WPF — Early Access Preview (v23.2)

WPF Team Blog
18 September 2023

This blog post describes new features included in our Early Access Preview (EAP) build. If you are an active DevExpress Universal or DXperience subscriber, you can download and install the EAP today (visit the DevExpress Download Manager to obtain our EAP build).

Early Access and CTP builds are provided solely for early testing purposes and are not ready for production use. This build can be installed side by side with other major versions of DevExpress products. Please backup your project and other important data before installing Early Access and CTP builds.

This EAP may not include all features/products we expect to ship in our v23.2 release cycle. As its name implies, the EAP offers an early preview of what we expect to ship in two months.

End of .NET Standard 2.0 Support

With our next major update v23.2 (December 2023), our assemblies will not be built against this target. Learn more about this change in the following blog post: .NET — .NET Standard 2.0 Deprecation, Support for .NET 6 or .NET 8 (LTS) in DevExpress Libraries (v23.2).

Lightweight Themes with Optimized Cold Start, View Switch, and Memory Usage

Our last major update (v23.1) included a couple of new performance optimized app-wide themes. These themes were shipped as a CTP because we intended to modify internal theme structure further. Our v23.2 EAP is another step towards the finalization of lightweight theme support. Optimizations included in our EAP have yielded the following performance/memory use improvements:

  • Startup performance: 20-40%
  • Switch between Views: 10-25%
  • Memory Footprint: 40-50

If you haven’t tried our lightweight WPF themes, please install the EAP build at your convenience and let us know how the changes impact your project (from a performance standpoint). You can submit feedback anytime via the DevExpress Support Center.

Theme Resources – Preload

In enterprise applications, view switching speed is often more important than application startup speed. With this EAP, you can load theme resources at application startup. You can display a splash screen and load appropriate resources so that DevExpress-powered views start faster when users open them for the first time. This will speed up first tab switching, navigation, window opening, and address other usage scenarios. Our new preload mechanism supports both standard and lightweight themes.

The following graph illustrates preload time and the time required to display the preloaded view for current and new theme preloads (DevExpress v23.2, .NET Framework 4.7.2, Ngen):

Our flexible API allows you to load separate assemblies or a custom user control for your specific usage scenario:

public partial class App : Application {
    static App() {
        ApplicationThemeHelper.PreloadAsync(PreloadCategories.Ribbon, PreloadCategories.Grid);
        // OR

Diagram Control – UI Automation

As you may know, Automation UI peers and patterns allow screen readers and other assistive technologies to communicate with your application. We implemented Automation UI patterns for DiagramControl items to help you create accessible applications and appropriate automation tests.

Scheduler - Microsoft 365 Calendar Synchronization

Our WPF Scheduler control exposes new APIs and allows you to seamlessly synchronize user appointments with Microsoft 365 calendars (bi-directionally).

You can export appointments from the Scheduler control to Microsoft 365 calendars, import Microsoft 365 (Outlook) events to the Scheduler control, merge user appointments with Microsoft 365 calendars, and resolve merge conflicts.

Themed Window - Full Height Navigation Panel

In modern applications, developers often create a navigation panel that overlaps the window title. This technique produces a more effective navigation panel and helps use window title space more efficiently.

You can now add this full height panel to our ThemedWindow.

Image Editor - Modify Images

We enhanced our Image Editor so users can load an image and modify it based on the format used in your application. The control includes the following features:

  • Zoom
  • Pan
  • Crop
  • Rotate
  • Mirror

Date Editor – Default Date

When the Date Edit is empty and a user begins to enter a value, the Date Edit mask automatically populates all date-related sections (month, day, year) based on the current date. This EAP includes a DefaultDateTime property to change the default date value based on application requirements.

Your Feedback Matters

We realize alpha/beta testing is time consuming. Should you have the opportunity to test our EAP build, we'd welcome your feedback/comments. Feel free to submit any EAP-related issues via the DevExpress Support Center. Thank you.

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.