The Actipro Blog

All the latest UI control development news from Actipro

Editors for WinRT - ColorEditBox


In the last post, we gave an overview of the new edit box controls that were just released in our WinRT/XAML Editors product, including a list of some options that are available in all edit boxes.  In today's post, we're going to take a look at a universal edit box control that is used to select a color value.

Windows Store Variant

The ColorEditBox control is used to input a Color value, and uses a ColorPicker control in its popup.


The alpha component of the color can optionally be included.  When the alpha component is not enabled, an opaque color is required and only RGB edit boxes appear on the popup, instead of ARGB.

Edit boxes work great with a keyboard.  When the edit box is focused, values can be directly typed in.  Type in "Red", "#f00", or "#ff0000" and press Enter.  Any of those will commit a red color value.  You can also move the caret to one of the ARGB components and use keyboard arrow keys, PgUp/PgDn, or the mouse wheel to increment values.

If the user doesn't have a keyboard, mouse or touch can be used to display the popup.  Just drag the sliders to select a different color.  Or edit the ARGB component values directly to set exact values.

Windows Phone Variant

All of our WinRT/XAML controls are universal and support both Windows Store and Windows Phone apps.  In the case of edit boxes, they often have a different UI that has been tailored specifically for Windows Phone.


Above we see how a ColorEditBox renders on a phone.  Since phones don't have hardware keyboards, the control has been crafted to look like a native ComboBox, although we also support an optional clear button.  Then rest of the control behaves like a button.  When the button is tapped, this full screen dialog is displayed:


Everything on the picker popup displayed here is big and touch friendly… a perfect design for color selection on Windows Phone.


This post shows how a ColorEditBox control can make it simple for an end user to select a color within a Windows Store or Windows Phone app.  Download our WinRT/XAML Controls to check it out, along with our other beautiful and functional editor controls!

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Filed under: Actipro, New product, WinRT, XAML

Editors for WinRT - Edit Boxes Overview


In today's post, I'd like to give an overview of how edit boxes in our new WinRT/XAML Editors product work, and why we created them.

What Are Edit Boxes?

Edit boxes are controls that allow for the editing/selection of common data type values. Unlike many other third party editor controls, the Actipro Editors have been specifically designed to work great for whichever form of input (keyboard, mouse, or touch) is utilized by the end user.


They are designed to visually fit right in with the standard Windows Store and Windows Phone controls.  Each editor's main appearance is similar to a standard TextBox, where the value can be typed in via a keyboard for maximum efficiency. Certain keyboard keys and the mouse wheel can often be used to increment/cycle values.  Custom validation and conversion logic between text and real object values can even be injected.

Most editors also contain a default popup picker that is geared for mouse and touch-based input. The popup can easily be invoked by tapping the edit box's drop-down button.


Controls List


ColorEditBox - Allows for the input of a Color value.


CornerRadiusEditBox - Allows for the input of a CornerRadius (top-left, top-right, bottom-right, bottom-left) value.


DateEditBox - Allows for the input of a DateTime value's date component.


DateTimeEditBox - Allows for the input of a DateTime value.


DoubleEditBox - Allows for the input of a Double (floating-point number) value.


EnumEditBox - Allows for the input of a Enum (flags and non-flags enumeration) value.


GuidEditBox - Allows for the input of a Guid (unique ID) value.


Int32EditBox - Allows for the input of an Int32 (integer) value.


PointEditBox - Allows for the input of a Point (X, Y) value.


RectEditBox - Allows for the input of a Rect (X, Y, width, height) value.


SizeEditBox - Allows for the input of a Size (width, height) value.


ThicknessEditBox - Allows for the input of a Thickness (left, top, right, bottom) value.


TimeEditBox - Allows for the input of a DateTime value's time component.

Options Galore

Edit boxes all support nullable values, meaning that a DateEditBox for example returns a value of Nullable<DateTime>.  An option can be set to require that a non-null value is set.

The editors can be set to provide read-only display of data.  When not read-only and if nulls are allowed, a clear button appears when the control has focus.

The popups for the edit boxes can be fully customized.  Each editor also supports placeholder text and optional header content.


This is just an introduction to what the edit boxes can do.  In our next series of posts, we'll take a look at each edit box control and its related popup picker in detail.

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Filed under: Actipro, New product, WinRT, XAML

WinRT/XAML Controls v2014.2 Released


The 2014.2 version of our WinRT/XAML controls have been released and are now available for download.

Major new features are described below.  See the announcement post for the detailed list of enhancements and updates, including many items not listed below.


This version makes all the WinRT/XAML controls compatible with Windows Phone, meaning that licensed controls will work in both Windows Store and Windows Phone apps!


We've even added a nice phone-based Sample Browser app to show off usage of the controls on the phone.


Actipro Editors is a brand new product that we've been working on for quite a while now and provides over 30 user input controls for common .NET data types such as dates, times, numbers, colors, enumerations, sizes, and many more.


Each of the controls features unique designs that have been specifically crafted to support input by keyboard, mouse, and touch. Data entry is quick and efficient regardless of the input method utilized by the end user, which is especially ideal for universal applications.

All of the controls fully support Windows Store and Windows Phone apps, with alternate appearances as appropriate for phone usage.

We will be blogging and walking through all of the controls in the next couple weeks so keep an eye on our blog.


We've added a new MicroSegmentChart control for use on dashboards, infographics, or as progress indicators.


More details on this control soon too.


Along with various minor enhancements and updates, we have added a brand new premium Python Language Add-on that supports advanced editing for Python v3.x and v2.x.  This first release includes parsing, syntax error reporting, code outlining, smart indent, delimiter highlighting/completion, and more.


Look for another update soon featuring automated IntelliPrompt!  See this previous blog post for more details on the new add-on.


Several other fun new controls and converters are included with this version too.

  • Added the TransitioningContentPresenter control, which uses animated fade, slide, push, and zoom transitions when new content is set.
  • Added the ContentTransitionPreview control, which demonstrates a content transition by continuously cycling two content items.
  • Added the ParallaxConverter that can be used to create a parallax background scrolling effect.
  • Added the BooleanNotConverter that can invert boolean values.

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Actipro Blog 2014 Q2 Posting Summary


What We Accomplished

In this quarter, we published a very large 2014.1 version maintenance release of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls.  These versions included several new controls and some big feature enhancements for our existing controls.  Check out the release posts for more detail.

What’s Coming Next

We are in the middle of several large projects right now.  The first is one that we recently mentioned, which is a full advanced language add-on for the Python language.  As mentioned in this post, the language will support both the Python v2.x and v3.x syntax.  It will have full parsing, syntax error reporting, code outlining, smart indent, and more.  We also have begun working on automated IntelliPrompt features, which we will post about in the coming weeks.

Another area we have invested a good amount of time in recently is a new control product offering for WinRT, one that already has a counterpart in our WPF controls.  Can you guess which one?  That being said, the designs we've come up with include some new unique interfaces that are very friendly for all forms of input.  We will delve more into this in future blog posts too, once we are a bit closer to ready for release.  We're really excited to reveal these controls.

And of course we are continuing to enhance and update our existing controls, along with designing some new controls, as we start collecting updates for the future 2014.2 versions.

Blog Post List

Control Product Development

Control Product Releases


SyntaxEditor Python Language Add-on Coming Soon


In today's post I'd like to formally announce that a new Python language add-on is coming to SyntaxEditor (WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML platforms) in its 2014.2 version.

What is Python?

Python is a very popular programming language that uses indenting to create blocks of code (as opposed to curly braces as in languages like C), and attempts to allow users to write code in fewer lines than is possible in other languages.  Python has a standard library of API features that has grown very large over time.

These days, Python code comes in two flavors: v2.x syntax and v3.x syntax.  Unfortunately there are breaking changes between the two syntaxes.  But we've got you covered since you can tell our PythonSyntaxLanguage class which version to use and it will parse things accordingly.


Here's a screenshot of the Python language in action within SyntaxEditor:


The first release of the Python language will have these features:

  • Support for both Python v2.x and v3.x syntaxes.
  • Syntax highlighting.
  • Abstract syntax tree (AST) generation.
  • Automatic code outlining based on AST structure.
  • Reporting and automatic squiggle display of errors for invalid syntax.
  • Mouse hover quick info for syntax errors.
  • Line commenting.
  • Smart indent.
  • Code block selection.
  • Delimiter (bracket) highlighting and auto-completion.

Beta Testers

Since this is a brand new language add-on, we would love to get your help beta testing it.  If you are a SyntaxEditor customer and would like to assist us in testing the Python language add-on, please contact us at our support email address.


This new Python language add-on will roll out in the 2014.2 version of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls.

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WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML Controls v2014.1 Maintenance Releases


New maintenance of the 2014.1 versions of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls have been released and are now available for download.

Major new features are described below.  See the announcement posts for the detailed list of enhancements and updates, including many items not listed below:


Auto-Calculation of Tick Mark Intervals


XYDoubleAxis, XYDecimalAxis, and XYDateTimeAxis have been updated to auto-calculate tick mark intervals when they aren't specifically set.  A new Axis Ticks QuickStart has been added that shows off automatic tick mark interval calculation.

Rendering Improvements

We've improved the rendering speed of data point labels, improved the rendering logic of bar charts, and updated data point labels to use a subtle border so that they don't blend in with surrounding chart objects of the same color.

Label Performance Improvements

Data point labels in pointer visibility mode now delay layouts until a pointer event occurs, thereby speeding up initial chart display.

Numeric Type Data Upconversion

XYChart now will automatically upconvert non-Double numeric type data to Double type so it can display.


Child Control Styles Applied to Some Auto-Generated Columns (WPF only)

ThemedDataGrid has been updated to style the child controls of auto-generated ComboBox and CheckBox columns.


Disabling Rafting Window Snap-to-Screen (WPF only)

Added the DockSite.IsRaftingWindowSnapToScreenEnabled, which can be set to false to prevent rafting windows from snapping to the closest screen when being displayed.

More Tabbed MDI Tile Options (WPF only)

Overloads to the TabbedMdiHost.TileHorizontally and TileVertically methods have been added that allow for a maximum number of columns/rows.  This permits additional tile configurations, such as a single row of tiles.


Double-Clicks Cycle Values (WPF only)


Updated double-clicks on property names to cycle through standard values if available.

CommitPendingChanges Helper Method (WPF only)

A PropertyGrid.CommitPendingChanges method has been added that forces any pending LostFocus bindings within property editors to update and ensure the data model is current.


Navigable Symbols Hierarchy Support

Navigable symbols now support hierarchy levels and item indentation.  This feature was added to allow XML element hierarchies to be displayed in the NavigableSymbolSelector.

Numerous Minor Enhancements

Many minor enhancements have been made, which can be seen in the detailed update list.

LL(*) Parser Framework

A Grammar.AddChildFrom overload was added that allows for specification of a desired child index.

Web Languages Add-on


The XML grammar was reimplemented using type-specific AST nodes, thereby reducing overall AST memory usage by an average of 40%.  A XmlNavigableSymbolProvider service was added to the XML language that provides contextual element and attribute display in a NavigableSymbolSelector control.  The XML and HTML editor demos were updated to showcase the new navigable symbol provider features.


Horizontal ListBox Control


The HorizontalListBox control was added, which allows for selection of items that are arranged horizontally with a uniform width.

UniformGrid Control (WinRT / Silverlight only)


The UniformGrid control was added, which is a Panel that can arrange content in a grid where all the cells in the grid have the same size.

RadialSlider Improvements


The RadialSlider class logic for snapping values has been improved.

DelegateCommand (WinRT only)

The DelegateCommand class has been added, which is an implementation of ICommand that uses delegates.

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Chart Automatic Tick Calculation


One great new feature coming in the next build of our Charts product for WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML is automatic tick calculation when no tick interval is specified.

If you know the range of data that will be displayed in your charts, it often makes sense to specify an exact tick interval.  This ensures that the charts render gridlines, ticks, and labels exactly how you intend for them to look.

Our current version of Charts requires you to specify the tick interval, or else ticks won't show up in many cases.  We had a lot of feedback from customers that there are many scenarios where they don't want to have to set up the tick intervals ahead of time since the data can often be very dynamic.  Our customers asked for tick intervals to be automatically calculated when not specified, and that's what we've done for the next build.


The new feature will examine the minimum and maximum values of your data and determine a proper interval to apply to ticks so that they are visually spaced out in a pleasing way.

Let's have a look at how this works.  In this chart, neither axis has a tick interval specified, so the new feature kicks in on both the x-axis and y-axis.


The y-axis has a sales dollar amount and the new logic determined that a major tick interval of $200 should be used.  The x-axis' major tick interval was determined to be 5.

Next, we have another similar example, but this chart shows how the feature even works to calculate major tick intervals for dates.


The logic examined the minimum and maximum dates and found a certain number of days to use as the major tick interval.


The new highly-requested chart automatic tick calculation features will be available in the next 2014.1 maintenance releases of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls.

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SyntaxEditor XML Add-on - Navigable Symbols


Today I'd like announce a great new feature coming to the SyntaxEditor Web Languages Add-on (WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML versions): a XML navigable symbol provider


If you are new to SyntaxEditor, you may be wondering what is a navigable symbol provider.  Navigable symbol providers allow SyntaxEditor to provide a set of drop-downs above it that indicate the current context of the caret.  They also allow an end user to select items in the drop-downs to move the caret directly to the related definition.

Our .NET Languages Add-on's C# and VB languages already support this feature and the two drop-downs above the editor show the current type and member context.

With the addition of this feature to XML, two drop-downs above the editor can show the current element and attribute context.  Let's see a screenshot:


In the screen above, the caret is on line 12 in the "id" attribute.  The attribute drop-down (top right) properly shows the "id" attribute as context.  If we would click the "book" element in that drop-down, the caret would move to the "book" tag's name.


In this screenshot, we have displayed the element drop-down while still on the "book" start tag.  It has selected the current element for us and also shows the hierarchy of elements up to the root element ("catalog").  It also shows us the elements that are direct children of the current element.  In this case, elements like "author", "title", etc. are the direct children of "book".  Any of the items in the drop-down can be clicked and the caret will jump right to that element.  In this sense, it provides somewhat of a mini-document outline.


This great new feature will roll out in the upcoming 2014.1 WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls maintenance releases.

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PropertyGrid Double-Clicking Enhancements


Our WPF PropertyGrid control allows you to embed an object editing interface into your applications that can make use of any type of custom editor, including our own powerful WPF Editors controls.

In today's post I wanted to review a new small, but very useful, enhancement coming to PropertyGrid in the next maintenance release: the ability to double click on a name cell and cycle through available standard values.

Example Usage

Let's have a look at how this works.


Here we have a PropertyGrid and you'll notice that the CharacterCasing property has standard values of Normal, Lower, etc.


By double-clicking on the name cell, the value cycles to the next value in the standard values list. 


This new feature makes it quick and easy for end users to cycle through standard values without having to show a drop-down list.  It will appear in the next maintenance release of our WPF controls.

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Filed under: Actipro, New features, WPF

HorizontalListBox Control


Yesterday we posted about a UniformGrid panel control that was being added to our WinRT/XAML and Silverlight Shared Libraries.  This sort of panel is already available in native WPF so no implementation was necessary there.

In today's post, I'd like to show another new control coming to our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML control platforms: HorizontalListBox.


The HorizontalListBox control is… wait for it… a standard ListBox that uses a horizontal layout.  In fact it uses a UniformGrid panel with a single row specification to achieve its layout.  This has the benefit of ensuring that each item in the list has an equal width.

This sort of design is great for toggle sorts of controls where there are two or more values from which to choose.  In multi-selection mode, you can also toggle each item individually.

Let's have a look of the WinRT version:


Here we have a couple HorizontalListBox controls in place.  One for selecting gender and one for doing multiple selection of days of the week.  Everything is simple and touch-friendly.  Any content can be rendered in the list box items as well.

And here is the WPF version:


It's the same exact control and API but here it renders in the current theme (in this case Metro Light) via our WPF Themes infrastructure.

Best of all, since this restyled control simply inherits the native ListBox, you have all the features available to you that come from the base native ListBox control.  Our control has some enhancements such as Left/Right arrow key navigation too.


The HorizontalListBox control will be available in the next 2014.1 maintenance releases of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML Shared Libraries, and will be licensed for use by any of our customers of those control platforms.

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