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October 2015 - Posts

  • WinRT Live Tile Manager: it’s being deprecated

    Two years or so ago, we introduced a component that enabled you to start up and communicate with live tiles in Windows 8 from a WinForms application. So, you know, a non-Windows-RT application talking to a tile on the Start Screen. It was the WinRTLiveTileManager control.

    Let’s put it like this. It’s never been that popular. We can tell how well-used one of our controls is by just looking at tickets in the support center. The more people that use a given control, the more tickets we get about how to use it (our documentation needs improving, in other words), the more tickets we get about issues (our code needs fixing, in other words), and the more tickets we get about new features (our imagination needs a jolt, in other words ;) ). Much as we or any other control vendor would like to pretend, we don’t get things right first time. So in general “popular, widely-used control” means more support tickets. The Live Tile Manager has virtually none; the terms “popular” and “widely-used” don’t really apply.

    The issue for us is that Windows 8 has been replaced by Windows 10 and the Start Screen has gone away (and if I may make a personal comment here: Yessssss!). The desktop rules again and the weird dichotomy between desktop and Start Screen has gone. Ditto, the need for such a control has also pretty much gone. Corresponding to all this evolution in OS capabilities and UI, the “Live Tiles API”, if I may call it that, has drastically changed.

    The upshot of all this is that we have a little-used component, the need for it has pretty much disappeared, and the API has changed. Hence the decision is to not update it for Windows 10 at all and to deprecate it in v15.2. Although it will still be shipped with the install (at least to begin with), it will no longer be installed by default in the toolbox in Visual Studio. It will, in fact, only work with Windows 8:

    WinRTLiveTileManager Is For Windows 8 Only

    Of course, as with any announcements we make about features in our products, feedback is most welcome. Let us know what you think.

  • Developing for the Universal Windows Platform? We’ve got you covered.

    I’m proud to announce that today we officially released our suite of controls for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). For those who are ready to develop native Windows 10 apps, or even prepare for developing apps for the future UWP form factors and devices, we now have a full suite of controls that will help you fulfill your goals.

    Examples of apps created with the DevExpress UWP suite

    Much as Windows 10 is a multi-faceted progression from the ideas first seen in Windows 8, we decided to leverage the work we had put into our Windows 8 controls in order to produce this new UWP suite. Over the past few months, pretty much every control was reevaluated for the new run-time, ported, optimized, and tested in production. Apart from the grid control and data editors (of course, we couldn’t say we properly support this new platform without having our famous grid present and correct!), we’re providing data visualization controls such as charts, gauges, a photo gallery, and a map control; app navigation controls such as the tile bar, tiles, and radial menu, together with page layout control; a ribbon; a PDF viewer; and much more. Windows 10 apps that allow for data entry and visualization, together with dashboard-type facilities should now be a breeze to create.

    For full details of the suite go to devexpress.com/Win10Apps.

    During the design process for the new suite, we naturally came to the point where we had to make a decision about the Win8 XAML control suite from which this new product was evolved. From everything we’ve seen and heard during the launch of Windows 10, it became readily apparent that Windows 8 as a target platform was going to rapidly become irrelevant. Windows 10 is a simple (and free!) upgrade to Windows 8, especially for retail customers – all of the laptops I personally look after are all now on Windows 10 – that it just made sense to discontinue the Windows 8 XAML product in our future major releases. Consequently, it will not be part of v15.2 when we release in December, whereas the Windows 10 Apps control suite will be. If you are still having to maintain a Windows 8 XAML app, the suite will still remain as part of v15.1, but no new features will be added. Our efforts in this space are going to be directed to the new form factors for UWP, as well as providing new features and controls for it.

    As usual, we’d love to hear your feedback about the new suite.

  • DevExpress VCL Subscription v15.1.5 released, with full support for Delphi 10 Seattle

    Just a quick note to say that we released v15.1.5 of the DevExpress VCL Subscription today. The main new feature of this release is adding full support for Delphi 10 Seattle (DX) and C++Builder 10 Seattle (CX), collectively known as RAD Studio 10 Seattle (RX). So download it today from your Download Portal if you are using DX, CX, or RX (and especially if you were using the “unofficial” support for them that had crept into v15.1.4).

    There are a couple of new enhancements as well.

    • The biggest one (and the one that delayed us a little in our full support for DX, CX and RX because of the extra testing we had to do) is we’ve added the capability to print the ExpressRichEdit Control.
    • The grid’s main improvement has been speeding up its export capabilities, especially when the layout information is not required.
    • There have been numerous other resolved issues as is usual when we release a minor version. See here for the full list.

    So, download, install, and enjoy!

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