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

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November 2014 - Posts

  • ASP.NET Data Editors: Date Edit, Clear Button and Binary Image Enhancements (Coming soon in v14.2)

    Check out these new features of the DevExpress ASP.NET Data Editor controls in the v14.2 release:

    Date Edit - Date Ranges

    DevExpress ASP.NET Date Ranges

    You can now create a date range using the DevExpress ASP.NET DateEdit control. Two controls specifically that link to each other to provide a UI for the end-user to select the range.

    And you can customize it beyond just the start and end dates. You can set things like minimum and maximum number for the range of days and even specify the error message.

    Clear Button

    We've improved most of the DevExpress ASP.NET editor controls to support a clear button:

    Editors supporting buttons like Combo Box, Date Edit, Spin Edit, etc. get the option to display a clear button that allows you to reset an editor's content. The button visibility is toggled depending on the editor focus and value.

    A clear button helps users save time when editing a mis-typed value in an input control.

    Binary Image - Server Resizing

    The ASP.NET Binary Image control now allows you to re-size and crop images on the server-side.

    This feature helps you to significantly reduce the amount of data sent to the client and make your web application more responsive.

    Binary Image control will render images depending on the control's width and height property values and image size mode. Supported image size modes are ActualSizeOrFit, FitProportional and FillAndCrop.

    Your Next Great .NET App Starts Here

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

  • ASP.NET Spreadsheet: Printing, Protection, Chart Customization, and More (Coming soon in v14.2)

    The powerful DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet control for ASP.NET WebForms and MVC is getting these major enhancements in the v14.2 release:

    1. Printing
    2. Protection for workbook & worksheet elements
    3. Text Search
    4. Full-Screen mode
    5. Dynamic Chart Customization

    We introduced the DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet control a year ago and with each release, it has gotten better. The enhancements in this iteration now make the DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet control one of the best and most complete spreadsheet controls on the market.

    1. Printing

    The DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet Control allows end-users to print the workbook contents using the built-in Ribbon UI.

    DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet - Print button

    And before printing a workbook, the end-user can specify print settings for each worksheet individually using the Page Layout Ribbon tab.

    DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet - Page Layout

    To start printing, click the Print item from the Ribbon's File tab and this will invoke a browser-specific print dialog. The options available within the print dialog will vary based upon the client browser. Here's an example of printing from Google Chrome browser:

    DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet - Printing

    2. Workbook and Worksheet Element Protection

    DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet - Workbook and Worksheet Element Protection

    The DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet Control provides support for worksheet and workbook element protection.

    Microsoft Excel allows you lock whole worksheets or specific elements from being changed.

    And now the DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet will also make sure that when an end-user opens a document which contains protected elements, the control prevents them from being modified.

    For instance, the Spreadsheet can lock the workbook’s structure preventing users from adding, deleting, hiding or displaying worksheets. Or, the Spreadsheet can prevent end-users from editing the contents of locked cells within a protected worksheet. This helps obscure data or formulas that might confuse users and prevents them from viewing or making changes to that data.

    3. Text Search (CTRL-F)

    DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet - Text Search

    The DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet Control allows end-users to easily locate data within any worksheet. To execute a search, click the new 'Find & Select' Ribbon item (or press CTRL+F), enter text within the Find box and click the Find All button. The Spreadsheet will display search results as clickable table rows. Results will include each cell reference and its associated value. A click on a row highlights the corresponding cell in the worksheet.

    4. Dynamic Chart Customization

    Once a chart is created, end-users can customize its settings (type, layout, styles, underlying data range, etc.) via the built-in context menu.

    So to customize a chart on the Spreadsheet, just right-click on the chart and you have a range of options at your finger tips.

    5. Full-screen Mode

    DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet - Full screen view

    With this release, the DevExpress ASP.NET Spreadsheet Control can be maximized to fill the browser's entire client region.

    What do you think about the new Spreadsheet enhancements for the v14.2 release? Drop me a line below. Thanks!

    Mehul Harry
    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: (free support is included during your evaluation).

  • Breaking change at ASP.NET design-time (v14.2)

    No matter how hard we try and avoid it, sometimes we have no other option but to introduce a breaking change when we fix an issue. And this was the case with fixing the long-standing issue of the length of time taken to save an ASP.NET page at design-time.

    The issue

    To summarize: when you save an ASP.NET page containing many of our controls from within Visual Studio it can take a long time, even several minutes. Given that we encourage developers to create a rich user interface by using our controls, this situation can be extremely frustrating.

    The problem is caused by the way we had separated our controls into different namespaces, even within the same assembly. In that situation, we discovered that Visual Studio will iterate through every class and namespace several times as it tries to resolve references. This process can take some time.

    For more detail about the problem, please see the following support ticket:

    Saving an ASP.NET page at design time is very slow in Visual Studio 2013, 2012, 2010

    The solution

    The core issue with 'slow saving pages' has to do with how the DevExpress namespaces are registered.

    We found that if controls belong to different namespaces within the same assembly then Visual Studio will iterate through every class several times (for internal purposes).

    To solve this issue, we merged namespaces in DevExpress.Web.vX.X assembly in the v14.2 release to prevent additional iterations.

    Breaking change

    Of course, this fix means that the namespaces that are no longer being used must be removed from your projects. Rather than expect you to manually change each and every one of your projects (it’s doable, but very tedious), we’ve updated the DevExpress Project Converter tool in v14.2 to do it for you. The tool will not only make sure the assembly references are updated in your projects, but for v14.2 it will also rename any affected classes and move them into the new namespace, and remove the unused ones.

    Using the Project Converter is the simplest and most robust way to mitigate this particular breaking change.

    But what if you have an issue with the upgrade?!?

    Help! I've got an upgrade issue

    Although we have tested the Project Converter and its fixes for this issue on many of our internal projects, including demos, it could be that there is some use case that it might fail with. If this happens to you, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team. There are two ways of doing that:

    1. Create a support ticket in the Support Center.
    2. Email directly.

    Either way, we will respond as soon as possible. We want to ensure that you are happy with the new features in v14.2 and can use it profitably.

    Mehul Harry
    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: (free support is included during your evaluation).

  • ASP.NET Data Grid: Enhancements (Coming soon in v14.2)

    The excellent DevExpress ASP.NET GridView (or DataGrid) control is getting even better with the v14.2 release!

    Check out these features that will be available for both ASP.NET WebForms and MVC versions of the GridView:

    Instant Search Panel

    I love this feature because it adds one simple but powerful way to filter the GridView. The new 'instant search panel' feature adds one textbox at the top of the GridView that provides an easy and straightforward way for end-users to locate data. Much like how Microsoft Word's Find feature works.

    Enter text within the Find box and the grid will display those records that have matching values:

    DevExpress ASP.NET Grid Control - Instant Search Panel

    It's a feature that we've had in our WinForms DataGrid, XtraGrid, for a while and I'm happy to say that we've now ported it for ASP.NET.

    Fixed Group Rows

    With this update, the DevExpress ASP.NET Grid View can anchor a grouped row to the topmost region of its container as it scrolls records contained within a specific group:

    DevExpress ASP.NET Grid Control - Fixed Group Rows

    This helps your end-users see the current grouping of the rows easily and quickly.

    New Excel® Data Export Engine

    The DevExpress ASP.NET Grid Control uses a new, more powerful Excel data export engine. Both the performance and memory usage of this new engine have been significantly improved.

    The following grid features are fully supported for all Excel export operations:

    1. Data Grouping - with the ability to collapse/expand groups within a worksheet
    2. Data Sorting and Filtering - allowing end-users to display relevant data in the desired order
    3. Totals and Group Summaries - with the ability to modify/change formulas
    4. Data Validation for Combo-box Columns
    5. Fixed Columns

    Learn more here

    DevExpress ASP.NET Grid Control - Data Group and Summary

    What do you think about the new GridView features in the v14.2 release? Drop me a line below. Thanks!

    Mehul Harry
    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: (free support is included during your evaluation).

  • ASP.NET Adaptive and Responsive UI Support (Coming soon in v14.2)

    I'm very happy to announce that the ASP.NET controls in the DevExpress v14.2 release will now help you to create ASP.NET websites that can conform to different screen sizes.

    DevExpress ASP.NET Responsive Adaptive Panel

    Responsive Web Design (RWD)

    Responsive web design (RWD) can mean different things but at its core it is defined as:

    A site designed with RWD adapts the layout to the viewing environment...
    - Wikipedia

    Therefore, your website should adapt to the browser that it's being viewed on whether that browser is on a mobile tablet or a desktop monitor. In the past, this presented some problems for sites that are designed with fixed widths and layouts because they cannot adapt.

    Bootstrap support

    To help developers create sites that conformed to RWD principles, many solutions like Bootstrap (formerly Twitter Bootstrap)) were invented and gained popularity.

    DevExpress ASP.NET has supported the Bootstrap framework since the v14.1 release. However, we felt this support was not a complete story for our customers using our ASP.NET controls.

    Framework like Bootstrap are great and have their advantages. In fact, the Microsoft ASP.NET team uses the Bootstrap framework in their File->New project templates. However, not everyone uses these frameworks or wants learn a new framework to get RWD for their ASP.NET websites.

    Now with the v14.2 release, we have a great story for those who use Bootstrap or those would like to use DevExpress ASP.NET controls. Therefore, if you use Bootstrap, the ASP.NET controls will work out of the box. Or you can use the new DevExpress ASP.NET Adaptive panels...

    DevExpress ASP.NET Adaptive Panels - Benefits

    In the v14.2 release, we have improved one MVC extension and created a new one:

    • Panel - New
    • CallbackPanel

    These panels now support "Adaptive" mode. Contents inside the panels will expand or collapse based on the browser's height and width. But wait, there's more...

    ☰ Adaptive Menu

    The new DevExpress ASP.NET Adaptive panels display the popular three line navicon:

    DevExpress ASP.NET Mobile Menu

    The Bootstrap framework popularized this dropdown style of menu for mobile devices. It is also referred to as the "hamburger" style menu button.

    This "hamburger" style menu icon is automatically displayed based on the browser height and width.

    Auto or On Demand

    The panels can collapse or expand their contents automatically when re-sized or on demand! You have full control of the panels ' behavior.

    Dock HTML Content

    You can now dock HTML content in our updated ASPxPanel and ASPxCallbackPanel. The content that is docked will stay fixed to any side of the browser that you define:

    DevExpress Responsive ASP.NET Panel - Dock Content

    And the panel keeps its fixed positions even while scrolling the page!

    Adaptive Pager controls

    The DevExpress ASP.NET Pager control (ASPxPager) has been improved. In the v14.2 release, the DevExpress ASP.NET Pager control cleverly adapts for RWD:

    DevExpress Responsive ASP.NET GridView

    The adaptive pager feature will work with the GridView, TreeList, DataView, etc. (basically any DevExpress ASP.NET control that uses the pager within it).

    And this adaptive pager feature of the DevExpress ASP.NET GridView works without the need for the new adaptive panels.

    Get started with VS Project Templates

    You can get started creating new Responsive websites using the new project templates in the v14.2 release:

    DevExpress Responsive Project Templates

    The templates allow you to select the layout and application settings for your new responsive website using DevExpress ASP.NET.

    DevExpress Responsive Project Templates - MVC Project Wizard

    The standard project templates are still available too. The main difference is that new responsive templates use our Adaptive panels instead of the DevExpress ASP.NET Splitter control.

    ASP.NET MVC & WebForms

    Good news! The features and controls I mention above are supported by both our ASP.NET WebForms and MVC suite of products.

    DevExpress ASP.NET MVC suite is getting the new Panel extension as well as upgrades to the CallbackPanel extension too.

    Join the webinars

    If you're interested in learning more about the responsive features, please join me for live demos on these upcoming webinars:

    What do you think about the new Responsive UI and Adaptive layout support in v14.2? Drop me a line below. Thanks!

    Mehul Harry
    Twitter: @MehulHarry

  • ASP.NET Ribbon Control Enhancements (Coming soon in v14.2)

    The DevExpress ASP.NET Ribbon Control is getting three useful enhancements for the v14.2 release:

    1. Dialog Box Launcher

    You can launch a custom dialog box right from the Ribbon's UI using the new DialogBoxLauncher buttons that are integrated into the control:

    DevExpress ASP.NET Ribbon - DialogBox launcher buttons

    The DialogLauncher buttons are available in the ribbon groups. This look and feel is exactly how the Microsoft Office Ribbon bar implements them.

    You can enable the button using the RibbonGroup.ShowDialogBoxLauncher property.

    Check out this demo of the ASPxRichEdit control which uses these buttons to launch custom dialogs:

    DevExpress ASP.NET RichEdit - Ribbon Dialog

    New Client-side Event

    The DevExpress ASP.NET Ribbon control has supported a great client-side API and numerous events since its launch. And now for v14.2, we've also added the DialogBoxLauncherClicked event. This event is fired when the new dialog box button is clicked. This allows you to call custom dialogs.

    2. DropDown Toggle Button

    A new Dropdown Toggle button has been added for the Ribbon button collection. The new Item type is called RibbonDropDownToggleButtonItem.

    You can add the new button inside the parent dropdown button. Check out this demo of the ASPxRichEdit that uses the new dropdown toggle button of the ASPxRibbon control:

    DevExpress ASP.NET RichEdit - Dropdown Toggle in Ribbon

    The new dropdown toggle button also allows you to check the items.

    3. Server-Side Events

    You now have two new server-side events in the ASPxRibbon control:

    1. CommandExecuted - lets you process a call on the server-side
    2. DialogBoxLauncherClicked - allows you to launch a custom dialog box (see item #1 above)

    Previous versions of the ribbon control did not have server-side events. However, server-side events are important as there are things that are better processed on the server instead of the client (large database calls, complex/custom logic, exporting, etc.)

    ASP.NET MVC & WebForms

    The DevExpress ASP.NET Ribbon control is available for both ASP.NET MVC & WebForms platforms. And all the above enhancements are available in both versions!

    Check out the online demos here:


    Build Your Best - Without Limits or Compromise

    Try the DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions online now:

    Read the latest news about DevExpress ASP.NET MVC Extensions:

    Download a free and fully-functional version now:

  • ASP.NET Word-Inspired Rich Text Editor (Preview release coming soon)

    It's finally time to introduce the DevExpress ASP.NET Rich Edit control - ASPxRichEdit. It has all the powerful editing features of great text editors like Microsoft Word, but online. And it’s beautiful, check it out here shown with the Mulberry theme:

    DevExpress ASP.NET RichEdit Control


    With the DevExpress ASP.NET RichText editor control, you can craft and edit rich-text documents with your ASP.NET sites with ease. It's WYSIWYG!

    • A familiar interface like Microsoft Word for editing (with Ribbon UI)
    • Cross-browser compatible (even touch mobile browsers)
    • A rich user interface that's customizable
    • Multiple themes support
    • Document management, export, and print capabilities
    • And more... (read the features section below)

    Preview for 14.2

    This first version of the ASPxRichEdit control is a preview version and it's available in the 14.2 release.

    A preview version means that we’re not finished with the features, stability, and other goodies that we want to bake into the new ASPxRichEdit control. For example, we're planning to add support for mail merging, table and lists support, float objects, table of contents, and more. And we are already working on these features for a future major release.

    Warning: You are free to use this control in your websites today. However, be aware that it is a preview version and therefore, the API, properties, and/or features may change.

    That said, the new ASP.NET RichEdit control has enough of a feature set that we'd love for you to test drive it and give us your feedback.


    The preview version of the ASPxRichEdit control includes:

    • Page settings support (margins, page size, orientation)
    • Paragraph settings support (vertical and horizontal spacing, alignment, indents)
    • Document styles support
    • Multiple formats supported: DOCX, RTF, TXT, XML, ODT, EPUB, MHT, and DOC
    • Multi-column text mode
    • Different kinds of breaks (page, column, section)
    • Inline images (insert, resize)
    • Horizontal document ruler (similar to desktop rich-text editor)
    • Clipboard support (includes inserting images from clipboard)
    • Built-in document manager
    • Tab stops
    • Print support
    • Full-screen mode
    • and much more...

    Design time support

    The DevExpress ASP.NET RichEdit control has great design time support with custom dialogs to help you build the toolbars, customize client-side API, and more:

    DevExpress ASP.NET RichEdit Control

    HTML vs Rich Editor

    I'm sure you already know that DevExpress also offer the excellent ASP.NET HTML Editor control, ASPxHtmlEditor. So why did we introduce another document editor?

    The ASPxHtmlEditor is a powerful control that was designed to edit HTML content.

    However, you our excellent customers wanted a true rich text editor. We've listened to your feedback and decided last year to start working on this major new control, the ASPxRichEdit.

    Rest assured that the ASPxHtmlEditor is still available and we have plans to improve it for future releases.

    For now, use the:

    1. ASPxRichEdit control for editing rich text content.
    2. ASPxHtmlEditor control for editing HTML content.

    How does it work (internal goodness)?

    The new ASPxRichEdit has some intricate code that our team been working on for almost a year. Check out some of the many pieces that go into making a complex, fast, and powerful control like the ASPxRichEdit:

    New JavaScript text engine

    We've developed a new JavaScript text processing engine specially for the ASPxRichEdit control. And this engine controls everything in the document editing process including: model manipulations, layout calculations & presentation, selection processing, history, clipboard, input operations, and client-server model synchronization. Yes, it's a does a lot and it does it efficiently too. Take a look one of the ASPxRichEdit demos in 14.2 (coming soon).

    Server & client-side in harmony

    The ASPxRichEdit control has a unique server-side setup that differs from classic ASP.NET controls. The server part of ASPxRichEdit control doesn't generate the (HTML) rendering. Instead, the ASPxRichEdit interacts with the document file by reading its' content, sending JSON representation of the model to the client-side, and then applying changes from the client model to the original document.

    Therefore, the Server and client objects work separately. And they communicate through JSON requests and responses via a special ASP.NET handler. So, when user changes the document on the client-side then the changes are all applied to the client model immediately. However,on the server side these changes are sent asynchronously and transparently to the end-user.

    This setup results in an efficient and harmonious experience for the end-user because this communication does not have an effect on the UI performance. In fact, it helps give you a smoother experience overall.

    Because the client-side object model is a big part of the ASPxRichEdit, let's take a look at it's two big parts: the layout engine and event processor.

    Layout engine

    The layout engine is the central piece the ASPxRichEdit's client-side object. The layout engine reads the document model and then transforms it to a layout for the end-user. The Layout engine does this by calculating each word from the model, measures its size, and places it in the layout: box after box and row after row.

    Layout is very important for a rich text editor because it has to be accurate (WYSIWYG) and bad layout can effect performance. The layout engine also needs to take into account all existing settings of the document to create the correct layout. Things like: page size and margins, paragraph settings, tab stops, and section settings. This type of layout processing is not possible in standard HTML editors.

    Event processor

    The other side of the client control is the event processor. It controls all user actions, from text typing to mouse moving, and working with the clipboard. It captures user actions and transforms them to a set of commands. For instance, when user is moving the mouse with the left button pressed down then the event processor should determine the mouse cursor position relatively to the document model and call the SetSelection command. If mouse moving has started on a selected part of the document then it draws the dragging cursor pointer below the cursor and executes the MoveContent command when the user releases the mouse button.

    As you can see, even a simple task can have a complex set of events associated with it and it's the event processor's job to read and execute them properly.

    Canvas manager

    The most visible part of the control is the canvas manager and its document rendering.

    The canvas manager is responsible for what the end-user sees. The canvas manager essentially generates the HTML markup for layout representation, applies changes when the user interacts with the document, applies formatting commands, and is also responsible for scrolling. It also tracks all changes in the layout, determines what to show to the end-user, and finally draws the canvas (editable content of the ASPxRichEdit).

    ASP.NET MVC support?

    No, there is no ASP.NET MVC extension available in 14.2 release, however...

    Yes, there will be an ASP.NET MVC extension when we release the final version of the ASPxRichEdit!

    Available in the 14.2 release

    Now that you're excited about this great new ASP.NET control, remember 2 things:

    1. It's a preview version (for now).
    2. And it's available in the 14.2 release.

    What do you think about the new ASPxRichEdit control? Drop me a line below.


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