The Actipro Blog

All the latest UI control development news from Actipro

UniformGrid Coming to WinRT and Silverlight Controls

PostBannerWinRTControlsDevNotes

We've been working on some new controls and while developing one in particular that we'll post about next time, we had a need for a UniformGrid panel.  The UniformGrid panel is already available in native WPF, but isn't available in WinRT/XAML or Silverlight. 

For the next maintenance releases of our WinRT/XAML and Silverlight controls, we rolled our own UniformGrid that has the same properties as the WPF version, making it easy to reuse code across platforms.

Features

The UniformGrid automatically lays out items in a grid such that the row and column counts are the same, and each item in the panel has the same size.

UniformGrid2x2

In this screenshot, the panel has four items in it.  Thus a 2x2 grid is created to display them all.

UniformGrid3x3

In this screenshot, we have seven items so a larger grid is necessary.  A 3x3 grid is used instead.

You also have the option to specify a certain number of rows or columns that should be used.

UniformGrid2Columns

In this screenshot, we have specified that two columns should be used.  The panel therefore creates a 2x4 grid (two columns and four rows).  Note that regardless of layout, items always appear in the same size.

You can see that UniformGrid provides for a lot of interesting layout scenarios, especially when you tell it a certain number of rows or columns to use.

Summary

The UniformGrid panel will be available in the next maintenance release of our WinRT/XAML and Silverlight Shared Libraries and is licensed for use by any of our customers of those control platforms.

Our next blog post will show off another new control coming to our XAML platforms that makes use of this new panel.

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Windows Workflow Designer SyntaxEditor Integration Updates

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Last year, we created a sample for showing how a hosted Windows Workflow Designer instance could be integrated with Actipro WPF controls within a custom WPF application to provide a very elegant interface for end users. 

We have continued enhancing it and here's what it currently looks like:

WorkflowDesigner

Our Docking/MDI product is used to provide the tool window and multiple document interface.  Our SyntaxEditor code editor control, in single line edit mode, is injected as a custom expression editor.  When you combine SyntaxEditor with our .NET Languages Add-on, you are able to have it support powerful IntelliPrompt completion lists.  For instance, in the screenshot above, you can see the itemCount variable is showing up in the completion list since it was declared below.

In recent updates, we've:

  • Updated App.OnStartup code to theme native WPF controls using Actipro themes.
  • Added a Menu above the designer with options for closing the window, and toggling the tool window visibility.
  • Added a custom completion ListBox implementation to work around issue where ListBoxItem would steal focus on click and Workflow Designer thought that it then had to close the expression editor.

When you put it all together, it's very easy to integrate Actipro WPF controls with rehosted Windows Workflow Designer instances in your applications.  It only takes a few minutes to get up and running, and once you do, the result is well worth the time.

Summary

If you rehost the Windows Workflow Designer in your WPF apps and would like our example, please contact us and we'll be happy to share it with you!

For those customers who downloaded either of the prior versions, this update is at the same URL as before.

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Filed under: Actipro, New features, WPF

JSON Language Coming to WinForms SyntaxEditor

PostBannerSyntaxEditorDevNotes

We are adding a JSON language implementation to the WinForms SyntaxEditor samples for the next maintenance release.

Features

JSON is a lightweight data-interchange format that is a subset of JavaScript syntax, and is commonly used with many web technologies.  With the new syntax language, you'll be able to provide a great editor/viewer for JSON data.  Here's a screenshot:

JSONWinForms

The JSON syntax language has these features:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Automatic code outlining
  • Smart indent
  • Delimiter (bracket) highlighting

Summary

This new syntax language example will be included in the next WinForms Controls maintenance release.

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Actipro Blog 2014 Q1 Posting Summary

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What We Accomplished

In this quarter we published the 2014.1 versions of our WPF, Silverlight, WinRT/XAML, and WinForms controls.  These versions included a lot of new controls and feature enhancements for our existing controls.  Check out the release posts for more detail.

Our free Code Writer Windows Store app had a couple releases that added context menus, new file types like JSON, many find/replace improvements, and much more.

Blog Post List

Control Product Development

Control Product Releases

Code Writer App

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RadialSlider Control

20141ProductNotesBlogPostBanner

The 2014.1 versions of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls were released last week and all contain several handy components in them, such as the RingSlice control we talked about several days ago.

In today's post, I'd like to show off the new RadialSlider control.

What is RadialSlider?

The RadialSlider control allows for quick selection of a degree value, which can easily be converted to some form of scalar value.  The control uses an embedded CircularThumb control, but is otherwise transparent.  It is meant to be used in conjunction with the RingSlice control and have that control render the slider's value UI.

RadialSliderBounds   RadialSliderCorner

Radial sliders function just like normal linear sliders however instead of moving the slider thumb in a straight line, the thumb can move in a circular fashion around the slider's center point.  This sort of UI allows for additional precision when compared to linear sliders, especially with touch interaction.

RadialSliderSegmented   RadialSliderWarningLevel

RadialSlider supports minimum/maximum ranges, infinite wrapping mode, customizable thumb styles, and more. 

RadialSliderRange   RadialSliderCustomStyle

Combine two RadialSlider controls on top of each other to enable range-based selection.

Real World Usage Scenario

RadialSlider and RingSlice controls can be used to create radial input controls such as in this sample (included in our download), which mimics a countdown timer in the Windows Alarms app:

RadialSlider

The sample above is a composite of two RadialSliders (for which you can see the thumbs that set minutes and seconds values), three RingSlices of various purple shades (that indicate the hours, minutes, and seconds values), and three RingSlices of various gray shades (that form the background "tracks").

The end user simply grabs the thumbs, either via touch or mouse, and drags in a circular fashion to alter the values.  The RingSlice controls that render the current values track with the dragged thumb.

Summary

The RadialSlider control is available in our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML Shared Libraries and is licensed for use by any of our customers of those control platforms.  Download v2014.1 and check it out!

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Filed under: Actipro, WPF, Silverlight, WinRT, XAML

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

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Due to an issue we found with clicks on SyntaxEditor margins that was introduced in the last build, we just published a fix in new v2014.1 maintenance releases for our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls.

Details on the updates can be found in this announcement post.

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Filed under: Actipro, WPF, Silverlight, WinRT

RingSlice Control

20141ProductNotesBlogPostBanner

The 2014.1 versions of our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML controls were released last week and all contain several handy components in them.  One that I'd like to talk in more detail about today is the RingSlice control.

What is RingSlice?

The RingSlice control renders a portion (or the entire circle) of a ring shape.  Its start/end angles, radius, thickness, and other stroke properties can be set.

RingSliceFullRing   RingSliceEndCaps

In the screenshots above, we see a RingSlice rendering a full ring and another showing how end caps can be customized.

RingSliceDash1   RingSliceDash2   RingSliceDash3   RingSliceDash4

In the screenshots above, we see how the same RingSlice control can have different stroke settings applied to it to provide dash effects.

Real World Usage Scenarios

Other very interesting composite controls can be created by using the RingSlice control together with other controls.

RingSliceProgress

The screenshot above shows how four RingSlice controls are used to surround a TextBlock and make a segmented progress indicator.  The fill of each RingSlice can be changed as progress occurs, so that the current step is reflected.

RingSliceGraph

Finally, this screenshot shows the radial graph of a numeric value.  Simply animate the end angle of the RingSlice to create a dynamic presentation of the data.

Summary

The RingSlice control is available in our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML Shared Libraries and is licensed for use by any of our customers of those control platforms.  Download v2014.1 and check it out!

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Filed under: Actipro, WPF, Silverlight, WinRT, XAML

WinForms Controls 2014.1 Released

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WinForms Controls 2013.1 build 310 has been released and is now available for download.

WinFormsMetroLight

This version features the updates we did to bring Metro Light themes to the controls as described in this post and this post.  The new themes can make your app's Actipro controls render similar to the visual style found in Visual Studio 2013.

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

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WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML v2014.1 Released

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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:

ProductHeadingWPFDocking

Metro themes have been dramatically refined and updated in this version, mostly in the area of Docking/MDI.  Updated UI includes subtle border lines, new auto-hide tab appearance, title bar gripper decorations, and more.

DockingMetro

Metro themes will now not show images on tabs by default, and have changed auto-hide tabs to require a click (instead of hover) to open.  These updates match Visual Studio 2013 behavior.

We've added new events for the auto-hide popup (flyout) that fire when it is opened or closed.  The popup is also now displayed using a faster default animation speed.

When the DockSite.AutoHidePopupOpensOnMouseHover property is false, clicks on auto-hide tabs are required to toggle the auto-hide popup opened and closed.

ProductHeadingWPFPropertyGrid

New built-in property editors for FontFamily, FontStretch, FontStyle, and FontWeight type properties have been added.

PropertyGridFontFamily

ProductHeadingWPFRibbon

New key tip specific theme resources have been added and key tips in Metro themes now render more like Office 2013.

CheckBox-based menu items now are capable of supporting tri-state display.

ProductHeadingGenericSyntaxEditor

Delimiter auto-completion logic for insertion and subsequent scope tracking has been greatly improved.  Delimiter indent provider can now optionally support square braces.

Added a new property that allows SyntaxEditor to measure itself based on text contents.  This works great for smaller documents in both multi-line and single-line modes.

SyntaxEditorAutoSize

Updated single-line mode to support word wrap, which is very useful when combined with the new view line measuring option.

SyntaxEditorSingleLineWrapped

Bookmark indicators now support an IsEnabled state.

LipsumGenerator class added to support generation of "lorem ipsum" placeholder text.

Changed block indent mode to retain whitespace after the caret when Enter is pressed.

.NET Languages Add-on

Numerous improvements to the VB language's handling of identifiers and variable declarations that don't include a type.

Web Languages Add-on

Added IntelliPrompt completion for keywords and symbols to the JavaScript language.

JavaScriptCompletion

Added a new advanced JSON language that can be used to view/edit JSON files, along with a new related QuickStart.

JsonLanguage

Updated JavaScript language to support multi-line strings via backslash continuation.

ProductHeadingWPFThemes

Many improvements to Metro themes (mostly in the Docking/MDI area described above), and improved WindowChrome (and RibbonWindow) rendering when maximized.

ProductHeadingGenericShared

WPF/Silverlight Only

Added the RadialSlider control, which is a circular slider that can be used to input any scalar value.

RadialSliderIntro

Added the RingSlice control, which renders a portion of a ring at designated angles and radius.

RingSliceProgressIndicator

Added the CircularThumb control, which is a thumb gripper with a circular shape and arrow adornment.

Added three samples for new Shared Library controls.

WinRT/XAML Only

Added the AppBarHint control, which is a visual hint to users that app bars exist on a page, and can be tapped to toggle them open. 

AppBarHint

Added a related QuickStart.

ProductHeadingMisc

Sample Browser (WPF/Silverlight only)

Added the ability to toggle description sidebar on some samples.

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New Font-Related PropertyGrid Editors

PostBannerWPFControlsDevNotes

We've got some more new features coming to our WPF PropertyGrid control in the upcoming 2014.1 version. 

In the new version, when an object with any sort of font-related property (like FontFamily, FontStretch, FontStyle, or FontWeight) is edited in PropertyGrid, it will automatically use new built-in editors designed specifically for those property types.  The editors kick in based on the return type of the property.  For instance, you could have a property defined as this and the FontFamily property editor will be used:

public FontFamily HeaderFontFamily { get; set; }

Example Screenshots

Let's see the new features in action.  Here are some screenshots:

PropertyGridFontFamily

The screenshot above shows the FontFamily drop-down.

PropertyGridFontWeight

The screenshot above shows the FontWeight drop-down.

Summary

These new features will be available in the 2014.1 version of PropertyGrid for WPF.

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