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  • DevExpress auctions Universal license for Typhoon Haiyan relief

    Photo of destroyed house, used with permission, copyright Eoghan Rice - Trocaire

    A destroyed house on the outskirts of Tacloban on Leyte island. This region was the worst affected by the typhoon, causing widespread damage and loss of life. Caritas is responding by distributing food, shelter, hygiene kits and cooking utensils.

    (Photo copyright: Eoghan Rice - Trócaire / Caritas; used with permission from Wikimedia Commons.)

    Letterpress Charity Auction titleI’m sure it goes without saying that we’ve all been horrified about the news from the Philippines this past couple of weeks. Typhoon Haiyan caused incredible damage throughout the Leyte and Samar islands (part of the Eastern Visayas), destroying much of the towns, cities, and infrastructure in those low-lying islands. Houses and buildings were flattened, obliterated. Millions of people were affected by the devastation, having lost their homes, possessions, loved ones, jobs; whereas thousands of people have died or are still missing (unremarkably in this kind of disaster, even now, 10 days later, no one knows for sure how many victims there are). Wikipedia, unsurprisingly, have an extremely good article already on the typhoon and the devastation it wrought, and I’d recommend reading it.

    Needless to say, relief in the form of food, housing, money is pouring into the Philippines to try and help. We at DevExpress want to do our share and so we’ve set up an auction on EBay, proceeds from which will go directly to the Red Cross to provide aid to all the victims.

    On the auction block then is a single user license to DevExpress Universal. Normally this goes for $2199.99, but this time you’re in the driving seat: all proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross’ Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund. So bid early and often. I’ve put in my bid, so watch out. (Do note: by winning you will also get some eBay bucks for the next quarter, so it’ll be like winning twice!)

    Please consider helping out the Philippines by bidding on this item.

  • Localizing your .NET app, now with custom translations

    The .NET Framework, from time immemorial, has provided extensive support for localizing your applications. Providing that you have followed some general, common sense guidelines from the outset, you won’t have to tear your application apart in order to provide a user interface that isn’t just in American English. Without going into great detail, this involves the use of and linking at run-time to localized resource assemblies that contain translations of every displayable string in your application.

    Translate Computer Key In Blue Showing Online TranslatorAs a control developer and vendor, we’ve supplied these localized resource assemblies for all of our controls for free for all of our customers for some time. In fact it’s more than that: we’ve relied on our customers to provide these translations in the first place and to continue to give us updates and to correct mistakes. It’s a herculean effort. (I like to think I’m bilingual – English and French – but my French comes nowhere near the quality for any of this.)

    The effort is large, not only because of the resources needed to gather, edit and recompile the translations, but because people, rightly so, ask for little tweaks to the translations for their particular applications. Since the resource assemblies have to be signed with the same key we use for our main assemblies, it adds an extra burden to our support team’s work.

    So, a year or so ago, some key developers here at DevExpress took another look at the problem and used a bit of lateral thinking to come up with another way of doing this. The problem space boiled down to this:

    • We need to provide localization resource assemblies for our controls at no extra cost.
    • We want to have a base set (a default set, if you like) of translations for a particular language.
    • We want to provide custom translations to those customers who want to fine-tune for a particular application or vertical market.
    • Oh, and those custom translations have to be saved somewhere for the next time the customer wants to edit them.
    • We want to remove the need for human creation of these localized resource assemblies.

    Finally, after a year of design and implementation work, we are announcing the beta of the DevExpress Localization Service.

    DevExpress Localization Service Main Page

    After logging in and accepting a License Agreement, you are presented with a page that lists the translations you’ve already created or edited. The first time you visit the page this list will be empty, of course. (There is also a link here to watch a video on how to use the DevExpress Localization Service and how to use the custom translations in your app.) From this page you can add another translation (that is, language coupled with DevExpress version) or modify one you have already created.

    DevExpress Localization Service Edit Page

    The edit page shows you all (!) the strings in the resource (together with their names in the source code) that can be translated. There are over 15000, so beware. You can filter the list to include those strings that still need translating (together with a suggested translation – we use Bing), those that have a translation already (these are our default set), or all of them. You can search through the strings (otherwise this edit page would be unusable!) to find the ones you are most interested in modifying. Once you are done fine-tuning the translations for your particular app or market, click the Save button to save your translations. The Localization Service saves your translations in the cloud on DevExpress’ servers so that they are available to you for editing again at some future point.

    You can also click Download here as well to initiate a build process for your custom localized resource assemblies (or you can click Download on the main list of translations to get several at once).

    Once the build process has completed, you will get an email with a link to download your particular signed custom assemblies. The link will remain active for a couple of days, after which you will have to initiate another build process. Once downloaded, the assemblies are ready to be added to your particular project and deployed.

    And with that I welcome you to the new DevExpress Localization Service! Please do try it out if you are interested in localizing your applications and particularly if you want to create custom assemblies. I’d love to hear what you think, so please do provide feedback. Our support team are also ready to answer your technical questions. It’s pretty solid right now, but I will remind you that it is in beta, so there might be some issues that can only come from throwing a lot of people at it all at once :).

  • Happy Anniversary! DevExpress is 15 years old

    Once upon a time in a land far far away there was a group of developers who had been writing financial apps in Borland Delphi for banks. After a couple or so of these, they noticed that they were writing the same UI code over and over, but just applying it to different scenarios. Abstract out the scenario details and … they had a UI control that can be used in lots of applications. Lather, rinse, repeat a few times and they soon had lots of them.

    Enter a knight in shining armor (as it were), a guru at marketing and selling, also in the app-writing business. He was contacted by this group of developers: can you help us package these controls and sell them?

    First DevExpress LogoThe rest is history. A company was formed, and the first UI control product was released in November 1998 (I’m reliably told November 22) under the company name of Developer Express (and pretty soon that was abbreviated to DevExpress). Yes, it was fifteen years ago.

    Speaking personally, I would have to say that the first time I became really aware of DevExpress was at the Borland Conference (BorCon) in Philadelphia in July 1999, eight months later. At that time I was working for a competitor, TurboPower Software, who, as it happened, also wrote and sold UI control packages (my readers from that time will remember Orpheus was the name of this control set) as well as other kinds of libraries for Delphi. I say “really aware” because TurboPower had other competitors, more well established than this new upstart.

    That BorCon was the first time I met Ray Navasarkian, the President of DevExpress (and who is now my boss). We’d meet up regularly at every BorCon from then on, until essentially they didn’t happen anymore, and TurboPower was eventually closed down.

    During those early years DevExpress continued to produce new UI libraries for Delphi on a regular basis. The founders stayed on, the dev teams increased in size, and suddenly there was another opportunity on the horizon: Visual Studio .NET and this new language called C#. DevExpress seized the initiative: rewrite all their controls in C#, using everything they had learned about writing and marketing UI controls in the meantime. The whole company was involved to such an extent that the first third-party .NET WinForms product was released by DevExpress in 2001 while Visual Studio .NET was still in beta. Even more than that, unlike the older Visual Studio and support for VBXs, DevExpress released the full source code as well, setting the stage for the market we are in now.

    Second DevExpress LogoSince then, DevExpress have supported new .NET platforms as they came along: ASP.NET, WPF, Silverlight, Windows 8 XAML, ASP.NET MVC and ancillary libraries and features such as Entity Framework, Azure, Coded UI, and so on. I joined as CTO some seven and a half years ago (meaning my tenure here is half as old as DevExpress itself) – I’d used DevExpress’ very first ASP.NET grid in a large application for a non-profit, so considered myself somewhat of an expert – and the company has grown dramatically from then on, until reaching the point where we’re now releasing HTML/JavaScript frameworks and tools. And we’re not stopping now: we have some very interesting ideas for the future.

    More impressive to me perhaps is the morale and health of the company as we’ve grown. DevExpress is a fantastic company to work for. Everyone is enthusiastic about the products and their colleagues, turnover is very low (all the founders are still here and ditto those early developers), the support team are the best in our business, our tech writing team (which includes the proofing team) produce some sterling documentation, the developers write great features and enhancements, our designers have learned to beat down and tame the developers – all in all, a great group of people.

    Current DevExpress LogoOf course, we couldn’t have become what we are now without you, our customers. You’ve been supportive, you’ve cheered, you’ve complained, you’ve provided great feedback, you’ve cajoled us into providing features, you’ve been along for the ride. Customers are important enough that we have just set up our new Developer Advocates team to give you a point of contact should you need more from us.

    To mark this occasion, throughout the month of November, we’ll be running some contests with great prizes, we’re going to give away gifts, and we’ll be raising money for charitable organizations via eBay auctions. To join the celebration, follow us on our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube and watch out for the announcements.

    On behalf of all of DevExpress, I would like to thank you for the first 15 years and here’s to another 15!

  • Webinars detailing the DevExpress 13.2 release

    I’m sure that you know by now that the second major release of the DevExpress subscription for a given year happens in the second half (duh!) and usually in early December. You’ll be glad to know that this year will be no exception to that rule.

    Although I can’t comment on the actual release date, what I can offer is a set of webinars the week of December 2nd that will describe the new features and enhancements you can expect in the various controls and libraries among the assorted .NET platforms we support (the matrix is getting quite complicated these days). Here’s the list, and, as with all our webinars, you can just visit devexpress.com/webinars to see what’s being offered in the future as well as review some of the ones we’ve done in the past.


    02-Dec-2013 10:00 AM Pacific Time – What's New in 13.2 for Windows Developers

    The next major release of DevExpress tools for Windows developers is almost here. Join Paul Usher, DevExpress Technical Evangelist, as he demonstrates the newest products and features for our WinForms, WPF, and Windows 8 XAML toolset, including enhancements to our grid controls across all three platforms, a Spreadsheet and PDF Viewer for WPF and so much more.


    03-Dec-2013 10:00 AM Pacific Time – What’s New in 13.2: Analytics and Dashboards

    If your applications provide data analytics, reporting and dashboard services to end-users, you won't  want to miss this webinar. Seth Juarez, DevExpress Program Manager for Analytics, describes all the enhancements to our award-winning charting, reporting and dashboard tools across all supported platforms.  The changes are numerous, including sparklines, parameterized dashboards, map improvements, and enhancements to the DevExpress Report Server.


    04-Dec-2013 10:00 AM Pacific Time – What's New in 13.2 for ASP.NET Developers

    DevExpress v2013.2 is almost here and the enhancements we're introducing for web developers is significant. Join Mehul Harry, DevExpress Program Manager, as he demonstrates many of the newest features in this release, including a new WebForms Ribbon Control, several new MVC extensions, extended GridView capabilities, an elegant new 'Modern' web theme, and more.


    04-Dec-2013 12:00 PM – What's New in 13.2: CodeRush

    See what's new in CodeRush 13.2, including impressive new functionality in the debug visualizer, new XAML features, and a new DXCore navigation feature that might just blow your mind.


    05-Dec-2013 10:00 AM Pacific Time – What's New in 13.2: XAF

    DevExpress Universal v2013.2 is almost here, and if you have a license to Universal, it's likely you’ve considered using the eXpressApp Framework (XAF). Join Seth Juarez, DevExpress Program Manager, as he introduces the newest features and functionality we’ll ship in XAF 13.2. He'll cover the creation of custom/calculated fields in models, non-blocking flexible validation, simplified large reports, and much more.


    Hey! What about VCL?

    Don’t worry, we aren’t ignoring the VCL subscription: as usual this will be released a couple of weeks after the .NET release. We can’t do everything at once :)

  • Hotfix to DevExpress 12.2 .NET

    An issue managed to make its way into the DevExpress 12.2.14 release: showing a WPF or Silverlight RichEditControl in an app crashes the app. This was obviously a critical enough bug that we immediately refreshed the 12.2 series to 12.2.15 in order to publish the fix without delay. We have also withdrawn the 12.2.14 install. For details on what new functionality was present in 12.2.14, please see the What’s New for 12.2.15.

    If you are using the 12.2 series, our recommendation is to update to the 12.2.15 hotfix as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience.

  • Job interview at HTML5DevConf?

    We had a visit today from the ‘Droid we were looking for.

    HTML5DevConf Android dude

    He seems to like to like that publicity shot of the PhoneJS app running on Android. I wonder why?

  • Some markup from the HTML5DevConf!

    This week, we’re exhibiting at the HTML5DevConf at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, showing off our HTML5/CSS3/JS products: PhoneJS, ChartJS, and, of course, TestCafé.

    HTML5DevConf Booth sign

    Yesterday was the first day of the booth, and let me tell you it was busy. OK, OK, maybe part of it was because we were giving away our HTML5 T-shirts and part of it because we had a small bar dispensing a couple of brews in the afternoon for refreshments, but a lot of it had to do with our products. People were fascinated with how TestCafé worked and did its magic, especially when Seth and I showed it running tests on our iPhones, iPads, and even on my Kindle Fire HD. (The Amazon AppDev guys who had a booth here also were also very interested in this capability. In return, they also had one of the new 7-inch Fire HDX’s for me to try.)

    HTML5DevConf DevExpress Booth

    The morning was so successful that by lunchtime, I was hoarse from talking to attendees but with some four hours still to go. We met some old friends (even some .NET customers were here, a little confused perhaps that we were not talking about our .NET offerings as in other shows Winking smile), and lots of new possible customers. The teams back in the office had spent some long hours over the weekend polishing some new demos that we could show off, so expect those to appear on our demos web site over the next month or two.

    Anyway, we’re here today as well so if you are attending HTML5DevConf, do pop by and say hello.

  • Visual Studio 2013 support in your favorite DevExpress product is coming!

    A quick bit of news from the DevExpress R&D department, of interest especially to those who are thinking of upgrading to Visual Studio 2013.

    Microsoft have stated that Visual Studio 2013 will RTM at Windows 8.1 GA on November 13, 2013, although the RC (release candidate) is available now if you are an MSDN or TechNet subscriber. Please note though that the RC is *not* the RTM version: there have been changes to the beta bits already from when the RC was made available.

    Now, having said that, there’s a couple of items of note. Firstly, we have already announced our support for Windows 8.1 and Visual Studio 2013 with regard to our Metro controls, er, sorry, our Windows 8.x XAML controls. Secondly, with regard to everything else we do for .NET, we have some obvious news and some that is not so obvious.

    As you might have already guessed, we shall be supporting the released version of Visual Studio 2013 with our current version of our packages on the day it is published. Like, duh, as the young people say. In other words, we will deliver a minor 13.1.x version with this support on the day of release. The not-so-obvious news is that we shall *also* be publishing a minor version of the 12.2 series that will support Visual Studio 2013. So, if you are still targeting .NET 3.5 and would like to use the new features of the latest IDE to create/maintain your application, we will deliver that support at the same time in a 12.2.x version.

    If you’ve got any feedback about this news, or about anything else that DevExpress are doing, please don’t hesitate to contact me at julianb@devexpress.com.

  • Windows 8 XAML controls package now with Windows 8.1 support

    I’m sure that our customers already know that Windows 8.1 is due to be released on October 17. However, after a rocky start where that release date applied to everyone (apart from manufacturers), Microsoft eventually relented and allowed MSDN and TechNet subscribers early access to the RTM bits. And, of course it was at this point that our XAML team could get hold of the install and do some preparation towards supporting the new features in Windows 8.1 for Metro apps.

    PDF Viewer control for WinRTThe DevExpress Windows 8 XAML controls have now been overhauled to fully support Windows 8.1 and take full advantage of new operating system features including the following:

    • New application resizing mechanism.
    • Faster XAML loading thanks to pre-compilation to a binary format.
    • On-demand style loading.

    However the team did not stop there. In addition to supporting these new OS enhancements, they wanted to add some new controls and features and package the whole lot as version 13.2, a good couple of months before the release of the rest of 13.2. So they added:

    • A new PDF Viewer Control with full support for touch gestures, printing and multiple page view styles. The control renders directly to a DirectX drawing surface minimizing resources and maximizing performance.
    • Microsoft Excel style Data Filtering UI and horizontal virtualization support in Grid Control.
    • New Tile Control type that support newer sizing options and animations to match those introduced in Windows 8.1 RTM.

    Yes, this new version is available now so you can start building Windows Store applications for the new platform right away. You can download this latest version directly from here.

    Please note that this build requires Windows 8.1 RTM and Visual Studio 2013. You cannot develop Windows 8.1 Metro apps in Windows 8 or with an earlier version of Visual Studio.

  • DevExpress VCL 13.1.4 released with support for Delphi XE5

    I have some good news to report, tempered slightly with a dash of the not so good.

    The good first: we’ve just released v13.1.4 of the DevExpress VCL subscription. Among various issue and performance improvements, this release contains full support for Delphi XE5 (both 32- and 64-bit) and C++ Builder XE5 (both 32- and 64-bit), for apps compiled against the VCL run-time.

    To learn about the new features and resolved issues in 13.1.4, please visit the What’s New page. If you are still on 12.2 or earlier, here is my blog post about the new features in DevExpress VCL 13.1.

    Unfortunately, I must draw your attention to a few known issues with this release that may impact your development. The first two (B232477, B230655) are carried over from previous versions of RAD Studio (XE3, XE4) and are still reported as open in Embarcadero QualityCentral. Since these have been known for a while, I’m guessing that, if you’ve encountered them, you have worked around them to a certain extent.

    The third (B238969) is new and appeared in the just-released RAD Studio XE5. In essence, data navigation using the key fields specified via the KeyFieldNames property (Properties.KeyFieldNames in data-aware lookup editors) is broken due to an issue in TClientDataSet. (A similar problem involves numeric filters when used with TClientDataSet.) This functionality is exposed from the XE5 MIDAS.dll, a globally-registered COM component, so not only will it break new or updated applications that use it, but also existing applications (so you might already be aware of the problem). All issues have been reported in QualityCentral and we await their resolution.

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