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

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September 2009 - Posts

  • Sneak Peek: ASP.NET Time Edit Control

    Check out this sneak peek video on the upcoming ASP.NET Time Edit control, the ASPxTimeEdit.

    ASP.NET Time Edit Sneak Peek

    The ASPxTimeEdit gives your websites an editor with a slick user interface to edit date and time values. The control looks and behaves a lot like our ASP.NET spin edit control.

    This is a great for your end users because they’re already familiar with how to use the up or down buttons of the control. And with keyboard support, there are now 3 different ways to edit the values:

    1. Type the date and time into the editor
    2. Using the mouse, change the values by clicking on the up/down buttons
    3. Use the keyboard’s tab and arrow keys to change the values

    Click the image and watch the “Sneak Peek: ASP.NET Time Edit Control” screencast below. It’s a short 3 minute video that shows the intuitive UI of the ASPxTimeEdit.

    The new ASPxTimeEdit control will be released as part of DXperience 2009 volume 3 later this year.

    Be sure to drop me a line below with your thoughts on this new control.

    image_45058812[1]DXperience? What's That?

    DXperience is a royalty-free tool suite for rapid business application development for WinForms and ASP.NET apps.

    Instantly enhance your WinForms and ASP.NET apps by dropping in new feature sets encapsulated in components. DXperience contains:

    • IDE Productivity Tools - Make Visual Studio easier and more effective with IDE enhancements
      • DXCore - IDE tools extensible engine
      • CodeRush - Extensible swiss army knife of tools to make source code editing faster and easier, including code editing templates, code editing utilities (selection, navigation, clipboard), inline code visualizations and the upcoming unit test runner.
      • Refactor Pro - Code editing tools specifically geared for refactoring source code.
    • XAF - Business app framework for WinForms and ASP.NET
    • XPO – Object-relational mapping for .NET
    • Reporting - Reporting "platform" for WinForms and ASP.NET
    • UI Components for WinForms, ASP.NET, WPF and Silverlight

    Try a fully-functional version of DXperience for free now: http://www.devexpress.com/Downloads/NET/

  • How To Cache Rows In DevExpress ASP.NET GridView

    ASPxGridViewSuite Check out this short article on how to use the row caching property of the ASPxGridView and an upcoming feature of the ASPxPivotGrid:

    What is EnableRowsCache?

    In general, this is a good feature because it’s helps your web application’s scalability. How?

    By default, the ASPxGridView stores data in memory for quick access. This avoids repeated database calls when performing various operations that don't require reloading data (e.g. rearranging or hiding columns). Therefore, it increases your Web application’s scalability and the individual operations will be quicker because there's no database access happening in that particular cycle.

    As a bonus for the inquisitive minds: The DevExpress ASP.NET controls store items in memory by using our own custom callback state. It’s similar to the Microsoft ViewState, except that the DevExpress CallbackState lives between callbacks and not postbacks. Want to learn more? Check out the “Speed up your page loads with a lighter ViewState” blog post.

    When To Set It To False?

    To disable data caching, set the EnableRowsCache option to false. This can be useful, for instance, when the ASPxGridView displays real-time data. It's also recommended that you disable this option when binding to data created at runtime, because calling the DataBind() method will always reload data from the server.

    ASPxGridView's EnableRowsCache Property

    Coming Soon To ASPxPivotGrid

    The ASPxPivotGrid can have a large amount of data even between callbacks. For these scenarios, you may not want to store that info in memory. Now you have the option to disable row caching in the ASPxPivotGrid as well.

    The ASP.NET team has just added the EnableRowsCaches feature to the ASPxPivotGrid. The option will be officially available in an upcoming major release.

    DevExpress Platinum Sponsor at Microsoft PDC

  • Sneak Peek: ASP.NET Splitter Control

    Check out this sneak peek about the upcoming ASP.NET splitter control!

    Rich client WinForms applications usually have the ability to split the screen into different sections or panels. For example, take a look at Outlook or even Visual Studio. This ability to layout and resize these panels helps your user interface because the end-users understand how these panels work.

    The new ASPxSplitter control helps you create similar user interfaces in your ASP.NET websites. You can use the ASPxSplitter to divide the entire page or just sections of it. And the ASPxSplitter’s client-side capabilities allow your end-users to think you’re a some kind of JavaScript guru because they’ll be able to drag, click and resize the panels as they see fit.

    Click the image and watch the “ASP.NET Splitter Control Preview” screencast below to see a demo of the upcoming features. It’s a short 5 minute video. I hope you like what you see!

    Video: ASP.NET Splitter Control Preview

    The new ASPxSplitter control will be released as part of DXperience 2009 volume 3 later this year. Be sure to drop me a line below with your thoughts on this new control.

    DXperience? What's That?

    DXperience is a royalty-free tool suite for rapid business application development for WinForms and ASP.NET apps.

    Instantly enhance your WinForms and ASP.NET apps by dropping in new feature sets encapsulated in components. DXperience contains:

    • IDE Productivity Tools - Make Visual Studio easier and more effective with IDE enhancements
      • DXCore - IDE tools extensible engine
      • CodeRush - Extensible swiss army knife of tools to make source code editing faster and easier, including code editing templates, code editing utilities (selection, navigation, clipboard), inline code visualizations and the upcoming unit test runner.
      • Refactor Pro - Code editing tools specifically geared for refactoring source code.
    • XAF - Business app framework for WinForms and ASP.NET
    • XPO – Object-relational mapping for .NET
    • Reporting - Reporting "platform" for WinForms and ASP.NET
    • UI Components for WinForms, ASP.NET, WPF and Silverlight

    Try a fully-functional version of DXperience for free now: http://www.devexpress.com/Downloads/NET/

  • DevExpress Dynamic Data Grid: Visual Basic Version

    I have good news for Visual Basic developers interested in the DevExpress Dynamic Data Grid called the ASPxDynamicGridView.

    After getting several of your requests, I finally had a chance to sit down and create a VB version of the ASPxDynamicGridView that works in Dynamic Data websites.

    How To Implement

    image_158106AE[1]To be clear, this version of our Dynamic Data grid is simply a port of the CSharp code to Visual Basic. Therefore, the original video and blog post still apply.

    So go read the blog post and watch the video right now: ASP.NET Dynamic Data and DevExpress Grid

    The Bits

    Now you’re ready to grab the Visual Basic version of ASPxDynamicGridView and the Page Template files here: DXDynamicDataVB.zip

    Code Converters

    Converting code from CSharp to VB was at the heart of this project and these converters came in very handy:

    1. developerFusion’s online converter is one of the best and the top Google result.
    2. Code Converter VS plugin on Codeplex: Haven’t used it yet but hear good things about it.
    3. Rory Becker

    Since I’m not an expert in VB, Rory Becker was kind enough to help with the initial conversion. From there, just had to tweak a few of the declarations and build a sample Dynamic Data website. Thanks Rory! (Thanks to Aleksey on our ASP.NET team for coming up with the original C# version of the ASPxDynamicGridView.)

    Community Project

    The ASPxDynamicGridView is our contribution for developers that want to use the ASPxGridView in a Dynamic Data environment.

    However, the ASPxDynamicGridView is not a supported product. Rather, our intention and hope is that the community enjoys, shares and benefits from each other’s experiences. That’s why the full source code of the ASPxDynamicGridView and Page Templates are available to you.

  • 4 Settings To Improve DevExpress ASP.NET Performance

    Hang on to your seats, I’ve got more good news about the ASP.NET controls performance in the DXperience 2009 volume 2 release. We’re giving you four web.config settings for HTML compression that dramatically improve website performance. First, let’s take a look at the numbers.

    Speed Comparison

    Using our custom HttpHandler, the performance numbers for the DXperience 2009 volume 2 release are amazing. Let’s compare the difference with the DXperience 2009 volume 1 release. For benchmarks, we used the Fiddler2 tool again and got the following impressive results:

    image

    Page load time is reduced from 21.7 to 5 seconds ! That’s about 4.3 times faster on the 512 kbps connection used to test in Fiddler2.

    HTML output is 5 to 7 times smaller! The page size is reduced from 324K to 41K - about 7 times less.

    The Settings

    To get the all the benefits of HTML compression and resource merging from the DXperience 2009 volume 2 release, set these four settings to true in your web.config file:

    <configuration>
      ...
      <devExpress>
        <compression enableHtmlCompression="false" 
                     enableCallbackCompression="true" 
                     enableResourceCompression="true" 
                     enableResourceMerging="false" />
        <themes enableThemesAssembly="true" />
        <errors callbackErrorRedirectUrl="" />
      </devExpress>
      ...
    </configuration>
    • enableHtmlCompression – Compresses HTML output to the client browser including AJAX callbacks. This option is disabled by default. If this option is set to true, the value of the Callback Compression option is not in effect.
      • To compress individual pages, use the DevExpress.Web.ASPxClasses.ASPxWebControl.MakeResponseCompressed() method.
    • enableCallbackCompression – Compresses AJAX callbacks. This option is enabled by default. This option's setting is not in effect, if the Page Html Compression option is set to true.
    • enableResourceCompression – Compresses scripts and CSS files. This option specifies whether resources (script and CSS files) are compressed by the server before posting to the client. The reduced size is about 20% of the original size (i.e., reducing it by a factor of 4-5). This option is enabled by default.
    • enableResourceMerging – This optioin specifies whether resources (script and CSS files) from different assemblies are combined in the following manner, to be sent to the client: all scripts that are required by the requested page are combined in one file, and all required CSS files are merged in one file.

      This feature helps reduce the number of requests to the server. This option is disabled by default. 

      Enabling this option might make sense if your web application has a few web pages that use different DevExpress web controls, or most of the pages use the same set of DevExpress web controls.

    Starting with version 2010 volume 1, a DevExpress specific section is automatically created within the web.config file, when any DevExpress web control is placed from the Visual Studio toolbox and onto a web page using the designer.

    HTML compression has one shortcoming - a client browser will only display a compressed webpage after the page is completely loaded to the client. Consider the zipped file analogy. A zipped file has to be unpacked before you can view its contents.

    This brings up an interesting question, what kind of load does compression put on the server and the client?

    Bandwidth vs Processor

    Compression has a small trade-off. Compression requires that both the server and client use more CPU cycles. After all, compression is the process of encoding information using fewer bits.

    On the other hand, compression has major advantages like faster websites and less bandwidth. So which do you choose?

    Simple, choose to save bandwidth and speed up your website. Bandwidth is expensive and processors cost very little comparatively. In fact, modern processors are fast and versatile enough to easily handle HTML compression requirements.

    Besides ISP bandwidth costs, speed is also important for a website. Major sites like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft understand this. If your website takes too long to load then the visitors are more likely to leave. Therefore, you should consider website speed a factor for user experience on the web (search on Google).

    IIS Compression

    We’ve done some tests to see how the IIS compression feature and the four optimizations work together. We didn’t find any unusual behavior since everything worked as expected.

    The DXperience ASP.NET controls offer a ton of functionality and styling while still being performant! So it’s hard to imagine that even more performance could be squeezed out the controls. But, that’s exactly what we’re going to attempt in the DXperience 2009 volume 3 release when we tackle CSS Image Sprites!

    Powered by DevExpress ASP.NET Controls

    I’d love to hear what kind of performance gains you experience with the DXperience 2009 volume 2 ASP.NET controls? Drop me a line below and feel free to post your DevExpress-powered website URL.

    DXperience is a royalty-free tool suite for rapid business application development for WinForms and ASP.NET apps.

    Instantly enhance your WinForms and ASP.NET apps by dropping in new feature sets encapsulated in components. DXperience contains:

    • IDE Productivity Tools - Make Visual Studio easier and more effective with IDE enhancements
      • DXCore - IDE tools extensible engine
      • CodeRush - Extensible swiss army knife of tools to make source code editing faster and easier, including code editing templates, code editing utilities (selection, navigation, clipboard), inline code visualizations and the upcoming unit test runner.
      • Refactor Pro - Code editing tools specifically geared for refactoring source code.
    • XAF - Business app framework for WinForms and ASP.NET
    • XPO – Object-relational mapping for .NET
    • Reporting - Reporting "platform" for WinForms and ASP.NET
    • UI Components for WinForms, ASP.NET, WPF and Silverlight

    Try a fully-functional version of DXperience for free now: http://www.devexpress.com/Downloads/NET/

     

  • CodeRush: Unit Test Runner Preview

    Unit testing support is one of the most requested features for CodeRush and Mark Miller and his IDE team are hard at work on it right now. They've made great progress so I'm able to share a sneak peek with you today.

    Mark wanted me to make it clear that this "Test Runner" sneak peek is very early and unfinished functionality so he and the IDE team could change any aspect of what you're about to see.

    Test Runner In-source UI: More cowbell

    The Test Runner consists of two parts:

    • a tool window
    • an in-editor UI

    Take a look at this preview screenshot of the in-editor UI (click the image to see a larger version):

    TestRunnerUIPreview 

    Stay tuned – we’ll show you the Test Runner’s tool window in a future post.

    If you work with NUnit then look closely at the method names and their attributes in the screenshot. Note that even the sophisticated attribute combinations using ExpectedMessage and MatchType (combinations that challenge some other unnamed test runners) are properly evaluated by the CodeRush Test Runner.

    Run Test Cases

    Run test cases by Ctrl+Clicking the test icon next to the test method's attributes in the editor. Keyboard shortcuts also supported.

    Or run test cases from the Test Runner. We’ll post more info on the tool window UI in future posts.

    image

    Test Framework Support (so far)

    The CodeRush Test Runner currently supports:

    • VS Test (Visual Studio’s built-in testing framework – MSDN Walkthrough)
    • MbUnit – Generative unit test framework for .NET
    • nUnit - Unit-testing framework for all .Net languages
    • Any other .NET testing framework (just about), more on this below…

    The top three frameworks have built-in support by the CodeRush Test Runner and not by an external plugin. This gives you the advantage that the IDE team will support your questions, comments, and, of course, suggestions when using any of these three frameworks!

    Extensibility

    Extensibility is a big advantage for you. It allows you to create/edit/distribute plugins. Extensibility also creates a great ecosystem to interact and share with other developers using CodeRush.

    Extensibility is one of the key features for CodeRush which is built on top of the DXCore framework. In fact, CodeRush’s extensible architecture already has a ton of great plugins available. Check out the full list of free and useful plugins on the google code site: http://code.google.com/p/dxcorecommunityplugins/wiki/PluginResources

    And extensibility is also a major feature of the Test Runner. You can extend the Test Runner to support virtually any .NET testing framework using the DXCore extensibility engine.

    Awesome, When Can I Get It?

    The IDE team is planning to release early versions of this feature in the near future. And the CodeRush Test Runner is planned for a full release later this year in the DXperience 2009 volume 3 release.

    The upcoming Test Runner looks to be a game changer for many people who’ve been anticipating this announcement. What do you think? Drop me a line below with your thoughts.

    DXperience? What's That?

    DXperience is a royalty-free tool suite for rapid business application development for WinForms and ASP.NET apps.

    Instantly enhance your WinForms and ASP.NET apps by dropping in new feature sets encapsulated in components. DXperience contains:

    • IDE Productivity Tools - Make Visual Studio easier and more effective with IDE enhancements
      • DXCore - IDE tools extensible engine
      • CodeRush - Extensible swiss army knife of tools to make source code editing faster and easier, including code editing templates, code editing utilities (selection, navigation, clipboard), inline code visualizations and the upcoming unit test runner.
      • Refactor Pro - Code editing tools specifically geared for refactoring source code.
    • XAF - Business app framework for WinForms and ASP.NET
    • XPO – Object-relational mapping for .NET
    • Reporting - Reporting "platform" for WinForms and ASP.NET
    • UI Components for WinForms, ASP.NET, WPF and Silverlight

    Try a fully-functional version of DXperience for free now: http://www.devexpress.com/Downloads/NET/

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