WPF, UWP, and Silverlight Controls 2017.2 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Monday, August 28, 2017 at 5:22pm

BlogPostBanner.17.2

We're happy to announce that the 2017.2 versions of our WPF, Universal Windows, and Silverlight controls have been released.  These versions include some new controls, new features, and a lot of minor updates and bug fixes.

See all the details on the 2017.2 releases in the various announcement posts:

SyntaxEditor

Intra-Line Adornments

Full support for intra-line adornments is now included.  These allow whitespace to be reserved above and/or below view lines, and adornments rendered in that space.

CodeLens

A first new sample shows implementation of a Visual Studio-like Code Lens adornment with info display and hyperlink. 

PeekDefinition

A second sample shows a Visual Studio-like Peek Definition (embedded editor) display.  This is accomplished using a second SyntaxEditor within an adornment of the outer SyntaxEditor.

Vertical Scrolling

Vertical scrolling logic has been refactored to better handle view lines of various sizes.

Code Outlining

A couple new code outlining commands have been added: apply default outlining expansion and expand all outlining.

.NET Languages Add-on Roslyn Extensions

A new optional assembly is available that has Roslyn extensions for loading IBinaryAssembly instances that can be referenced by a project assembly, instead of using normal .NET reflection.

.NET Languages Add-on IntelliPrompt

IntelliPrompt completion is now available for object creation expression initializer member names.

ObjectInit

Docking/MDI (WPF/UWP)

Floating Windows

A new property can be data-bound to your VM to float or restore a docking window.  The default location request event allows for specifying that a docking window should open in a floating dock host.  Docking windows that were closed while floating now support more precise restoration later.  Dragging standalone floating docking windows by their tabs now has a better experience.

Contextual Indicators

The read-only contextual indicator for documents now uses a separate display mechanism from the custom contextual indicators, allowing both to show at the same time.

Editors (WPF/UWP)

AutoCompleteBox

A new AutoCompleteBox control has been added that allows text entry and provides suggestions for auto-completion.

AutoCompleteBox

This kind of control is ideal for use in search query and quick launch kinds of scenarios.

DateEditBox

DateEditBoxOpened

Clicking a date on the popup calendar now closes the popup.

Grids (WPF/UWP)

Drag/Drop

The TreeListBox item adapter has been updated with a method that fires when hovering over an item during a drag, allowing you to determine whether it should be expanded.

TreeListBoxDragDrop

New adapter methods have also been added that are called immediately before and after a drag, allowing for custom adornments to be displayed while dragging.

Shared Library (WPF/UWP)

AdvancedTextBlock

A new AdvancedTextBlock control has been added that can show a tooltip when overflowed and can highlight spans of text based on captured text ranges (i.e. filter match results).

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WPF, UWP, and Silverlight Controls v2017.1 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 4:50pm

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The 2017.1 versions of our WPF Controls, Universal Windows Controls, and Silverlight Controls were recently released, with the WPF and UWP controls getting some enormous updates in these versions.

The primary focus of the 2017.1 version in WPF and UWP was to add an improved PropertyGrid control and tree controls (TreeListBox and TreeListView) in our new Grids product, and to update Editors to be more modern/lightweight, and share a codebase between the two platforms.  Another focus was on maximizing the performance of all the controls.  The new PropertyGrid for instance shows a massive speed increase over the older WPF v2016.1 PropertyGrid.

PropertyGrid

See the entire lengthy detailed update list in these announcement posts:

If you want to discuss the new controls added in 2017.1 or have suggestions for additional features, please join our #UIControls channel in our Slack team.  It's free and you can chat with us and other customers.

Please note that the v2017.1 WPF Controls have PropertyGrid, Editors, and licensing breaking changes to support better API design and features, so be sure to read the "Converting to 2017.1" topic in the documentation that comes with the controls.  It walks through everything in detail.

ProductHeadingGenericGrids

Grids is a new product added to the WPF and Universal Windows Controls in v2017.1.  It features three primary controls:  TreeListBox, TreeListView, and PropertyGrid.

TreeListBox

TreeListBox is a single-column control that renders a tree structure.  It is designed to mimic the features found in the Visual Studio Solution Explorer.  You have full control over the appearance of each node, and can easily wire up any tree data model for rendering via the use of our adapter pattern.

TreeListBox

The UI tree is virtualized for optimal performance.  Unlike the standard WPF TreeView, TreeListBox is a single ItemsControl that is far less resource intensive and doesn't experience odd vertical scroll jumpiness.

TreeListBoxAsyncLoading

You have full control over whether nodes are expandable, when they load children (and with optional use of async loading with a busy indicator as seen above), and selection modes (single/multiple).  A powerful filtering mechanism is included that allows you to add type-to-filter support.  F2 can initiate inline editing of node text.  Drag and drop can be enabled and you determine what is dragged/dropped.  This just scratches the surface, and there are many other features included.

TreeListView

The TreeListView control builds on top of the foundation provided by TreeListBox and adds multiple columns with an optional header, similar to a standard WPF ListView.

TreeListViewColumns

Columns can be sized using several algorithms, resized/reordered by the end user, or certain columns frozen such that they don't scroll horizontally.  Grid lines can be optionally displayed.

PropertyGrid

The PropertyGrid control is based on TreeListView and renders a grid of all the properties of one or more objects and their values. Properties can be displayed by category, alphabetically, or using a custom sort.

PropertyGridBrushEditBoxOpen

A PropertyGrid control was available in older versions of our WPF Controls, but we rewrote much of the internals for v2017.1 and optimized the object model to focus on maximizing speed and ease of use.  The new PropertyGrid can load large complex objects almost instantly.  It's simpler than ever to customize how properties are edited via the use of property editor DataTemplates.  You have full control over which properties are presented and how.

ProductHeadingGenericEditors

The 2017.1 version ported the Universal Windows Editors back to WPF so that they now share a codebase.  This decision was made because the newer Editors designs are much more lightweight in terms of UI elements used in each control, and the number of bindings involved.  This improves UI performance when using many Editors controls in grids like PropertyGrid.

You'll still find many great editing features such as the ability to use arrow keys when typing in edit boxes to increment or decrement part values.

DoubleEditBoxOpenedCalculator

Each edit box now has an optional dedicated picker control that is used in the drop-down, like the calculator shown above.  The picker can be easily styled if a custom appearance is needed.

DateTimeEditBoxOpened

In addition to porting the UWP Editors to WPF, we also added a number of new editor controls.  Editors in both platforms feature specialized edit boxes and pickers for these .NET types:  Brush, Byte (WPF only), Color, CornerRadius, Date, DateTime, Double, Enum, Guid, Int16, Int32, Int32Rect (WPF only), Int64, Point, Rect, Single, Size, Thickness, Time, TimeSpan, and Vector (WPF only).

Rating

Editors also has these other various miscellaneous controls:  Calculator, CountryComboBox, CurrencyComboBox, EnumListBox, GradientStopSlider, HsbColorPicker, MonthCalendar, RadialHuePicker, Rating, SaturationBrightnessPicker, and Spinner.

ProductHeadingGenericShared

The licensing mechanism was updated for the WPF Controls in v2017.1 to be simpler.  Regardless of which WPF products you've licensed from us, your apps will only need a single line in the licenses.licx file going forward.  Please read the Converting to 2017.1 topic in the documentation for details on these updates.

Enjoy the new version!

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WPF Controls 2017.1 Beta Testers Requested

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 6 comments
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 6:48pm

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Hey everyone, we've been working very diligently on the 2017.1 version of our WPF controls for the past several months and a public beta is almost ready.  We'd love as many customers as possible to participate in the beta.  First, let's give an overview of what's new in the 2017.1 version.

Editors Reimagined

In the 2017.1 version, we reimplemented all Editors controls to be faster and more lightweight in terms of elements/bindings, and to use a common codebase with the Universal Windows Editors product.  The new designs are better optimized for use in large quantities such as within data grids or property grids.

Every new edit box control has more fine-grained control over the step values.  Now a native TextBox control is used for input, which allows for more free-form editing, IME input, and better UIA support.

BrushEditBoxOpened

New and improved drop-down pickers have been designed for each edit box.  The pickers are optimized for mouse, pen, and touch-based entry.  The screenshot above shows the BrushEditBox and the new BrushPicker drop-down control.  Altering any edit box's drop-down is simply a matter of providing an alternate Style for its picker control.

TimeEditBoxOpened

New edit boxes have been added for the Byte, Int16, and Single numeric types, along with dedicated date-only (DateEditBox) and time-only (TimeEditBox seen above) variations of DateTimeEditBox.

Tree Controls Added

Our customers have requested custom tree controls from us for a while now and we delivered in this version.  We now offer a new TreeListBox control that is a single column tree similar to a native TreeView but optimized for MVVM usage, virtualization, and speed.  It supports nearly all of the advanced features you'll find in a tree control like the Visual Studio Solution Explorer tree.

TreeListViewColumnReordering

We also offer a new TreeListView control that is built upon the TreeListBox control but displays multiple columns similar to a ListView.  Each column supports its own distinct user interface via data templates.

Both of these controls are packaged in a new Grids product.

PropertyGrid Reimagined

While the PropertyGrid control found in our 2016.1 and earlier versions was very feature-rich, its performance sometimes left much to be desired and customization via property editors wasn't very straightforward.

PropertyGridIntro

In the 2017.1 version, PropertyGrid has been rewritten from scratch and constructed around the foundation provided by the new TreeListBox and TreeListView controls.  It's now lightning fast and loads complex objects (like the properties of itself) almost instantly.  A lot of this is due to simplification of the internal object model, use of virtualization techniques, and fewer overall UI elements.  You'll definitely notice the speed increase.

The core object model used to track properties and categories has been improved and creating custom property editors is much more straightforward now.

The new PropertyGrid is part of the Grids product as well.

Beta Testers Wanted

If you'd like to help us beta test the product, please write our support address and let us know your existing 2016.1 license information.  We will notify you as soon as the public beta is ready and will send you a 2017.1 license if your subscription is still active. 

The code for the beta is near complete and should be pretty stable.  We have a full array of samples and documentation has been completely updated, including conversion notes.

We also will be chatting about the beta in our Slack channels so please join if you have Slack.

WPF, UWP, and Silverlight v2016.1 Maintenance Releases

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Monday, August 15, 2016 at 7:12pm

Maintenance16.1.BlogPostBanner

Very large maintenance releases of our v2016.1 WPF, Universal Windows, and Silverlight controls have been released and are now available for download.

Grids

We've been blogging about our new TreeListBox and TreeListView controls for a little while now.  They have been in private alpha testing and now we have placed the alpha test in a new public Grids assembly that has shipped in this WPF and UWP maintenance release.

TreeListBox

TreeListBox is a TreeView-like control but has many advanced features like those found in the Visual Studio Solution Explorer.  See this blog post for some details on the feature list.

TreeListViewColumnReordering

TreeListView inherits TreeListBox and includes all of the tree hierarchy features found in it.  It also displays each row similar to a ListView, columns and all!  This blog post summarizes the features found in this control.

With this public alpha release of the controls, you are able to start using them and can provide us with feedback.  We'd love to hear from you, whether it be via our ticket system or Slack.  Our plan is to finalize them for the 2017.1 version, but they should be pretty stable for usage now.  Anyone with a WPF/UWP Studio or PropertyGrid license should be able to use them immediately under your existing 2016.1 license.

Going forward, we have already made major progress on rewriting our PropertyGrid control and basing it on TreeListView.  So far, performance tests are showing that it's loading large property trees almost instantly.  We'll blog more on this in the upcoming weeks.

Docking/MDI

There were a lot of tweaks and bug fixes in this build for the Docking/MDI product.  We recommend you grab the latest if you use Docking/MDI. 

There were numerous improvements too, including some more major ones like:

  • A new option to prevent a tool window from being dragged to a floating MDI area. 
  • A new option to prevent auto-selection of tabs when there is a system drag over them.
  • System drags will only auto-select tabs following a brief delay when you hover over the tab.
  • More programmatic docking methods.
  • Improved "active" appearances when focus moves to other focus scopes.
  • Improved focus tracking, especially with HwndHost-based interop controls.
  • Improved handling of MVVM with linked dock sites, even allowing the view models to be automatically moved to the target dock site.

SyntaxEditor

Line modification mark tracking logic has been completely rewritten.  It now works much better and even introduces new orange marks that track "reverted" changes, similar to how the Visual Studio editor does.

SyntaxEditorLineModificationMarks

We added the ability for a programmatically created text change to merge into previous text change on the undo stack.  This allows you to chain additional text changes onto previous ones and have them be undoable as a single unit.

We added a new property that can be set to false to only allow backspacing over a single character when the document's AutoConvertTabsToSpaces is true.

The PasteDragDrop event is now also raised drag over events so that the drag effects can be manually altered.

The ITextChange.CustomData property is now settable so it can be updated after the text change was created as needed.

SyntaxEditor Web Languages Add-on

JsonTextFormatting

A text formatter for the JSON language has been implemented that beautifies the JSON data.

Shared Library

GrayscaleImages

We added the DynamicImage control, which is a drop-in replacement for Image that will auto-grayscale the image content when the control is disabled. Going along with this, we updated ImageConverter to return a DynamicImage instance instead of Image.  Our toolbar, menu, and Ribbon control themes have been updated to use DynamicImage so that you get grayscale effects on images out-of-the-box.  Note how the cut, copy, and undo buttons are all grayscale when disabled in the screenshot above.

If you encounter a 'Could not find a part of the path' to bitmap image source error after upgrading to this version, specify the absolute path to the image source using pack syntax as described in the DynamicImage documentation instead of using a relative path.

We moved ImageToMonochromeConverter from our Ribbon assembly to Shared and renamed it to ImageSourceContentConverter.  Along the way, it was updated to work on vector GeometryDrawings too.  We added an attached ImageSourceContentConverter.CanConvertToMonochrome property, which can be set on portions of a DrawingImage that shouldn't be converted to monochrome, such as areas that display a selected color.  We also added a ImageSourceContentConverter.Mode property that sets whether to convert to grayscale (default) or monochrome.

Summary

All products received numerous other minor enhancements and bug fixes.  See the announcement posts for the detailed list of enhancements and updates:

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TreeListView - A Multi-Column Variant of TreeListBox

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 6:49pm

PostBannerWPFControlsDevNotes

In the last blog post on our TreeListBox control development, we announced that the TreeListBox control was ready for closed alpha testing.  TreeListBox is a new control that has much of the same functionality as the tree control found in the Visual Studio Solution Explorer.

In today's post, I'd like to announce a new TreeListView control that is now also ready for alpha testing.  The TreeListView control is a multi-column variant of the TreeListBox control that renders similar to a standard ListView but has all the tree and advanced features found in TreeListBox.

TreeListViewColumnReordering

The animation above shows several of the features found in this new control such as node expansion, column resizing, column reordering, column header context menus, and more.

Feature Progress

Thus far these TreeListView features have been completed:

  • All features found in TreeListBox.
  • Templates, template selectors, or text property bindings used to specify custom content for each cell.
  • Column width can be a specific pixel value, auto (size to header, cells, or both), or star-sized.
  • Optional minimum and maximum widths for column auto/star-sizing modes.
  • Columns can optionally be resized, reordered, and have visibility toggled by the end user.
  • Frozen columns that don't scroll horizontally.
  • Set which column renders the indentation and expander buttons.
  • Column headers have a built-in context menu, and the headers themselves can be hidden.
  • Size columns to fit contents.
  • Optional grid line display.
  • Numerous events for column resizing, reordering, visibility changes, and header menu requests.

Summary

If you would like to start working with either of the controls and provide us with feedback, please write our support address or chat with us on Slack to sign up for testing.  Now is the time to contribute your additional feature ideas and report bugs.  Anyone who has a WPF Studio license is fully licensed to use the control in their apps.

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