WPF Controls: where we are and where we’ll be

21 January 2009

Currently we have a set of nascent products for WPF, the majority in beta: the grid, the navigation bar, the carousel, and charting. I’ve already blogged about charting from the Summit here in Vegas, and there’s not much to say about the carousel at the moment.

But the rest? Well, we decided that our main goal for our WPF controls should be the replication of our WinForms controls, particularly with a view to making them integrate into XAF (one of our goals or this year is to have WPF as a presentation layer for XAF applications – the success of this depends of course on having the basic set of controls that XAF wants).

To that end for v2009 vol 1, we’re aiming for several features for DXGrid. Included are

  • AutoFilterRow – displaying a row with text edits, etc, to quickly filter
  • Drop down filtering (note this is low on the priority list and might not make it into the release)
  • Fixed Columns, such as fixing the first column and letting the others scroll left and right
  • Horizontal scrolling virtualization (see below)
  • Row Indicator
  • Vertical lines
  • Cell tooltips (when the content doesn’t fit)
  • Sorting by group summaries

(Aside: “horizontal scrolling virtualization” is our term for the design where the grid only creates the visual elements that are in view. Before you say “duh”, consider a grid that is showing 20 rows and each row has 100 columns, not all of which can be displayed. What we do now is to create the visual element tree for all the columns whether they are currently visible or not, but this takes some time. A better strategy to to only create the visual elements that are visible at this moment and then trap the horizontal scrolling events to create the elements that then come into view.)

Later on in the year, we’ll be looking implementing the “new row” feature (that is, displaying an empty row of editors to insert a new row), master-detail, more editors, multiple selection of cells, a grid navigator control, more filtering support, and so on.

For v2009 vol 1, we’re going to be introducing a new product, DXBars, a toolbar product. This will be for standard toolbars that many business applications use as an Action-type container, consisting of several bars of buttons, editors, and so on encased in a bar container. We’re supplying all the standard functionality: drag & drop of bars, the ability to drag a bar off the container completely so that it floats independently, end-user customization of the elements on a bar, and so on. One of the tasks for our graphic designer is to provide several themes or skins for the control. Later on we’ll be improving the initial editor support, and possibly a ribbon (although more discussion about this is needed).

Another new product for v2009 vol 1 is our docking product, DXDocking. This will comprise, dock panels (fixed and floating), autohide mode, drag and drop with the Visual Studio docking look and feel, and so on. More information will be forthcoming, but we’re looking at replicating an MDI mode for the document area..

For the rest of the year, I’ve already talked about printing support, but there might be time and resources to implement a tree grid, gauges, a scheduler, and so on. More discussion is needed.

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