DevExpress Data Blog
  • WinForms and WPF Mini Maps (Coming soon in v14.2)

    Maps are amongst the few visualizations that can show a myriad of dimensions in a cogent way. One of the challenges with maps is simultaneously understanding both the micro (zoomed in) and the macro (zoomed out) levels. In the next major release of the DevExpress Map Control we are going to introduce a new visual element to help – a Mini Map or Map Preview.

    The following image shows the WPF MapControl with an enabled Mini Map.

    WPF Mini Map

    The XAML code is just as you would expect:

    <dxm:MapControl>
      <dxm:MapControl.MiniMap>
        <dxm:MiniMap Alignment="TopRight">
          <dxm:MiniMapImageTilesLayer>
            <dxm:BingMapDataProvider BingKey="{Binding Source={StaticResource bingKey}}"/>
          </dxm:MiniMapImageTilesLayer>
        </dxm:MiniMap>
      </dxm:MapControl.MiniMap>
      <!-- more regular map stuff -->
    </dxm:MapControl>

    Appearance

    The mini map allows customizing items and mini map elements using styles (WinForms) and templates (WPF). Also, you can change a mini map’s alignment and size as well.

    Mini Map Size and Alignment

    Behavior

    The mini map supports two behavior modes: fixed and dynamic.

    When a mini map operates in fixed behavior mode, its center point and zoom level are fixed. Otherwise, when its behavior is dynamic, mini map settings are changed according to the zoom level and center point of the owner map.

    Fixed behavior mode in WinForms:

    Fixe Behavior Mode

    and dynamic behavior mode (WinForms):

    Dynamic Behavior Mode

    Data Binding

    You can specify layers used by a mini map as well. The mini map supports two layer types: MiniMapImageTilesLayer and MiniMapVectorItemsLayer.

    The image tiles layer supports the Bing Maps and OpenStreet Map data providers.

    The vector items layer allows using one of the following vector layer data adapters.

    • ListSourceDataAdapter
    • ShapefileDataAdapter
    • KmlFileDataAdapter
    • SqlGeometryDataAdapter
    • MapItemStorage
    • SqlGeometryItemStorage
    • BubbleChartDataAdapter
    • PieChartDataAdapter

    Mini Map Layers

    In essence you pretty much have a map within a map!

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • .NET Chart Control Enhancements (Coming soon in v14.2)

    As you no doubt have heard, we are coming up on our 14.2 release sometime in the next couple of weeks. This is the first in a series of posts detailing some of the new and exciting things we will be releasing. I thought we should start out with our powerful charting product.

    Spline Series Views for WPF Charts

    We want feature parity between our WPF and WinForms chart offerings. I am please to announce that the WPF Charts now include 4 new series views - Spline, Spline Area, Stacked Spline Area and Full-Stacked Spline Area. Previously implemented for WinForms and ASP.NET DevExpress charts, these chart types are similar to the corresponding Line and Area views but draw a fitted curve through each series point.

    WPF 2D Spline Chart
    2D Spline

    WPF 2D Spline Area Chart
    2D Spline Area

    WPF 2D Stacked Spline Area Chart
    2D Stacked Spline Area

    WPF 2D Full-Stacked Spline Area Chart
    2D Full-Stacked Spline Area

    Windows 8 XAML Charts: Funnel Chart Control

    In addition to making investments in WPF we have also added a new chart type to our Windows 8 XAML charts. The funnel chart is an interesting visualization that easily characterizes a diminishing count through a particular process. A great example is a sales workflow where the number of leads can often far outweigh the number of closed sales.

    Windows 8 XAML Funnel Chart

    Adaptive Layout for WinForms, ASP.NET and WPF Charts

    The most important part of any chart is, well, the chart itself. Often the extraneous elements of the chart can obscure the real heart of the charts' intent. With the new Adaptive Layout feature coming in 14.2 we try to make the right decision when it comes to choosing what to show when a chart is resized.

    Adptive Chart Layout

    In case of multiple pies or donuts we also do our best to make sure everything fits.

    Multi-selection for WinForms and ASP.NET Charts

    Another great feature for end-users is selection of series and points in several selection modes such as Single, Multiple, Extended.

    Chart Multi-Selection

    Why does this matter you ask? Great question! Now your visualizations can become a functional part of your UI. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.

    HTML Formatting Support in Text Annotations for WinForms and ASP.NET Charts

    We now support html markup right within text annotaions.

    HTML Text Annotations

    Summary

    As we continue down the road toward a full complement of charting options in whatever platform you choose, I hope the features along the way are as fun to use as they were to make!

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • DevLink 2014–Machine Learning and Modern User Experiences

    conference-logo-smPretty excited to be coming over to Tennessee for another edition of DevLink. I really enjoy coming to the South to catch up with friends, colleagues, and customers. Amanda, Areg and myself will be staffing our booth answering any questions you might have. I also have a couple of sessions on tap:

    1. Wednesday, Aug 27 at 2:30pm (Meeting Room 9/10)
      Practical Machine Learning – Recommender Engine and Anomaly Detection
    2. Thursday, Aug 28 at 4:00pm (Meeting Room G)
      Practical Machine Learning – Predicting Things

    Sometimes John Kellar, the organizer, invites us to do extra talks if there is an available room so stay tuned!

    As a special treat, Billy Hollis will be delivering a kick-off session to our DevExpress Roadshow on Wednesday at 2:30pm (Meeting Room 13) entitled “Modern User Experiences: An Entry Point for Developers.”

    We look forward to meeting/chatting with you!

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • ThatConference and Tulsa TechFest (Aug 11-15, 2014)

    I’m super excited to be out an about next week. I would love to meet with any customers who have any concerns, issues, or just want to say hi.

    ThatConference

    This (that?) conference is at one of my favorite hotels: the Kalahari. It comes complete with an indoor water park. We are proud to be a Gold sponsor at the event. We also are sponsoring game night so look for us there. Since this is a family friendly conference we also decided to make real kid shirts! Mark, Areg, and myself will be coming down. Please stop by to ask any questions. I am even known for breaking out and coding with you if the need arises.

    Additionally, Mark and I both have speaking slots:

    • Tuesday, August 12 @ 10:30a (Room C) I will be talking about Machine Learning
      ”Machine learning is often perceived to be a daunting topic, when in fact its concepts are fairly intuitive and easy to use. This session will introduce nuML machine learning library basics, and will thus address the clustering issue in .NET applications by focusing on the practical real-world applications of recommendation engines and anomaly detection. At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to immediately use their unlabeled data to create powerful models for predicting the future based on the past.”
    • Tuesday, August 12 @ 4:00p (Marula) Mark will knock your socks off by showing you how to code super fast:
      ”Learn how to write C# and VB code efficiently using the Visual Studio add-in, CodeRush. See powerful code building features like code templates, consume-first deep declaration, and automatic test case generation; refactorings for improving code quality & performance; advanced navigation, selection, and clipboard tools; background code issue analysis, a full-featured test runner and so much more. If you’re interested in seeing what CodeRush can do for your productivity and for your team, be sure to see this session."

    Tulsa TechFest

    After spending a few days in Wisconsin I will be off to Tulsa to take part in the 8th annual edition of Tulsa TechFest. When I joined DevExpress this was one of the first events I had the privilege of attending! We are happy to be a Premier/Coffee/Prize sponsor. I have a couple of talks there as well:

    • Friday, August 15 @ 10:30a - Practical Machine Learning - Recommender Engine and Anomaly Detection
      “Machine learning is often perceived to be a daunting topic, when in fact its concepts are fairly intuitive and easy to use. This session will introduce nuML machine learning library basics, and will thus address the clustering issue in .NET applications by focusing on the practical real-world applications of recommendation engines and anomaly detection. At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to immediately use their unlabeled data to create powerful models for predicting the future based on the past. “
    • Friday, August 15 @ 1:30p - Principles of Modern Data Visualization
      “Data visualizations are intended for summarizing complex information into visually digestible bites in an aesthetically pleasing way; getting them right is difficult work. This session will introduce developers to certain important principles that govern great data visualizations through an example-based collaborative discussion.“
    • Friday, August 15 @ 3:00p - Practical Machine Learning - Predicting Things
      “Machine learning is one of the newest tools in a Data Scientist's arsenal. In this session attendees will learn practical approaches to solving the prediction problem through an interactive demonstration of various popular machine learning algorithms.”

    In all, next week should be seriously awesome.

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • Philly Code Camp 2014–Would love to meet!

    phillyI’m pretty excited to be heading off to Philly for the 20th Philly .NET Code Camp. One of the best parts of what I do is going out and meeting people, talking about their technology needs, and seeing where we can improve.

    I always try to fit a talk (or two) in: this time is no exception. This year the organizers were gracious enough to give me two different slots. One is on machine learning and the other is on data visualization. Here are the details:

    Practical Machine Learning – Recommender Engine and Anomaly Detection
    Saturday, June 21st, 2014 at 3:00 pm on 4 PA
    Machine learning is often perceived to be a daunting topic, when in fact its concepts are fairly intuitive and easy to use. This session will introduce nuML machine learning library basics, and will thus address the clustering issue in .NET applications by focusing on the practical real-world applications of recommendation engines and anomaly detection. At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to immediately use their unlabeled data to create powerful models for predicting the future based on the past.


    Principles of Modern Data Visualization
    Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm on 6 DE
    Data visualizations are intended for summarizing complex information into visually digestible bites in an aesthetically pleasing way; getting them right is difficult work. This session will introduce developers to certain important principles that govern great data visualizations through an example-based collaborative discussion.

    I will also be manning our DevExpress booth should you have any questions. I really want to hear from you!

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • WinForms Map - New Data Management and Breaking Changes in 14.1

    As with any new release we try to add new features. When adding these fantastic features, there are unfortunately difficult decisions to be made. As you begin the process of migrating to the latest version of our Windows Forms Map Control I thought I would spend some time discussing some of the key changes and improvements.

    The first thing we’ve done is consolidate a number of often used properties in the VectorItemsLayer class (such as Items, DataSource, DataMember, Mappings, AttributeMappings) into a single Data property which implements the IMapDataAdapter interface.

    IMapDataAdapter Interface

    The first (and obvious question) is why would we do such a thing? With the introduction of Pies and Bubbles into the Map component we realized that we needed to expand our definition of the meaning of “Data” in each scenario. Rather than adding a bunch of properties that would be useful in one scenario but useless in another, we added the ability to abstract away (via the IMapDataAdapter interface) how each type of object behaves when it comes to data. Currently we have 4 such IMapDataAdapter implementations:

    IMapDataAdapter Descendants

    This flexibility allows the creation of future map visualizations and bindings.

    Vector Items Layer Data Property

    You can see the new Data options available in the Map Layer’s editor.

    MappingInfo Example

    Once this is set properly, notice that Mapping property. In this release new descendants were created to extend the base functionality in order to support pies or bubbles.

    Mapping Classes

    Let’s take a look at how this feels in code.

    Example 1:

    VectorItemsLayer itemsLayer = new VectorItemsLayer(); 
    ListSourceDataAdapter dataAdapter = new ListSourceDataAdapter(); 
    dataAdapter.Mappings.Latitude = "Latitude"; 
    dataAdapter.Mappings.Longitude = "Longitude"; 
    dataAdapter.DataSource = GetDataSource(); 
    
    itemsLayer.Data = dataAdapter;

    In this example we are using a ListSourceDataAdapter to create a binding to auto-generate the MapItems that will be displayed on the map.

    Example 2:

    VectorItemsLayer itemsLayer = new VectorItemsLayer();
    MapItemStorage storage = new MapItemStorage();
    MapBubble bubble = new MapBubble();
    storage.Items.Add(bubble);
    itemsLayer.Data = storage;

    In example 2 we are manually adding the MapItems we wish to see in our map via the MapItemStorage object. Note that in both cases data is managed in each layer by the IMapDataAdapter (not the layer itself).

    Final Words

    We know these kinds of changes can be difficult for you. We did our best to provide backwards compatibility – old projects will be properly deserialized into the new object structure. To make sure these changes take effect properly, run the project converter. If you still get any warnings, simply open the form with the map control, make a small change, and save the form. Everything should be peachy-king after that.

    I really hope this helps!

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • What’s New in 14.1 Webinar – Analytics Edition Now Available

    I am happy to let you know that our “What’s New” Webinar for Analytics is now available!

    What's New for 14.1 Analytics

    Our Mission

    The first and most important thing we went over is our stated mission as an Analytics group:

    Our mission is to simplify the
    process of working
    and understanding data.

    We take this mission very seriously and hope you see the fruits of this level of focus in our products that live in the analytics spectrum.

    New Goodness

    We also made time to announce (and demo) some of the new features available in 14.1 (now available).

    • Reporting
      • Data Access
      • Gauge Control
      • Web End User Designer
      • Spreadsheet Reporting
      • Report Server Guest Account
    • Dashboards
      • Server Mode
      • Bubbles/Pies in Map
      • Series Options / Item Conversion
      • API Enhancements
      • MVC Dashboard Extension

    Finally

    I would love your feedback on how we are doing! As an aside, I also promised the code – I am a man of my word.

    Please do be considerate of the code I am providing. Section 6 of our EULA clearly states:

    AT NO TIME MAY DEVELOPER END USER CREATE ANY TOOL, REDISTRIBUTABLE, OR PRODUCT THAT DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY COMPETES WITH THE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PRODUCT(S) BY UTILIZING ALL OR ANY PORTION OF THE DEVEXPRESS SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PRODUCT(S).

    In other words you can’t build a generic report builder or dashboard designer that competes with ours using our stuff. We simply can’t compete with ourselves – we’re that good. Or maybe we can… We really don't want to find out.

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • Dashboard GeoPoint Maps now with Clustering, Bubbles, and Pies (Available now in 14.1)

    We’ve release 14.1! It would be a travesty if I didn’t talk about a couple of additions to our GeoPoint map included in our dashboard tooling.

    Clustering

    Before 14.1 our GeoPoint map sometimes did something like this:

    Ugly GeoPoint Map

    This is indeed violated our aesthetic sensibilities. In 14.1 we added a Clustering option under the data interactivity section of this great dashboard element.

    Enable Clustering

    The theory is that zooming out should automatically cause aggregation and zooming in should de-aggregate as space allows. As you can see, this is exactly how we implemented it:

    Zooming with Clustering

    Bubbles

    GeoPoint Map Bubbles

    While this seems similar to the clustered bubbles above, the size of the bubble in this instance is actually a separately bindable element.

    GeoPoint Map Bubbles Data Items

    In this case the wright of the bubble is dependent on the Production size field. Additionally you can also add a color element to the bubbles by dropping a field onto the color section. The color gradient is automatically created on your behalf (this can also be changed). Finally you can control the information on the tooltip by dropping fields into the Tooltip Data Items section.

    These additional items (Weight and Color) also have their own individual legends that can be easily set using the dashboard item design options:

    Legend Design Options

    Almost forgot! These bubbles can also be clustered as well! In this particular case, we are simultaneously showing 6 dimensions without hurting anyone's head (and that’s not even including the clustering option).

    Pies

    GeoPoint Map PIe Charts

    We’ve also added pie charts! In this case (above) I have also clustered them in order to give a better appearance. In essence now you can create a set of pie charts that have locational meaning. Setting this up is not too difficult.

    GeoPoint Map PIe Chart Data Items

    Notice in this case we have subdivided the Production field by EnergyType. You also have the same legend options as the Bubble GeoPoint map. As you can see, the resulting visualization is not only very appealing but extremely informative to boot.

    Parting Words

    As we continue to innovate in this space you will see more and more features added to the dashboard component that truly gets the pertinent answers from your data.

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • Dashboards: MVC Dashboard Viewer and Server Mode (coming soon in 14.1)

    The Dashboard is one of my favorite products at DevExpress! I am super excited to announce two exciting features coming in 14.1. The first is a new Server Mode which dramatically speeds up our already rich dashboards. The second is a new extension for incorporating dashboards into your ASP.NET MVC applications.

    Server Mode

    Server Mode

    Push the button – it makes things fast. The main idea is the same for all of our Server-Mode-Enabled products: we offload the hard processing to the server. It is indeed a fantastic addition to the tool.

    ASP.NET MVC Extension

    We have made adding extensions (in general) a whole lot easier in 14.1.

    Extension Wizard

    All you need to do is right click on the View and select “Insert DevExpresss MVC Extension v14.1” to fire off the wizard above.

    Insert DevExpress Extension

    We drop the necessary code (and partials) into the project for you. All that is left is to specify the location of the dashboard itself:

    class DashboardViewerSettings {
    	public static DashboardSourceModel Model {
    		get { return DashboardSourceModel(); }
    	}
    
    	private static DashboardSourceModel DashboardSourceModel() {
    		DashboardSourceModel model = new DashboardSourceModel();
    		model.DashboardSource = @"~\MyDashboard.xml";
    		return model;
            }
    }

    Alternatively you can use a Visual Studio created dashboard as follows:

    class DashboardViewerSettings {
            public static DashboardSourceModel Model {
                get {
                    return DashboardSourceModel();
                }
            }
    
            private static DashboardSourceModel DashboardSourceModel() {
                DashboardSourceModel model = new DashboardSourceModel();
                model.DashboardSource = typeof(Dashboard1);
                return model;
            }
    }

    I think you’ll like what we’ve done!

    Final Words

    We are committed to innovation in the analytics area. Our dashboard tool is a manifestation of that commitment. In the next post I will show you some pretty fantastic additional features we will be introducing to our dashboards.

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

  • WinForms Map: New Legend Types, Bubble and Pie Charts (coming soon in 14.1)

    In data visualization, two powerful controls solve a lot of popular tasks – Charts and Maps. Charts are great for visualizing numeric data in an easy-to-understand form, while Maps spread this data over geographical locations.

    Imagine the types of things you can do with both! We are proud to announce that in our upcoming release we are adding the bubbles and pies into our map control.

    The WinForms Map control can automatically aggregate the underlying data and show chart items at locations which correspond to aggregated values. For this, the VectorItemsLayer.Data property has been introduced. This property value can be set to an instance of the PieChartDataAdapter to display pie charts:

    Pie Chart in Map

    Or to the BubbleChartDataAdapter to display bubble charts:

    Bubbles in Map

    Note that these data adapters can load chart data from any data source and automatically generate chart items at the required locations.

    We also are introducing a new legend – Size Legend – to elucidate the corresponding meaning of the bubbles and pies:

    Size Legend

    This also means that now you can simultaneously display two or more legends on a map:

    Multiple Legends

    We have also included automatic generation of shape titles.

    Automatic Shape Titles

    Note that these items can be displayed only for specified zoom levels and hidden for other zoom levels – this allows you to control when to display titles for larger elements and when to hide them for smaller ones.

    As I have stated earlier, I am pretty excited about the breadth and depth of features related to data analysis we are introducing in our upcoming 14.1 release.

    As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

    Seth Juarez
    Email: sethj@devexpress.com
    Twitter: @SethJuarez

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