Actipro Blog 2016 Q1 Posting Summary

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 8:12pm

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What We Accomplished

In this quarter, we completed work on the major rewrite of our popular Docking/MDI product for WPF.  The entire product was rewritten from the ground up to support next generation docking window features, all while maintaining a similar overall public API.  In the new version, floating documents become full-featured secondary dock hosts that even support docked tool windows around them.  This sort of thing is wonderful for end users with multiple monitors.  Fast subtle animations are used throughout the product to give the interface a more vibrant feel.  New layout properties and features are available that govern the size of containers (including min/max sizes), set initial floating window size, etc.  Interop content support is improved even further.  MVVM support is enhanced with many more bindable properties, default location determination for opening windows, and more.  Download the 2016.1 version to take the best WPF docking window framework for a test drive.

And best of all, we didn't just make it for WPF.  The entire product was written to be compatible with Universal Windows too!  Download our Universal Windows controls to see a beta of the same docking window framework there.

The WPF Controls 2016.1 version added the Docking/MDI features described above, along with 14 new Office 2016-like themes that use accent colors, improved window chrome rendering, Metro themes built right into the Shared library, SyntaxEditor light/dark Metro image sets, and much more.

The Universal Windows Controls 2016.1 version was our first release for that platform.  It was a port of our older WinRT/XAML Controls and included everything in those, along with the Docking/MDI beta.

Our Code Writer app also saw a new minor version, which will be the last one before a major new version for Windows 10 is released.

Finally, we have created a Slack team that enables you, our customers, to chat directly with us regarding new products and features.

What’s Coming Next

We're currently working on a custom TreeView control that will support more features than the native WPF TreeView.  Our goal is to support the rich functionality of a control like the TreeView in Visual Studio's Solution Explorer tool window.  It's being written from scratch for both WPF and Universal Windows using virtualization to keep it very speedy, and is capable of multi-selection, easy bring-into-view, etc.  If you'd like to give us feedback on what you'd like to see in a new TreeView control, now is the time to get your feedback in!  Either email our support address with your feedback or join our Slack discussion on the topic.  Slack is preferred because we are sharing screenshots there and frequently ask for comments on feature areas.  After this base control is completed, we'll move into some more new complex data presentation controls like multi-column trees.

We've started on the design of the updates for the Windows 10 version of our Code Writer app.  We've got a UI design that looks promising and is a bit of of a UWP take on popular apps like VS Code and Sublime.  We also have a Slack channel where we're discussing that, so please sign up to see where things are headed and get your feedback in.

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Universal Controls 2016.1 Build 303 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Friday, March 18, 2016 at 6:34pm

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Universal Controls 2016.1 build 303 has been released and is now available for download.  This version adds a beta of our Docking/MDI product, making it possible to include docking tool windows and/or a multiple-document interface in your apps for Universal Windows apps. SyntaxEditor also includes two new Metro-themed image sets that can be used.

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The Docking/MDI beta included in this version includes nearly all the docking window functionality found in the WPF version of our Docking/MDI controls.  Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think.

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

Do you want to chat with us about what we're working on next?  Register to join our Slack team and help guide our future development efforts!

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Creating an Improved WPF TreeView Control

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 1 comment
Monday, March 14, 2016 at 8:11pm

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Anyone who has worked with the native WPF TreeView knows that its API is difficult to use (compared to the WinForms TreeView) and the performance isn't very good when binding to large large data sets.

We have started developing a completely custom implementation of a TreeView control that isn't based on the native TreeView control.  We'd love to get your input now during our design and prototyping phase on the following items:

  • What are the top 5 built-in features you would like to see implemented in a TreeView?
  • What specific pain points have you encountered with the native WPF TreeView?
  • What features/API would help resolve those pain points?
  • Any other features/functionality you think we should consider?

Please either write our support address with your feedback or join our Slack discussion on the topic and chat right with us.  The benefit of the chat option is that you can see what others are saying and throw in your two cents as well.

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WPF Controls 2016.1 Build 631 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Friday, March 11, 2016 at 3:27pm

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WPF Controls 2016.1 build 631 has been released and is now available for download.  This build contains numerous minor features, updates, and bug fixes across the various WPF control product range. 

It is highly recommended that v2016.1 customers upgrade to this build since it fixes all issues that have been discovered in the major Docking/MDI control updates that were part of the first 2016.1 release.

The first 2016.1 release added new Metro themes that have accent colors, like in the screenshot below.

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The QAT buttons on the upper left of the window were originally wider in Office 2016, matching the width of the system minimize, maximize, and close title bar buttons.  However in the most recent Office 2016 update, the QAT button width was reduced and we've updated their size in this build to match.

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

Do you want to chat with us about what we're working on next?  Register to join our Slack team and help guide our future development efforts!

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Chat With Our Development Team Via Slack

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 9:21pm

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We now offer a way to provide real-time communication between you and our development team, via the free Slack messaging app. The app can be accessed directly in a web browser (https://actipro.slack.com/) or via Slack's excellent desktop and mobile apps.

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The purpose of chat offering is to facilitate interaction with our development team, so that we can collaborate together on new product feature ideas, show screenshots of work-in-progress, and even provide access to preview builds of new features.  This is all designed to allow you to play a larger part in steering our future work.

We currently have Slack channels related to our UI controls, the Code Writer app, and a general tech discussion.

Please note that the Slack channels aren't for technical support or sales-related questions.  Use existing support/sales mechanisms for those.

Requesting Access

Since Slack is geared around private team chats, you must be added to our Actipro team before you can join in the discussion.  All you have to do is click the Request to Join button on our development team chat page and email us the requested info.  We'll add you to our Slack team and you'll receive an invitation in your e-mail.

Whether you are already a licensed customer of our UI controls, just evaluating them, or are a Code Writer user, we'd love to have you get involved in the discussion.

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