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.

21 comment(s)
Nate Laff

Kind of shocked to see DXBars in there. The point (at least to me) of WPF is to go beyond the standard windows forms that we've had since Windows 95.

Also, I posted about this in the forums, but this seems like a good place to add my opinion, too. I'd like these WPF controls, as you're creating them to be "lookless", "themeless", "skinless" whatever you want to call it. One of your competitors does this. The point? So the dev can change the appearence to fit their need using Expression Blend. If you are doing this, fantastic, but if not, _PLEASE_ go back before it is too late and don't ingrain the skins in these new controls.

Also, could you move the scheduler up on the list a bit? :)

What is the story on editors? Text, Combo, Check, etc...?

I'll bug you about all this next Tuesday in Denver :)

21 January, 2009

"one of our goals or this year is to have WPF as a presentation layer for XAF applications"

That is excellent news.

21 January, 2009
Kai Bøhli

Great to see that you're working on WPF. Late, but good news !

21 January, 2009
Alain Bismark

I would like more "hollywood" controls on WPF 

Look for example films like Minority Report, Swordfish or CSI Miami, and so on.. exists many controls on these User Interfaces that will be amazing to be created and supported using WPF.

More animations, more transparency, more concurrency of mutilple process reporting the advance to user interface..

In other words, if WPF is more flexible to use graphics and animations, etc.. why not create a more futuristic user interface controls.

And include a Diagram Editor as the old one that your team create to Delphi some years ago (somethin basic, crete shapes, conect, and re-route conections).


21 January, 2009
Adam Leffert

+1 vote for a diagram control set in Silverlight!

Adam Leffert

21 January, 2009
Jerrie Pelser

+1 for more Scheduler love

21 January, 2009
Thomas Grusche

+1 for Diagram control (wpf)

+1 for Tree (wpf)

22 January, 2009
Christoph Brändle

+++ Scheduler / Timeline

thanks for those clear words, most welcome

why not let people pay for priority?

I'd pay 10K to have the Scheduling Suite in WPF by end of june, because if you dont, I am in trouble (big trouble, I have to choose one of the other ones, which are not quite like devExpress-quality)

22 January, 2009
J Rydmark

+1 for diagram control (winform/wpf/silverlight)

Looking forward to the 2009.1 release!

22 January, 2009

"why not let people pay for priority?"

you would see quite a few developers heading towards the exit gates if this ever happened, which i highly doubt, imo..

22 January, 2009
Nate Laff

no need to pay. we just need a better voting system.

"which wpf products are most important to you? rate from 1-n the order of importance"

and then DISPLAY the results.

22 January, 2009
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

All right, enough with a voting system requests already Smile: that's a discussion for another day and another post. Not this one. And paying extra to influence new features? Puh-lease.

This is a post about what we think should be done for our WPF line for this year. As I said, we feel that we should target XAF support to give us the opportunity to provide a WPF presentation layer for it. And that means, in essence, we have to concentrate on the standard business-type controls. It doesn't mean that we won't do other controls, it means that these are the priority.

And I'm certain not everyone is going to be happy with our plans no matter what we announce. So be it. And -- I've said this before and I'll say it again -- do not assume any release dates or even that a particular control will appear at all. If you have an immediate need for control X, and we do not have it now, don't hope we'll miraculously do it just go elsewhere: we're the ones who lose the income by not having it.

Cheers, Julian

22 January, 2009
Nate Laff

But Julian,

What's the point of targeting WPF in XAF if it's going to look just like the WinApp? Maybe you have something up your sleeve or in mind that you're not revealing, BUT as Billy Hollis says, if you can do it in WinForms... do it in WinForms.

Not complaining, I think it's great you've got some good focus on WPF. Just trying to open up discussion :)

22 January, 2009
Shloma Baum

Same here, not trying to ignite a flame war, just trying to understand, if the point is simply windows forms type of app then why not use WinForms, but if the point is to have XAML/Vector type of Apps then why not Silverlight? if the point is to have desktop access and vector based apps then we have the fiji project.

For me its having my app silverlight to target both desktop and browser without worrying on things like HTML and JS. So I'd hope that given the effort towards WPF it doesn't mean that SL doesn't get sidelined... or perhaps I'm jumping too fast and simply wait until you guys talk about Silverlight?

22 January, 2009
Christoph Brändle

In my company, we dont ask the customers what we should do 'maybe' or 'maybe not'. We tell them what are our plans are and correct them if neccessary.

After reading your post again, I feel the question here is about XAF and not WPF. But since I cannot imagine ever to use XAF, I should not have answered, sorry for that.

Julian and devExpress, please

just tell what you do and do what you tell,

everything else is not serious

22 January, 2009
Alexander Koger

I asked the team before regarding controls for Compact Framework and they denied.

Now is the time to ask again. Because WPF or Silverlight mobile is on the way. And it's clear that this is the only way to compete with the others like iPhone, etc.

Ever thought of using your WPF controls on mobile devices?



22 January, 2009

Why not Layout like you have done with Silverlight.

Everybody does docking / chart, this would be unique like the XtraLayout control that is so great

22 January, 2009
Jacob Johnston

@Nate Laff

My perspective as a DevEx customer;

There are hugely significant performance and coding reasons you would want to see the exact same controls in WPF that you have available to you in WinForms. Also, mixing WinForms and WPF has some serious memory-hog issues.  

The exact same controls existing in WPF, even if they look the same on the surface, open up all sorts of possibilities that didn't exist before, especially because of the vector nature of WPF. Scaling text/images, the ability to use XAML, the use of the GPU, etc. all have great impact even if the controls essentially look the same.

Don't get me wrong, I think new controls are great. I'd love to see some things showing off all the WPF bling. I'd really like a coverflow style thing added to the carousel library. But, I think it is wAY more important we see WPF getting close to matching the WinForms library.

22 January, 2009
Thinking Out Loud

Yesterday, Julian blogged about WPF products we expect to deliver in 2009. I wanted to take a minute

22 January, 2009
Alain Bismark

Hi Julian,

About your comment "And that means, in essence, we have to concentrate on the standard business-type controls. It doesn't mean that we won't do other controls, it means that these are the priority."

I think that is correct approach, but i feel that the standard of business-type controls need to change, and WPF is a great support to change that, might be step by step.

Just consider in each standar control how to improve the user interaction using WPF great features (transparency, animation, etc).

Happy coding!

22 January, 2009
Ludo Vandenbempt

Will there be a convertion tool available which can convert an existing DevExpress WinForms application to the DevExpress WPF equivalent?



12 February, 2009

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