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

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November 2008 - Posts

  • Give Us Your Feedback On DXperience 2008 Volume 3 Release Candidate

    imageMeet Stan, Serge and Nick. These guys are some of our hard working support engineers. And they’re looking for your feedback.

    Please give us your feedback on the upcoming DXperience 2008 Volume 3 release. The release candidate (RC) is available now to DXperience customers.

    To download the RC, just go to your Client Center account. Click on the DXperience product. Then click the Betas tab and start downloading.

    This release candidate expires in 6 days, on December 1st. So you only have a few more days to test and give us your feedback.

    Here are some of the new new controls and features for the next major release:

    New ASP.NET Controls
  • Gauge Control for ASP.NET
  • Filter Editor Control for ASP.NET (Criteria Builder)
  • Data-bound Image Control for ASP.NET
  • Loading Panel Control for ASP.NET
  •  New WinForms Controls:
  • WinForms Alert Window Control
  • WinForms Rich Text Editor Control
  • WPF Controls
  • WPF Grid Control
  • WPF Charting Control
  • WPF Navbar Control
  • WPF Carousel Control
  • Common Changes Across All ASP.NET Controls
  • XtraReports Suite
  • XtraPivotGrid and ASPxPivotGrid Suites
  • ASPxperience Suite
  • eXpressApp Framework
  • Go to the client center and download your copy of the RC today. Then be sure to leave us feedback about these new controls and features. We setup a special forums area for this RC so you can share your experience with us.

  • “Section 508 Compliant” Renamed “Accessibility Compliant”

    The Section508Compliant property was added to all of our ASP.NET controls to support accessibility. Since this announcement, we thought about the Section508Compatibility property name.Flags

    While Section508Compatibility certainly describes the feature the term, “Section 508”, however is used only in the US. And because we are an international company and have respect for all customers, we decided to rename this property. [Well, since Section 508 is not used by the rest of the world, also has something to do with it.] Wink

    The Section508Compliant property has been renamed to AccessibilityCompliant.

    This change was just baked into the upcoming v2008 volume 3 DXperience codebase today! And since this feature has only been released in a beta, it’s NOT a breaking change.

    Freedom to the change codebase for multiple controls, don’t you just love the beta releases?

  • Enhance ASP.NET Controls Performance – Part 1: Menu


    Check out this 6 minute ASPxMenu video which introduces 2 new properties.

    The EnableCallbacks and EnableCallbackCompression properties enhance the menu’s performance during page loads.

    Watch the video to see:

    • What these properties do when enabled
    • How to enable the new properties (spoiler alert: Set them to True)
    • How to measure the performance gain using Fiddler (web debugging tool for internet explorer)

    The speed improvements can be drastic in some cases. On our own home page, the initial HTML volume went from 210k to 130k !

    Click the image to check out the ‘new look’ video. Then drop me a line here if you look forward to speeding up your website.

    Be sure to also check out the related videos below which highlight the performance improvements for all DevExpress ASP.NET controls.

    Related Videos:

  • Behind The Scenes: DevExpress Channel In High Definition?


    This behind the scenes post is for geeks like me who like to talk about video, gear, etc. that we're using on the DevExpress Channel.

    Hey, what do you think of high def video online? We've been trying it and it looks great, check out this video with Erica.

    Makes the colors and contrast much more defined. I know a lot of you guys are experimenting with video, what do you think, is it worth the hassle?

    Here are the pros and cons we've discovered so far:

    1. Recording in HD means we cannot record as much on the flash cards as we can on tape. The super-duper Panasonic P2 camera uses a 16 gigabyte flash card. Jeff tells me that at 16 gigs, the card can only hold 17 minutes of HD video. Yes, there are larger flash cards but their prices are still too high.
    2. High definition can produce large file sizes which means slower downloads.
    3. The latest flash player required. Flash player version 9 Release 3 (or above) will be required to play the H.264/Mpeg4 codec.
    4. Not everything looks better in HD (See the pictured example above). Wink

    These challenges can be overcome. For example:

    1. We would still use the (lower quality) tape for the longer interview and conference type videos.
    2. File size is not that much larger for the HD videos.
    3. Most users have the required version of the latest flash player installed.
    4. And, yes, everything does look better in HD (For example, see Amanda showing off the XtraGauge control)

    So to improve the video quality, we’ve made some small subtle changes:

    1. Record the ‘speaker’ portion in high definition
    2. Edit and export tweaks during the video production

    These small changes gives us better video quality without increasing the file sizes or requiring a new flash version. We’re still investigating the possibility of moving to full HD (H.264) videos someday.

    What did we miss? Should we make the extra effort to film in HD?

  • Section 508: Enable Support For Major DevExpress ASP.NET Controls

    Accessibility WAI Section 508

    Support for Section 508 and even the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 is now available in major DevExpress ASP.NET controls. Starting with the 2008 Volume 3 release of the DXperience Subscription, your DevExpress ASP.NET projects will be Section 508 compliant.

    What is Section 508?

    Section 508 and the web accessibility guidelines make Web content accessible to people with disabilities or those that are technically limited. In the US and several other countries, these guidelines are a software requirement for government agencies.

    The web accessibility initiative says that you should design your website so that disabled (including blind) users can use and navigate the website. This means using ALT text for images, providing description of videos and transcription for audio, use the NOFRAMES element and provide titles, and several other guidelines.

    In case you’re wondering, blind and low-vision users can make use of text-to-speech(screen readers/OCR), Braille display, and other methods which you read more about here.

    Why is accessibility important?

    These numbers may surprise you but approximately 20% of the US population has some form of disability. If you want to ensure that your website is accessible by everyone then web accessibility should be a top priority. In fact, accessibility design improvements to your website will benefit all users. For example, an accessible web site is usually easier to read, easier to navigate and faster to download.

    The web accessibility initiative (WAI) says that accessibility is also important for users of mobile devices. If you’ve ever tried to browse a website on a mobile device then you’ll wish that every website was accessible. Yahoo is a great example of a web accessible site.

    Why not enable 508 in DevExpress controls by default?

    While accessibility is important and it does provide benefits, there is a cost.

    1. As this slide shows: Costs are incurred during design, development, and testing phases. Costs due to increased time and training. Development time may increase since you’ll have to ensure that your website meets the guidelines and passes validation.
    2. The appearance of the controls may change slightly depending on the control. Because some of the controls will need to support hyperlinks, coloring for current items, etc. (more on this later).

    However, with DevExpress ASP.NET components providing the features for compliance, this time effort is reduced. For example, when enabling support in the ASPxMenu, ASPxNavBar, ASPxPageControl, and ASPxTabControl, the controls will generate hyperlinks to enable tab and shift tab navigation.

    How do you enable support for Section 508?

    Set the AccessibilityCompliant property to true. Major DevExpress ASP.NET controls like the ASPxGridView have the AccessibilityCompliant property:

    AccessibilityCompliant Property 

    What happens when this AccessibilityCompliant is set to True?

    When this property is set to true then the control will be generated with accessible HTML and provide:

    • Hyperlinks for buttons that usually need focus
    • Keyboard support

    Also, when you enable Section 508 compliance, major DevExpress ASP.NET controls will take one of the following three Section 508 requirements:

    1. Buttons and images generate an ALT attribute that describe their function. You can specify a custom ALT text.
    2. ALT text is also generated for NOEMBED(ObjectContainer) elements.
    3. Within dialogs, the input editors will have corresponding labels.

    See this list of 10 quick tips to make web sites accessible. Then check out the Section 508 support. This feature is coming in the next release of DXperience.

    Will you use it to automatically enable accessibility? Why wouldn't you?


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