first look at a Surface device running the WinRT version of a Charts demo:

ChartsTeaser

In this Baseball Stats sample, we compare the statistics of two fictional baseball players and visualize important data through the use of charts.

Summary

We are currently finishing up the 2013.1 versions for the platforms and hope to have them (and the new Charts products) out in the next couple weeks or so.  Keep watching our blog for more details.