WinRT XAML Controls for Windows 8 Demo App Released

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

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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. 

WindowsStore

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

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MicroBoxPlot Part 2: Minimum and Maximum Display

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

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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.

MicroBoxPlotMinMax

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.

Summary

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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MicroBoxPlot Part 1: Introduction

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 10:41am

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In the previous post for our Micro Charts product (currently available for WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT XAML), we looked at various features of the MicroBulletGraph control. In today's post, we'll introduce a different type of chart with the new MicroBoxPlot control.

Introduction

Box plots are excellent tools for creating charts that show statistical distribution in datasets. They are particularly useful for displaying distributions of a group in a compact way. This is good for creating charts that compare a group of data such as the performance of salespeople, heights of a group of people, temperatures along a latitude, and more.

BoxPlotExperience

This example shows how box plots can illustrate the distributions of salaries paid to employees based on how long the employee has been with the company.

Box Plot Parts

Box plots are designed to display the statistical distribution of a dataset. They display a set of data through five major values: the lower whisker value, the lower quartile value, the median, the upper quartile, and the upper whisker value.

The median is the value found directly in the center of the data when it is sorted, meaning half of the data lies above it, and half lies below it. The median is displayed as a perpendicular line to the chart. The lower quartile is the median of the lower half of data, resulting in a quarter of the data being less than it, and three-quarters being greater. The upper quartile is the median of the higher half of data, resulting in three-quarters of the data being less than it, and a quarter being greater. The upper and lower quartiles define the edges of a box drawn on the chart, resulting in the middle half of the data being contained within the box. The whiskers are displayed as "T" bars that extend from the edges of the box to their respective values and are designed to hold the majority of the remaining data, leaving only the outliers outside.

BoxPlotParts

In the example above all the parts of the control are displayed and labeled. The spacing between the different parts of the box plot help indicate the degree of spread in the data.

Inter-Quartile Range Calculation Logic

The difference between the upper and lower quartiles is known as the Interquartile Range (IQR). The product of the IQR and the IQR multiplier (normally a value of 1.5) is then subtracted from the lower quartile value to get the lower whisker value and added to the upper quartile value to get the upper whisker value. The IQR multiplier can be set to any value greater than or equal to zero to customize the extent of the whiskers.

Summary

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 of this series, we'll take a look at the minimum and maximum display values.

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Actipro Blog 2012 Q3 Posting Summary

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro)
Monday, October 1, 2012 at 8:15am

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What We Accomplished

This quarter featured several major releases, including 2012.2 versions of our WPF controls and Silverlight controls, along with our first set of UI controls for the WinRT/XAML (Windows 8 app) platform.

The WPF and Silverlight controls received new SyntaxEditor features like a navigable symbol selector control (similar to a type/member list), code snippet selection sessions, structure matching (bracket highlighting), and support for the latest C#/VB specs and improved resolver functionality in the .NET Languages Add-on.  Micro Charts on those platforms received new heat map, bullet graph, candlestick chart, and box plot controls.  WPF also gained a new Metro Light theme that is inspired from the latest Visual Studio and Office version appearances.

Our first offering of UI controls for .NET Windows 8 apps contains a full-featured version of our Micro Charts product.  We've put together a great sample project to show the charts' use in building dashboards, reports, and grids.  If you have Windows 8, download a free evaluation and check them out.

What’s Coming Next

We are currently working in several areas.  First, we are developing another brand new product that will target WPF, Silverlight, and WinRT/XAML.  Second, we are adding more SyntaxEditor features and enhancements to other existing products.  Third, we are working on some more ports of our controls to WinRT/XAML.

Blog Post List

Here is a quick categorized list of useful blog postings made in this quarter.

Windows 8 UI Controls

Product Development

Other Releases

Customer Showcase - Test Design Studio

by Avatar Bill Henning (Actipro) - 1 comment
Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 2:06pm

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Today I'd like to take some time to take a glimpse at an excellent product that is being constructed by Patterson Consulting, one of our long-time customers.  This application really shows off what kind of top-notch user interfaces you can create with Actipro's WPF controls and themes.

TestDesignStudio

Actipro Product and Feature Usage

Test Design Studio is currently written in WinForms and utilizes Actipro's WinForms controls.  The screenshot above shows their next major version, which is a WPF rewrite of the application with an updated appearance and new features. 

Our Docking/MDI product implements the docking tool window and tabbed MDI interface, and our Ribbon product is used as the primary toolbar interface.  SyntaxEditor is used to provide a Visual Studio-like code editing experience.  Patterson even wrote custom syntax languages that have fully-automated IntelliPrompt, code outlining, and more.

And the theme is spectacular.  They took our new Metro theme (recently shipped in the 2012.2 version of our WPF Controls), tinted it a bit, and voila… the result is a modern-looking app that blends perfectly with Windows 8, and other tools like VS 2012 and Office 2013.

About Test Design Studio

From Boyd Patterson, owner of Patterson Consulting:

Test Design Studio is an IDE for QuickTest® Professional scripts, VBScript files, Quality Center workflow scripts, WinRunner® scripts, and GUI Map files.

Our product focusing on bringing a rich development environment to our customers.  The challenges of achieving this product are great enough on their own, that we do not need to be burdened with core UI development.  Fortunately, Actipro Software provides many of the controls we need, so we can focus on building our product and not designing UI controls.

We have been working on a complete rewrite of the UI to use WPF technology, and Actipro Software controls have helped ease that burden.  Their Ribbon control provides a great replication of the infamous controls, and SyntaxEditor provides the editing horsepower we need to match the experience our customers demand.  Thanks to their application wide theme support, even the use of native controls look consistent with the rest of the UI.  Our new application is not yet complete, but we already have a great foundation and are excited to release this to our customers.

Details about the product (including the current WinForms version also powered by Actipro controls) are available at:  http://www.patterson-consulting.net/tds

Showcase Your Own Apps

Do you have an application powered by Actipro UI controls that you'd like to showcase on our blog?  Please contact us with a couple screens and a brief description so that we can discuss it.  We always love to see our customers' creations!