Project wizard for WinForms (coming in v2010 vol.2)

19 October 2010

One of the most popular items in our WPF control package is the Project Wizard. With it you can, by checking off a few options, create a brand new project using our controls for a great user interface. The template has all the required code already set up to place the controls properly on the form and is of great use if you are new to our controls, or you just want the tried-and-trusted application layout without having to go through all the tedious drag/drop work and writing the glue code.

The WinForms team thought this was such a neat idea, they’ve now implemented the same functionality for WinForms. They’d like to get it out in DXperience v2010 vol.2 but for that they need feedback as soon as possible. We’re thinking of calling it XtraProjectWizard, although it wouldn’t be a separate product per se, just something that’s included as part of DXperience WinForms or higher. (Notice that the screenshots use the older “DXProject Wizard” name that followed the naming convention for our WPF products. This will change in the released version.)

The first thing to realize is that you would create a new project by selecting a special DXperience project template. This template then runs the wizard. Let’s take a look at some of the functionality.

Choosing form type

The first option is to decide on what kind of form container to use.  The main choices are the XtraForm or the RibbonForm, although you can choose a standard Form if you wish (although some other functionality would be missing, if so — see the documentation on XtraForm).

Setting up the command area

The next option is to decide on the command area of the application: are you going to need a menu and toolbars? or are you designing a ribbon app,, in which case the ribbon is the way to go. Obviously you would also decide on the style of ribbon you need.

Choosing the navigational aspects

Next up: deciding on the navigational aspects of your application. Do you want an Outlook-style navigation bar (and if so which style?); a tree list, perhaps; or none at all?

Choosing the client area

And to finish off the basic layout: what kind of client area does the application need? As you can see from the image above, there’s quite a choice here: a grid, a chart, a scheduler, and so on. With each of these options, you might have to choose among other options; for example, if a grid, should it show tabular data or the layout view.

ClientArea-Chart Control

As an example, here’s how you would fine-tune the chart client area.

Choosing the skin

Of course, since an application built with DXperience can easily be skinnable, the project wizard also allows you to choose the skin for the application. The wizard will insert all of the required code to show the various skins we provide with DXperience (including the standard, Bonus, and Office skins). The wizard also generates all of the skin registration code, as well as adding the required assemblies to the project. I’d say that just for this alone, it’s worth using this project wizard.

As I said above this is still under some final tweaking. Let us know what you think before we release and set it into stone.

25 comment(s)
Nate Laff

ummm...... AMAZING!

19 October, 2010
Juan Betancourt

The response of DX to those that complain about lacking of surprises/features in winforms. Great. This could be extensible in the future, by example, adding to the wizard data-models and/or datasources on the fly.

19 October, 2010
George Shubin

Very nice.  It'll save a significant bit of time when starting new projects.

19 October, 2010
Garry Lowther

Really excited by these 'sneak-peaks' of WinForms functionality - keep them coming please.

19 October, 2010
Callon Campbell

WOW! Amazing...keep up the excellent work.

19 October, 2010
Glen Harvy

It's great to see you 'porting' your new control lineups to the good old Winforms platform.

Very much appreciated Julian - keep up the great work.

PS: I just might try the WPF controls now I've seen this wizard :-)

19 October, 2010
Michael Proctor [DX-Squad]

Looks good, will be helpful when I want to knock up that quick admin app but usually don't make it very usable. This will help keep things consistent and allow more efficient use of my time and make the users happy with a functional applicaiton.

Great work guys, thanks heaps.

19 October, 2010
Sigurd Decroos

Aaaggghhhhhh, finally! Thanks DX.

19 October, 2010
Peter Thorpe

Cool. Noticed the pivot grid and chart control option that is particularly handy.

19 October, 2010
Christopher Todd

Awesome! I like it a lot. Can't wait to try it out! The proposed name sounds fine w/ me.

19 October, 2010
Mark Chimes


Every little bit of assistance helps meet tight project deadlines.

Thank you.

20 October, 2010
Steve Sharkey

Looks good to me - though many of my applications at the moment seem to be going the MDI route, but as previously mentioned for those quick utilities/apps this does mean they don't have to look like a "developer" built them.

20 October, 2010
Juan Betancourt

Please let choose fine grained selection of skins, e.g. individual basis way, by example a checkbox near to each skin's icon.

20 October, 2010
Geert Depickere

Very useful!

One suggestion:

If possible, implement the client area as a container (e.g. a panel) and the client stuff as a XtraUserControl (and put the grid/layout view/chart... in there); give the container an interface that allows to put a different usercontrol in the container at runtime.

Maybe allow to select the kind of container (single control container, MDI form container....)

20 October, 2010
Heath Brown

This is awesome.  I can't wait to use it.

20 October, 2010
Carl Clark

Very nice!

20 October, 2010
Peter Annandale

Excellent, look forward to the new release

21 October, 2010
Tom van Stiphout2

Great new feature. The last step "Client Area" needs work: think data-centric apps. Do I want a single-record form, a list of records (that would be your grid?), a one-to-many form with subform (combination of the above), a search form with results, I could go on...

22 October, 2010
Gregor Stamac

This is great. But wouldn't it be more useful if it was a "New DXForm wizard"?

22 October, 2010

This looks quite interesting. I think that it might save me some time when starting up new projects.

This might even help some people and organizations develop and/or maintain a UI standard across products. It is especially for this reason that I am really excited about this product. Thank you for providing another tool to help raise (hopefully!) the quality of software that is being produced in the world. Well, maybe just your customers for now, but it's a start.

22 October, 2010
Franz Scharf

Can be very usefully if it’s possible to implement the suggestion from Geert Depickere. (XtraUserControl in the client area as container).

I think the most common way to use it will be: every click on a control/button etc. in the Navigation Bar will show another XtraUserControl.

Without Geert Depickere’s suggestions I don’t see much benefit except not having to place some controls on a form and you still have the same work as usual with the client area.

And for the skins.. maybe I did not understand it right.. you are thinking about implementing  something that let’s the end-user  select a skin?  From my point of view I don’t think this is a good idea, or something I would want to use. If you use let’s say different appearances for odd rows in a grid, you can not use all the skins. In this case with some skins you don’t see the cell contents in selected rows because of bad contrast and you would have to write code for the appearance of selected rows etc..

But I’m happy to see the WinForms team is still alive :-)

22 October, 2010
Hakan Mesakkat

Finally! Good work!

22 October, 2010
Rob Adams

I agree with the comments about making the 'client' area more flexible with the XtraUserControl.  

This is a great addition for both new & experienced users.

24 October, 2010
Stephen Winstanley_2

If you take this further and include datasources and MVVM layers does it not become the same as Microsofts new LightSwitch product ?

25 October, 2010
Geert Depickere


I think that would take it too far... DevEx already has this covered by XAF.

25 October, 2010

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