VCL v23.1 — June 2023 Roadmap (Survey Inside)

VCL Team Blog
28 February 2023

This blog post outlines new VCL-related features we expect to introduce in our first major update this year (v23.1). Should you have any questions about the capabilities outlined below, feel free to submit a support ticket via the DevExpress Support Center. We are also looking forward to your feedback on our early access preview (EAP) in VCL v23.1 EAP - SVG Icons and "Light" Style by Default, WXI Skin, and Zooming in Charts.

The information contained within this blog post details our current/projected development plans. Please note that this information is being shared for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and does not represent a binding commitment on the part of Developer Express Inc. This blog post and the features/products listed within it are subject to change. You should not rely or use this information to help make a purchase decision about Developer Express Inc products.

Enhanced High DPI Resolution Support

We are working hard to improve runtime High DPI resolution support - this represents a strategic pillar in the near term. High DPI support is mandatory and we want to set the highest standards in this regard (in terms of developer usability and speed). From an implementation perspective, this includes a lot of component layout and image adjustments.

Raster to Vector Image Migration

In our last major release (v22.2), we replaced numerous PNG images with SVG equivalents across many controls (without control designers). You can test SVG icons (for supported v22.2 controls) using the following feature toggle: dxUseVectorIcons := True

For v23.1, we expect to rewrite our default PNG image sets and display SVG images by default across ALL VCL UI controls. Of course, we will also update our product demos to demonstrate the power of these features. To see the difference between PNG and SVG in our ExpressLayout control, please review the following screenshots.

We are also looking forward to your feedback in the survey at the end of this post. Please tell us if you object to our decision to enable SVG images by default in v23.1.

"Light" Style Rendering

“Light” Style rendering mode allows you to display controls without double or thick borders (one-pixel lightweight borders are enabled instead), extra outlines, and other visual noise. “Light” Style rendering also enables extra cell and header paddings in a control.

As you may know, this functionality has been available in our .NET product line for years (refer to UseLightStyle or Side Panel). We want our VCL product line to benefit from it as well. In our v22.2 release cycle, we introduced this rendering option for the QuantumGrid. If you have yet to explore this option, simply use the following feature toggle: TdxVisualRefinements.ApplyLightStyle(True).

We expect to add the “Light” Style rendering option to more VCL controls (such as the QuantumTreeList) in our v23.1 release cycle. To see the difference, please review the following screenshots.

If you do not want the extra "air" or paddings added by “Light” Style (for instance, if developing high-density data forms), you can enable only one-pixel lightweight borders using TdxVisualRefinements.LightBorders := True. We do not expect any form layout issues when this feature is enabled by default.

We are also looking forward to your feedback in the survey at the end of this post. Please tell us if you object to our decision to enable extra paddings (as part of “Light” Style) by default in v23.1. For instance, if you do not use our VCL Layout controls (and have placed all controls on forms manually), your form layout may be distorted/affected due to size changes in standalone editors or in-place editors in container controls. 

Windows 11 Theme

We realized that modern themes like Windows 11 require us to rewrite our rendering engine both for enhanced performance and UI flexibility - our old schema could not address new usage scenarios introduced by Windows 11. We expect to ship our new rendering engine in our v23.1 release cycle. As you can probably imagine, this was and is a huge undertaking…but the changes we’re making today will help us develop new vector skins much faster in the future.

To help give you a sense of the work involved, I will also attach a screenshot from our internal Excel sheet where we track hundreds of UI primitives for dozens of controls. Every UI primitive must be revised in isolation. Once revised, each UI control scenario must be subsequently reviewed in an app. We hope our efforts will add additional value to your VCL-powered apps (we may include these changes in an early access preview build at the end of March).

Chart Control - Official Release

During the early access preview phase, we collected and prioritized non-supported use-case scenarios, conducted additional performance and feature comparisons (including comparisons with .NET and VCL counterparts), and we are now in position to officially release our VCL Chart control. You can expect the following VCL Chart-related enhancements in v23.1+:

  • Value, label, marker display text customization
  • Series and segment color formatting
  • Label overlapping
  • Crosshair Cursor / Tooltip support
  • Selection support
  • Mouse Event Hit-Testing (for instance, for drill down)
  • Exporting to SVG and other formats/Printing
  • Scroll & Zoom operations

As you would expect, we will also publish Chart-related help topics and add new Chart-specific modules to our VCL Demo Center. 

Your Feedback Matters

Dennis Garavsky

Principal Product Manager

Free DevExpress Products - Get Your Copy Today

The following free DevExpress product offers remain available. Should you have any questions about the free offers below, please submit a ticket via the DevExpress Support Center at your convenience. We'll be happy to follow-up.