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You are welcome to test the new XAF features prior to the 17.2 release: one, two, three, four, five
  • XAF - Background Geolocation tracking example and yet more updates on the Mobile UI development

    Another development sprint is over, and I want to publish some of our results for those interested in creating mobile apps with XAF.

    We have created an example that demonstrates the use of a mobile device positioning system via Cordova's Background Geolocation plugin and Cordova Device plugin

    These features are helpful when you wish to automatically track the whereabouts of an XAF mobile app user and display the user's route on a map (e.g., in a separate administrative XAF Web application):

    You can test this example live with XAF v17.1.5, which we released earlier this week.

    We are completing our work on XAF's PhoneGap plugins support and as a result, we've updated our online documentation to describe basic concepts and include information about the APIs used in recent examples (onetwo). The updated topics include, but are not limited to the following:

    DevExpress.ExpressApp.Mobile > MobileApplication

    DevExpress.ExpressApp.Mobile > MobileWindow

    DevExpress.ExpressApp.Actions > ActionBaseExtensions

    Concepts > Application Life Cycle > Mobile Application Life Cycle

    The next XAF version (17.1.6) will also provide a simpler way to register plugins through the new MobileApplication.AdditionalPhoneGapPlugins property instead of the general-purpose CustomizePhoneGapConfig event, but we'll focus on this and other improvements next time.

    Happy XAFing and have nice weekend!

    Test the new XAF features prior to the 17.2 release!

    We would also appreciate your thoughts on these features once you've had the opportunity to review them:
        Performance improvements (Core)
        OAuth2 authentication (Web)
        Barcode scanner (Mobile)
        Push Notifications (Mobile)
  • How to send push notifications to the XAF Mobile application using Azure Notifications Hub

    We've created a KB article that describes how to integrate push notifications into your XAF mobile application:

    To help implement our solution, we used both the phonegap-plugin-push and Azure Notification Hub tool. We've opted for the latter because it is an easy-to-use, multi-platform, scaled-out push engine that allows you to make a single cross-platform API call to send targeted and personalized push notifications to any mobile platform (Android/iOS/Windows) from any cloud or on-premises backend. Of course, you can use the native APIs offered by Google/Apple/Microsoft or any other third-party notification services instead.

    Your feedback is needed!
    This is not an official feature of our Mobile UI (CTP) and our API may change in future release cycles. We are publishing this article prior to the 17.2 release to collect early user feedback and improve overall functionality. We would appreciate your thoughts on this feature once you've had the opportunity to review it. Please report any issues, missing capabilities or suggestions in separate tickets in our Support Center. Thanks for your help in advance!

    Test the new XAF features prior to the 17.2 release!

    We would also appreciate your thoughts on these features once you've had the opportunity to review them:
        Performance improvements (Core)
        OAuth2 authentication (Web)
        Barcode scanner (Mobile)
        Background Geolocation (Mobile)
  • How to use a Barcode Scanner in XAF Mobile

    We've created a KB article that describes how to scan barcodes in your XAF mobile application using the Cordova Barcode Scanner plugin

    In this KB article, we'll show you how to implement an Action in a DetailView to save a scanned barcode to a current object property. Additionally, you will learn how to access the PhoneGap config file (regular XML file), add the plugin to your application and get access to the camera functionality with it.

    Your feedback is needed!
    This is not an official feature of our Mobile UI (CTP) and our API may change in future release cycles. We are publishing this article prior to the 17.2 release to collect early user feedback and improve overall functionality. We would appreciate your thoughts on this feature once you've had the opportunity to review it. Please report any issues, missing capabilities or suggestions in separate tickets in our Support Center. Thanks for your help in advance!

    Test the new XAF features prior to the 17.2 release!

    We would appreciate your thoughts on these features once you've had the opportunity to review them:
        Performance improvements (Core)
        OAuth2 authentication (Web)
        Push notifications (Mobile)
  • How to replace XAF exception handling with Logify

    With our most recent update (v17.1.4), the easiest way to integrate Logify within an XAF app is to use the LogifyAlertTraceListener API. You will find common and platform-dependent integration instructions for this recommended approach in the the following KB article

    Please note that we are using this exact approach for our online Web and Mobile demos (available at As you would expect, using Logify helps us improve product stability and product quality for both XAF's Mobile UI (CTP) platform and associated demo apps

    Logify itself is also widely used to deliver crash reports in other demos, runtime and design time tools for many DevExpress products and technologies:

    Feel free to contact us if you're already using Logify (the product is currently an invitation only beta) and want to try this new approach. We will be more than happy to provide you with the assistance needed to get started.

  • XAF - Using TestCafe for Functional Testing of Our Mobile UI

    In addition to the Mobile UI features announced last month, we've been hard at work improving the quality and stability of mobile apps generated via XAF's mobile UI platform. Specifically, we have developed an internal functional testing system based upon TestCafe and successfully used it with our internal tests apps (MainDemo.Mobile among others). This online demo also uses our new DevExpress Logify service to track exceptions and improve overall product quality.

    Frankly speaking, the main reasons we chose TestCafe was its simplicity and flexibility. TestCafe can be installed as npm package with a simple command, and its API can emulate all necessary webpage actions. We're using our own wrappers for the Selector function to find different element types:

    const activeViewSelector = Selector('.dx-active-view');
    const textboxClassName = '.dx-texteditor-input';
    this.findTextBox = function (fieldName) {
        return activeViewSelector.find('div[data-options*="name: \'' + fieldName + '\'"]').find(textboxClassName);

    We've also implemented custom wrappers for TestCafe actions (click, drag, etc.) to handle the moment wherein all the activities on the page (animation, movements, queries) are complete and all required elements become visible: = async function () {
         await this.waitElementToAppeared.apply(this, arguments);
         await, arguments);
         await this.wait(); 
         await checkForExceptions();
    These wrappers are combined in a large helper (I will not show its full source code here) that allows us to write cleaner and more user-friendly test code. For instance, this is what a test case looks like:

    import { Selector, ClientFunction } from 'testcafe';
    import { XafMobileTestHelper } from './lib/helper';
    var helper = new XafMobileTestHelper();
    .beforeEach(async (t) => {
        helper.testCafe = t; await t.navigateTo('http://localhost/');
        await helper.switchToIframe("#simulatorFrame");
        await helper.typeText(helper.findTextBox("UserName"), "Sam", { replace: true });
        await"Log On"));
    test('Delete action(action with detail view)', async t => {
        await helper.typeText(helper.findTextBox("Subject"), "Task To Delete");
        await t.expect(helper.findListViewRecord("Task To Delete").exists).ok();
        await"Task To Delete"));
        await t .expect(helper.findListViewRecord("Task To Delete").exists).notOk();

    Running tests and accumulating results is easy with TestCafe via a single command line:

    Our mobile tests are integrated into the advanced and CCTray-based system used for automated execution and monitoring of all our unit and functional tests:

    If you are interested in learning more about our Mobile UI (CTP), check out eXpressApp Framework > Getting Started > XAF Mobile (CTP) Tutorial and feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions via the Support Center (

  • XAF - Application Performance and Improved Usability (Coming soon in v17.1)

    In this post, I'd like to highlight a few of the more interesting enhancements we've made to XAF in this release cycle.

    Platform Agnostic Notifications 

    You can now display notifications to users (e.g. confirmation messages, warnings, errors) with ease by calling the new platform-independent ShowViewStrategyBase.ShowMessage method. Depending on method parameters and target platform, your message can be represented by Outlook-like alerts, Windows 10-like toast windows or flyout panels (all powered by DevExpress WinForms Controls and/or DevExtreme HTML 5 widgets). A typical example will look something like this: 

    public class ProjectTaskController : ViewController {
        MessageOptions options = new MessageOptions();
        options.Duration = 2000;
        options.Message = string.Format("{0} task(s) have been completed!", e.SelectedObjects.Count);
        options.Type = InformationType.Success;
        options.Web.Position = InformationPosition.Bottom;
        options.Win.Caption = "Success";
        options.Win.Type = WinMessageType.Toast;

    Here are a couple of examples of the UX within Windows and XAF's Web UI:

    You can play with this feature in our FeatureCenter. This feature has been successfully test-driven since its initial preview in v16.2.5. v17.1 includes enhancements based on customer requests and offers improved stability due to extended test coverage. Be sure to visit Concepts > UI Construction > Text Notifications to learn more about possible customizations and usage limits.

    Optimized controller creation in ListPropertyEditor for detail collections

    With this release, XAF powered applications with numerous Controllers associated with detail collections load faster. That is possible because we no longer instantiate non-activated View Controllers due to TargetViewType, TargetViewNesting, TargetObjectType or TargetViewId restrictions. This optimization is automatically enabled in newly generated XAF v17.1 apps. In apps created using older XAF versions, you can set the XafApplication > OptimizedControllersCreation property manually.

    The second screenshot (B) illustrates where this improvement will be the most noticeable - a huge application with hundreds of Controllers:

    High DPI improvements

    In v17.1, desktop apps powered by XAF will offer a consistent appearance across a wide variety of high-DPI display settings. Your WinForms XAF applications will now be scaled correctly when setting the scaling factor (change text size, app and other item options) to a value greater than 100%. To enable the High DPI support, add the 'app.manifest' file to your project and enable the 'dpiAware' option. DPI-aware scaling is also enabled in XAF design-time tools.

    Other important changes

    Finally, I'd like to repost information from XAF's "Breaking Changes" section. Though not breaking changes, they are important things to consider for every single XAF user:

    BC4063 - More secure password generation algorithms for built-in security system classes are available in XAF v16.2 and v17.1
    Refer to the FIPS-compliance changes to the DevExpress.Persistent.Base.PasswordCryptographer and DevExpress.ExpressApp.Utils.ImageLoader classes KB Article for additional information.

    BC4062 - The Frame.GetController<ControllerType> method may return null when the XafApplication.OptimizedControllersCreation property is set to true
    XAF Solution Wizard now sets the XafApplication.OptimizedControllersCreation property to true for newly generated XAF projects. To avoid possible null reference exceptions in nested List Views, always check whether the Frame.GetController<ControllerType> method result is not null when the OptimizedControllersCreation property is true.

    BC4038 - WebLayoutManager - Initialization and usage of LayoutItemTemplateContainerBase descendants has been changed
    Refer to the Web Layout Manager improvements and important changes in XAF v17.1 KB Article for additional information.

  • XAF - New Maps Module and other enhancements to the Mobile UI (Coming in v17.1)

    With our new Maps module for XAF Mobile applications you can incorporate interactive maps and customize their provider and data source. You can start using this feature with the Visual Studio Toolbox and XAF designers or Solution Wizard - where you can add the new MapsMobileModule component:

    Note: You must specify the MapsMobileModule.GoogleApiKey property in the MobileApplication.cs (MobileApplication.vb) file (refer to the Get API Key article to learn more).

    This module includes both List and Property Editors designed to display, add and edit business objects such as addresses, companies or anything that implements the IMapsMarker interface on a map. The MobileMapsListEditor is the default List Editor used to display objects implementing this interface:

    Once you configure the desired ListView using the Model Editor, it will convert the default data representation from a simple list into an interactive map displaying a list of markers:

    You can also create new objects using the New Action or after a long tap on a map.

    In the DetailView, you can manually specify required coordinates or if you prefer to hide these properties, you can instead use the built-in Get Current Position command.

    In DetailView, you can force the MobileMapsPropertyEditor to display IMapsMarker business objects as a map instead of standard drop down editors:

    Minor Enhancements

    In addition to this new module, we've also worked on a number of other minor features. For instance, with v17.1, non-persistent properties will be supported in XAF Mobile and XPO OData Service. If a non-persistent property includes business logic, our OData Service will automatically execute it and return the resulting value to the client. We have also developed a functional testing system based on our TestCafe product to improve the quality of mobile apps and I hope to briefly describe this feature in a future post. You can also explore and modify our pre-built mobile application at C:\Users\Public\Documents\DevExpress Demos 17.1\Components\eXpressApp Framework\MainDemo\CS\MainDemo.Mobile\ as we made it a part of the default installation. This should help you get you up to speed with of our mobile platform. We also made numerous improvements to the online documentation, though this process is not yet finalized and there are more changes to come.

  • XAF - Additional Enhancements for Windows & Web Platforms, Core and Model Editor (Shipping now in v16.2)

    Happy New Year Everyone!

    Late last year, I described some of the new features we shipped as part of XAF v16.2. In this post, I'll discuss a few other enhancements we incorporated in v16.2.

    Support for Multiple Browser Tabs

    v16.2 includes support for a popular ASP.NET scenario - displaying multiple independent XAF views via browser tabs within the same web browser instance . If you've used XAF in the past, you'll know that this specific requirement was not easy to implement, as the XAF web site stored information about the current main window within the ASP.NET session between requests (learn more...). Technically, it still does, but with v16.2, each loaded web window has a unique identifier by which all requests are correctly routed on the server. 

    With the new static WebApplication.EnableMultipleBrowserTabsSupport feature toggle, you can, for instance, include hyper links to two different XAF views in a customer email and when clicked, these links will open two separate browser tabs so that end-user can work with them independently.


    Custom grouping of Application Model nodes in the Model Editor

    This feature was inspired by customer feedback and to help explain it, let's consider a real world scenario. Assume that you have numerous custom Controllers placed in folders with the following naming convention:

    In previous versions, XAF did not offer an easy way to navigate between these Controllers and Actions in the Model Editor due to the default grouping by the Action identifier. Essentially, users requesting this feature needed to provide custom grouping - similar to that found in Solution Explorer. With v16.2, you can use the new ModelEditorGroupingHelper API to customize default node grouping. Here is a sample screenshot from an actual end-user project:


    Improved Web UI Theme Customization

    Though this feature was derived from the DevExpress ASP.NET product library, I definitely want to make mention of it. Let me quote myself from my personal blog:

    "There were a good number of requests to simplify the process of adjusting the New Web UI to match corporate colors. With v16.2, this process became much easier with the new options for changing the base color and font in code or configuration files of your app. Our XCRM.Web demo now contains a custom color/font scheme picker to demonstrate the use of these new release capabilities:

    In addition, the XAF theme was better integrated with the ASPxThemeBuilder & ASPxThemeDeployer tools offered by our DevExpress ASP.NET team for creating and deploying custom themes. These actions appear to be a good start towards a "true" themes chooser requested by some customers or rather their end-users, who liked a vast number of predefined styles. The idea under consideration is  that we may support changing more theme parameters at runtime (e.g., the white background was reported as eye-fatiguing by some users), i.e., not only the main color and font."

    Take special note that color/font picker feature is NOT part of the standard delivery and is enabled only in our XCRM demo by default. To add and customize this feature in your project, do the following:
        1. Copy and include the "C:\Users\Public\Documents\DevExpress Demos 16.2\Components\eXpressApp Framework\XCRM\CS\XCRM.Web\BaseColorSelector" folder in the YourSolutionName.Web project.
        2. Copy and include the "C:\Users\Public\Documents\DevExpress Demos 16.2\Components\eXpressApp Framework\XCRM\CS\XCRM.Web\CustomDefaultVerticalTemplateContent.xx" files in the YourSolutionName.Web project and optionally customize the custom template in Visual Studio to meet your business requirements.
        3. In the YourSolutionName.Web/Global.asax.cs file, add the WebApplication.Instance.Settings.DefaultVerticalTemplateContentPath = "CustomDefaultVerticalTemplateContent.ascx"; line to the Session_Start method after the WebApplication.SetInstance call.
    Refer to the Task-Based Help > How to: Customize an ASP.NET Template article to learn more about this customization process.

    Platform-Agnostic API for Displaying Dialogs

    With v16.2, use of custom dialogs has been simplified for both WinForms and ASP.NET applications. The ShowViewStrategyBase.ShowViewInPopupWindow method displays the specified View in a popup dialog with OK and Cancel buttons:

    Application.ShowViewStrategy.ShowViewInPopupWindow(Application.CreateDashboardView(Application.CreateObjectSpace(), "PaymentSuccessConfirmation", true));

    You can also pass the okDelegate and cancelDelegate  parameters to this method and specify the code to be executed when the OK and Cancel buttons are clicked. Button captions can be customized using the okButtonCaption and cancelButtonCaption parameters.

    In the following screenshot, you can see how a DashboardView configured in the Application Model can be used with this new method in an ASP.NET app:

    The ShowViewInPopupWindow method provides a platform-agnostic way to display popup dialogs from your code. However, there are certain specifics in ASP.NET applications:

    - The ShowViewInPopupWindow method can be used on XafCallbackManager callbacks initiated by the RaiseXafCallback script. It cannot be used on control callbacks (e.g., grid sorting).
    - It is impossible to pause the current request to wait for user input.
    - Main window is not refreshed when the Cancel button is clicked.

    Improved Customization of Action Controls

    The customization of UI controls used to visualize XAF Actions has been simplified. With v16.2, each Action exposes the CustomizeControl event that provides access to the underlying control including its context information. Related product documentation and examples like How to: Customize Action Controls and How to: Access Navigation Control were updated to reflect the new implementation. All of the possible scenarios are also demonstrated in the Action section of the Feature Center demo that is shipped with XAF. Below is a screenshot of Visual Studio demonstrating customization of a parametrized Action control in WinForms:

    To learn more about the reasons behind this feature, be sure to check out my blog as well.

    Instant Feedback UI Mode in WinForms GridListEditor

    With this release, XAF List Views support our server-side data processing engine - Instant Feedback UI Mode. When used, your apps will remain responsive regardless of dataset size. To enable this feature, set the ListView's DataAccesMode property to InstantFeedback. Refer to the List View Data Access Modes  and How to: Access Objects Selected in the Current View help articles for more information on supported scenarios and usage specificities.

    Faster App Startup

    We've improved our Application Model cache (introduced in v16.1) and further reduced WinForms application startup times. To learn more, check out the XafApplication.EnableModelCache article for additional information. Please note that you can now enable parallel loading of business types and tune the model cache by setting the static DevExpress.ExpressApp.ModelCacheManager.UseMultithreadedLoading and DevExpress.ExpressApp.ModelCacheManager.SkipEmptyNodes properties to True before the XafApplication.Setup method is called in the YourSolutionName.Win/Program.xx file. Based upon tests with various large customer applications, startup time can be reduced up to 30% when implemented. In general, the more business classes and Controllers included in an app, the greater the impact from this enhancement.

    As always, we welcome your comments and feedback. Tell us what you think of these new features.

  • XAF - The New Dashboards Module & Much More (Shipping now in v16.2)

    I'd like to preface this blog post with a recent quote from one of our loyal XAF users - Mario Blataric. He was an active beta tester in this release cycle. 

    Here is what he wrote in an urgent DevExpress Support Center ticket: T460839 - Urgent, need to share 16.2 excitement !!  

    "I know I can be hard customer sometimes with loads of tickets, so in the light of 16.2 release and near the end of 2016, I would like to do something different for a change. I would like to express my excitement about 16.2 release. I have been using alpha and beta rather intense in both Win and Web platforms and I can not remember when so many goodies were coming in single release. It is possible that this time many more things affect me than usual, but never the less - I absolutely love 16.2. Let me just quickly mention several things that excite me the most:

    - startup improvements of Win application (model caching)
    - ability to custom group Actions in model (as well as other nodes separately)
    - ability to edit reports (massive excitement generator - please make sure reports team get this one :-))
    - improvements of new web ui and color schemes
    - navigation permissions and PermissionPolicy (ok, PP is not 16.2 - but it got my attention in combination with navigation permissions so it is just a bonus)
    - InstantFeedback mode - I love it!
    - improved filter control on web - real beauty
    - mobile support (not born in 16.2, but got serious enough to take my attention)
    - Visual Studio 2017 support (another nice bonus)
    - and basically everything else. Some seriously amazing stuff was done for 16.2 - huge cudos!

    Also, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for support you provided in last couple of months helping me with some long-term issues I could not squash for months or even years. So, thank you for that.

    Best regards and keep doing amazing job, Mario"

    We appreciate those of you willing to migrate your apps to our most recent builds. As I'm sure you can appreciate, feedback goes a long way to making our product more stable and easier to use. 

    With that - let's take a quick look at the newest features shipping inside XAF v16.2.

    New Dashboards Module (Windows and Web)

    You can now leverage the flexibility of DevExpress Dashboard to create interactive decision support systems for Windows and the Web. We considered previously available custom solutions for the most popular dashboard scenarios (see this Support Center ticket) and determined that our best path forward was to deliver a universal Dashboards module. This built-in module should reduce the work and complexities associated with the integration of the DashboardViewer/DashboardDesigner and ASPxDashboard components into your next XAF-based WinForms and ASP.NET app.

    XAF WinForms Dashboard Module

    XAF Web Dashboard Module

    If you're reading to give this new module a try, I suggest you start with our online documentation at Dashboards Module as well as XCRM and Feature Center demos.

    Before I continue, I want to take a moment and emphasize that this new feature is a perfect example of what XAF is and how it's developed. Technically, XAF is a set of best practices and proven solutions - This set it finite as are our resources, but you are still "safe" and not "locked in". That is because you can always implement custom requirements, if a control or feature is currently unavailable - our team has done its best to ensure that the Framework is flexible and extensible. When we see high demand for a feature or we develop a better understanding of usage scenarios, new solutions typically get baked into the standard delivery.

    Permissions for Navigation Items and Groups

    With v16.2, you can grant or deny access for specific navigation items and groups in the Navigation Permissions tab of the PermissionPolicyRole Detail View:

    Much like Dashboards, we have also reconsidered and integrated previously available custom solutions into our standard delivery. Take special note that this new feature is available only for permission policy and the PermissionPolicyRole class added in v16.1.

    If you are still using SecuritySystemXXX classes, you might want to consider the following migration guidelines: 
    How to use the Allow/Deny permissions policy (aka the PermissionPolicyUser and PermissionPolicyRole classes) in the existing project

    If you're using Entity Framework and want to upgrade from v16.1 to v16.2, please review the following KB article:
    How to: Add Navigation Permissions to an Entity Framework Application Created with XAF 16.1

    Criteria Editor Enhancements (Web UI)

    XAF's ASP.NET Criteria Property Editor now supports many of the features available in its WinForms counterpart, including:

    • ability to display full object hierarchies, including members of reference and collection properties;
    • use of built-in XAF editors for value types that don't have a native editor;
    • ability to edit criteria as a string;
    • display user-friendly criteria strings within the grid footer.

    This feature is very helpful when configuring security permissions with criteria and a variety of other data analytics scenarios (e.g. with Pivot Chart - your end-users will love it!). Our wrappers around the DevExpress ASPxFilterControl also expose a number of options which you may want to tune based upon your business requirements (see the updated Concepts > Business Model Design > Data Types Supported by built-in Editors > Criteria Properties help article for more details).

    Mobile Platform (CTP) Enhancements

    We continue to focus energy on our new mobile UI, and in this release, we've incorporated the following enhancements:

    • Improved look and feel, with new UI layouts optimized for desktop and tablet devices. What do you think of the new blue design, btw?
    • Application Simulator no longer requires an internet connection. Previously, XAF users required to connect to our Azure-hosted web site for testing, which was not always convenient.
    • 'Active' and 'Enabled' action states are now context-dependent, i.e. can be updated depending on whether the currently selected list or detail record matches some criteria.

    XAF Mobile UI - Phones

    XAF Mobile UI - Tablet

    We have also fixed a series of issues for improved stability. This mobile UI is still available as a CTP, because we have a number of things in our TODO list for the final release. These include: simplified localization, easier custom control integration and better support for extended modules like maps, reports, etc. Check out the links below to learn about what we ship in the box or how to add the same functionality to your next project:

    Demo    FAQ    Tutorial    Video

    I'll have more to share about XAF v16.2 in a subsequent post. In the meantime, I'd love to get your feedback on these new features.

    Happy New Year!

  • XAF - Check out a case-study on the New Web UI from DevPark

    I wanted to draw your attention to a recent case study we published about DevPark's project. Roman Shelomanov and his team have created an XAF powered Web and Windows client with a common core and logic.

    You can read the case study here:

    Should you have an XAF project you'd like us to showcase on our site OR want to share suggestions on how you'd like us to improve your XAF development experience, please email me. Happy XAFIng:)

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