The Actipro Blog

All the latest UI control development news from Actipro

WPF, UWP, and Silverlight v2018.1 Maintenance Releases

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Our v2018.1 WPF, Universal Windows, and Silverlight controls have all been updated with new maintenance releases that are now ready for download.  There were a large number of minor enhancements and bug fixes made across various products.

See the announcement posts for the detailed list of enhancements and updates:

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SyntaxEditor vNext Performance Tuning and Printing

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As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort (codenamed vNext) is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

For the last three weeks or so of SyntaxEditor vNext development, we've been working on performance profiling and printing support.

Performance Profiling

As part of vNext, we are doing our best to speed up the editor even more than before. 

The Universal Windows version of SyntaxEditor is many times faster than the current UWP SyntaxEditor.  A large part of that is due to the newer way we measure and render the control in vNext, which is significantly faster than what we were able to do in the past.  Other tunings also help.  Let's examine some performance results.

Using page-down to scroll through a large document, we're seeing a 3.5x speed increase in the vNext UWP SyntaxEditor!  UWP SyntaxEditor speed increases when dragging the scrollbar thumb are even more evident.  There is a bit of a lag in the current UWP SyntaxEditor, whereas in the vNext UWP SyntaxEditor, the display is instant and tracks with the dragged thumb perfectly.

Running the same page-down scrolling test in WinForms, we're seeing a 20% improvement in speed over the older version.  The WPF version is seeing a slight improvement in scrolling speed over before as well, although it has always scrolled extremely fast.

We are continuing to work on tuning the API to maximize performance when scrolling and editing.

Printing

Printing support has been added back into vNext for the WPF and WinForms versions.  We are currently working on the UWP version's printing support.  These features allow you to easily print out a document to paper, or a PDF file using the "Microsoft Print to PDF" virtual printer found in Windows 10.

What's Next

We are going to wrap up UWP printing support next, and then will move onto a few other areas left to port over to the API.  Large remaining areas include searching and IntelliPrompt feature APIs.

Windows Workflow Designer SyntaxEditor Integration - Generics Support

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Several years ago, 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've been updating the sample over time and are have just released another updated version.  This one demonstrates how generics (like List<T>) can be supported as variable types.

Here's a screenshot showing a "stringList" variable defined as "List<string>".  We then can access the list variable's IntelliPrompt completion and parameter info (pictured) in any expression.

SyntaxEditorWorkflowGenerics_thumb

About the Windows Workflow Integration

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, quick info, and parameter info.

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.

Downloading the Sample

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.

Filed under: Actipro, New features, WPF

SyntaxEditor vNext Multiple Selection Pasting

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As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort (codenamed vNext) is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

As described in recent blog posts, we've been working on adding multiple caret/selection support to SyntaxEditor in vNext.  In this post, I'd like to show off a neat new feature related to copying/pasting text when there are multiple selections.

Pasting Demo

At the start of this animation, I do a line copy, which occurs when there is no selection and you press Ctrl+C.  Then I paste that line in three times.

Next I select the text "Actipro," then Ctrl+select the text "SyntaxEditor," and finally Ctrl+select the text "vNext."  The Ctrl+selections have allowed me to create three selections.  At this point I could type and it would replace each of those selections with what I typed.  Instead, I'm going to press Ctrl+C again to copy the selected text.

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When I copy multiple selections, each selection's text is appended together and delimited by a line terminator.  So if you would paste what I copied into Notepad, it would paste as:

Actipro
SyntaxEditor
vNext

In the animation, the next thing I do is put a caret in each of the three empty strings by Ctrl+clicking in them.  We just added some new vNext logic that will compare the number of selections with the number of lines in the pasted text.  When they are equal, as they are in this demo, each line in the pasted text will get pasted into the related selection.  The end result is you can see how each of the three selections I originally copied end up in a separate target selection.

Summary

Multiple caret/selection support touches many portions of the editor and we are continuing to work through updating all feature areas to support it.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

SyntaxEditor vNext Multiple Caret/Selection Progress

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As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

We are continuing development on our SyntaxEditor control, adding many modern features under a unified API design.  One enormous feature area getting added is multiple carets/selections.  We briefly proposed adding this feature several months ago in this blog post to gather feedback.

Now that we've had time to iterate on development of it, I wanted to share a demo so you can see how it works.

Multiple Carets/Selections Demo

In this screen capture animation, we show how SyntaxEditor vNext will support multiple carets/selections.

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I first select a word using my mouse and click/dragging like normal.  Then I select text under it while holding the Ctrl key and click/dragging.  Afterward I notice I accidentally selected too many characters.  I hold Ctrl and click the second selection to collapse it.  Then I hold Ctrl and click/drag to make the correct selection.

Next I hold Ctrl and click in another word to add a third caret.  I remove that same third caret by Ctrl+clicking on it again.  This is a nice feature for when you accidentally add a caret/selection you didn't mean to add.

Finally, edit actions like typing will affect all selections.  You can see in the animation how typing "Foo" affects the two selections.  Pressing Ctrl+Z for undo applies to all the selections.

Summary

Adding multiple caret/selection support is a massive feature area that touches many portions of the product.  While it's taken a while to implement, we're very pleased with the progress thus far and think it will really be exciting for end users.

Let us know what you think of this feature area in the comments.

ShellListView Layout Modes Added

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Earlier this week, we published a WPF Controls 2018.1 build 671 maintenance release that added some major new features for our WPF Shell controls.  It also made some minor updates and bug fixes in other WPF controls, so it is a highly recommended update.

Actipro's WPF Shell controls allow for easy folder and file browsing. While the product comes packed with a pre-built implementation for the Windows shell that mimics Windows Explorer, the controls are fully customizable, allowing you to filter or change the folders/files presented. Or build your own shell service to support other files systems, such the remote side for a FTP client.

ShellListView Layout Modes

The initial 2018.1 release of the Shell controls first introduced the ShellTreeListBox control (presents a shell folder hierarchy in a tree structure) and the ShellListView control (shows the contents of a selected folder).  This first build only supported the Details layout mode in ShellListView, which is the one most commonly-used, and has multiple columns of shell object information display. 

In this latest maintenance release, we've added multiple new layout mode options:  List, Small Icons, Medium Icons, Large Icons, and Extra Large Icons.  Let's see a comparison of the new modes.

List

ShellListView-List

Small Icons

ShellListView-SmallIcons

Medium Icons

ShellListView-MediumIcons

Large Icons

ShellListView-LargeIcons

Extra Large Icons

ShellListView-ExtraLargeIcons

Details (default)

ShellListView-Details

Thumbnails

This latest maintenance release also can display thumbnails that represent shell object content in place of the standard file type icons in several of the new layout modes.

Let's take a look at a folder that has the thumbnails feature off:

ShellListView-NoThumbnails

You can see that the folders don't show any content and the images display a standard icon.  Now let's compare the same folder with the new thumbnails feature on:

ShellListView-Thumbnails

That's quite an improvement and really helps users get a feel for the content.  The thumbnails displayed are provided by the system, so the thumbnails should support generation from any shell extension that supports thumbnails.

Summary

The features described above are available today.  Please download our latest WPF controls build to get them.

The next feature we're working on for ShellListView is adding a virtualizing panel for these new layout modes that will allow folders with many shell objects to display quicker.  If you'd like to help us beta test new features like the virtualizing panel, please write our support address.  And "Chat With Us" about our shell controls on Slack.

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Filed under: Actipro, New features, WPF

WPF, UWP, and Silverlight Controls 2018.1 Released

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We're happy to announce that the 2018.1 versions of our WPF, Universal Windows, and Silverlight controls have been released.  These versions include a new WPF Shell product, new features, and a lot of minor updates and bug fixes throughout the control sets.

See all the details on the 2018.1 releases in the various announcement posts:

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Introducing Shell Controls (WPF only)

The 2018.1 version of the WPF Controls introduces a beta of a new Shell controls product that we've been developing the past several months.

Actipro Shell controls allow for easy folder and file browsing. While the product comes packed with a pre-built implementation for the Windows shell that mimics Windows Explorer, the controls are fully customizable, allowing you to filter or change the folders/files presented. Or build your own shell service to support other files systems, such the remote side for a FTP client.

ShellControls

The ShellTreeListBox control presents a shell folder hierarchy in a tree structure. It is often paired with a ShellListView control, which shows the contents of a selected folder using column-based property display. Both controls support customizable tool tips, context menus, multiple image sizes that account for high-DPI scenarios, and in-line renaming.

All of the UI found in the Shell controls is native WPF, even the context menus. Unlike competitive products with interop-based user interfaces, the Actipro Shell controls don't have any airspace or focus issues, and every bit of UI can be fully-themed or even customized with XAML data templates.

Although these controls are still in beta, they should be stable for usage in production.  If you would like to submit suggestions for improvement, please post them in our Shell discussion forum or join our Slack workspace.  We've done a lot of planning with beta testers in the Slack #uicontrols channel.

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March WPF, UWP, and Silverlight v2017.2 Maintenance Releases

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Our v2017.2 WPF, Universal Windows, and Silverlight controls have all been updated with new maintenance releases that are now ready for download. 

Let's take a quick look at some of the more notable features that were added.

Charts

Bar Customization

The series style selector's method for picking each bar's style in a bar chart has been updated to be passed bar index and count, allowing for individual bars to be customized.

Docking/MDI

UIA Updates for Better Coded UI Test Support

The docking window container UIA hierarchy has been updated to better support Coded UI Test.  These changes should now allow Coded UI Tests for controls in docking windows to record and play back successfully.

Keeping Auto-Hide Popups Open For Dialogs

There is now a property that can be set temporarily to prevent an auto-hide popup from closing when WPF keyboard focus is lost from it, which can happen if a dialog window is opened from a button on the docking window.  In this scenario in the past, the button could be clicked and the auto-hide popup might slide back.  The new option allows the popup to remain open when the dialog is open.

Improved Dragging Over Nested Linked Dock Sites

Updated docking window logic now shows dock guides by default for linked dock sites at the same nesting level, when there are multiple dock sites nested.  If there are multiple linked dock sites covering the same drag location, the Shift key can be held to switch dock guides to an alternate dock site.

Editors

MaskedTextBox Input Improvements

Logic has been updated to block some input that would trigger a shorter match.

NaN and Infinity Support Added to Multiple Edit Boxes

The CornerRadiusEditBox, PointEditBox, RectEditBox, SizeEditBox, ThicknessEditBox, and VectorEditBox controls now all have properties that can be set to allow NaN and infinity component values.

Gauge

Improved Digital Gauge Segment Rendering

DigitalGauge

The distance between digital gauge segments for the 7-segment (normal) and 14-segment (normal) character sets has been reduced, making the digital gauges easier to read at certain sizes, and more like most real readouts.

SyntaxEditor

Free Sample C#/VB Syntax Language Updates

The free language definition files now support C# 6 and VB 14 enhancements.

XML Start Tag Self-Closing

The XML auto-completion logic in the Web Languages Add-on will self-close start tags if a '/' is typed.

Summary

There were also a large number of smaller improvements made throughout the products.  See the announcement posts for the detailed list of enhancements and updates:

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WPF, UWP, and Silverlight v2017.2 Maintenance Releases

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Our v2017.2 WPF, Universal Windows, and Silverlight controls have all been updated with new maintenance releases that are now ready for download.  It is highly recommended that you get these new builds since many products received numerous minor enhancements and bug fixes. 

Let's take a quick look at some of the more notable features that were added.

Charts

Display Optimizations

The line charts have had optimizations in them to try and align to pixel values to reduce anti-aliasing.  While this generally improved readability, when rendering a curve like a sine wave, this can result in some jaggedness of the curve.  We added an option that allows these display optimizations to be turned off for those scenarios.

Docking/MDI

Dock Host Changed Event

A new event is raised whenever a docking window's dock host changes, allowing for knowing when a docking window transitions to a floating state and back.

Dragging Enhancements

The dragging experience for a single tab has been improved.  When dragging a docking window over a nested linked dock site, the Shift key can be used to target the outer dock host.

Interop Improvements

Numerous improvements were made to how InteropFocusTracking handles mouse clicks and focus tracking for interop controls in docking windows.

Dock Guides

Dock guides (when in non-hosted node) can now render outside of the bounds of the target dock host when necessary.  This scenario can occur if the containers in the dock host are small.

Editors

MaskedTextBox Data Binding

A new MatchedText property has been added to MaskedTextBox to allow data binding without any prompt text.

Pointer Double-Clicks

Double-clicking an edit box part now selects the entire part's text.

Color Picker Alpha Component

The ColorPicker's alpha component has been changed to be percentage-based, which is more in line with most applications.

Grids

Key Handling

The ability to customize how Enter keys are handled for various property editor types has been added.

SyntaxEditor

Read-Only Regions

Read-only regions have been enhanced with properties that determine if editing is allowed on their first and/or last edges.

Code Outlining

The code outlining logic has been Improved to better handle mismatched outlining nodes.

JSON Parser

The JSON parser in the Web Languages Add-on has been enhanced with better error handling.

Theme Browser

We've updated the Theme Browser utility in the Sample Browser with a new textbox that allows filtering of resources.

Summary

There were also a large number of smaller improvements made throughout the products.  See the announcement posts for the detailed list of enhancements and updates:

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SyntaxEditor vNext - Customizing Line Numbers

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As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

In the previous SyntaxEditor vNext post, we showed some massive improvements in SyntaxEditor touch interaction, including inertia-based touch scrolling and pinch-to-zoom features.  In today's post, we'll examine a new feature area that allows you to customize the line numbers displayed in each view's line number margin.

Default Behavior

By default, a view's line number margin displays the line number (document line index plus one) for each view line.  If a view line is a wrapped line, nothing appears for that view line in the margin.

SyntaxEditorLineNumbersDefault

In vNext, several new features are being added to support customization of the line number display.

Document Fragment Scenario

One scenario where line number customization is appropriate is when you have an enormous file and only want SyntaxEditor to show a fragment of it, such as several thousand lines.  In this scenario, you might make a document with lines 10,000-20,000 in it.  The first line in SyntaxEditor is really line 10,000 in the file, but it normally shows as line #1 in the line number margin.  This can be confusing to the end user.

SyntaxEditorLineNumbersOrigin

A new property on the document class allows you to change the line number origin, which defaults to 1.  For the scenario described above, you'd set it to 10,000 instead.  All line numbers after that origin number will continue to be relative to it.

Advanced Scenarios

What about cases where a language might have specific line numbers or labels that should show for certain view lines?  This is possible too via a new language service that allows for completely customizing the text to display for each view line in the line number margin.

SyntaxEditorLineNumbersCustom

In the screenshot above, we've set the line number margin to show the zero-based offset of each line.  For a couple lines, we've also indicated labels for the namespace and class lines.

Summary

The new custom line numbering features are very easy to use for changing default line number margin content.