Silverlight Controls 2012.1 Build 132 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:37am


Silverlight Studio 2012.1 build 132 has been released and is now available for download.  Several very nice new controls and enhancements are part of this build.

This build has the following major new features:

  • Micro Charts: Added new MicroHeatMapPresenter control that facilitates the creation of heat maps where each cell renders color and/or size differences to reflect data values.
  • SyntaxEditor: Added a new NavigableSymbolSelector control, which can be used to provide type/member drop-down support for a language.
  • SyntaxEditor: Added a INavigableSymbolProvider language service, related types and samples.
  • SyntaxEditor .NET Languages Add-on: Implemented an INavigableSymbolProvider service on both the C# and VB languages, allowing for NavigableSymbolSelector support.
  • All: Improved designer support compatibility with VS 2012.

See the announcement post for the detailed list of enhancements and updates.

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SyntaxEditor Navigable Symbol Selector Part 2

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 8:51am


In our previous post, we talked about the new NavigableSymbolSelector control being added to the next 2012.1 builds of SyntaxEditor for WPF and Silverlight.

To sum up, the control implements drop-down lists that can be wired up to a SyntaxEditor and will list available symbols within the document.  As the caret moves, the drop-down selection is updated.  The end user can select a symbol from a drop-down and the editor caret will navigate to that symbol.  All of this functionality is very similar to the type/member drop-downs found in Visual Studio. 

Best of all, this functionality can easily be implemented for any custom language.  The last post showed an example of using the control for a custom language.  In this post, we'll take a look at the built-in implementation for the C# and VB languages found in the .NET Languages Add-on.


Here's how the NavigableSymbolSelector control looks when bound to a SyntaxEditor that has the .NET Languages Add-on's C# language loaded:


There are two drop-downs present.  The one on the left shows the types and the one on the right shows the members within the currently-selected type. 


As we move the caret around, the drop-downs update their selections.  In this screenshot we can see the members that are defined in the ConsoleWriter class, which is being edited in the SyntaxEditor.  Note how the members render their representations using C# syntax.

Next, let's look at the Visual Basic language's implementation:


Here you can see the drop-down selections are tracking the caret's location and are rendering their content in VB syntax. 

This screenshot also shows a special feature only found in the WPF implementation.  If the caret is outside of a symbol, the text will appear grayed out.  Note how the caret is inside the Program class declaration but is outside of the Main method declaration.  Thus the Main symbol is grayed out.  This helps the end user visualize better whether they are actually within, or just near, a symbol.


These new features will be in the next 2012.1 builds of our WPF and Silverlight controls.

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SyntaxEditor Navigable Symbol Selector Part 1

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Monday, July 9, 2012 at 1:09pm


Our next 2012.1 builds of SyntaxEditor for WPF and Silverlight will be adding a new ancillary control to the SyntaxEditor product:  NavigableSymbolSelector.

Navigable Symbols

Navigable symbols are symbols declared within a document to which the end user may wish to move their caret.  For instance in a language such as C#, navigable symbols would be things like type and member declarations.

A new language service has been added that can optionally be implemented.  Its only task is to return navigable symbols for a document that uses the language.  It's implemented in such a way that a multi-level hierarchy of navigable symbols can be created.

This sort of feature can be used to help drive the UI of external controls such as a type/member drop-down or even a document outline treeview.  These sort of external controls can help the end user visualize a document's structure, and the content for each item in the controls can fully utilize rich markup (images, colors, etc.).

NavigableSymbolSelector Control

The new NavigableSymbolSelector control is our implementation of a control similar to Visual Studio's type/member drop-downs.  It attaches to a SyntaxEditor instance and checks to see if the language supports the new INavigableSymbolProvider service.  If so, it uses that service to populate its drop-down(s).

A "Simple" Language Sample

Let's see how this looks in our "Simple" language sample.  We've updated one of our Getting Started series samples to implement this new service and show drop-down UI (via NavigableSymbolSelector) within a toolbar:


For our "Simple" language, we've told the NavigableSymbolSelector to show a single drop-down, which will render the list of functions declared in the editor.

Run-Time Functionality

Basically if we do these simple tasks:

  • Add a NavigableSymbolSelector control to the UI.
  • Bind it to a SyntaxEditor instance.
  • Implement the INavigableSymbolProvider language service on the current language.

We get all this functionality for free from the NavigableSymbolSelector control:

  • Automatic display of all symbols defined in the current document, that updates as document changes occur.
  • Symbols are sorted alphabetically within the drop-down.
  • As the editor caret moves, the selected symbol in the drop-down is automatically updated to be the closest enclosing or nearby symbol.
  • When the end user clicks on a different symbol in the drop-down, the caret navigates to that symbol declaration.
  • When the caret is not directly within a symbol's declaration but is near one, it will appear grayed out.  This helps the end user visualize whether they are actually in a valid symbol declaration or not.  (WPF only)

We've designed this control to work directly with the new INavigableSymbolProvider language service.  This allows any custom language to fully support the control.


These new features will be in the next 2012.1 builds of our WPF and Silverlight controls.

By default the control displays two drop-downs, and we'll show this in our next blog post, where we demonstrate the implementation of the INavigableSymbolProvider language service and usage of the new NavigableSymbolSelector control with our .NET Languages Add-on's languages.

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