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Mehul Harry is the DevExpress Web Program Manager. Follow him on twitter: @Mehulharry

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  • IE 9/10 (And Old Android Browsers) Support Ending in DevExtreme - v18.1

    In the next major release of DevExpress (v18.1), we are dropping support for Internet Explorer (IE) 9 and 10 in DevExtreme and dependent products. The following subset of products will be affected:

    • DevExtreme
    • XAF Web & Mobile
    • The following ASP.NET controls and their MVC extensions (these controls are built with DevExtreme):
      • ASPxQueryBuilder
      • ASPxWebDocumentViewer
      • ASPxReportDesigner
      • ASPxDashboard
      • ASPxDashboardViewer

    We actually wanted to drop support in 2017 but we know that there is a small subset of our customers who are still using and still need IE 9/10. This is also why we've been prolonging our support for IE9/10 in other ASP.NET controls for a while

    In a few months when v18.1 is released, DevExtreme controls (client-side and MVC) will no longer support IE 9/10. I recommend upgrading to the latest versions of IE, however, Microsoft recommends that you switch to Microsoft Edge. Of course, there's plenty of other great browers available like Chrome, FireFox, etc.

    Microsoft no longer supports IE9 and IE10

    Microsoft has stopped supporting IE9 and IE10 since January 12, 2016. It officially claims that:

    Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical supports and security updates. Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes, and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

    According to the world-wide browser usage statistics the IE versions older that 11 share just about 0.1% of users.

    Modern Browsers, ftw!

    However, it's now time to move on. For us at DevExpress, it's a costly proposition to support older browsers. There's the need for compatibility testing, for patching older versions for our support, but there are two overriding concerns:

    • Because these older browsers are no longer updated, there is a great risk of security breaches for you, your users, and your organization.
    • We cannot take advantage of modern web technologies (and approaches). That means we cannot deliver the best possible performance, user, and developer experience with DevExpress products. This is especially so for modern client-side JavaScript applications that need modern browser features.

    In short, that's why we've made the decision to remove explicit support for IE9 and IE10 in the set of products mentioned above and we strongly encourage you to do the same, if you have not already done so.

    Old Built-in Android Browsers

    An excellent feature that we want to utilize for DevExtreme is CSS Flexbox Layout. Unfortunately, it is not supported in the old built-in Android browsers (up to Android 4.3.x). Therefore, will stop supporting old Android browsers in v18.1 as well. Be aware, this might affect those who are developing hybrid mobile apps for Android.

    Feedback

    I would love to hear your feedback on this decision.

    Will this affect you?

    Drop me a line below or email me.

    Thanks!


    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

  • Upgrade to jQuery v3.x - DevExpress Controls

    On January 18th, 2018, two moderate security vulnerabilities in jQuery were discovered (CVE-2016-10707, CVE-2015-9251):

    These vulnerabilities are specific for jQuery versions older than v3.x and we consider them to be relatively low in severity because:

    • CVE-2016-10707 - does not affect jQuery v1.x/2.x nor jQuery v3.x. It’s a transient issue which existed in a specific pre-release build

    • CVE-2015-9251 - While this vulnerability could “expose your site to XSS attacks”, the pre-conditions to this are not common. The app must connect to 3rd party hosts and those hosts need to be hacked/misconfigured

    However, if you've not upgraded to jQuery v3.x yet, we encourage you to for two main reasons:

    1. jQuery v1.x and v2.x are officially at end-of-life
    2. To patch your website of these recent vulnerabilities

    In this post, I'll discuss which DevExpress controls use jQuery, how to update them, and our future plans.

    DevExpress Plans

    The DevExpress ASP.NET (WebForms, MVC, and Bootstrap) controls use jQuery v1.1.x. (We embed jQuery libraries delivered in our assemblies only if Embedding Third-Party Libraries is enabled).

    Prior to v17.2, jQuery was obligatory for DevExtreme projects. Since v17.2, it's optional but still widely used by lots of DevExtreme users.

    We plan to update to jQuery v3.x for past minor releases and upcoming major releases. Switching to a different jQuery version could lead to a breaking change so we are performing serveral tests before we update to jQuery v3.x.

    The DevExtreme MVC controls will be upgraded to use jQuery v3.x in the following releases: v17.1.10, v17.2.6 (coming soon), and the next major release v18.1.

    The DevExpress ASP.NET MVC controls' project templates will be upgraded to jQuery v3.x in the upcoming v17.1.10 and v17.2.6 minor releases. Then, in the v18.1 major release, we'll update all ASP.NET controls (WebForms, MVC, and Bootstrap) to use/reference jQuery v3.x.

    However, we recognize that many developers use jQuery independently from our controls and to you, I would recommend upgrading jQuery too (with proper testing).

    Upgrade jQuery

    The v17.2.6 minor release will be available in a couple of weeks and I recommend that you install that for the easiest way to upgrade to jQuery v3.x.

    You can upgrade your website that uses the DevExpress ASP.NET controls, DevExtreme MVC Controls, or DevExtreme client-side controls today because they both support jQuery v3.x.

    The jQuery team has provided an excellent upgrade guide:

    https://jquery.com/upgrade-guide/3.0/

    Because there have been major changes in jQuery from v1.9/2.0 to 3.x, they've created a helpful jQuery Migrate Plugin:

    For my own sites and blogs, I’ve used jQuery Migrate to identify problem areas (and they were few and far between, generally to do with methods that had been deprecated). jQuery Migrate does two things: it logs problems to the console (so you can see what needs changing), and it also adds back the deprecated stuff. In other words, the JS on one’s site still works and you get an indication of what to change in order to upgrade. - Julian Bucknall, DevExpress CTO

    Note: For the client-side DevExtreme controls, you can also upgrade to jQuery v3.x or you can change the underlying client-side framework. However, this is a costly suggestion and one that you're not likely to do unless you're starting a new project. In which case, consider using Angular or React (which do not rely on jQuery).

    If you run in to any issues then please contact our support team and they can help you.

    Thanks!


    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

  • Watch: Getting Started with DevExtreme MVC Controls

    Check out these great videos that will help you get started using the DevExtreme MVC Controls:

    DevExtreme ASP.NET MVC Tutorials - YouTube Playlist

    The videos are all about five minutes or less so that you can get started quickly using DevExtreme, DevExtreme MVC Grid, and the DevExtreme MVC Charts:

    Subscribe

    Be sure to also subscribe to the DevExpress YouTube Channel where we post lots of great technical content:


    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

  • Bootstrap 4 Support - (v17.2.5)

    It’s literally taken us years to do it, but Bootstrap 4 has finally arrived! - Bootstrap Blog

    Last week, the Bootstrap team officially released Bootstrap 4 and I'm happy to say that the excellent DevExpress Bootstrap controls for ASP.NET WebForms and ASP.NET Core support this latest Bootstrap release.

    I recommend reading the blog post to see what's new and test the new examples. There's also a helpful migrating to v4 guide.

    Download Latest Version

    The v17.2.5 minor release is now available and it features updated the project templates for our Bootstrap Controls. Download and update your installations.

    DevExtreme Support

    The DevExtreme team is currently working on updating the DevExtreme themes and the ThemeBuilder tool to support Bootstrap 4. Therefore, you'll see official DevExtreme support for Bootstrap 4 in the upcoming v18.1 major release.

    The DevExtreme Reactive controls will have support for Bootstrap 4 in the coming weeks. You can track this pull request for full updates.

    Classic ASP.NET/MVC

    The classic DevExpress ASP.NET controls that support ASP.NET WebForms and MVC can be used with Bootstrap (up to version 3). And the team is looking into supporting Bootstrap v4 in a future release. However, as I've written before, when using the Bootstrap framework, it's better to use the DevExpress Bootstrap Controls which were specifically written for the Bootstrap framework.


    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

  • DevExtreme Localization Adds Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese Languages (v17.2.5)

    DevExtreme provides an easy way to localize UI widgets. It uses the localization module to load translations of specific captions/messages such as 'Back', 'Cancel', 'Select', 'Loading', 'Search', and others to the corresponding languages. The DevExtreme locale extensions are provided by separate ready-to-use predefined dictionaries with our installation. These dictionaries include all the captions, titles, and messages that are used in DevExtreme UI widgets.

    With the v17.2.5 minor release, DevExtreme now provides you the first community localizations for Spanish (es) and Brazilian Portuguese (pt-BR). This now make six languages that DevExtreme Localization provides messages for:

    1. English (en)
    2. German (de)
    3. Japanese (ja)
    4. Russian (ru)
    5. Spanish (es)
    6. Brazilian Portuguese (pt-BR)

    To localize dates, numbers, and currencies, you can use third-party libraries - Intl or Globalize. In addition DevExtreme allows you use Globalize library to localize messages. Learn more about Localization by reading this helpful blog post.

    GitHub Contribution

    In April 2017, we moved the DevExtreme library to GitHub which provides many benefits like access to pre-releases and sprints. However, it also means that our code is available to view and contribute to!

    In fact, these two new translations were provided by one GitHub community member. I'd like to thank GitHub user: @pedrofurtado for these contributions. I'd also like to thank users perrich, Laupe, and jdvjdv82 for their contributions too. Their contributions of French and Czech localizations are under review now and we'd like your help with these too.

    Help Us Translate

    We need your help to translate more languages.

    Specifically, we have two incomplete translations: French and Czech.

    Here's how to help:

    1. Read our Contribution Guide (https://github.com/DevExpress/DevExtreme/blob/17_2/CONTRIBUTING.md) and Section 5 of the License Agreement (https://github.com/DevExpress/DevExtreme/blob/17_2/LICENSE.md#5-submission-of-contributions)
    2. Fork the DevExtreme repository.
    3. Commit your translation to /js/localization/messages/ folder in your fork. We recommend you use the latest development branch (currently 18.1).
    4. Create a pull request - Our engineers will check it, merge it and cherry-pick to previous versions.

    We'll include these two new localizations in a future minor DevExtreme release (v17.1.10) too.

    Are you using DevExtreme with a different localization?

    Drop me a line below. Or better yet, post a screenshot link of your DevExtreme enabled website. Thanks!


    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

  • DevExpress ASP.NET MVC vs DevExtreme MVC

    We at DevExpress offer two major libraries that support Microsoft's ASP.NET MVC framework:

    1. DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Controls
    2. DevExtreme MVC Controls

    In this blog post, we'll dive into the two seemingly similar libraries that both offer controls for ASP.NET MVC. We'll look at the differences, similarities, pros, cons, and consequences.

    Let's start by looking at server-side versus client-side web development because this choice will be critical in which library will work for you.

    Architectural Choices & Consequences

    One of the most important concerns for the choice of a web development platform is an architectural one: traditional server-side or client-side UI rendering. It is important because it has many consequences. I recommend reading this section but for those who don't have time, here's a short tldr:

    tldr; The choice of server- vs client-rendered UI influences the overall architecture of a software system to such an extent that it is advisable to analyze this concern before making decisions about specific component libraries.

    Server-Side

    If you use server-rendered UI, this implies you need a server powerful enough to render pages dynamically (per request). Typically this works using template files on the server that describe the pages, with an extension model to insert the dynamic content. Both frameworks use this approach with ASP.NET WebForms using ASPX pages and ASP.NET MVC using Razor files as templates.

    While the component models are different between WebForms and MVC, they are both rendered on the server-side .NET environment. This means that the .NET-based data access methods can be used, business logic written in C#, and state kept on the server-side. Even dynamic browser- or user-specific rendering may be performed on the server, perhaps depending on the user locale or permissions queried from a security system.

    This model empowers programmers who feel at home in the server environment. However, it can be expensive with ASP.NET WebForms because of the numerous server round trips required for rendering purposes. It also makes it almost impossible to deploy the resulting web application in environments where a server might not be available, such as Electron-based desktop apps or Cordova-based mobile apps. Great care is required to prevent scalability issues because server resources are precious. Also, it's not always easy to add infrastructure, for instance, when the server-side state management has not been structured properly.

    There is also a gap to be bridged with this model: for instance it might be required to write certain pieces of code twice, in C# and JavaScript, like those required to perform data validation tasks both for immediate user feedback on the client side and for server-side business logic purposes.

    However, if you're building a public facing web-site, server-side rendering is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Because the HTML content is generated on the server, search engines like Google can crawl, index, and cache it. Client-side rendering cannot easily do this without additional work.

    Client-Side

    With client-rendered UI, a server is not strictly necessary. HTML and JavaScript content finds its way onto the client somehow -- it can be downloaded as static content from a server, but it can also be deployed as an installation package for desktop or mobile targets.

    Because the HTML and rendering of those UI elements will now be handled by the client browser, your client-side app mostly needs the data from the server. Typically, you'll need to create web services to provide this data. ASP.NET MVC WebApi may be used to implement such services, which again gives the developer the chance to use .NET-based data access mechanisms, but additional protocols are required, for instance, to query data dynamically from services, and to transfer it back to the client.

    Components used by the client to render complex UI are written in JavaScript (or a language that compiles to JavaScript, like TypeScript), and developers usually choose application-level frameworks like Angular or React that help them structure the client-side application, but also require integration with component libraries. This model is reminiscent of simple client/server applications, only using web standard protocols for service communication and data access. It is possible to create full-stack JavaScript-based application systems if the services are written in JavaScript (probably for Node.js), and due to the inherent stateless nature of the services it is usually easy to scale servers as required. Generally, the server-side infrastructure requirements are less complex with this architecture, so that cloud deployments are easy and enable automatic scaling setups.

    Client-rendered UI is the architectural model of choice for most modern web/mobile applications and a growing number of desktop ones, including Office 365, Skype, and Microsoft Visual Studio Code. The best recommendation to make this decision is to weigh the pros and cons carefully as they apply to your plans, the expertise of developers on your team, your customer base, and other factors.

    This brings us to the major difference between our two MVC set of controls. While both are server-side ASP.NET MVC controls, the DevExtreme MVC Controls will render client-side UI because of they wrap client-side DevExtreme JavaScript controls in ASP.NET MVC controls. On the other hand, the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC controls will render server-side HTML and then deliver this to the client.

    Let's now take a look at how these two libraries got started to understand our motivations for creating them.

    History

    1. DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Controls

    In April 2009, Microsoft released ASP.NET MVC and many developers quickly became interested in this interesting new web framework. Many of our customers requested that we provide UI controls for ASP.NET MVC.

    At the time, our ASP.NET WebForms library provided solid, stable, and feature-rich controls. So we made the decision to take the API, features, and rendering of our ASP.NET WebForms controls and provide them as native MVC controls. This approach had the benefit of saving time and delivering you a solid set of controls with plenty of features.

    In 2010, we introduced the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Controls as a beta with only five controls. Then, for the next seven years, with each release we continued to grow the controls, features, and performance. Today, the DevExpress MVC set of controls is solid and has over 65+ controls.

    Around the same time, JavaScript was also gaining popularity with web developers...

    2. DevExtreme MVC Controls

    Since the late 2000s, JavaScript's popularity has continued to rise. And serveral years ago, web development shifted decidedly towards client-side JavaScript-based technologies like jQuery, Node.js, Angular, Backbone, React, etc. With good reason because the client-side development model provides benefits. Many of our existing web customers asked us to provide JavaScript controls that rendered exclusively on the client-side.

    So in 2011, we tasked an independent group of our developers to build a fully client-side set of JavaScript controls that are similar in features to our server-side controls. After a year of development, the DevExtreme library was born in 2012. We've continued to develop this client-side library since then to provide more controls, features, stability, and support for other client-side frameworks. Then, around 2014, some of our web customers expressed a need for a set of MVC controls that used the client-rendering approach. So we decided to wrap the client-side DevExtreme JavaScript controls as native server-side MVC controls.

    In June 2016, the DevExtreme MVC Controls were then introduced as a Community Technology Preview (CTP). Now, after several releases where the team has worked hard to improve the DevExtreme MVC Controls, they provide over 65+ controls, features, and great integration with ASP.NET MVC (and ASP.NET Core).

    What's right for you?

    While the architectural considerations should help push most projects in their preferred direction, it is also possible to compare our libraries on the basis of specific technical merits. The following overview may not be exhaustive - please feel free to ask about topics you feel are missing and we will extend the post.

    Recently, we've gotten questions from developers asking:

    • What do you recommend for my scenario?
    • What are the main differences between the two products?

    To help you decide, please read the following four sections that compare both of these libraries strengths and weakness:

    1. What's Included & Missing

    On first glance, it would appear that both libraries have about 65+ set of MVC controls and they provide the key controls like Data Grid, Charts, Editors, Navigation, etc. However, not all controls are available in both libraries and this can be a key deciding factor. For example, if you need Spreadsheet, Ribbon, or RichEdit controls then those will only be available in the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Controls Suite.

    Here's a breakdown of which controls are available in each library:


    DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Controls (Server-Side) DevExtreme MVC Controls (Client-Side)
    Grid
    PivotGrid
    TreeList, TreeView
    Scheduler
    Navigation Controls
    Editor Controls
    Charts & Gauges
    Forms
    Reporting Suite
    RichEdit
    Spreadsheet
    HTML Editor
    Ribbon
    FileManager
    CardView
    Vertical Grid
    Docking Suite
    Spell Checker
    ActionSheet, ScrollView, SlideOut
    Bar, Circular, Linear Gauge
    Map, TreeMap, VectorMap
    RangeSelector
    Bullet
    Sparkline
    FilterBuilder Integrated into other controls
    Box, ResponsiveBox
    Toast

    2. Rendering Pros/Cons

    The DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Controls provide server-side rendering.

    • Pros: Solid with (many more) years of releases. More powerful controls available.
    • Cons: Windows IIS servers hosting. Callbacks, however, data is submitted via native forms, MVC Forms, or MVC Ajax Forms and can be accessed on a controller's action.

    The DevExtreme MVC Controls provide client-side rendering.

    • Pros: They emit semantic markup that is rendered by the client browser. User interaction is faster. Tighter integration with ASP.NET MVC framework.
    • Cons: For interactivity and run-time customization, you'll have to deal with the core JavaScript widgets.

    A. Performance

    The DevExtreme MVC controls have some minor advantages in terms of performance due to their client-side rendering. Mainly, the user interaction will feel more responsive.

    For example, when grouping rows in the DevExtreme MVC Data Grid, you'll find that it will only retrieve the data for the rows that it needs to update to show the grouped layout. In the browser tools image below, we can see that DevExtreme MVC Grid is only getting JSON for the data rows from the server and the Grid will render and update the UI accordingly:

    However, the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC GridView will do a partial page update. Meaning that it will retrieve the HTML for the new grouping layout from the server and then deliver those to the client and render them in place. A partial page update looks like the following when sent across the request/response chain:

    Callbacks require additional server effort to re-rendering these HTML snippets for (potentially) large numbers of clients and therefore increase the data volume. However, on a fast connection, you'll likely not notice a major difference in speed.

    B. Semantic HTML Render

    As mentioned, the DevExtreme MVC controls provide semantic markup when rendered (click image for larger version):

    The larger DevExpress ASP.NET MVC controls like the Grid uses a Table based layout for rendering. However, the navigation controls (pager, menu, navbar, etc) have semantic rendering that are based on lists, divs, etc.:

    Both of these rendering approaches are compliant with HTML5 standards.

    3. Data Binding

    The DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions are server-side controls and therefore, they can easily bind to any server-side .NET data layer. However, client-side binding is not supported in these server-side controls.

    The DevExtreme MVC Controls provide various ways of binding data-aware controls on the client side. These controls also provide a server-side data layer that allows you to bind on server-side as well. This mechanism doesn't change the architectural considerations about data binding, it merely provides web services for data access automatically, based on existing server-side data sources.

    4. .NET Core support

    Both libraries support the .NET Framework 4+ and the same set of browsers.

    However, the DevExtreme MVC Controls also support ASP.NET Core 1.0.1 and later (including 1.1, 2.0+), while the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC controls do not.

    While not part of this comparison, the new DevExpress ASP.NET Bootstrap Core controls exclusively support the ASP.NET Core framework.

    Use Together

    Keep in mind that if you choose classic full framework ASP.NET MVC (not ASP.NET Core) then you could use both of our MVC controls together to complement each other. For example, you can use the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Spreadsheet and DevExtreme MVC Grid in the same ASP.NET MVC project.

    Both of these MVC libraries are also offered in the DevExpress ASP.NET Subscription too!

    The Choice is Yours

    To recap, both of MVC control suites offer you many great UI controls and they can also be used together.

    However, if you need to choose between them then I'll offer my observations as a the Web Program Manager who's interacted with many developers:

    • Devs who prefer client-side rendering typically choose the DevExtreme MVC Controls
    • Fans of C# and server-side rendering typically choose the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Controls

    Hopefully, the information above will help you choose. If not, then please leave a comment below on how I can help.


    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

  • ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit v18.1.0 - Now Available

    It's 2018 and we're delivering another ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit release for you that brings several useful bug fixes.

    Update Your Version

    Please upgrade your ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit version to the latest release. You can download our useful installer here:

    Or use the Nuget libraries:

    ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit Nuget packages

    Then give us your feedback on GitHub.

    Bug Fixes in v18.1.0

    All controls

    • Item 369 - Error when installing the toolkit v17.1.1 to Visual Studio 2013

    Accordion

    • Item 360 - Accordion does not fire an ItemCommand event on postback

    AjaxFileUpload

    • Item 351 - Filename is not encoded on uploading a file with AjaxFileUpload
    • Item 364 - Unsupported characters in AjaxFileUpload Error Message
    • Item 377 - “XML Parsing error: no root element found” in the Firefox browser’s console after uploading a file using AjaxFileUpload

    AutoCompleteExtender

    • Item 349 - AutoComplete extender completion list is hidden when CompletionInterval = 0
    • Item 385 - AutoCompleteExtender - The “change” event is raised twice in Chrome and FireFox

    CalendarExtender

    • Item 331 - Calendar widget doesn’t work if invalid value typed into associated text field.

    CascadingDropDown

    • Item 374 - Child cascading dropdowns do not reset to prompt on parent value change.

    ComboBox

    • Item 400 - A dropdown ComboBox list is displayed incorrectly when a textbox has the "position: absolute" style

    HtmlEditorExtender

    • Item 344 - Invalid argument error in HtmlEditorExtender

    Rating

    • Item 339 - Sys.Extended.Deprecated is undefined in Rating control
    • Item 379 - Rating_Changed event fires twice

    Try DevExpress ASP.NET

    We’d like to thank you for installing the DevExpress Edition of the AJAX Control Toolkit and look forward to your feedback as you begin using it.

    When we took over the fabulous ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit, our goal was to reach those web developers who want to use great web user interface controls for their web projects and DevExpress ASP.NET provides that and much more.

    Try the free DevExpress 30 day trial.

    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry


    Your Next Great .NET App Starts Here

    Year after year, .NET developers such as yourself consistently vote DevExpress products #1.

    Experience the DevExpress difference for yourself and download a free 30-day trial of all our products today: DevExpress.com/trial (free support is included during your evaluation).

  • Scalability of ASP.NET Office Controls - Azure, Web Gardens, Farms, & Cloud Support (CTP - v17.2)

    We are excited to announce that the DevExpress ASP.NET Office controls, Spreadsheet and RichEdit, are getting improved scalability support.

    Scalability is the capability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work, or its potential to be enlarged to accommodate that growth - Wikipedia

    Starting with the v2017.2 release, we're providing a Community Technology Preview (CTP) that supports the following excellent features:

    • Web Applications using these controls can be scaled (in/out) easily
    • "Sticky Session" / "Session Affinity" is not required, any load balancing is welcome
    • Microsoft Azure and any cloud computing platforms with IIS are supported
    • Web Farms and Web Gardens are now supported

    Scalability issues are not a problem for most customers. If you're hosting your web application on a single server, then you've not faced any scalability issues. However, for those customers using web apps on scalable hardware then they will be happy to hear about the improved support.

    What's the problem?

    The ASP.NET Spreadsheet and RichEdit controls are large powerful controls that provide rich functionality. When you open and work on a document in these controls, we need to keep track of the state. Things like the document structures, etc.

    Previously, the ASP.NET Spreadsheet and RichEdit controls kept their state of opened documents in the web server's memory (RAM). This approach has an advantage for performance because the parsed document structure was in memory and ready to process the user's requests. However, using RAM to keep state makes the web server stateful and therefore not easy to scale (in/out).

    Initially, we came up with a solution for Microsoft Azure that implemented smart routing and used the "Sticky Session" / "Session Affinity" mode to route document-specific user requests exactly to that appropriate web server. Unfortunately, this solution was complex to setup and implement. It also required the "Sticky Session" / "Session Affinity" mode which made balancing the application load less effective. And because it was only available for Azure, it didn't solve other customers who hosted on other platforms like Amazon AWS.

    A Better Solution

    In the v2017.2 release, the ASP.NET Spreadsheet and RichEdit controls now support an important new mode that allows you to store the opened document states in external storage. This will provide great scalability benefits.

    The new mode allows you to not have any state between requests and therefore provides for non-stateful web servers with our RichEdit and Spreadsheet controls. This allows you to host on multiple-server solutions like cloud, web farms, web gardens, etc.

    So servers that have no state are treated equally and can process any request. This provides several benefits:

    • load balancers can effectively spread the workload among other “stateless” web server instances
    • another great benefit of external state storage is that your web servers can be rebooted/updated/removed with no additional code required to save (or rescue) the state (scale in)
    • new web servers can also be added on-demand and they start the same as any other web servers in the pool. Therefore they can start participating in the application request processing right away (scale out)

    Who is it for?

    This new scalability mode and solution is for those who are developing scalable application with DevExpress Office Controls. This new solution allows you to build applications that are hosted on top of cloud computing platforms (with IIS), Microsoft Web Farms, or Web Gardens.

    Storage Options

    The 'document states' can be stored externally in one of following storage containers:

    • MS SQL Server database
    • Redis in-memory data structure store

    We chose the above two because of their popularity. Supporting a storage container requires us to create a special 'Document State Provider' interface. We published two such providers for Microsoft SQL Server and Redis respectively. And it's also possible to develop others providers to support more storage containers.

    How to enable it?

    To turn on the new feature, set the desired document provider in your project's Global.asax file:

    void Application_Start(object sender, EventArgs e) {
        ...
        var provider = new DevExpress.Web.SqlOfficeStateProvider.SqlOfficeStateProvider(connectionString);
        // or
        //var provider = new DevExpress.Web.RedisOfficeStateProvider.RedisOfficeStateProvider(connectionString);
        
        DevExpress.Web.Office.DocumentManager.StateProvider = provider;
        ...
    }

    In the sample code above, the connectionString refers to the connection string for your storage.

    GitHub Sample

    To help you test this, we've created and published a sample repo on GitHub:

    https://github.com/DevExpress/aspnet-office-solutions

    This repo consist of several solutions and projects:

    • Document state providers:
      • RedisOfficeStateProvider - Redis using document state provider
      • SqlOfficeStateProvider - SQL Server using document state provider
    • New solutions examples for MS Azure (code is the same for Web Farms and Web Gardens):
      • Azure-SqlOfficeStateProvider-Starter - Azure solution example using the SqlOfficeStateProvider
      • Azure-RedisOfficeStateProvider-Starter - Azure solution example using the RedisOfficeStateProvider

    In the same repo, you'll also find the previous solution with custom smart routing and Session Affinity:

    • Azure-SessionAffinity-Starter

    Learn more details on the repo's Readme file.

    Give Us Your Feedback

    Your feedback will help us decide the future direction. Please take a minute to fill out this short four question survey about your plans for ASP.NET Core usage:

    Are you excited by the DevExpress Office Controls support for scalability? Drop me a line below.

    Thanks!

    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

  • DevExpress ASP.NET Popup Control - Adaptive (17.2)

    Starting with the v17.2 release, the DevExpress ASP.NET Popup Control has a new adaptive mode. In this mode, the popup will resize its content automatically according to the screen resolution. This mode provides the best experience for a user on any device, whether it's on the desktop, a tablet, or a phone. You can also configure the maximum and minimum widths to limit the resizing area. This mode supports a fixed header and footer, which will always be displayed regardless of the scroll position.

    Check out the AdaptiveLayout demo page that shows how to create adaptive dialogs using the Popup and FormLayout controls:

    Mode Switch

    The Popup control can also switch modes. You can show the default popup on wider screens and then switch it to adaptive mode on small screens using the PopupControlAdaptivityMode.OnWindowInnerWidth property:

    The following video shows how to quickly create an adaptive form using Popup and FormLayout controls:

    ASP.NET MVC supported

    The DevExpress ASP.NET MVC version of the Popup control also supports adaptive now.

    Try it today

    You can test these new features today by downloading the DXperience v17.2 release.

    Thanks!

    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

  • Dashboards: Mobile Layout for the Web (v17.2 CTP)

    Now that the DevExpress Dashboard has been out for a few releases, we're seeing a growing demand from our customers for improving the Web Dashboard usage on mobile devices.

    Good news! In this v17.2 release, we have experimented with a Mobile layout to make dashboards more user-friendly and interactive on mobile devices, as they are on Desktop browsers. This new mobile layout will be available as a CTP (Community Technology Preview) in the v17.2 release.

    This was a challenging task to adapt a Dashboard that has many visual controls on it and shrink it to fit on mobile browsers. There are some difficulties centering around the Dashboard concept itself. For example, in dashboards, a user interacts with multiple connected items at the same time; but that is not possible on smartphone apps because of the small viewing area.

    However, we've come up with a good solution. Our new mobile version will attempt to find a balance between usability of the entire dashboard versus viewing and interacting with one particular Dashboard Item.

    To see this in action, check out this animation:

    Visit our online demo and experience yourself: https://demos.devexpress.com/Preview/Dashboard/

    Gallery View

    In our mobile layout, we utilize a well-known mobile UI pattern – the Gallery.

    The Gallery allows users to slide between dashboard items sequentially for data analysis or jump directly to an item for futher research.

    Besides implementing the Gallery, we rethought a concept of the Dashboard Title and Items' toolbars so that they adapt to become mobile-friendly.

    How to enable Mobile Layout

    You can use mobile layout with any approach – Web Forms, MVC, .NET Core (CTP), or in a native Client-Side Approach. Follow this link to find more info about extensions: How to work with extensions.

    To enable the mobile layout, follow the steps below:

    1. Make sure that your HTML page is mobile-friendly by setting the corresponding ViewPort metatag:
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

    This meta tag is a common requirement for Mobile Browsers.

    1. Go to the Web Dashboard declaration and register the Mobile Layout extension using the following code snippet:
    function onBeforeRender(sender) { 
      var dashboardControl = sender.GetDashboardControl(); 
      dashboardControl.registerExtension(
        new DevExpress.Dashboard.MobileLayoutExtension(dashboardControl)
      );
    }

    That’s it. Note that a mobile layout does not replace the classic layout; it’s enabled only in certain conditions:

    • The Web Dashboard control is set to the Viewer / ViewerOnly mode
    • The page is open in a mobile browser

    Tip: You can use the Device Mode in the Chrome Developer Tools to test mobile views.

    Project Status

    Once again, this is a CTP version. Report any issues, missing functionality, or suggestions as regular Support Center tickets. We'll be happy to review your feedback and optimize the API based on what we hear. This also serves as a reminder that the API is subject to change until we officially release.

    Known limitations

    This current version of the Dashboard's mobile layout does not visually indicate a Dashboard Item Group. This means that dashboard items filtering may not work in an obvious way for the end users. To avoid this issue, we recommend that you not show a dashboard with Groups in the Mobile Layout.

    We'll continue to work on improving the Dashboard before the final release.

    Are you excited by the DevExpress Web Dashboard's Mobile Layout? Drop me a line below.

    Thanks!

    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

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