Docking/MDI vNext - Standard MDI Size-to-Content

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 8:59pm

PostBannerWPFControlsDevNotes

As mentioned in this previous post, we've been looking for ideas to further improve our WPF Docking/MDI product, which already is the market leader for docking tool window and MDI functionality.  We've committed to working on a complete internal restructuring of the product that we will call Docking/MDI vNext.  We're doing our best to keep the same general API surface, while providing even more advanced features in every area of the product.  We've collected suggestions from our customers over the past several years and are working to meet them as best we can with Docking/MDI vNext.

The past several days, we have been refining standard (windowed) MDI and adding several features.  In today's blog post, I'd like to show a new feature coming to standard MDI, which is the ability to resize to content when first displayed.

Feature Description

There is a new option on the DockingWindow class that can be set to hint that when the docking window opens in standard MDI, it will automatically size-to-content.  In this example, a Document1.txt docking window has a simple TextBox in it and the special size-to-content mode activated (which is off by default):

StandardMdiSizeToContent1

When opened in standard MDI, the window sizes to content and appears in the workspace area.  Now if we manually execute the Cascade method, or if we would have originally kept the size-to-content option off, the docking window will look like this:

StandardMdiSizeToContent2

In this case, it is using a standardized formula for setting the width and height.

Summary

The ability to automatically resize a standard MDI docking window on load will be delivered in vNext.  This is another user-requested feature.

Docking/MDI vNext is currently still in mid-development stages but is progressing very well.  Please contact us via email if you are an existing customer and would like to sign up as a beta tester for vNext.  If you have any other suggestions for improving Docking/MDI, now is the time to get them in.  We'll post more updates on our vNext improvements soon.

In the meantime, please download our current Docking/MDI control product and give it a spin.

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Docking/MDI vNext - Floating Tool Window Minimize Buttons

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Friday, May 15, 2015 at 6:04pm

PostBannerWPFControlsDevNotes

As mentioned in this previous post, we've been looking for ideas to further improve our WPF Docking/MDI product, which already is the market leader for docking tool window and MDI functionality.  We've committed to working on a complete internal restructuring of the product that we will call Docking/MDI vNext.  We're doing our best to keep the same general API surface, while providing even more advanced features in every area of the product.  We've collected suggestions from our customers over the past several years and are working to meet them as best we can with Docking/MDI vNext.

In our last two posts, we showed the redesigned functionality of dragging tool windows to float them and potentially drag/drop them elsewhere.  One thing those screens didn't show was the ability to enable minimize/maximize buttons on floating tool windows.  Our current Docking/MDI version allows maximize buttons on floating tool windows but there isn't an option for minimize buttons.  We've added that option to vNext, so let's have a look.

Feature Description

Here's a simple tool window layout where all tool windows are docked or auto-hidden:

DockingMinimizeButton1

Now let's drag the Properties tool window to float it.  I have both the options for minimize and maximize buttons enabled.  You can see the buttons visible in the Properties tool window container's title bar:

DockingMinimizeButton2

Now let's drag the Find Results tool window and dock it on the right of the Properties tool window.

DockingMinimizeButton3

Since a hierarchy has now been created, a new title bar appears.  While the tool window containers themselves no longer have minimize/maximize buttons, the new root title bar has them.

Summary

The ability to minimize floating tool windows has been requested by numerous customers and we're happy to deliver it with vNext.

Docking/MDI vNext is currently still in mid-development stages but is progressing very well.  Please contact us via email if you are an existing customer and would like to sign up as a beta tester for vNext.  If you have any other suggestions for improving Docking/MDI, now is the time to get them in.  We'll post more updates on our vNext improvements soon.

In the meantime, please download our current Docking/MDI control product and give it a spin.

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Docking/MDI vNext - Pressing Esc to Cancel Drags

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 4:02pm

PostBannerWPFControlsDevNotes

As mentioned in this previous post, we've been looking for ideas to further improve our WPF Docking/MDI product, which already is the market leader for docking tool window and MDI functionality.  We've committed to working on a complete internal restructuring of the product that we will call Docking/MDI vNext.  We're doing our best to keep the same general API surface, while providing even more advanced features in every area of the product.  We've collected suggestions from our customers over the past several years and are working to meet them as best we can with Docking/MDI vNext.

In yesterday's post, we gave a first glimpse at the updated tool window dragging UI and behavior.  The new drag behavior is similar to the latest behavior found in Visual Studio where dragged tool windows and containers immediately float, but we've improved upon it with fast, subtle animations for dock guides and drop previews.

One of our customers saw that post and suggested that we allow for the Esc key to cancel the drag and restore it back to its prior location.  This is something VS doesn't currently do and can be annoying when you accidentally start a drag, and then manually have to put the tool window back in place.  This was a great suggestion so we added it this morning.

Feature Description

As you drag a tool window or container, you can press the Esc key to cancel the drag.  If the drag originated from a docked state, it will restore back to that prior location.  If the drag originated from a container that was already floating, it will restore the container back to the prior X/Y coordinates.

Here's an example:

ToolWindowDragCancel

In this screenshot sequence, I start off by dragging the Output tool window to float it and press Esc while still dragging.  The Output tool window restores back to its prior located, attached to the Find Results tool window.

Then I drag the Output tool window again and drop it into a floating state.  I resize the container and drag to move it, pressing Esc again while dragging.  The floating container jumps back to its previous floating location before the drag started.

Summary

Thanks for the great suggestion Jim!  If anyone else has suggestions for features, please send them over.

Docking/MDI vNext is currently still in early development stages but is progressing very well.  Please contact us via email if you are an existing customer and would like to sign up as a beta tester for vNext.  If you have any other suggestions for improving Docking/MDI, now is the time to get them in.  We'll post more updates on our vNext improvements soon.

In the meantime, please download our current Docking/MDI control product and give it a spin.

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Docking/MDI vNext - Dragging and Dock Guides

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 2 comments
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 4:27pm

PostBannerWPFControlsDevNotes

As mentioned in this previous post, we've been looking for ideas to further improve our WPF Docking/MDI product, which already is the market leader for docking tool window and MDI functionality.  We've committed to working on a complete internal restructuring of the product that we will call Docking/MDI vNext.  We're doing our best to keep the same general API surface, while providing even more advanced features in every area of the product.  We've collected suggestions from our customers over the past several years and are working to meet them as best we can with Docking/MDI vNext.

In today's post, I'd like to show off the redesigned dragging functionality for tool windows and the dock guide display.

Feature Description

For vNext, one thing we're working very hard on is injecting fast, subtle animations throughout the product.  We want the docking window UI to appear fluid, much like the rest of Windows.  We pay special attention to animation speed so that the animations provide pleasing effects while not hindering usability in any way.

In the area of dragging tool windows, we have quick fade ins for the dock guides.  Also, a blue drop preview appears when moving over dock guides, or tool window container title bars and tabs.  The blue drop preview has an animation that "pops" into place, using a combination of fade and scale effects.  Check it out below:

DockingDockGuides

This screenshot sequence also shows off a new method of dragging tool windows for vNext.  In the past, starting a tab drag would drag a blue rectangle only.  In vNext, starting a tab drag (or a tool window container drag via title bar) will immediately detach the tool window(s) from the layout and float them, tracking the floating container with the pointer.  As you drag over a dock guide or tool window container title bar/tab area, the semi-transparent blue drop target appears on top of the floating container to show you where the drop will occur.  This new behavior matches what is found in the latest version of Visual Studio.

You'll notice that I referred to the "pointer" and not mouse above.  That's because we also are taking great care in vNext to ensure dragging, etc. all fully work with any pointer such as mouse, stylus, or touch!  The docking capabilities seen above can be accomplished with your finger on a touchscreen.

Summary

These are just some of the really advanced features we're adding to the product for vNext.

Docking/MDI vNext is currently still in early development stages but is progressing very well.  Please contact us via email if you are an existing customer and would like to sign up as a beta tester for vNext.  If you have any other suggestions for improving Docking/MDI, now is the time to get them in.  We'll post more updates on our vNext improvements soon.

In the meantime, please download our current Docking/MDI control product and give it a spin.

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WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML v2015.1 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Friday, April 3, 2015 at 2:31am

BlogPostBanner20151

The 2015.1 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 large detailed list of enhancements and updates, including many items not listed below:

ProductHeadingWinRTBarCodes

Our Bar Codes product has been ported to the WinRT XAML platform.  This product, which already exists on WPF and Silverlight, allows your apps to render vector-based bar codes using many common 2D and linear bar code symbologies.

BarCodes

A full set of demos and QuickStarts are included to help you get going.

ProductHeadingWPFDocking

The interop assembly that makes it easy to use Docking/MDI with the Prism framework has been updated to reference the latest Prism v5.0.

DockingMetro

We've made numerous layout and performance updates to further improve the product. 

We also have been working hard on building a completely new internal engine for the Docking/MDI product, which will be available sometime later this year.  Keep an eye on our blog for posts detailing the advanced features that are coming with those updates.

ProductHeadingWinRTEditors

All of our edit box controls in the WinRT Editors now have an IsEditable property.  When set to false, the edit box behaves more like a ComboBox, while still retaining the rich popups that make the editors unique.  This is an ideal option for apps whose primary mode of interaction is expected to be touch.

ColorEditBoxNoAlpha

The CornerRadiusEditBox, PointEditBox, RectEditBox, SizeEditBox, and ThicknessEditBox controls have been updated to support text parsing one and/or two number entries where appropriate, which is useful for easy uniform value entry.

ThicknessEditBox

In the above ThicknessEditBox, a 2 is typed and then Enter is pressed.  The value is converted to a uniform thickness of 2.

A ValueChanged event has been added to all edit boxes, which fires when a value change is committed.

Finally, edit box padding has been adjusted so that more content is visible in the same amount of space.

ProductHeadingWPFGauge

A new DigitalGauge.CharacterSegmentThickness property allows for segment thickness adjustments.  This gives you even finer control over the presentation of your digital characters.

DigitGaugeSegmentThickness

We've enhanced the 'Linear Gauge Rolling Scale' QuickStart with a new infinite rolling scale example for navigation headings.

HeadingGauge

ProductHeadingGenericSyntaxEditor

The EditorSearchView control now supports an optional "Find All" button.

EditorSearchView

The RTF export logic has been updated to support extended ASCII characters.

The free CSS language definition now supports the syntax highlighting of media queries.

We've dramatically improved the speed of large completion list display.

Several other performance improvements have been made, such as optimized the scenarios for which the TokenTagger raises its TagsChanged event, and refining of the automatic outlining update logic.

In the WinRT version, we added the SyntaxEditor.AreSelectionGrippersEnabled property, which determines whether the selection grippers show after touch within a view.

.NET Languages Add-on

The C# parser has been improved to recover better when encountering open block statements so that its AST node structure remains better in tact.

DotNetPropertyAccessor

The IntelliPrompt quick info for properties now includes accessors, making it possible to see whether a property is read-only.

Python Language Add-on

The Python language has received an enormous amount of updates, that in sum really improve the entire automated IntelliPrompt feature set.

PythonAddon

Check out all these enhancements:

  • Added IntelliPrompt for private members and updated the completion list to have Public and All filter tabs.
  • Added reflection data for private methods/fields of built-in primitive types.
  • Added IntelliPrompt for built-in exception types.
  • Improved IntelliPrompt for numerous built-in modules.
  • Greatly improved IntelliPrompt for package and module imports.
  • Improved IntelliPrompt for function parameters by examining available assert statement isinstance calls.
  • Added IntelliPrompt for static fields on classes.
  • Improved the resolution of base types for classes.
  • Added the optional IResolver.UnknownReturnTypeReferenceCallback callback that can be used to provide return type references for unknown types.
  • Updated the resolver to recognize where 'cls()' in a class method can create a new instance of the related class.
  • Updated the IntelliPrompt completion list to filter unmatched items.
  • Updated the IntelliPrompt docstring display to retain presentation of line feeds.

ProductHeadingGenericViews

The Views product has a new TaskBoard control added, available in all three (WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT) platforms.  TaskBoard can be used to create a board of reorderable columns and cards.  All of the drags use smooth animations to give you the feel that you are really interacting with the object.

RepairShopScheduling

The first full-source sample that comes with the control is a Repair Shop Scheduling demo, which shows how a TaskBoard can be used to interactively schedule work to resources, such as employees. TaskBoard excels at providing a visual way of representing work/tasks (displayed as cards) within a queue of some sort (displayed as a column).

PageBannerDefault

The second sample is a Task Planning demo, which shows how a TaskBoard can visually organize a project's tasks.

ProductHeadingGenericShared

We've added another new primitive SemiEllipse shape, which renders half of an ellipse.

SemiEllipseShape

The existing Triangle shape has a new IsClosed property that when set to false will create a triangle with only two of the sides rendered.

TriangleShape

Finally, in the WPF Shared Library, we added GradientBrushSlider.CanAddStops and CanRemoveStops properties that determine whether stops can be added and removed from a GradientBrushSlider.

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