XAF - Filter Editor Improvements in List Views (coming in v2011 vol1)

XAF Team Blog
13 May 2011

Introduction

I would love to share some good news with our XAF customers. It all regards one of the most widely used utility control – Filter Editor. Before I start revealing this news, I would like to refresh your memory and remind you about the latest improvements we made to the control back in v2010 vol 2. As some of you may have already guessed, I am talking about an extended version of Filter Editor, allowing you to edit filters in both tree-like and text-based forms. The embedded text window, leveraging our Rich Text Editor, not only allowed end-users to type any valid criteria expression that could sometimes not be represented on a tree-like form, but also provided great filter editing capabilities, such as syntax highlighting, Intellisense and support for in-place editors. 

Although these improvements were great and were highly appreciated by our customers, we received a lot of other feedback, from which we understood that there still were some important scenarios for which the usability of Filter Editor could be improved further. For instance, some categories of end-users may be more familiar with the tree-like editor rather than with manual typing a criterion in the text window, even if the latter has all those great editing capabilities.  This is mainly because some end-users may simply not get (should they?) criteria language syntax specifics. This is, especially, might drive them nuts in case of creating a criteria expression, involving nested object properties or collections, because such properties were not displayed on the tree-like form of Filter Editor. For instance, this is a text representation of the Contains Operator, allowing me to filter out objects, having a certain city in their collection of addresses: Addresses[City = ’Chicago’]
Now you should see what usability problem I meant above.

Demonstration

I will be very short (like Gary ShortWinking smile) since now, and say that, of course, we lent ear to our customers and delivered a solution for the scenario described above. I opted to demonstrate you exactly what we have done with the help of a small video, as it seems to be worth a thousand of words:

 

Future plans

For now, the above improvements to Filter Editor are exclusively available for XAF customers, and work in the List View’s GridControl only. We plan to respectively enhance other XAF modules (e.g. reports, analysis, etc. - by using a unified filtering solution in ALL the places) and also support other controls and platforms in future versions of our libraries. Fortunately for us, the base logic of Filter Editor is implemented in the shared Data library, so it makes it easier and faster for us to introduce new features for other controls and platforms.

Please let us know your feedback!

Did you like what you have just watched? Please let us know in comments below.
Finally, I would say that as any software, Filter Editor can be improved further, and for sure it will be improved in the future. As always, we would love to hear from you if you think that some important features are still missing, or there are scenarios that could be supported better. Thank you for your help in advance!

21 comment(s)
Jascha
Jascha

Small video indeed ;)

13 May, 2011
Holger Kammerer
Holger Kammerer

Is it true, what i have read: these enancements are NOT availabe in the WinForms-Suite?

13 May, 2011
Andre Labaki
Andre Labaki

no video!?

13 May, 2011
Dennis (DevExpress Support)
Dennis (DevExpress Support)

Thank you for the feedback, guys! For some reason (maybe an issue with the community server) the blog post is incorrectly displayed in FireFox and possibly in other browsers. It all works fine for me in Internet Explorer though.

I am fixing this.

As for the video, for now you can view it at community.devexpress.com/.../XCRM_FilterContacts.swf

Your patience is greatly appreciated!

13 May, 2011
Steven Rasmussen
Steven Rasmussen

Very Nice!!!  If you didn't catch the video you need to refresh your browser window.  The video IS short and it only plays once.  I had to use a screen capture program just to replay it so that I could slow it down, pause, and digest what all the options are :)

This is a great step in the right direction!  One thing that I noticed is that the fields are not sorted by name.  PLEASE consider sorting on the field display name as this makes it MUCH easier to find fields when you're looking for them.

Also, I couldn't tell for sure but when you hovered over the 'Account.Primary Contact.', did the Primary Contact fields then get populated into the list?  The video was too fast :)

Thanks for this great enhancement!  Have been waiting for this for almost 4 years now :)

Please propogate this to all the areas where the filter editor is used sooner rather than later.  Thanks!

13 May, 2011
Dennis (DevExpress Support)
Dennis (DevExpress Support)

@Holder: Yes, it is true. They will be available in future versions.

13 May, 2011
Dennis (DevExpress Support)
Dennis (DevExpress Support)

@Steven:

Thank you for the great feedback!

You can just choose "Play" from the context menu and not refresh the whole page.

We already implemented sorting in the latest version. Sorry for a slightly outdated video.

Yes, nested properties are automatically expanded after moving the mouse over the container item.

13 May, 2011
Hedi Guizani
Hedi Guizani

Why not winforms???

13 May, 2011
Steven Rasmussen
Steven Rasmussen

@Dan - Thanks for the additional info.  

The only other item that I would suggest would be a way to upcast objects.  Let's say that there's a base entity called 'RoleBase'.  There could be several different type's of derived roles that have different properties.  In order to be able to filter based on a property that is not common to the 'RoleBase' object you would need a way to upcast the object to the derived type of say 'SecurityRole'.  My suggestion in the support center explains this as well.

Thanks again for the great enhancements!

13 May, 2011
Gosha
Gosha

That's perfecto! :)

13 May, 2011
Dennis (DevExpress Support)
Dennis (DevExpress Support)

@Steven:

Thank you for the update! OK, we will take the up casting feature into account.

P.S.

I am Dennis, not Dan.

13 May, 2011
Nate Laff
Nate Laff

Nice! I like the collections criteria a lot. Good stuff!

13 May, 2011
Michael Proctor [DX-Squad]
Michael Proctor [DX-Squad]

Little sad this has come from the XAF guys, would have though that WinForms team would have finally gotten around to fixing this and in turn XAF guys could use it, not the XAF guys hacking the WinForms component for just XAF.

Don't get me wrong, great work from XAF team, just extremely dissapointed that WinForm team dropped the ball here.

13 May, 2011
Steven Rasmussen
Steven Rasmussen

@Dennis - sorry :) I know you very well from the forums/blogs/ and support center. Not sure why I called you Dan :) I appreciate all your efforts with XAF and XPO! I feel that you are one of the best customer advocates at DX. Thanks again for your consideration.

13 May, 2011
Chris Royle
Chris Royle

Looks good Dennis. 11.1 is promising to be a very exciting release from a XAF point of view.

14 May, 2011
Nate Laff
Nate Laff

And it doesn't look like any of these new features will cause any major breaking changes! :)

14 May, 2011
Simon Smith
Simon Smith

Hi Dennis, I am reading this following your update to suggestion S20272. I, and many others I imagine, would love to see this on Winforms, it will add so much power to my app and I can get rid of my nasty workaround solution to achieve similar functionality.

I'm really pleased to see this suggestion is getting some attention :-)

15 May, 2011
Dennis (DevExpress Support)
Dennis (DevExpress Support)

@Holger, Hedi, Michael, Simon and all Windows Forms guys, the actual improvements, allowing using this nice functionality were made to the filter editor itself and not via hacking by the XAF team.

However, other controls still require some plumbing to take advantage of this. For example, to support the same in XtraGrid it would be necessary to provide a source for detail columns via creating a detail GridView that  may be resource-consuming to introduce this change  by default.

All that the XAF team did was just making a required plumbing prior other teams. I have a good update for XtraReports customers, because they supported this too in the release version (not in the Beta).

As I already mentioned, other product teams will work on supporting this functionality in future releases. If you cannot wait, feel free to contact our Support Team, and we will be glad to demonstrate how to make required plumbings in certain scenarios of using filter editor.

16 May, 2011
michael iacoviello
michael iacoviello

I see that this was made for "XAF ListViews".. Is this available in XAF Web as well?  Is this XAF Filter Editor Enhancement available in the XAF Expression Editor?

19 May, 2011
Hedi Guizani
Hedi Guizani

@Dennis thank you for making things clear

Can you post the workaround way so we can use this must have feature (no XPO)

Thank you in advance

20 May, 2011
Bayaraa
Bayaraa

Very nice, Thank you for DevExpress team

25 May, 2011

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