WPF Theme Editor by DevExpress (coming soon in v2011 vol 2)

Thinking Out Loud
14 September 2011

The upcoming release of DXperience for WPF developers will include numerous new features - among them a shiny new application - the WPF Theme Editor.

Before I get into the details, let me preface things with the following: This application uses 3 open source libraries and as such we have yet to finalize the method of distribution. Once the lawyers get done with the legal part, we expect to make it available free of charge, with full source code.

With that said - onto the details of our WPF Theme Editor.

As I mentioned, the WPF Theme Editor is a standalone application - designed to help developers create new and modify existing DevExpress WPF Themes with ease. The primary objective of the product is to simplify the otherwise cumbersome aspects associated with Theme customization...Locating specific visual elements and appearance settings in markup. The WPF Theme Editor provides extensive options to navigate through Theme elements - be it locating a visual element with one click, browsing the visual trees of individual controls and exploring hierarchies of the templates used to paint a given control. In order to provide utmost flexibility, you can either use the built-in XAML Editor, or send markup files to Expression Blend.

WPF Theme Editor by DevExpress

WPF Theme Editor XAML 

The following are the core features you can expect from the DevExpress WPF Theme Editor:

  • Advanced and Straightforward Navigation - navigate to various visual elements/resources and binding sources in markup - with one click.
  • Expression Blend Integration - If your team loves Blend, you'll be able to continue its use to edit individual templates.
  • Easy-to-Understand Visual Tree Browser - traverse through a control's visual tree to find a required visual element and speed up all customization efforts.
  • Integrated Template Hierarchy - quickly locate any and all dependencies between templates, styles and other theme elements.
  • Active Product Views - view each visual element being edited and instantly preview its results.

The Basics

The WPF Theme Editor allows you to either edit a built-in DevExpress Theme, or clone and edit a copy to leave the original theme unchanged.
When you edit a DevExpress Theme, Theme Editor directly modifies a GAC instance of the theme assembly, so that changes you make automatically affect all applications that use the theme. Alternatively, you can clone a built-in theme and edit a copy. This allows you to apply your changes to specific applications, while preserving the visual style of applications that use built-in themes.

Over the coming days, we'll continue the discussion of our WPF Theme Editor and provide detailed examples on how to Clone an Existing WPF Theme, WPF Theme Editor Navigation System, the Visual Tree Browser, Template Hierarchies, Express Blend Integration and of course how to Edit and Build a WPF Theme. 

  

10 comment(s)
Holger Persch [DX-Squad]
Holger Persch [DX-Squad]

That's simply amazing.

15 September, 2011
Robert Fuchs
Robert Fuchs

Yes amazing for a dead product ;-)

15 September, 2011
Holger Persch [DX-Squad]
Holger Persch [DX-Squad]

@Robert: So you mean WPF is dead?

16 September, 2011
Roman Kalachik (DevExpress)
Roman Kalachik (DevExpress)

Robert, we have invented a technology for modifying any XAML based themes for any platform(WPF, SL or whatever). Theme Editor for WPF is the first bird...

16 September, 2011
Robert Fuchs
Robert Fuchs

@Holger

@Roman

Did you guys miss my smiley?

Just in case - here are a few more:

;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)  ;-)

16 September, 2011
Holger Persch [DX-Squad]
Holger Persch [DX-Squad]

@Robert: Thanks for your help, I understand now ;-)

19 September, 2011
Martin Pelletier
Martin Pelletier

Is there any way we can get Winform skin in WPF /SL?

19 September, 2011
Alan Taylor
Alan Taylor

Does this only target DX controls or could we also theme standard MS controls as well?  This would be much more useful so that we don't end up with a mix of themes when we use both types of components in an app.

21 September, 2011
Basil (DevExpress)
Basil (DevExpress)

@Martin: I'm afraid that this is impossible because these platforms are substantially disparate and use absolutely different approaches to theming controls.

@Alan: Yes, you can. The DevExpress Theme Engine provides full support for theming standard controls, so WPF Theme Editor allows you to customize their visual appearance in exactly the same way as the appearance of DevExpress controls.

You can check the list of supported standard controls at devexpress.com/.../Themes

22 September, 2011
Gary Jatzlau
Gary Jatzlau

Any idea of the date of the release which will contain the theme editor?  Or is a beta version available?

18 October, 2011

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