WPF/WinForms Beta Testers Wanted for v24.1

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 4:30pm

We’ve been hard at work with several new features for v24.1 of our WPF and WinForms products and are asking for beta testers to work with preview builds of what is coming to help ensure a smooth transition.

Beta testers will get an early look at the new features and can give us valuable feedback to influence any necessary development and/or bug fixes prior to the final release.  See the notes at the end of this post for details on signing up as a beta tester.

SyntaxEditor Native Dark Theme

SyntaxEditor now has built-in support for switching between light and dark themes. Previously, only UI element brushes were updated for dark themes, but the highlighting styles and icon sets had to be manually transitioned.

Now, a new SyntaxEditorThemeManager class and individual light/dark color palettes for a highlighting style registry allow for any change in the global theme to be automatically reflected in SyntaxEditor.

All Actipro-provided languages have been updated, as appropriate, with both light and dark highlighting styles, and we automatically convert many popular light-themed colors to appropriate dark-themed colors for custom languages that have yet to be updated with explicit dark styles.

SyntaxEditor Highlighting Style Updates

A new feature enables the current line number to be highlighted in a different style than the other line numbers, so the default line number colors have been updated to coordinate with this new feature.

When editing with multiple carets, distinct colors can now be defined for the primary and secondary carets.

Several other highlighting styles have also had their default values tweaked.

Theme Updates (WinForms Only)

A new Visual Studio Blue theme is available that mimics the Visual Studio 2022 Blue theme.

The renderers for Metro Light and Dark have been updated with a more modern gripper for the status bar and more subtle checked icons for checkable menu items that do not provide their own icon. Several classic renderers have also been renamed for clarity.

Beta Testers

We are looking for beta testers who:

  • Will actively use supplied preview builds to help ensure the beta is stable.
  • Will report suggestions for improvement of new features.
  • Will report confusion or missing information from conversion notes.
  • Will report any bugs that are encountered.
  • Ideally are signed up in our Slack workspace, as it’s easiest to communicate through that during testing phases.

Please contact our support team privately via a ticket to sign up for beta testing:

Contact Our Support Team to Sign Up

Please indicate the following in your message:

  • Your name and e-mail address.
  • If you are already an existing customer, and if so, your license key.
  • The platform(s) you’d like to test.
  • If you are already signed up in our Slack workspace.

Thanks for your help and we look forward to working with our testers.

WPF Controls v23.1 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 1 comment
Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at 4:21pm

While this major new version focuses on the introduction of the new Bars product beta, it also has a number of other minor updates across other products that are described in the related announcement post, which contains a detailed list of enhancements and updates.

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Here's a look at some of the new features.

Bars (Beta)

v23.1 takes the wraps off a new Bars product that implements advanced fluent ribbons, toolbars, menus, and related controls.

Ribbon in Classic layout mode with a color gallery displayed

The new fluent Ribbon has the latest Office appearance and includes the use of subtle animations throughout all controls.

Ribbon's backstage showing an included recent document list control

Ribbon can instantly switch between Classic (taller) and Simplified (single-row) layout modes, allowing for configuration of the variant resizing behavior in both modes.

Ribbon in Simplified layout mode with an Insert Table gallery displayed

Complex galleries can appear in the Ribbon, as well as in any popup and context menu. It's simple to create new galleries with rich visualizations for any need.

A standalone toolbar can display many of the same controls that Ribbon can, including popups with galleries

The StandaloneToolBar control can alternatively be used as an app's primary toolbar, or alternatively within tool windows. It can host any control that can be used in Ribbon and overflows items to a popup as needed.

Three user interface density options can be chosen, letting your application select whether to better support a large number of controls, or focus more on touch-friendliness.

The entire control hierarchy can be built using MVVM (preferred), or alternatively directly in XAML.  An optional open source MVVM library is available that makes it easy to configure the Bars controls with MVVM techniques.  In fact, the main Ribbon demo seen in earlier screenshots above is completely constructed from code-behind view models!

.NET Target and Code Signing Updates

Since .NET 5 is now out of support by Microsoft, we updated our .NET 5 targets to .NET 6. .NET 5-based apps can still use .NET Core 3.1 targets.

We’ve also moved our .NET Framework target to use 4.6.2 minimum, as it’s the most recent supported version of .NET Framework.

Finally, we now automatically code sign all our assemblies instead of shipping both non-signed and signed variations.

New WPF Bars Product - Testers Wanted

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 9:28pm

We’ve very excited to announce our new WPF Bars product that has been in development for quite a while now. Bars comes packed with everything you need to implement advanced ribbons, toolbars, and menus in your WPF applications.

The Bars Ribbon in Classic layout mode showing a custom gallery

This first beta release of Bars includes a powerful new Ribbon control that has the latest Office appearance with subtle animations, is extremely customizable, and makes it easy to build custom galleries. A StandaloneToolBar control can be used as a window's main toolbar or can be enclosed within a tool window. Future planned updates for Bars will add docking toolbar functionality. Everything from popup/split buttons to comboboxes to galleries can be included anywhere in a ribbon, toolbar, or menu.

An open source Bars MVVM library implements a complete set of view models and related UI views for building a full ribbon hierarchy in code. It also includes multiple examples of building visually stunning galleries that are seen in Office.

The same window but with the Bars Ribbon switched to Simplified layout mode

The new Ribbon control implementation in Bars was built from the ground up with WPF best-practices in mind. It supports MVVM usage, has fluent animation throughout, allows instant switching between Classic (three row) and Simplified (modern single row) layout modes, uses simple control variant logic when resizing, has better a control infrastructure, includes a full UIA peer tree, and that’s just scratching the surface.

We think you will love using the new Bars product in your WPF applications, and we can use your help. Bars will ship in the WPF Controls v23.1 release and we are nearing release candidate stability for the product. We would like to have additional customers take it for a test drive to provide us feedback.

If you would like to assist in testing a preview build of Bars in v23.1, please write us at our support e-address and describe how you might use Bars in your applications.  We look forward to hearing from you.

WinForms Controls v21.1 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 1 comment
Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 1:01pm

We are pleased to announce the release of the 21.1 version of our WinForms Controls. For this version, we have modernized many aspects of our WinForms Controls infrastructure, including:

  • .NET Core 3.1 and .NET 5 support
  • Visual Studio WinForms Designer for .NET Core support
  • NuGet packages
  • Documentation updates
  • Online documentation
  • GitHub repository
  • Backend build infrastructure updates

Our previous post on the WinForms Controls v21.1 Release Candidate gives more information on all of the items described above.

Finally, see this announcement post for the detailed list of enhancements and updates.

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Metro Light Theme Coming to WinForms Controls

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

PostBannerWinFormsDevNotes

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:

BarsMetroLight

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

Summary

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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