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June 2014 - Posts

  • VCL Inplace Grid Edit Forms (Coming soon in v14.1)

    Many months ago, we were discussing what to do for VCL 14.1 and one of the top things that came up was an Inplace Edit Form for the QuantumGrid.

    Ponder the scenario: the user is displaying some data in a grid and wants to edit one of the records. In previous versions, you’d have a choice: either make the row editable or code up and display a form to edit the record. So imagine the difference if you could show the form directly inside the grid: that’s where the user is looking, that’s where the edit form is displayed.

    VCL Grid Control Inplace Edit Form 14.1

    Aside – there are two modes for the Inplace Edit Form: either as a form directly below the row being edited so you can still see the row (as shown above), or by hiding the row being edited. Depending on your app and your users’ requirements, you can decide for one or the other by setting a simple EditMode option.

    In case you were wondering, in contrast with the new spreadsheet and map controls that I’ve spoken about here before, the inplace edit form for QuantumGrid is available in all versions of Delphi and C++Builder we currently support.

    (Currently, we expect to be ready to release VCL v14.1 next week. Know that you only have a few more days to get your feedback in.)

  • VCL Map Control (Coming soon in v14.1)

    With the beta for VCL 14.1 ready, it’s time to talk about another new control in the DevExpress VCL 14.1 Subscription: the Map Control.

    OK, one basic scenario is as follows: you have a sales app that shows information about previous sales and sales opportunities in a particular area. You’d like to be able to show a map of those opportunities so that your sales people can concentrate on the best opportunities and their locations within that region. This is an ideal candidate for the new DevExpress VCL Map Control.

    VCL Map Control 14.1: Using Bing Maps as provider

    Here’s an example showing a pin for the DevExpress Offices in Glendale, CA. Things to note here include the pin and associated text (it’s actually on a separate layer whose background becomes opaque when the mouse hovers over it); the map controls that include a zoom bar, a navigation button, and text showing the scale and the location of the center of the map; and the use of Bing Maps as the provider.

    VCL Map Control 14.1: Using OpenStreetMaps as provider

    Here’s the same map, but this time the provider is OpenStreetMaps.

    VCL Map Control 14.1: Using Hybrid Bing Maps as provider

    And here it is again, but as a hybrid map, using image tiles from Bing.

    Now, with this control there are some caveats to its use. First of all, the map tiles provided by Bing Maps and OpenStreetMaps is licensed separately from the DevExpress VCL Subscription; we do not confer any rights to use of the map data from these providers. If you use this Map Control, you will have to license the map data from either Bing Maps or from OpenStreetMaps. (For Bing licensing details, go here. For OpenStreetMaps licensing details, go here and here.)

    The other caveat is that the Map Control only supports RAD Studio 2010 or later (and hence, in particular, there is no support for Delphi 7 or 2007).

    As usual, if you have any questions, comments or feedback, please don’t hesitate to email me at julianb@devexpress.com.

  • VCL Spreadsheet Control (Coming soon in v14.1)

    We’ve now released v14.1 of DevExpress Universal and, although we shall continue to discuss the new improvements found in there for a while, it’s now time to turn to v14.1 of the DevExpress VCL Subscription. And do we have lots of good news for you on that front.

    In this first post about VCL 14.1, I’m going to reveal what the team have been working on for at least the past 9 months: a completely redesigned and rewritten spreadsheet control. We understand that in the business arena there are certain applications you’d like to write that would be enhanced by giving your users the ability to model and analyze data in a familiar spreadsheet environment. Shelling out to Excel is to be avoided, especially as you must make sure that every PC your application runs on has Microsoft Office installed. What you’d like is to somehow provide a spreadsheet panel within your application that can read and write XLS and XLSX files, that works just like Excel does, where you can format cells, insert images, calculate with the standard functions, and so on.

    Well, inspired by Microsoft Office and Excel, we have totally re-engineered the VCL Spreadsheet, starting from scratch.

    A Simple Invoice as a worksheet

    Here is an example of the spreadsheet control displaying a simple invoice, read from an XLSX file. Or is it? I get so confused. Here it is again:

    Another Simple Invoice

    I can’t quite remember which image is from the VCL Spreadsheet demo in the beta and which is from Excel. Sheesh.

    Seriously, these two images should show you how well we’ve been inspired by Microsoft Excel. This image (OK, the top one) shows such features as cell formatting (the lines and the grey bars in the grid to help separate the rows). Notice also the formatting of values. I’m more familiar with monetary values being right-adjusted rather than center-adjusted.

    Formatting Cells in VCL

    So, select the cells, right-click, then select Format Cells…

    Align Cell Values in VCL

    And then select right horizontal alignment.

    Cell Values Aligned in VCL

    Also, the VCL Spreadsheet Control supports embedding images into the worksheet:

    Triangle Demo worksheet in VCL

    Here we see two images: the first is the triangle figure on the right and the other the mathematical formula on the left. The spreadsheet is also displaying an error message alongside the calculated value (whose formula by the way is =0.5*F9*F10*SIN(F11*PI()/180)) because one of the sides is negative. This is done (along with the special coloring of the background) through the spreadsheet API.

    Talking of special APIs, how about the ability to create custom functions? You know, because the standard ones just don’t cover your business needs. With this demo above, you can create a special function in your Delphi or C++Builder code, register it with the Spreadsheet API, and then have a formula like this:  =TRIANGLEAREA(F9,F10,F11). Obviously, should you save this worksheet, you won’t be able to open the XLSX file with Excel, but you will be able to with your application containing your special registered functions. It’s a way of protecting your business logic and IP and yet all the time using a widely-used and understood file format.

    So, do you think you’ll be able to use this new control? Let me and the team know what you think.

  • DevExpress Universal 14.1 released

    In the very early hours of this morning, we published the first major release of DevExpress Universal this year: version 14.1. It is – oh, how can I put it? – a veritable Godzilla of a release that only a UI Superhero could vanquish.

    Well, something like that.

    With this release we’ve broadened our already broad reach (case in point, plucking examples out of the air, ASP.NET/MVC end-user report designer, tile navigation in WinForms/WPF,  ASP.NET/MVC spreadsheet, DevExtreme client-side DataGrid), but we’ve also spent a lot of time on providing interesting demos (using a new database of business-related data that cries out for meaningful data visualization – and of course we oblige) so that you can see how to create visually-attractive, touch-capable, modern user experiences for your business apps that will delight your users … no matter which platform you want to, or have to, use.

    As an example of this attention to detail in our demos check out our launch video:

    StillFrom14_1LaunchVideo

    If the video has whet your appetite, you can find out more in the What’s New in 14.1, or read about various new features in more details here on the DevExpress community blogs. Some quick examples:

    Not only that, but we tried a new experiment on the day before the launch: a 24-hour webinar on the new features in DevExpress Universal 14.1. We started at 12:01am on Monday morning, June 2, and continued with nary a break until 12:00pm that same day, after which we released the install. It was a blast! I’d like to say thanks to everyone involved in this, but mostly to Amanda for organizing the whole thing. You know the saying about “herding programmers”? Well, try herding DevExpress staff to present in a continuously-running webinar several times a day without inadvertently clicking the “End Webinar” menu option…

    So, DevExpress Universal 14.1 is now ready for download if you have an active license, otherwise, the new trial is up as well. Have fun!

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