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  • WinForms and WPF Spreadsheet: Grouping and AutoFilter (Coming soon in v14.2)

    The premier spreadsheet control for Windows developers is getting a couple of much-requested features for v14.2: data grouping, and filtering of data using the AutoFilter feature. Let’s see what these involve.

    Data Grouping

    One of the biggest new features of our WinForms, WPF, and ASP.NET datagrids in v14.2 is the ability to export data from the grid to an XLS/XLSX file and maintain the grouping and sorting currently configured in the grid. The requirement is to allow end-users to group, sort, filter data within the grid, export the result to an XLSX file, and then open up that file in Excel to continue analyzing that data. All grouping, sort orders and filtering options transfer to the XLSX file and the user is given a similar look to the data within Excel. See here for details on this new functionality.

    Well, anything Excel can do our spreadsheet controls should be able to do too, and with v14.2 we’ve added data grouping to the control.

    You can group data by using the corresponding commands of the Outline group on the Data tab on the corresponding ribbon.

    WinForms & WPF Spreadsheet: Outline Group on the Data tab

    There are several options here:

    • The Group command allows the user to group related rows or columns manually.
    • The Auto Outline command creates an automatic outline, based on the subtotal and summary formulas contained in the user’s document.
    • The Ungroup/Clear Outline command, unsurprisingly, ungroups previously created groups.
    • The Subtotal command automatically calculates subtotals for the related rows and displays summaries above or below the detail rows.

    For the latter command, a dialog is displayed allowing the user to configure the subtotals and options needed:

    WinForms & WPF Spreadsheet: Subtotal Dialog

    Once the user has organized their data into groups, they can collapse a group and temporarily hide rows or columns to show only the significant data, or expand it again to reveal the hidden data. To collapse or expand the group, the user clicks the corresponding minus or plus icon:

    WinForms & WPF Spreadsheet: Expanding a group

    The spreadsheet control goes even further: it publishes a new function, SUBTOTAL(), to give your users even more control over their summary data. The first argument defines the function code that specifies the function to be used in calculating subtotals (SUM, COUNT, AVERAGE, etc.) and whether the hidden values in collapsed groups should be taken into account during calculations. This is the direct equivalent of the Excel SUBTOTAL function.

    WinForms & WPF Spreadsheet: Subtotal Function

    (Here, for example, the function code 9 corresponds to SUM.)

    Of course, all these features are also available via the spreadsheet control API. You can group data programmatically by using the Group() and AutoOutline() methods for the specified rows, columns, or the entire document. To automatically create subtotals for the range, you use the Worksheet.Subtotal() or RangeExtention.Subtotal() methods.

    Data Filtering

    With v14.2, we have added a new powerful filtering feature to the WinForms and WPF spreadsheet controls. Using the AutoFilter functionality, your users can analyze large amounts of data by displaying only those rows that meet some filtering criteria. Applying such a filter is quite simple: the user just needs to select the required data and then click the Filter button in the Sort & Filter ribbon group.

    WinForms and WPF spreadsheet: the Filter Button

    Once filtering is activated, a down-arrow icon appears on the right side of each column header. The user clicks this icon for each required column to select the filter type they wish to use: Text Filters, Number Filters, or Filter by Values. The user can use the built-in comparison operators, or specify their own custom criteria in the Custom AutoFilter dialog box.

    WinForms and WPF Spreadsheet: AutoFilter

    If needed, the user can sort the filtered data in ascending or descending order.

    WinForms and WPF Spreadsheet: Sorting Data

    Summary

    With v14.2 we are enhancing the WinForms and WPF spreadsheet controls to include even more data analysis features: sorting, grouping and filtering. We hope you and your users will delight in these new features. Please let me know below what you think of them.

  • DevExpress v14.2 beta 1 is now ready for download

    Just in time for the weekend and all that spare time you thought you’d have, we have released beta 1 of Universal v14.2. The beta is open to all active DXperience and Universal subscribers. To get it, all you need to do is login to devexpress.com, click on the Download Your Products link at the top of the page, and look for and click Universal Subscription. Cunningly we present the latest released version by default, so click on the down arrow to select the version you’d like to download and the beta is shown in red in the dropdown list.

    Crystal ballAlthough I drew the short straw to write this blog post – just kidding! – I was allowed to choose the most significant features in this beta that I felt had the most bang for the buck. So here goes for a baker’s quartet:

    1. WinForms, ASP.NET  & WPF Grid Controls: New Excel Data Export – this is HUGE. An completely rewritten Excel export engine that has more features and is, like, 10 times faster than before. I doff my hat to this one. There’s also a lot of other spreadsheet-y news dotted around the What’s New as well, so if your bag is spreadsheets (that’s me being hip), you’d better check it all out.
    2. PDF Control: Interactive Forms and Annotations – the first step to full support for forms in PDFs with our PDF Control. This has been a much-requested feature ever since we released the first version of the PDF Control.
    3. ASP.NET Adaptive and Responsive UI Support – perhaps this has been some time coming, but it’s here now. Create ASP.NET pages with our controls that look optimal with different browser window sizes.
    4. On the data analysis and reporting side (avoiding the spreadsheet stuff, I just mentioned), there are almost too many new features to review. One, two, three, four.
    5. Lots of new features and widgets for our HTML5/JS product, DevExtreme. One, two, three, four. I love me new client-side web stuff.

    I must sound a small word of caution here: this is beta 1 of v14.2, not the release. (That’s coming at the beginning of December, plus or minus.) There is likely to be a beta 2, for example. Use within production code at your own risk.

    If you’ve let your subscription lapse and you are intrigued by some of these new features, you really should renew and try them out instead of just reading our posts about them. Screenshots are all very well, but nothing beats actually using a new feature or control in your app. Contact our Client Services team today (clientservices@devexpress.com): they are ready with some great deals on your renewal.

    Of course, if you are an existing single platform subscriber (that is, WinForms, ASP.NET, WPF) and would like to obtain access to this beta as well as begin using all the other products we ship inside DXperience and Universal, please contact our client services team to learn more about the upgrade pricing available to you.

    Above all, once you’ve installed and tried out the beta, please let us know what you think of these new features. We love feedback. It also goes without saying that our support team are ready to help you with issues you may have with the beta, so contact them in the usual way if you need to.

    Aside: If you’re a VCL subscriber, fear not, your beta and release comes some two weeks or so after the .NET one, as usual. I’ve been checking out what’s new there, and I think you’ll be well pleased. I’ll start blogging about it all after this other release is done.

  • Opening day at TechEd Europe in Barcelona

    Just a quick post since the Exhibit Hall will be opening to attendees in a few minutes, but we’re here in Barcelona for the 2014 TechEd Europe.

    Main exhibit hall at TechEd Europe

    As you can see from the picture the exhibit hall seems very grand and open. A small contingent and compact booth for us this year:

    DevExpress booth at TechEd Europe

    Attending we have Rachel Hawley, Amanda Christensen, Don Wibier (shown here setting up), Oliver Sturm, Seth Juarez (our official interpreter), and me. So, if you are here in Barcelona, you can get answers on pretty much everything we do and provide. We’d love to see you and talk with you about your software development challenges and how we can help.

  • TechEd Europe. Barcelona. 28-31 October. We’re there, are you?

    What’s not to like? TechEd, Barcelona, lovely Mediterranean fall weather, intensive interesting sessions, La Rambla, networking with other geeks, Gaudí architecture everywhere…

    TechEd Europe 2014 logoWe’re going to be there in force this year: Rachel (she’s the Boss this trip), Amanda, Seth, Don, Oliver, and me, and we’d love to see you! So, do pop by the DevExpress booth when the exhibit hall is open: it’s #50, wherever that is (we’ll find out on Monday when we put it up). Come and talk to us about what’s happening at DevExpress, what’s coming up in 14.2, what we can do to drive your software development efforts forward. Rachel has insisted that we have a raffle, so we sent her out to go buy a Dell Venue Pro and some rolls of raffle tickets, so be sure to pick one of those up along with some swag when you say hi. Swag? Shhh, keep it quiet or everyone will want some.

    Seth is going to be presenting a marvelous session on Machine Learning – you should go see this, I learn a lot when I chat with him about this stuff in the office:

    CDP-B240 Architecting Predictive Algorithms for Machine Learning

    Tuesday, October 28 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM Room: Hall 8.0 Room D4

    Speaker(s): Seth Juarez

    Track: Cloud and Datacenter Platform

    Session Type: Breakout

    Topic: Machine Learning

    Machine learning is one of the newest tools in a Data Scientist’s arsenal. In this session, you will learn key architectural principles and frameworks for creating practical approaches to solving the prediction problem. Interactive demonstration of various popular machine learning algorithms based on these principles and frameworks will be included.

    And of course there are some other great sessions: Scott Hunter of Microsoft on the latest and greatest from ASP.NET and Azure; Julie Lerman on Entity Framework and DDD; Mark Russinovich on malware hunting and troubleshooting; and so many more. I think I’ll be goofing off from the booth several times during the week to go listen and learn (but don’t tell Rachel).

    I am so looking forward to this trip and conference and meeting with you all. ¡Te veo en Barcelona! Or perhaps: Ens veiem a Barcelona!

    PS: don’t blame me, it’s Google Translate’s fault…

  • DevExpress VCL 14.1.4 released: full support for RAD Studio XE7

    If you are a RAD Studio fan, whether your choice of compiler is Delphi or C++Builder, you’ll no doubt already know that Embarcadero released RAD Studio XE7 a week ago. We of course immediately downloaded our copies and made the final changes to DevExpress VCL to support it, ran our tests, and created a build.

    I am happy to announce that we released DevExpress VCL v14.1.4 early this morning with full support for 32-bit and 64-bit Delphi and C++Builder XE7. If you are an active DevExpress VCL customer, you can download the new version from the Download Center right now.

    You can read all about What’s New in v14.1.4 here, including a list of all the enhancements and bug fixes that were published.

  • UI Superhero Roadshow: free UX training for .NET developers

    A couple of months before we released v14.1 of DevExpress Universal we started planning a new kind of training: sessions on user interfaces and experiences, by developers for developers. After all, with v14.1 we introduced a whole set of new demo apps that showed off great user experiences, optimized for the new generation of touch devices and screens. The intent was to use the expertise of our UX and graphics designers to provide high-impact, ultra modern user interfaces that you, our customers, could copy or modify for your own applications.

    That’s all fine and dandy, but sometimes it’s handy to understand why our designers made the choices they made; the principles that they were embodying in these experiences. So we had a chat with an old developer friend of DevExpress, Billy Hollis, and twisted the arm of our own Mark Miller in order to come up with a compelling and educational training event on what goes in to make a user interface a great experience. And, wow, did we succeed. Mark will talk about the science and biology behind great UI (if you’ve seen him present on this topic in the past, be aware that he’s taken it to the next level), and Billy will delve into what developers can do to understand why modern UI is so compelling and intuitive, and present patterns and examples to help you on the way.

    UI Superhero Roadshow with Mark Miller, Billy Hollis

    That’s all well and good, but then we ratchet the content to 11 by giving you the guidance you need by showing you how to apply what you’ve just learned with Billy and Mark. We shall target two platforms: ASP.NET with Mehul Harry, and WinForms with Seth Juarez.

    Here are the times and places we have so far (but please note, these are subject to change):

    New York City, NY
    Friday, September 12, 2014
    11 Times Square, 6th floor/Microsoft Corporation, New York NY 10036

    Chicago, IL
    Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    200 E Randolph Suite 200, Chicago IL 60601

    Miami, FL
    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    Location TBA

    Dallas, TX
    Wednesday, October 8, 2014
    7000 N. State Highway 161, Irving TX 75039

    Denver, CO
    Thursday, October 9, 2014
    7595 Technology Way Suite 400, Denver CO 80237

    Exciting, right? Well, I’d better tell you how to register, then. Visit us at our Roadshow page, read more about each session, watch a video of Mark and Billy discussing what will happen, and then click on the city where you’d be able to attend.

    Looking forward to seeing you there, wherever it may be!

    (And did I mention it was free?)

  • Getting data to DevExtreme’s client-side datagrid

    As part of the v14.1 release of DevExpress Universal and DevExtreme, we introduced a new fully-HTML5/JavaScript data grid. Sounds great – and it is – but there’s one caveat. How do you give it the data that it displays?

    DevExtreme data grid in a dashboard-type app

    Sure you can look the answer up in the documentation, but way better than that is having someone show you directly. I talked with Paul Usher about doing a webinar on the subject, and we came up with a plan of attack. First we’ll show you how to use the data grid in a new project, and then we let loose with data from an array, data from a JSON feed, and data from an OData service. I did promise some PHP as well, so I’ll have to do some research on that, but I may make Paul use Windows Azure to compensate.

    However it finally turns out – and it promises to be entertaining – you will learn how to use the DevExtreme data grid in your own web pages, no matter where your data resides. The webinar is on Tuesday, July 15, at 10:00 am Pacific, and you can register here.

  • 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.

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