RibbonWindow Reimplemented and New Metro White Theme

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 3 comments
Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 2:54pm


WindowChrome Usage

In our previous post, we discussed all the great new feature additions coming to our WindowChrome implementation.  Another related item for the upcoming maintenance release is that we've completely reimplemented how RibbonWindow works and now have it using WindowChrome to manage all its custom chrome API calls.

This means that the same implementation of custom chromes will be used for both RibbonWindow and regular windows that use WindowChrome.  You'll get outer glow effects in Metro themes, full Aero snap/dock support, etc.  Everything described in our previous post.

New Metro White Theme

In the first 2012.2 version release, we added a new Metro Light theme that can be applied app-wide to all Actipro and native WPF Controls.  For the upcoming maintenance release, we've added a new Metro White theme that is similar to Metro Light but gives windows and toolbars more of an Office 2013 appearance.  Take a look:


If you are an Actipro customer, once you get the new features you'll be able to toggle the theme to Metro Light and instantly make your ribbon windows and other controls look like the above.  That's really slick!


These great new features will be part of the next WPF controls 2012.2 maintenance release build 571, due soon.  But that's not all… we have some more major announcements that we'll make for this version soon.

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WPF WindowChrome Fully Themes Any Window

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 10:09am


We've been hard at work the past several weeks on developing feature enhancements for the next maintenance releases of our products.  The next several blog posts will show off a number of them.  In today's post, I'd like to discuss our WindowChrome class that was added in the 2012.2 version of our WPF controls.

What is WindowChrome?

WindowChrome is a class that can be attached to any existing normal WPF Window.  Once attached, it takes over rendering of the Window.  In the first 2012.2 version, the chrome was just designed to work with the new Metro Light theme, also added in 2012.2.  Here's a screenshot of our SDI Code Editor sample with WindowChrome used to render the Window and the Metro Light theme in effect:


It looks great… there is semi-transparent outer glow border support, Aero snap support, ability to update the window border and status bar backgrounds to reflect application states, and much more.  But we still had a lot of plans to make it even better.  And that's what we've done for the next maintenance release!

New Features

All Themes Supported

As mentioned above, the first release of WindowChrome only supported the Metro Light theme.  In our code updates, WindowChrome now supports any Actipro theme (all system themes, Office blue/black/silver, etc.).


This is an example of switching the application theme to Office Blue.  See how WindowChrome has fully taken over the rendering of the window?

You'll notice that the outer glow disappeared in this particular theme.  By default the outer glow will only show on themes that flag they want outer glows, which at the current time is only the Metro Light theme.  A property on WindowChrome also allows you indicate if you want outer glow or not.

Title Bar Content

A new property has been added to allow you to inject custom title bar area content.


For instance, in this screenshot, we've inserted a Search textbox and a button.

Aero Glass Support

This next version of WindowChrome also has full support for Aero glass.  By default, Aero Glass support is disabled but it can be enabled by toggling a simple boolean property.  There also is a property that determines how far into the window the Aero glass extends.  This becomes important for another major announcement we'll post soon.

Aero Snap and Dock Support

Any window that has a WindowChrome attached fully supports Aero snap and dock functionality.  Meaning you can drag the window up to the top of your desktop and release to maximize it.  Once maximized you can drag it back to a restored state.  You can double click borders (or the outer glow when present) to snap window edges to the desktop sides.  Everything works exactly as expected.

Interop Support

Even with the semi-transparent outer glow effects applied, WindowChrome still fully supports interop content like WinForms controls that aren't normally possible on windows that have transparency enabled.


All the new features described above will be included in the upcoming WPF controls 2012.2 build 571 maintenance release, which is due soon.

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MicroBoxPlot Part 3: Appearance Customization

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 8:06am


In the previous post for our Micro Charts product (currently available for WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT XAML), we talked about the minimum and maximum functionality of the new MicroBoxPlot control. In today's post, we'll look at the many ways to customize the control's appearance.


The orientation of the graph can be set to vertical to effectively rotate the graph ninety degrees counter-clockwise. Several charts can be given a vertical orientation then placed side by side to create a report that flows horizontally.

Part Appearances

Each part of the MicroBoxPlot control has a style that can be set to customize the size and colors of the chart. The box is rendered as a rectangle and therefore a fill and stroke brush can be specified to alter the color. The median, mean, and whiskers are all rendered as paths, provide options for stroke color, stroke thickness, and other options, such as dashed lines.


As mentioned in a previous post, the whisker extent is dependent upon the IQR multiplier. Whiskers can be removed entirely by setting the IQR multiplier to zero. The size of the perpendicular whisker end lines can be customized using the whisker ascent property, which commonly accepts percentage and pixel values. If the whisker ascent is set to zero then no end lines will be displayed. The examples above show a few of the many options for MicroBoxPlot appearance customization.

Tool Tips

Tool tips can also be used on MicroBoxPlots. They can be custom formatted and can display all the part values and the minimum and maximum properties.


The maximum and minimum values will display the actual minimum and maximum of the data, meaning the minimum and maximum of the chart can be custom set and the tool tip will still accurately represent the data.


The MicroBoxPlot control is currently available in the Micro Charts product, which ships in our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT XAML control sets.  This concludes our series on the MicroBoxPlot control.  Watch for more micro chart-related posts soon.

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WinRT XAML Controls for Windows 8 Demo App Released

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 9:09am


We're pleased to announce that the samples app for our WinRT XAML controls is now published and available on the Windows Store for free download. 


If you have Windows 8, download the demo app to try out our UI control offerings for Windows 8 app developers.


MicroBoxPlot Part 2: Minimum and Maximum Display

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Friday, October 5, 2012 at 2:17pm


In the previous post for our Micro Charts product (currently available for WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT XAML), we introduced the new MicroBoxPlot control. In today's post, we'll look at the minimum and maximum functionality of the control.

Minimum and Maximum Display

The minimum and maximum of the chart are auto-calculated if they are not given a value. The minimum and maximum are set to the smallest and largest displayed values respectively.

If outliers are not displayed than the whisker values will be the minimum and maximum values. If outliers are displayed, then the minimum and maximum of the values given will be the minimum and maximum of the display. Alternatively, the minimum and maximum can also be set to specific values.

Use in Dashboards and Reports

As shown below, setting the minimum and maximum chart values can be useful for putting group of box plots into the same context.


This allows all the charts to display the same range and makes it easy to compare several data sets. The box plots can then be placed directly above each other, or side-by-side to produce a comprehensive, easy-to-read report.


The MicroBoxPlot control is currently available in the Micro Charts product, which ships in our WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT XAML control sets.

In our next post in this series, we'll take a look at the chart's appearance customization options.

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