AppBarHint Control for WinRT/XAML

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 1:39pm


We're including a helpful new control in the upcoming 2014.1 version of our WinRT/XAML Controls:  The AppBarHint control.

What is an App Bar Hint?

The AppBarHint control makes it easy to inject an ellipses (three dot) area at the bottom of an Windows Store app page that can be tapped by the end user to display the page's app bars.  Here's a screenshot showing what it looks like:


Just dock the AppBarHint at the bottom of the page, set a background, and that's all there is to it.  The control automatically opens the app bars when it is tapped.

AppBarHint is also a ContentControl so that custom content can be inserted to the left of the ellipses if desired.

Real-World Usage

We already use the AppBarHint control in our free Code Writer app.  You can see it here in the lower left.


In this usage scenario, we insert the line/column information as content within the AppBarHint control.  Then when the user taps anywhere inside of the green hint, the app bars display.


This new control will be available when the 2014.1 version of our WinRT/XAML Controls versions are released in March.

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SyntaxEditor JavaScript Completion

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 5 comments
Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 1:09pm


Last year we added an advanced JavaScript language implementation to the SyntaxEditor Web Languages Add-on.  This language implementation (available in the WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML versions of the add-on) includes features like syntax highlighting, parsing with AST generation, syntax error reporting, code outlining, etc.

In today's post I'd like to announce that we have added a simplistic completion provider to the language that should help end user coding productivity.

Completion Provider

The new completion provider displays a completion list when Ctrl+Space is pressed:


The concept is similar to completion lists found in other popular IDEs like Sublime, where the list includes JavaScript keywords and identifiers found throughout the document.  The list has been set up to accept acronym and shortcut item matchers, meaning that any loosely-matched text will select items.  The list also auto-shrinks to only show matching items.


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SyntaxEditor Auto-Sizing

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 2:34pm


One feature that several customers have asked for is the ability for SyntaxEditor to automatically resize itself based on its text contents.  We didn't originally have this feature since it can be time-consuming (relatively speaking) and when editing huge documents, we didn't want to add any performance hits.

That being said, in the upcoming 2014.1 version of SyntaxEditor for WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML, we have added a new SyntaxEditor.IsViewLineMeasureEnabled property that can be set to true to activate view line measure behavior.  This means that you now can use SyntaxEditor in a layout scenario where its measured size will have an effect on its arranged size.

Multi-Line Editing Example

Let's check out an example of this in action.  Here we have a SyntaxEditor that has an XML language loaded and the new view line measure features enabled.  It's resizing itself vertically according to the number of lines in it:


Now if we press Enter a couple times, it auto-sizes to a larger height:


You can see how this would be useful when SyntaxEditor is hosted in controls like a StackPanel.

Single-Line Editing Example

We've also enhanced our single-line edit mode with a neat new feature.  Now if you set word wrap mode on and also have the view line measure features enabled, the single line will grow to render on multiple lines but will still not allow Enter to be pressed or inserted via pastes, etc.

This sort of feature is useful for scenarios where you want to allow a single line snippet of text to be edited but for the entire text to be visible.  Let's have a look:


Above we have a SyntaxEditor in single-line mode, with word wrap on, and view line measure enabled.  Let's type some more text:


Even though the text is still a single line (no line feeds are allowed in single-line mode), the word wrap caused the editor to grow taller.


These great new features will be available when the 2014.1 WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML versions are released in March.

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WinForms Metro Toggleable Auto-Hide Flyouts

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 2:28pm


Yesterday we announced that a new Metro Light theme is coming to our WinForms Controls in the 2014.1 version.  This new theme was modeled after Visual Studio 2013's appearance and helps give your app a sleeker look.

Differences in Auto-Hide Tab Behavior

In the newer Visual Studio versions, auto-hidden tool windows are represented by a UI element that no longer looks like a tab.  Instead, the "tab" contains the tool window's name with a thick line underneath. 

In this screenshot, you can see the mouse hovering over the Events auto-hide tab:WinFormsMetroDocking

Another change in Visual Studio is that hovering over the tab no longer automatically shows the tool window in a flyout.  Users must now click to display the flyout.

Our DockManager already has a AutoHideShowOnMouseHover property that can be set to false to achieve that sort of behavior.  For the 2014.1 version, we have enhanced it further.  If the property is false, and a tool window's auto-hide tab is clicked while the related tool window flyout is displayed, the flyout will now toggle closed.  This achieves similar functionality to how Visual Studio 2013 works.


These additions to give your WinForms app a fresh new Metro look will be available in the 2014.1 version of our WinForms Controls.

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Metro Light Theme Coming to WinForms Controls

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Monday, February 17, 2014 at 1:34pm


We've had metro themes in our WPF control products for over a year now and recently announced that they are getting some very nice updates for their 2014.1, with a number of refinements and enhancements.

Today I'd like to announce that a Metro Light theme is coming to our WinForms Controls as well!  This new theme gives your WinForms apps a Visual Studio 2013-like appearance.

Theme Description

First, we've added an additional option to the WindowsColorSchemeType that is called MetroLight and uses a flat color scheme similar to Visual Studio 2013's look.

Next, we created brand new renderers for our Bars, Docking/MDI, and Navigation products that draw the controls using the Metro appearance.  SyntaxEditor and Wizard already look good in Metro Light with their existing renderers.

Here's the Bar Controls demo, showing off the new theme:


Notice how the entire window has a nice flat appearance and subtle touches like the dotted gripper title bars are included.


This great theme addition to give your WinForms app a fresh new Metro look will be available in the 2014.1 version of our WinForms Controls.

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