WinForms Workspace Manager (Save/Restore Runtime App Settings)

17 December 2014

v14.2 ships with a number of usability/productivity features we hope you can leverage going forward. Last week I wrote about our Image Collection and Gallery for, I'd like to share with you some specifics as it relates to our new Workspace Manager.

What's a Workspace Manager and Why Should You Care

To help describe the value of our Workspace Manager, let's first consider an app that uses multiple DevExpress controls - everything from our WinForms Data Grid and Ribbon Control, to our Navigation Bar and Document Manager. As you know, in in order to deliver an intuitive user experience, all of these controls need to interact with one another. Included in this interaction is the ability to save/restore layout (configuration) modifications made by the end-user at runtime.

Though each individual control we ship provides the ability to save/restore layouts to a file, XML, Registry or stream, managing this can be cumbersome when using more than a couple of controls on a form. With the release of v14.2, a better way exists to manage all end-user runtime layout modifications - that better way is called the DevExpress Workspace Manager.

This small but incredibly useful tool detects the DevExpress Controls you are using and captures their current configuration as a single global application layout called a workspace. Your end-users will be able to save these workspaces to local files and apply them whenever desired. And before you ask the next logical question, yes, the good news is that this functionality will not require you to manually create UI elements to manage individual workspaces. If you're using the DevExpress Bar Manager (or Ribbon Control), you can easily display an auto-generated bar item that integrates with your Workspace Manager.

Saving and restoring workspaces captured at runtime is not the only feature included with the Workspace Manager. Before you ship your app, you can create any number of pre-defined workspaces and give your end-users the ability to select the one most appropriate to their business needs.

See the Workspace Manager in action

The last feature I'd like to mention is the Workspace Manager's built-in animation effects whenever a workspace is applied. You can see this in action in the animation above.

Hopefully you'll agree that the Workspace Manager is a big step forward the way you and your users save/restore layouts and configurations within a WinForms project.

We'd love to get your feedback. Feel free to let us know what you think.

6 comment(s)
Brian Maxim

I can see it being useful to us as long as you can save the XML off to the DB as standalone files cause policy/support issues.

We would also like to get rid of using .NET user settings but to do so this would need to support things like button states, form size and position, grid lookup (inc repository) sizes etc.

17 December, 2014
Dean J.

Can you load/restore a layout without any animation if you don't want any?

17 December, 2014
Toloknov Denis

Can you load/restore a layout without any animation if you don't want any?

30 December, 2014
Okan Çilingiroğlu

Functionality is good, you can add/edit workspaces on the go, but you cannot delete any existing/preloaded workspace. At some point, it starts to pile up.

15 January, 2015
Jannet (DevExpress Support)

Take a look at the WorkspaceManager.AllowTransitionAnimation property. It might help.

23 February, 2015
Jerzy Rozmyslowicz

Not so much useful. The concept is Ok but performance not so.

1. The control does not have methods to save on exit and load on startup its own workspaces list.

When user save workspaces to different locations then how to find them all and show a list of existing workspaces? Scan the whole PC on the app startup?

2. I have saved one workspace and tried to reload it

I expected that the application will look exactly the same when it was saved.

I had a couple of documents opened within Document Manager, one window (tabbed document) in different screen. I have saved the workspace and closed some of the windows

After I did load the saved workspace, nothing was the same.

The Document Manager did not opened any windows etc

So what is the purpose of it if you cannot restore complete view of application.

29 February, 2016

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