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  • We’re here at Techorama in Antwerp, are you?

    Techorama2017

    Just a quick note to say we – John, Don, and I – will be manning our booth at Techorama at the Kinepolis Antwerpen tomorrow and Wednesday, so if you are here, please make sure that you pop over and say hello, discuss your experiences with our products, and get some swag. We are certainly looking forward to meeting you, saying hi to the attendees who don’t know us yet, and having some fun.

    And yes, I’m talking about the booth that we’re about to go and set up, which is why I don’t have a picture of it or us yet. Stay tuned!

  • DevExpress Universal v17.1 released

    As usual this close to a release, our Community Site recently has been filled with posts labeled “Coming Soon in v17.1”. Even with the beta being available, I’m sure you’ve been anticipating our first major release of the year, getting ready to crack on with updating your apps and using the new enhancements. Well, wait no more: the teams have completed their testing of the build and it was published to the Download Center around lunchtime, my time. If you have an active subscription, you can go now to our Download Center, log in, and download the latest and greatest.

    For what’s new in this release, please go to this page and read all about the enhancements we’ve provided.

    This page shows the Resolved Issues introduced in this release. There are a great number, let me tell you, so apologies if it takes a little while to load the page…

    For every major release, no matter how hard we try and minimize the impact, the new features and enhancements are bound to cause a few breaking changes. You can read about the v17.1 breaking changes here.

    As with every release, we are extremely grateful to everyone who provided feedback on our products, who used and tested the beta and provided information on the issues they found, and, of course, to all our customers who use our products every day. We hope that what we have in v17.1 is going to validate that trust in and appeal of our products.

  • DevExpress at Microsoft Build 2017, Day 2

    If you are a developer that uses Microsoft’s products (Azure, Windows, Visual Studio, VSCode) to any great degree, you will know that this week is the week of the Microsoft Build developers’ conference. And, of course, Developer Express is here with their booth hosted by Amanda; with technical evangelists Paul, Areg, and Mehul, that know their stuff and who are ready to discuss your use of our products, demo our controls and widgets for v17.1; and … me.

    DevExpress booth at Bulid 2017

    I’m sure that you are keeping abreast of the news coming out from the conference: Azure, the new AI stuff, Windows 10 Fall Creators update, HoloLens and so on, so I won’t repeat it here. Nevertheless, it’s certainly been interesting talking to the attendees that pass by our booth about the issues they see with their apps and projects, and how we can help them resolve them. If you’re here and haven’t come by to say hello yet, we’re right by the truck (if you want to know, it’s for a HoloLens demo), and we’re ready to say hi and give out some swag.

    Evangelism at the DevExpress booth at Build

    …the technical evangelists: come stump them with your questions!

    Amanda at the DevExpress booth at Build

    …and Amanda will present you with our swag!

  • WinForms Default Settings: Some changes afoot in v17.1

    Default settings: they can be a force for good and then quite quickly they can be a right royal pain. After all, when we supply some advanced functionality as part of our suites and controls, it’s good to have a reasonable default setting for the new property or behavior. The issue then becomes what happens when we add some more behavior and suddenly the current default setting is no longer the optimal or better one. What to do? Alter it and have it result in some breaking change in your app? Mmm.

    Wrenchv17.1 of the WinForms suite of controls brings numerous new features, features that we are starting to describe in blog posts. As part of these new, and we hope, better features, we’re changing some default settings. First, let me list the changes I’m talking about, and then I’ll describe how we’re going to mitigate them.

    • With the Data Grid, Vertical Grid and Tree List end-users will be able to modify unbound columns' expressions by using the advanced Expression Editor dialog, which supports auto- completion and syntax highlighting.
    • Automatic filtering rows for Data Grid and Tree List now allow end-users to change the filtering condition from the default "Equals" (or "Like") to any other condition, e.g. "Starts With" or "Is Not Like".
    • Data Grid now prefers speed rather than absolute precision when calculating the best widths for columns.
    • Excel-inspired filtering menus are now the default filters for Data Grid and Tree List controls.
    • End-users can now hold the "Ctrl" key when dragging Data Grid column headers to the group panel. This allows end-users to apply joint data grouping by multiple columns at once.
    • The default Ribbon style is now "Office 2013".
    • Tree List control now enables filtering and shows its Find panel out-of-the-box.

    I’m sure that you’ll agree that these changes and defaults are very beneficial to your users, but I’m sure there are occasions when you’d rather introduce such changes in a step-wise fashion over a period of time rather than just have them all suddenly appear when you upgrade to v17.1. For new apps, sure, have at it, let’s use them all.

    To help you out, we have also added a new static property: DefaultSettingsCompatibilityMode. To revert all these defaults to their previous values in one go, simply change this property value from Latest to v16. (Refer to this documentation article to see the complete property list this setting affects.) I’m sure you can see where this is going in the future: adding other enumeration values for later version numbers to revert defaults back to a known point.

  • WPF Rich Text Editor: Upcoming Breaking Change

    Starting with v17.1, we are improving how we generate the ribbon for the WPF Rich Text Editor with regard to where we source the images used. Although we shall be maintaining the current behavior alongside the new enhancements for v17.1, this backward compatibility will be removed in v17.2, causing a possible breaking change.

    WrenchCurrently the ribbon generation process uses images from two different sources: the DevExpress.RichEdit.Core.dll assembly, as well as the WinForms Rich Text Editor (no, that is not a typo!). To put it mildly, this is not optimal. In v17.1, we have copied these images to the DevExpress.Images.dll assembly as well, and the new ribbon generation code for the Rich Text Editor will source the images from there. However, this could cause a breaking change since we are referencing an assembly that you may not be deploying as part of your app.

    Please note that the images are exactly the same, they are just provided in a different assembly.

    Of course, this double collection of ribbon images could be a source of future bugs: we have to ensure any new or changed images are compiled into two completely different assembly sets. Indeed you could view this as a special kind of “code duplication”. Hence, in v17.2 we shall be removing these Rich Edit ribbon images from the Core assemblies, and from then on they will only be available from the Images assembly.

    To avoid future problems, when you upgrade to v17.1, please ensure that the DevExpress.Images.dll assembly is included in your build process.

  • DevExpress VCL Subscription: Tokyo or Bust!

    Tokyo at nightLast week, Embarcadero released the next major version of RAD Studio, v10.2. In keeping with their new convention of naming major releases after major cities (Seattle for v10.0, then Berlin for v10.1), this particular version is named after Tokyo. Welcome to RAD Studio 10.2 Tokyo!

    As it turned out, supporting this particular version was not too onerous: the changes for code targeting VCL on Windows are small and easily catered for. (The main new feature is of course Linux support for server apps, something that  does not fall within our user experience purview.) Consequently, I am able to announce that we have already added support for RAD Studio Tokyo in v16.2.5.

    Even better: it’s already ready for downloading from the Client Center: just log in and click the download link. The trial version also has been updated to install with Tokyo.

    Enjoy!

    (Tokyo by Moyan Brenn, on Flickr. CC 2.0 license.)

  • Visual Studio 2017 launch: our products are ready, are you?

    Today, March 7, is a big day in the Microsoft developer world: Visual Studio 2017 has been released.

    VS2017 launch date - 7 March 2017

    So, where does DevExpress stand with regard to our .NET products? Will we be ready? Will you be able to download VS2017 on Day One and use your favorite user interface controls, tools and frameworks with it? I’m sure it will come as no surprise that we have been diligently working with the betas of VS2017 to ensure that you can start immediately.

    In fact, on February 28 (a week ago) we released DevExpress Universal and DevExtreme 16.2.5 as well as CodeRush 16.2.6, and it is these builds which have our official support for VS2017. So if you are a “real” active customer, staying abreast of our latest releases, you already have the right bits for the Visual Studio 2017 launch. There is nothing else to download.

    I’m certainly ready for this new version of Visual Studio. VS2015 is so passé! VS2017 is where it’s at!

  • DevExpress Logify: Readying for release

    Six weeks ago I announced a brand new product from DevExpress, a crash reporting tool codenamed DevExpress Logify, and invited customers to apply for the initial beta. I can report that the beta so far has been a success: we’ve been able to validate our expectations about the kinds and rates of crash reports third-party applications might produce, and have started fine-tuning our logging servers and reporting subsystems. That work continues (and I dare say will never stop), but we are getting very close to release.

    Logify

    In this post I would therefore like to expand on the pricing structure we’ve decided on for Logify. In essence, customers will be able to purchase one of several service bands or levels of Logify tooling.

    Firstly, we will be providing a 30-day trial of the product for new users. This gives those customers the ability to test Logify and the various clients, see what it can do, and even more importantly provide an estimate of how many logs their applications produce.

    Secondly, here are the various levels, and the pricing list for each. All levels provide for the use of all platform client libraries (currently: .NET, JavaScript, and node.js), a general template for notifications, predefined rules for automatically ignoring certain exceptions, and the ability to read and use map files for JavaScript applications (a.k.a. “unmapping”).

    Starter level: $50/month. This level has a limit of 30,000 reports per month, for up to 20 application keys, and allows for customized settings.

    Standard level: $150/month. This level raises the report limit to 300,000, for up to 100 application keys, and allows for customized notifications and provides access to all the auto-ignoring settings.

    Premier level: $300/month. This level includes: up to 500,000 reports per month, unlimited application keys, attachments, minidumps, and a programming API.

    Of course, should you have requirements for even greater customizations, or a greater report count, please contact us for some custom pricing.

    During this transitory period as we make the final preparations for release, we would still encourage you to apply for the beta, especially as we have now published the proposed pricing structure. Remember: In order to join the beta we will need to understand the basics of your application, what devices and run-times it runs on, the competency of your user base, and so on. If you wish to be considered for the DevExpress Logify beta, please contact us by email (support@devexpress.com), with a subject line of “Logify Beta”, and we’ll follow up with a short questionnaire.

  • DevExpress Logify: a New Exception Reporting Tool

    We at DevExpress write controls, components and frameworks. Before we make them available to our customer base, they are integrated into our internal applications for that extra battle-hardened test: can we ourselves use these libraries and tools? Obviously, part of that process is catching exceptions that may be raised and logging them for further reporting and analysis.

    To make this easier, we wrote our own logging tool, codenamed Logify.

    Logify: intro

    The tool has become so invaluable for our internal testing, that we now have packaged it as a new product. Currently DevExpress Logify is in beta: although it works for us, we need a lot more data and feedback from our customers using it in their applications.

    In essence, DevExpress Logify allows you, the developer, to catch all unprocessed exceptions in your applications, log them, and then process and report on them through a web interface. Let us explore the features of the product.

    What can DevExpress Logify do for you?

    We developed DevExpress Logify to simplify and expedite the collection and processing of application crashes. DevExpress Logify does this by:

    • Allowing you to customize notification types and times so you receive alerts where and when you want them.
    • Providing notifications to give you comprehensive and actionable information to help you fix crashes efficiently. You’ll always know when and why a crash happened.
    • Enabling you to maintain stable, robust, high quality apps through constant monitoring and crash reporting. You will no longer need to rely on inaccurate user reports or complaints.

    Why DevExpress Logify?

    There are several exception logging libraries and crash reporting tools available, some open source. Why do we think that DevExpress Logify is superior? There are six main advantages:

    Easy to begin using it

    DevExpress Logify doesn’t require any complex installation or registration. We provide you with an API key for your application and several lines to add to your application’s code. Recompile, and that’s it! Your application is ready to report all unexpected crashes to DevExpress Logify.

    Comprehensive reporting

    Along with a simple preview, DevExpress Logify provides you with an itemized, comprehensive report view that contains detailed information about the crash: exceptions and their call stacks, operating system details, application metrics, and many other actionable insights.

    Logify: Comprehensive Reporting

    Ability to focus on the real issues

    DevExpress Logify allows you to set up special rules to automatically reject or ignore unusable reports and instead concentrate on the real critical issues in your application.

    Using custom data

    The default logs collected by DevExpress Logify contain a number of predefined application metrics. However, you can also attach custom data to these logs, and then view this data within the generated reports in the DevExpress Logify web interface. In addition, the custom data can be used for filtering and detecting duplicate reports.

    Easy to use reporting UI

    Without a doubt, making it simple to provide actionable reports is part and parcel of an exception logging tool. DevExpress Logify makes the reporting process easy.

    1. Smart report preview.

    Typically, finding the reason for a crash doesn’t require that much information. For example, developers can, in general, determine the cause of an application crash by exploring the call stack only. DevExpress Logify initially provides a brief report preview that allows you to not only view the call stack, but also providing the most useful actions as simple buttons.

    Logify: Smart report preview

    2. Automatic translation of localized reports.

    If your application is used worldwide, under many locales, you can still get reports in English. DevExpress Logify automatically translates all reports with non-English locales. Hence, you can process your reports either in (translated) English or in the original language used by the report.

    3. Status highlighting.

    DevExpress Logify provides you with various report statuses that assist you in processing crash reports more efficiently.

    Logify: Status Highlighting

    4. Report sorting.

    You can use the DevExpress Logify built-in sorting to customize your reports. You can sort by report date, an application name, an application version, and so on.

     

    Logify: Report sorting

     

    5. Searching.

    DevExpress Logify has a powerful search function, allowing you to easily find almost anything anywhere within your crash reports.

    Logify: Searching

     

    6. Powerful report customization.

    You can easily customize your application reports’ appearance. Logify Alert allows you set up such parameters as:
    - Detecting “My Code” boundaries: used to divide lines in the call stack from your application and lines in the call stack from third-party libraries.
    - Call stack lines collapsing. You can use this feature to hide/show required call stack blocks within the report preview and within the detailed view.

     

    Logify: Powerful report customization

    7. Smart reports grouping.

    As a rule, users using your application on different devices could cause the same error. As a result, your application will send several unique reports to DevExpress Logify. In this case, our service will group all these reports into one, so that you will only receive that one grouped report for that issue instead of several. This allows you to focus on the issue and not have to identify and ignore repeated reports.

    Open-source Clients

    All DevExpress Logify clients are open source and stored in GitHub repositories. You can explore and analyze this client code to ensure that DevExpress Logify does not collect any personal or private information. Please note that at this time, Logify is for .NET, JavaScript and node.js applications only. In particular, it does not support VCL applications.

    DevExpress Logify Beta

    As stated earlier, DevExpress Logify is about to be released into beta. For that to happen we need to invite developers to join the beta, to incorporate the DevExpress Logify clients into their applications and deploy. Our service – which, it must be emphasized, will be a paid service when launched – will collect your application crash logs, and provide you with the reporting web interface to allow you to analyze and understand your application issues. There are various aspects of DevExpress Logify that we wish to further test in this beta, namely a broader set of applications than we’ve used so far, how people use the reporting UI, an understanding of possible ways of charging for the service, etc.

    The beta is an EXCLUSIVE beta. Participation is by INVITATION only. To join we will need to understand the basics of your application, what devices and run-times it runs on, the competency of your user base, and so on. Essentially, we want a set of developers who will use this crash reporting tool in their applications, and who will act upon the information it provides.

    If wish to be considered for the DevExpress Logify beta, please contact us by email (support@devexpress.com), with a subject line of “Logify Beta”, and we’ll follow up with a short questionnaire.

  • DevExpress VCL Subscription v16.2 released

    As is usual here at DevExpress during major release time, we like to stagger the publication of our .NET/web Universal and our VCL products. Our poor marketing folk need a bit of a breather between the two, so we give them a week or so to recover before we publish the VCL Subscription release.

    Well, there’s no need to wait any longer: the VCL team has completed their testing of the build and it was published to the Download Center early this morning, my time. If you have an active VCL subscription (whether it’s the full one or one of the Packs) you can go now to our Download Center, log in, and download the latest and greatest. Version 16.2.

    For what’s new in this release, please go to this page, click on the VCL button under the main banner, and read all about the enhancements we’ve provided.

    I shall be presenting a webinar tomorrow (Wednesday, 21 December, at 10:00am Pacific Time) on the new features. Please register.

    Some two or three months ago, we sent out an email to our customers with a survey about what we should/should not do with regard to FireMonkey controls. At the time, we specifically stated that nothing would happen for 2016 (which is why there’s no “FireMonkey Suite” being published alongside the VCL Subscription), but that once v16.2 was out, we in management would lock ourselves away in a room with the VCL team and discuss how/when/who/what with regard to where we go with our RAD-Studio-based offerings. We shall be making as much use of our partner relationship with Embarcadero as we can. Stay tuned, is really all I can say for now.

    I’d like to extend our thanks to our VCL customers, some of whom have certainly been with us since the very start of Developer Express. We hope that what we’ve provided in v16.2 is going to mess with your plans for Christmas and the New Year as you incorporate the new features inside your apps. Just joking! Seriously, if you have any feedback about the release or about our future plans, don’t hesitate to add a comment below, or email me or Client Services. Thank you, again.

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