WPF Controls v22.1.3 Maintenance Release

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 9:04pm

This version makes a number of SyntaxEditor improvements including the abililty to select the next occurrence of selected text, much faster performance with complex IntelliPrompt completion lists, indented word-wrapped lines, and more.  Other updates have been made to Docking/MDI, Editors, Grids, Ribbon, Themes, and the Shared Library.

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

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Here's a peek at a couple of the new features...

Docking/MDI

Tabbed MDI Float All

A new "Float All" menu item has been added to documents in tabbed MDI. 

The new menu item (left) and the result of clicking it (right)

When clicked the documents float together into a new MDI window that can be dragged as a group to another monitor.

SyntaxEditor

Select Next Occurrence

The select next occurrence feature provides a quick way to select additional instances of the selected text.  Say our caret is in the middle of the "using" keyword.  Pressing Ctrl+D (the hotkey for Select Next Occurrence) will select the current word since no selection was yet available.

A sequence of screenshots showing the Select Next Occurrence feature

After pressing Ctrl+D once a selection is made, it will add another selection of the next instance of the selected text.  In the bottom screenshot in the sequence above, I've pressed Ctrl+D several times so that all instances of "using" are selected.

SyntaxEditor supports multiple carets and selections, and at this point, any typing will update all the selected instances at the same time.

Indented Word-Wrapped Lines

Another great new feature is that word-wrapped lines will now be indented by a couple characters, as long as there is sufficient editor width to do so.

The wrapped portion of line 11 is indented

In the screenshot, you can see how the word-wrapped portion of line 11 is indented a couple characters beyond line 11's anchor indent level.  Indentation of wrapped lines makes it easier to read them.

The indent amount is fully configurable via a new SyntaxEditor.WrappedLineIndentAmount property, whose default is 2.  Set it to 0 to indent to the same amount as the anchor line with no additional indent.  Or set it to -1 to always left-align wrapped lines within the text area (no indent at all).

Themes

Theme Designer Base Color Finder

The Theme Designer has a handy Base Color Finder tool that can find a color family that will match your brand's primary color.  Previously this only worked well for light themes.  Updates have been made so that dark themes are also supported.

The Base Color Finder working on a dark theme

UI Controls v22.1 Maintenance Releases

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 6:56pm

These maintenance releases for our WPF, WinForms, and UWP Controls focus on making many minor improvements across all the products.  In addition, WPF's WindowChrome now allows it to render a backdrop with Mica or Acrylic materials when on a Windows 11 system.

A WPF Window with a WindowChrome Acrylic backdrop applied

See the related announcement posts for the detailed lists of enhancements and updates:

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WPF Controls v22.1 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 1 comment
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 4:03pm

This version includes new controls, new WindowChrome features for Windows 11, many improvements for SyntaxEditor and its add-ons, updates to nearly all WPF products, and now includes .NET 5 assemblies in the NuGet packages with validated .NET 6 compatibility.

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

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

Shared Library

User Prompts

Added a rich API that can create modern, themed dialogs for anything from simple messages and confirmations, to more advanced scenarios like exception notification dialogs or file copy dialogs.

An example exception dialog with multiple optional sections, all of which can be configured to any custom content

We even include a ThemedMessageBox object with static methods that match the native WPF MessageBox API.  Our themed version of the MessageBox uses a chromed WPF Window instead of Win32 dialogs (as the default WPF MessageBox does), along with fluent icons.  This is important when your app is in a dark theme because it allows all message/confirmation dialogs to match the theme.  You can instantly modernize all message box display in your app to our implementation with a single line of code too.

ToggleSwitch

Added a new control that is often seen as a replacement for a traditional CheckBox in modern user interfaces.

The three available states in the default ToggleSwitch style

It's easy to customize the appearance of ToggleSwitch to support other styles as well.

PopupButton

Made numerous updates to PopupButton to improve focus handling, tooltip display, key handling, and knowing when to close itself.

Themes

WindowChrome Windows 11 Support

WindowChrome has added support for Windows 11 where it will use rounded corners and system-rendered drop shadows.  In addition, hovering over the title bar's Maximize or Restore buttons will show the Windows 11 Snap Layout menu.

WindowChrome now renders Windows 11 windows with rounded corners, system drop shadows, and supports the Snap Layout menu

SyntaxEditor

Synchronization QuickStart

A new sample demonstrates synchronizing the scroller and splitter of one editor instance with another.

Drag and Drop

Improved drag/drop interaction and related scrolling in several scenarios, and add a new Drag and Drop QuickStart sample.

Single-Line Mode QuickStart

Added a formula example with alternate style for nested parentheses.

Styles that highlight nested parentheses

Editing and Caret Movement

Made many small improvements in the areas of editing and caret movement, especially in certain special contexts.

IntelliPrompt

Improved popups to reposition themselves as the editor is scrolled.

Multiple IntelliPrompt popups

Vertical Scrolling

The vertical scrollbar has been updated to handle collapsed regions more smoothly.

SyntaxEditor .NET Languages Add-on

C# Parser

Updated to support C# 8.0 syntax.

Go To Definition QuickStart

A new sample that demonstrates using an IResolver to navigate to the source of a reference.

C# Outlining

The outliner will now create nodes for code-level constructs such as block statements by default.

Code outlining now works on blocks, like 'for' statements

SyntaxEditor Web Languages Add-on

JavaScript Parser

Updated to support ECMAScript 2021 (12 Edition) syntax.

JSON Syntax Language

Added a constructor for whether the language should support JavaScript style comments, as in Microsoft’s JSONC variant.

Optional JavaScript comment support in JSON

SyntaxEditor Python Language Add-on

Python Parser

Updated to support Python v3.9.5 syntax.

Python Resolver

Updated to support namespace packages.

Grids

FilterApplied Event

Added a FilterApplied event that is raised after the current filtering state has been applied to all of the control's items, generally occurring when DataFilter is changed, or filtering is enabled or disabled

TreeListBox Updates

Added a new item adapter method that can improve performance in large trees when searching for a tree node, and improved focus tracking and filtering.

Editors

Commit Trigger Changes

Updated edit box commit triggers so that commit on focus loss is now optional.

Improved Cultural Support

Updated the numeric edit boxes to support input of Full-width and Arabic-Indic digits.

Charts and Micro Charts

New Aggregation Kinds

Added SignedMaximum and SignedMinimum aggregation options that compare against absolute values while retaining the sign of the original value; e.g., -5 is greater than 4.

.NET 5 Assemblies Added to NuGet Packages

The WPF Controls NuGet packages on nuget.org now contain compiled product assemblies that target:

  • .NET 5
  • .NET Core 3.1
  • .NET Framework 4.5.2

Projects that target .NET 5 or later will use the .NET 5-based assemblies, and projects that target .NET Framework 4.5.2 or later will use the .NET Framework 4.5.2-based assemblies.

.NET 6 Support

We’ve also validated that our assemblies work great in .NET 6 applications.

WPF Controls v21.1.2 Maintenance Release

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 12:33pm

Our v21.1 WPF controls have been updated with a new maintenance release that is now ready for download.  This version has many updates for SyntaxEditor along with improvements for Ribbon, Docking/MDI, and other products.

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

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WPF Controls v2020.1 Released - Massive Themes Updates

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Friday, October 2, 2020 at 1:03pm

We are pleased to announce the release of the 2020.1 version of our WPF Controls, which is the culmination of many months of work to modernize themes across all Actipro and native WPF controls, create a unique and powerful framework to fully customize theming in your apps, and build a Theme Designer application for configuring/previewing theme definitions. 

In addition to those features, we’ve added new controls, implemented a new Sample Browser application design, provided .NET Core assemblies and NuGet packages, and created a new product installer.

This announcement post contains a summary list of updates in the 2020.1 version.

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Let’s take a look at a handful of the larger updates.  

Ribbon Appearance

Updated to Office 2019 Style

The modernized Ribbon appearance, with fluent animations throughout

We have gone through every Ribbon-related control and made style improvements to match the latest appearance found in Office 2019.

Animated Tabs

We also wanted to provide fluid animations throughout the Ribbon, similar to Office. When you move your mouse over a tab, the underline animates to fill the tab.  When you select a new tab, the tab’s content animates into place with a quick slide.

Animated Backstage

The Ribbon Backstage takes advantage of our new WindowChrome overlays mechanism and is now fully animated on display as well.

App-Wide Theming

The Actipro WPF controls provide numerous complete pre-defined themes that render similar to various Windows and Office versions.  These themes apply to Actipro and optionally native WPF controls as well so that there is consistency throughout your application’s appearance.  While this system has always worked well, the old pre-defined themes were somewhat difficult to customize.  We wanted to take themes to the next level for the new version, and we have truly built something fantastic.

Theme Definitions and Generation

v2020.1 has a new framework where you can configure numerous options on a theme definition object.  When you register that theme definition with our ThemeManager, you then can apply that theme at any time with a single line of code.  Multiple theme definitions can be registered, allowing you to register “light” and “dark” themes (or any other variant you like) and instantly toggle between them at run-time.

A Notepad-like window in a dark theme

There are well over 50 theme definition options so far, including options for color palette, border contrast, bullet appearance, font size, corner radius, window appearance, and much more.

Like one of our pre-defined themes but wish to enable rounded corners on controls instead of square corners?  A few lines of code can accomplish this.  Want to build out your own custom color scheme for your app?  No problem!  The theme generator will construct over 1,000 resources like Brushes, Thicknesses, etc. that can be reused anywhere in XAML, and all based on your theme definition’s options.

Theme Designer Application

A very important piece of theming is being able to visualize exactly how altering theme definition options affects the rendering of various controls.  That’s where the new Theme Designer application comes into play.

The Theme Designer application provides numerous "entire-theme preset" menu items that initialize a theme definition based on one of our pre-defined themes:

A theme preset being selected

Here you see the app using the selected theme preset with some sample List/Grid UI in the document area. The Code document lists App.OnStartup code that you can paste into your own application to replicate the same theme in your application.

The Theme Definition tool window on the right contains a property grid where you can fully customize the many theme definition options. When a theme definition option is changed, the Code document’s text is updated appropriately to set non-default values, and the app itself immediate applies the theme so you get instant feedback on how theme definition options affect the appearance.

Color palettes can be configured to fit your brand, such as here where we have created a dark theme with heavy blue tint. 

A dark theme with heavy blue tint applied

A resource browser tab lets you copy a DynamicResource to any of the resources generated from the theme definition.  And many tabs containing sample user interface controls are included, allowing you to fully visualize how the theme will look with real-world controls.

This new Theme Designer application will be a key addition moving forward for our WPF Controls customers.

All Styles/Templates Updated

We’ve refactored all our Actipro and native WPF control styles/templates to take on a more modern appearance.  In modern themes, glyphs now use more of a chevron appearance, there are updated scrollbar visuals, and there are soft downward drop-shadows.  We’ve added all this, and a lot more.  As mentioned above, everything can be configured in theme definitions to look exactly how you want.

High-Contrast Theme Improvements

We’ve reworked the entire high-contrast theme so that all UI in Actipro and native WPF controls renders well in high-contrast mode, ensuring your app is fully-accessible to all customers.

Auto-Switching Themes

We’ve built optional features into ThemeManager that can automatically track the Windows light/dark setting for apps, and detect when high contrast mode is activated.  When any of those options change, ThemeManager can automatically change your app theme appropriately to a theme you selected for each of those scenarios.

Window Chrome

WindowChrome, which is included in the Shared Library, allows any WPF Window to have advanced chrome features.  In the past this has mostly related solely to providing a themed window that had a Metro, Office, or Aero-like appearance.  Version 2020.1 adds an extensive set of new features that customers are going to love.

Animated Overlays

A new MVVM-compatible overlay feature allows custom content to be injected that overlays the entire window, including the title bar area.  This feature supports several built-in animations and offers up all kinds of exciting possibilities for your apps. 

A WindowChrome processing overlay

Anything from an Office-like home screen to a processing indicator can be implemented in the overlay.

Title Bar Customization

Title bars can be customized to include any custom content on the left side, center, or right side of the title bar.  Each one of those areas is treated like a ContentControl so that they can be configured via child controls directly, or via MVVM models and DataTemplates. 

Menu in the window title bar

It’s now easy to add a Menu into the title bar, as seen in many modern apps.

A Back button in the title bar

You can replace the title bar icon with a Back button.

A user profile button showing a popup menu

Or add a user profile button on the right side of the title bar.

A PopupButton in the title bar header showing a menu

The central header portion of the title bar can even be replaced with custom content, like a popup button.

Title Bar Merge

Some modern apps have a more stylized design for their windows and don’t wish to have a traditional window title bar appearance.  This is often achieved by merging portions of the window’s content into the title bar area.  New WindowChrome features offer three kinds of merge options.

A window with portions of its Content merged into the title bar area

A merge kind of BackgroundOnly moves the Window.Background fill to cover the title bar background, while keeping the actual Window.Content in its normal location. A merge kind of ContentOnly keeps the Window.Background fill where it normally is, but moves the Window.Content to extend over the title bar background. Finally, a merge kind of Full moves both the Window.Background and Window.Content to extend over the title bar background.

System Menu Customization

WPF Windows have always used Win32 to provide their system menus, which are menus displayed when clicking the window’s title bar icon, or when right-clicking on the window title bar.  The Win32 system menu is not rendered by WPF, and therefore never matches the style of a WPF application.  This is especially evident when using dark themes in your app.

The window title bar context menu styled and with a custom Help item added

WindowChrome updates automatically replace the Win32-based system title bar context menu with a custom WPF-based one with similar functionality that renders the same as other menus in your app.  This means it will look great in dark theme.  Further, the menu can be fully customized, allowing additional menu items to be injected prior to display.

Image Adaptation

Image adaptation is a new feature area that is a real game changer in many applications.  Combined with our DynamicImage control, image adaptation consists of a number of ways to manipulate images for display in various scenarios like dark themes, high-DPI, and monochrome. 

The same images designed for a light theme can be adapted to render clearly in a dark theme

Features include:

  • Chromatic adaptation (color shifting) for images, which allows images designed for light themes to be automatically adjusted for use in dark themes.
  • Converting a monochrome vector image to render in the current foreground color.
  • Dynamic loading of pre-defined high-DPI and/or theme-specific image variations for raster images.
  • Conversion of images to grayscale.
  • Conversion of images to monochrome, in a specified color.

Effectively, you can design a single set of icons for a light theme, and reuse those same icons in dark and high-contrast themes with almost no additional effort.

Controls

PropertyGrid Enhancements

The PropertyModel class, which is intended for manually-created properties that should appear in a PropertyGrid, has been updated to be a dependency object so that it can support XAML bindings on its properties.

The Sample Browser using a styled PropertyGrid with the new CanAutoConfigure feature to show specific options

This feature combined with a new CanAutoConfigure option makes it easy to specify several properties in XAML that should be displayed in a PropertyGrid.  You simply bind the PropertyModel.Value to a property on another object and it fills out the rest, including selection of a property editor.  You can also override the automatic configuration as needed, such as when you want a specialized property label or editor.

PopupButton Enhancements

The PopupButton had a lot of its internals and logic refactored and improved for more common use cases.  New properties were added to make popup customization easier.

New ShadowChrome

A new primitive ShadowChrome control has been added that renders modern drop shadows using optional shader effects. 

ShadowChrome rendering a soft shadow around a card control

It also can render beautiful downward shadow effects using high-performing WPF rendering procedures.

New MultiColumnPanel

The MultiColumnPanel control can render child elements in multiple columns, collapsing columns down as available space decreases.

MultiColumnPanel control making use of ShadowChrome for soft shadows around card items

It's a space-efficient and visually-appealing way to render lists of items, or to break paragraphs of text up.

Fresh New Sample Browser Design

We completely reimagined the user interface of our WPF Controls samples application. 

The new Sample Browser application home view

It now harnesses all of our themes improvements and provides a fast, efficient way to navigate and interact with our hundreds of samples.

.NET Core Assemblies

With v2020.1, our control products ship in both .NET Framework 4.0 and .NET Core 3.0 variations of assemblies.  You will now be able to use native .NET Core-based Actipro assemblies in your .NET Core apps!

NuGet Packages

Another big request by customers has been for us to supply NuGet packages for our controls and we are delivering that in v2020.1.  NuGet packages are published on nuget.org and contain both the .NET Core and .NET Framework variations of our assemblies. 

How our large metapackage appears on nuget.org

NuGet packages are required to be used if you need the .NET Core variations of our assemblies.  View all available Actipro NuGet packages at: https://www.nuget.org/profiles/ActiproSoftware

Toolbox Icons

New toolbox icons have been designed for all our WPF Controls so they blend in perfectly with Visual Studio 2019 design.

Beautiful Simple Installer

Finally, we also have created a new install experience that is beautiful in its simplicity. 

The new WPF Controls installer

It makes installing and uninstalling the WPF Controls a joy.

We hope you love the new version!