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

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February 2018 - Posts

  • DevExtreme Hybrid Mobile Tools Deprecation in v18.1

    Starting with the upcoming major release, v18.1, the DevExtreme hybrid mobile-related tools will be deprecated and placed in to maintenance mode. However, we plan to support creating mobile apps through popular hybrid frameworks, more on this later.

    Our hybrid mobile-related tools includes our SPA Framework and Visual Studio Mobile Tools. [Note, that the Knockout integration will not be deprecated and you can continue to use DevExtreme knockout bindings in your apps.]

    Maintenance mode means that we'll only fix critical bugs and not introduce any new features. Therefore, we do not recommend starting new projects with the hybrid mobile-related tools.

    Why deprecate the hybrid mobile tools?

    Here's four main reasons on why we plan to put our hybrid mobile tools in to maintenance mode:

    1. The DevExtreme hybrid mobile tools were great when we first introduced them, however, today there are other popular frameworks that provide similar benefits
    2. It's costly for us to support our hybrid mobile tools due to changes in dependent external tools and vendors
    3. This will free up the team to provide you the tools that you've been asking for
    4. You can replace some of our hybrid mobile tools with modern equivalents that are available today

    Rest assured that the DevExtreme brand and tools are doing great and will keep growing. We are only deprecating the hybrid mobile tools.

    History

    Back in 2011, there was a lack of good hybrid mobile app frameworks that allowed you to build hybrid mobile apps with native looking UI and behavior. To address this market need for mobile, we launched DevExtreme. However, we designed DevExtreme as a product for both mobile (Cordova/ PhoneGap) and desktop web development.

    We loved that a client-side framework, based on JavaScript, is flexible and can be used in multiple scenarios. So, we decided to create DevExtreme using several aspects of hybrid web development:

    • UI controls and mobile themes (DevExtreme UI Widgets)
    • App layouts and navigation (DevExtreme SPA Framework)
    • Project seeding (DevExtreme Visual Studio Multi-Channel App Wizard)
    • Debugging and deployment (DevExtreme Visual Studio Mobile Tools)
    • Support the popular jQuery library
    • Support the promising KnockoutJS library

    That was many years ago and the landscape for hybrid mobile apps and client-side frameworks has changed.

    Current Landscape

    Today, there are three dominant client-side UI frameworks that developers are considering when starting a new web app: Angular, React, or VueJS. Yes, there are other frameworks too but they don't have a large userbase.

    Let's take a look at some client-side libraries and how they shaped our decision to deprecate our hybrid mobile tools:

    1. PhoneGap

    Adobe's PhoneGap has been around a long time and it continues to grow with new features and tools. Unfortunately, changes in PhoneGap causes headaches for our DevExtreme customers and the DevExtreme team too because DevExtreme hybrid mobile tools rely on PhoneGap.

    Another source of breaking changes affecting DevExtreme is Apple. Randomly, they may change the mobile app acceptance rules, deployment package requirements, or other hybrid mobile app requirement.

    Essentially, this causes the DevExtreme team to spend resources fixing external issues rather than providing more value to our customers.

    2. Angular

    Today, Angular is the most popular framework. It targets Angular developers, has thousands of contributors, and is quite mature now. In short, Angular provides a great framework for desktop web development. However, Angular has made tremendous progress in providing hybrid mobile development too by using tools like the Ionic Framework.

    It's also accompanied with a number of useful services for UI design, push notifications, DevOps, and other aspects of hybrid mobile development.

    3. React

    Facebook's React framework has been gaining popularity for the past few years. They also have a great mobile development framework called React Native. React Native allows you to build mobile apps with a native UI using JavaScript. Developers' experiences with React Native has drastically improved too with the introduction of the Expo toolchain. In fact, the React community is bringing new tools and improvements as it grows.

    4. VueJS

    VueJS is a young framework but with a rapidly growing community. It's difficult to predict the mobile future of VueJS, but some products such as Quasar or Weex might become mainstream for hybrid or native VueJS mobile development in the future.

    5. KnockoutJS

    DevExtreme provides deep integration with our controls and KnockoutJS. Unfortunately, there are fewer developers who use KnockoutJS each year.

    We'll continue to support KnockoutJS because our integration is mature and it doesn't take many development resources. However, we do not plan to base our tools on KnockoutJS in the future. Instead, we are looking forward to Angular, React, and VueJS tooling.

    Mobile Future of DevExtreme

    The future looks bright for DevExtreme because in addition to growing our support for more client-side frameworks, we have plans to provide you support to create hybrid mobile apps using other hybrid frameworks and without the deprecated DevExtreme hybrid mobile tools. In a future major release, we're planning to bring you things like Visual Studio wizards, app layouts, and modified mobile themes.

    However, you can create mobile solutions today with DevExtreme and a hybrid mobile app framework. For example, you can use the Ionic Framework and integrate the DevExtreme charts or other DevExtreme controls.

    Are you developing a progressive web app (PWA) for both desktop and mobile devices? Then you can seamlessly use rich DevExtreme UI controls in it as well.

    Alternative Recommendations

    Since our DevExtreme hybrid mobile tools are going in maintenance mode, we've come up with a few possible replacements that are available today. Let's take a look:

    • DevExtreme SPA Framework provides client-side application capabilities such as routing, navigation between views, app layouts, and view rendering and management. The modern frameworks we mentioned above like Angular, React, Vue, Iconic, etc. have these same capabilities out-of-the-box or as a separate npm packages that you can add. In a future major release, we plan to provide you new responsive app layouts that based on these modern frameworks and they will use DevExtreme controls in them. In essence, you'll have a File->New type of project template using Angular, React, etc and it will provide you a way for you to create new responsive web apps with DevExtreme controls.

    • DevExtreme Visual Studio Multi-Channel App Wizard is very useful because it allows you to get started quickly by building you a mobile solution based on your data. This wizard creates an OData web service, then scaffolds a DevExtreme SPA Framework application, and also generates the views based on the new OData service. I'm happy to say that we'll replace this wizard with similar tools that can generate an ASP.NET MVC/Core API back-end and Angular views that will be bound to it.

    • DevExtreme Visual Studio Mobile Simulator represents an in-browser HTML container for modeling real devices using screen size, orientation, and user agent. Google Chrome has a similar built-in feature. Moreover, it also simulates touch events. We recommend switching to Chrome's built-in tool.

    • DevExtreme Visual Studio Mobile View Designer is a tool for visually creating mobile views with DevExtreme controls using drag-n-drop operations. This tool isn't used much according to it our usage statistics and user feedback. Creating views via markup is a common task these days for web developers. We don't have any plans to replace this tool, but if you need, you can find free or commercial tools for mobile app prototyping.

    • DevExtreme Visual Studio Native Packer can create a native app package locally for uploading to Apple App Store, Google Play, and Windows Store. This functionality is available today from the PhoneGap Build service and we recommend using it instead.

    • DevExtreme Visual Studio Courier App is used for remote debugging of DevExtreme hybrid mobile apps by accessing a local web-server from the Internet using your mobile device via an HTTP proxy. These days, you can find several different tools to perform remote debugging of your mobile apps. For instance, if you target React Native, you can use the Expo Client app. If you target Angular then Ionic View is your choice. You can also use the ngrok service to access your localhost remotely. We recommend using one of these other remote debugging tools going forward.

    • DevExtreme iOS and Android Themes mimic native mobile apps appearance and behavior. We are going to replace the Android mobile theme with a modern Material Design one. The iOS mobile theme is going to be substituted with the improved Generic theme that will look very similar.

    Wrapping up

    So to recap, we are placing the DevExtreme hybrid mobile tools into maintenance mode because:

    • There are many great client-side hybrid mobile app frameworks available today
    • To avoid costly breaking changes and issues with mobile frameworks and vendors
    • DevExtreme will shift focus on providing great UI controls for existing popular client-side and hybrid frameworks

    As noted above, we have plans to replace some of these tools so that you can continue to build great UI in your apps that are client-side, hybrid mobile, PWA, etc.

    Help us by sharing your mobile strategy with us. Do you plan to develop mobile using one of the following?

    • Responsive website with PWA features
    • Hybrid Ionic
    • React Native app
    • Xamarin
    • Native mobile app
    • Or something else?

    Please leave a comment below or email me and your feedback will help us plan for future releases.

    Thanks!


    Email: mharry@devexpress.com

    Twitter: @mehulharry

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

    Update February 22, 2018: Thanks to the excellent community of folks using DevExtreme, we now have Italian, French, Chinese, Czech, Swedish, and Finnish localizations of DevExtreme ready and will be available in the minor releases: v17.2.6 and v17.1.10.

    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

  • 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

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