VCL Subscription 13.1 released

01 July 2013

Although last week I was away at //build/, Microsoft’s developer conference for all things Windows, Azure, and Visual Studio, there was a bigger event right back in the DevExpress offices: we released version 13.1 of our DevExpress VCL package for our Delphi and C++Builder customers. This is the first major release of the year, and the team have made some important changes and enhancements to the premier VCL UI control library.

With this release we decided to concentrate on nailing down what it means to develop performant applications with a UI that adheres to modern designs and thinking. Far too often, Delphi apps seem to be stuck in the early 2000s mindset when it just isn’t necessary. So, for example, with the new Office 2013 Ribbon style and skin, we can start to provide your end users with a fresh new look to the apps they’ll use every day: out with the grey, in with the cool minimal-chrome white.


To add to that, how about a new form of the old standby, the context menu? We were inspired by the new radial menu in OneNote 2013 and created a control that you can use in your apps today (and we made it easy to switch your code from the previous style to the new radial one). And, heck, if your users have a touch screen ultrabook, they’ll be right at home: it practically begs the user to touch it. Talking of which, we’ve done a whole lot of work in this release to help you create touchable UIs: enhancements to controls to create bigger touch-friendly targets, better text alignment settings, superior actions with touch rather than mouse.


There’s one effect you really notice after using a tablet for your entertainment use: the way that grids and lists scroll. They scroll smoothly, pixel-by-pixel, yet on your desktop they scroll in jerks, row by row. Never fear, we’ve solved that problem too: welcome to flawless pixel scrolling in the grid in Table and Banded Table Views. It really is an enhancement that your users will appreciate.

And we haven’t forgotten the developers who have to deal with lots of data. Two things of note here: we’ve improved Server Mode (our super-fast data binding mode) by adding MS Access and SQLite database support, as well as adding support for Embarcadero FireDAC (yes, we’ve sped up FireDAC, ’nuff said); and we’ve made some serious changes to our data controllers that exploit multithreading to speed up sorting and grouping in “classic” data loading scenarios. What can you expect? Well, it depends on the CPU on the client, but we’ve seen some remarkable results (*cough* four times faster *cough*, though your mileage may vary).


Coupled with these and other changes, there have been many smaller enhancements and fixes, making DevExpress VCL 13.1 well worth your time to investigate. And this release of the components maintains its pole position in the VCL control suite market.

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