Integrating products in DXperience

03 October 2007

Recently Tony in our XtraScheduler team came to the management team with an interesting proposition.

With our XtraScheduler product, we ship a very basic AppointmentEdit form. Since the scheduler ships with the XtraEditors library, we designed the form to use just the editor controls so that all owners of XtraScheduler could use and develop with the product "out of the box".

Tony noticed a couple of things: first, there are an awful lot of customers using the scheduler who have the full DXperience product, either at the Professional or at the Enterprise level, and so have access to the full panoply of our WinForms controls; and, second, those users are constantly reinventing the wheel as they develop nicer looking and more functional AppointmentEdit dialogs with the controls they also own.

So Tony wanted to create a new more sophisticated AppointmentEdit form that would ship with DXperience, but not with XtraScheduler. A form that would use XtraLayout, XtraBars, the Ribbon, and XtraSpellChecker, for example, and that would remove the need for customers to write their own.

Sure, we said, and he did.

Here's a few screen shots of the new form that's based on the traditional toolbars, The first one shows the form partially filled in, the other three show various features of the form.



And here's a corresponding set of screen shots for the new form that's based on the Ribbon, and that show the same four views of the form as above:



I think he's done such a good job that we're now looking at doing other integration projects where we combine controls from several of our products, and whose results would be part of DXperience but not the individual products themselves. This would obviously add extra value to the DXperience products, but also provide us with ready-made examples of how to use our controls and that we could use for demoing.

Forms like AppointmentEdit are an obvious example, and in a way eXpressApp Framework is another, albeit at the opposite end of the spectrum. Are there any other integration points you've wished for? Are there any forms in the individual products you'd like to have jazzed up like this as an extension to DXperience? Apart from this particular form, it's probably too late for any more such extensions in 2007.3, but next year is a whole new ball game.


12 comment(s)


3 October, 2007
Alex Danvy

A few days ago, a man that I cannot tell you the name said that all DevExpress customers could do such thing themself in an afternoon. Hopefully, DevExpress didn't listen to him :-P

So now, where are the XtraWizard and XtraTaskDialog ?

3 October, 2007
Rory Becker - DevExpress

I love this Idea! I will have to see if I can think of some other forms which might be useful.

3 October, 2007
Rob de Haas

Simple but great idea, are you gonna role out this 'policy' also for vcl subscriptions ?

3 October, 2007
Alex Danvy

Rory, if you need ideas, here is a starting point :

- Customizable XtraOpenDialog, XtraSaveDialog

- XtraBrowseForFolder

- XtraPrintDialog

But the XtraTaskDialog and XtraWizard are higher priority to me as they fill an uncovered need.

3 October, 2007

Excellent! DevEx suffers from history in that each component used to be sold individually. That is why, I think, you only started combining them together only recently. Examples come to mind: The XtraPivotGrid CreateSummaryDataSource which feeds into the XtraPivotGrid (or another datacomponent) and the example on XPO and Scheduler or the example on XtraPivotGrid with XtraCharts. All came fairly recently.

There are dozen of examples that could be implemented. But to narrow down the field I would personally suggest:

XtraTaskForm: Tasks management using the reminder engine of the Xtrascheduler and the Xtragrid.

XtraGanttForm: You have the best grid and great gantt charts but no integrated gantt where a use updating task info would see immediate results on the ganttchart.

Other remark: The DevEx Entreprise should be MORE than a collection of all the components. It should provide real integration with one another.

In addition to combining components/editors as Tony did, you should integrate each tool more with another. There are many opportunities:

You have a BarManager and yet we re-invent the wheel every time we want to give different users access to different barbuttons. The BarManager should have some kind of in-built accessright system.

You have context tabs in the Ribbon but no automatic way to show/hide them when the user has focus on a DevEx component. Each component/editor should have properties to bind them to specific contexttab or RibbonGroup.

Finally, instead of having to code "spellChecker1.Check(textBox1)", each DevEx component should have a spellchecker property which would enable spellcheck if set properly.

Hoping I make sense. Please congratulate Tony for us.  


3 October, 2007
Steven Rasmussen

Ditto to the ones that Alex stated above.  I've been hoping/waiting for standard open/browse/save dialogs for a while now.

3 October, 2007

I think this is the start of a very good trend and reason for DX customers to go with the DXp suites.  It's great that your devs can do things like this that tremendously help your suite customers in the concept of RAD.  Not only does it provide us a better product but it also provides us great ways to learn from how you use the products you create.  It also allows your developers to get more experience with the suite as well as they may be focused on one element and now they can integrate others.  Yes, there are areas in our apps that are not themed such as Open/Save/Font/Print dialogs, etc. that would be great to add to the suite and yes, we all want a Wizard control - no doubt about it.

All of this just reassures that DXp is the right choice!  I feel great sympathy for other component vendors, no one can touch DX for price, quality, and support.

5 October, 2007

Hey Julian, if you don't mind me quoting you: "This would obviously add extra value to the DXperience products" .. this was/is precisely my point regarding the wizard product. I have a site and app on the immediate horizon that could soooooo benefit from this sort of effort being pushed on the wizard control  Ü (darn, am i repeating myself too much?) drew..

6 October, 2007

My only suggestion that I can think of right now is how about fixing the performance of the LayoutControl it self?

15 October, 2007

how come every time i use the new ribbon control, the document title is never there, the min, max, and restore buttons are never there? and also the bonus skins, and office 2007 skins never work at runtime-only in design. i added them as a reference. what can i do? I used VS.Net and VS 2005.

22 October, 2007
Stefan Haug

A wizard control would be nice. Using the default look'n'feel etc. :)

7 November, 2007

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