WPF Controls v23.1 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 1 comment
Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at 4:21pm

While this major new version focuses on the introduction of the new Bars product beta, it also has a number of other minor updates across other products that are described in the related announcement post, which contains a detailed list of enhancements and updates.

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

Bars (Beta)

v23.1 takes the wraps off a new Bars product that implements advanced fluent ribbons, toolbars, menus, and related controls.

Ribbon in Classic layout mode with a color gallery displayed

The new fluent Ribbon has the latest Office appearance and includes the use of subtle animations throughout all controls.

Ribbon's backstage showing an included recent document list control

Ribbon can instantly switch between Classic (taller) and Simplified (single-row) layout modes, allowing for configuration of the variant resizing behavior in both modes.

Ribbon in Simplified layout mode with an Insert Table gallery displayed

Complex galleries can appear in the Ribbon, as well as in any popup and context menu. It's simple to create new galleries with rich visualizations for any need.

A standalone toolbar can display many of the same controls that Ribbon can, including popups with galleries

The StandaloneToolBar control can alternatively be used as an app's primary toolbar, or alternatively within tool windows. It can host any control that can be used in Ribbon and overflows items to a popup as needed.

Three user interface density options can be chosen, letting your application select whether to better support a large number of controls, or focus more on touch-friendliness.

The entire control hierarchy can be built using MVVM (preferred), or alternatively directly in XAML.  An optional open source MVVM library is available that makes it easy to configure the Bars controls with MVVM techniques.  In fact, the main Ribbon demo seen in earlier screenshots above is completely constructed from code-behind view models!

.NET Target and Code Signing Updates

Since .NET 5 is now out of support by Microsoft, we updated our .NET 5 targets to .NET 6. .NET 5-based apps can still use .NET Core 3.1 targets.

We’ve also moved our .NET Framework target to use 4.6.2 minimum, as it’s the most recent supported version of .NET Framework.

Finally, we now automatically code sign all our assemblies instead of shipping both non-signed and signed variations.

WPF Controls v22.1.5 Maintenance Release

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 5:09pm

This version makes a number of minor updates across the WPF control product line.

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

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WinForms Controls v23.1.1 Maintenance Release

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Monday, April 3, 2023 at 8:35pm

This version makes a number of SyntaxEditor improvements, and also fixes a bug introduced in v23.1.0 when parsing image data on certain machines.  Several NuGet packages have been updated to better support cross-platform usage.

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

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New WPF Bars Product - Testers Wanted

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 9:28pm

We’ve very excited to announce our new WPF Bars product that has been in development for quite a while now. Bars comes packed with everything you need to implement advanced ribbons, toolbars, and menus in your WPF applications.

The Bars Ribbon in Classic layout mode showing a custom gallery

This first beta release of Bars includes a powerful new Ribbon control that has the latest Office appearance with subtle animations, is extremely customizable, and makes it easy to build custom galleries. A StandaloneToolBar control can be used as a window's main toolbar or can be enclosed within a tool window. Future planned updates for Bars will add docking toolbar functionality. Everything from popup/split buttons to comboboxes to galleries can be included anywhere in a ribbon, toolbar, or menu.

An open source Bars MVVM library implements a complete set of view models and related UI views for building a full ribbon hierarchy in code. It also includes multiple examples of building visually stunning galleries that are seen in Office.

The same window but with the Bars Ribbon switched to Simplified layout mode

The new Ribbon control implementation in Bars was built from the ground up with WPF best-practices in mind. It supports MVVM usage, has fluent animation throughout, allows instant switching between Classic (three row) and Simplified (modern single row) layout modes, uses simple control variant logic when resizing, has better a control infrastructure, includes a full UIA peer tree, and that’s just scratching the surface.

We think you will love using the new Bars product in your WPF applications, and we can use your help. Bars will ship in the WPF Controls v23.1 release and we are nearing release candidate stability for the product. We would like to have additional customers take it for a test drive to provide us feedback.

If you would like to assist in testing a preview build of Bars in v23.1, please write us at our support e-address and describe how you might use Bars in your applications.  We look forward to hearing from you.

WinForms Controls v23.1 Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 10:01pm

This version contains updates across all our WinForms controls to support high DPI environments and add new dark color schemes.  .NET version compatibility was modernized to the latest supported .NET versions, and a large number of other various feature additions and bug fixes were made to all products.

SyntaxEditor with the Metro Dark color scheme

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.

DPI Awareness

Historically, high DPI support in WinForms has been a mixed bag. Newer Windows API’s and recent updates to .NET have greatly improved the scenario, but high DPI support is still not free and developers must put in the effort to ensure proper DPI awareness.

How numerous Actipro WinForms Controls render in 200% DPI with the v23.1 updates

With our WinForms Controls v23.1 updates, we’ve done our part to make sure our controls can render correctly in high DPI environments. Some of the changes include:

  • Scale font sizes.
  • Scale control dimensions.
  • Scale glyphs.
  • Scale raster images using optimal technique for the scale factor (e.g., pixel doubling at 200% dpi).
  • Scale built-in dialogs.
  • New vector-based common images for SyntaxEditor IntelliPrompt.
  • New DPI-friendly dock guides for Docking.
  • New DpiHelper class to simplify scaling based on DPI.
  • Updated Sample Browser to be DPI-aware.

NOTE:  Anyone with a DPI-aware application needs to read our v23.1 conversion topic and thoroughly test. It could be that you were already compensating for lack of DPI-awareness that we now handle, so you don't want to do something like scale our controls if we're already scaling them (causing double scaling).

Dark Color Scheme

We’ve also revamped how all renderers determine which colors are being used so we can better support a dark color scheme. New “Metro Dark” renderers are available for all our products and can be used to better integrate with dark-themed applications.

.NET Compatibility Updates

In regards to .NET version compatibility, we have:

  • Validated that v23.1 works great with .NET 7.
  • Updated our .NET 5 targets to .NET 6, since that is the lowest supported version of .NET per Microsoft.
  • Updated our .NET Framework 4.0 targets to .NET Framework 4.6.2, since that is the lowest supported version of .NET Framework per Microsoft.