eXpressApp Framework - 2020 Roadmap

XAF Team Blog
23 January 2020
UPDATE: Here is our 2021 Roadmap

Before I detail XAF’s 2020 Roadmap, my thanks to everyone who shared feedback/thoughts last year. Your contribution to XAF’s evolution is appreciated.

The following list outlines the features/capabilities we expect to introduce in the eXpressApp Framework (XAF) this year. 

ASP.NET Core Blazor UI

We are fully committed to XAF and are continuing to evolve its capabilities. For those targeting Web browsers & Mobile devices, we have chosen to focus our efforts on a new UI powered by Microsoft Blazor and DevExpress Blazor UI controls.
XAF v20.1 will include a CTP version of Blazor UI with eXpress Persistent Objects (XPO) ORM classes for data access. XAFers will be able to create Blazor Server apps using the Solution Wizard. We expect to ship the following functionality for desktop and mobile apps in CTP:
We expect to officially ship XAF’s Blazor Server UI in our v20.2 release cycle. It should include online documentation and the following capabilities/functionality:

We postponed decisions related to Blazor WebAssembly support until late 2021. 

For more information on XAF’s upcoming Blazor UI, please review the following:

WinForms UI

  • We hope support the following asynchronous operations out-of-the-box in the WinForms UI based on IObjectSpaceAsync introduced in v19.2: open List or Detail View, save View changes, save audit data (v20.1, v20.2). If you are missing important use-case scenarios, please specify them in comments below. Available in v20.1.3.
  • We want to enable enhanced WinForms Filter and Expression editors in the Model Editor and within built-in List and Property Editors (v20.1). Available in v20.1.3.
  • We want to rewrite our Tree List Editors module and support inplace data editing, better filtering options and more features (S30514S30735 S38121) based on user feedback (v20.2) - POSTPONED.


Our primary focus will be on XAF’s new Web & Mobile UI for Blazor. This notwithstanding, we will do our best to address the needs of existing ASP.NET WebForms UI users.

Housekeeping & Core

  • We want to remove Visual Studio dependencies from the design-time Model Editor to increase stability and performance. We like the WPF designer that runs as a separate process and draws itself inside the Visual Studio frame. This will also help us support the Model Editor in .NET Core 3+ WinForms (v20.1) and .NET Standard 2+ Blazor or cross-platform projects (v20.2). Available in v20.1.3.
  • We will also incorporate a number of usability enhancements to the Model Editor based on user feedback - please let us know if you have any issues with this editor (v20.2).
  • We will monitor Microsoft updates with regard to the component designer in .NET Core 3+ and see if we can support our Application, Module, Controller and Action Designers. We will also support the SDK-style project format for all XAF design-time tools, Visual Studio vNext, .NET 5 and C# 8.0 features like Nullable Reference Types  (v20.2POSTPONED.
  • We will make a number of Non-Persistent/proxy object enhancements (v20.1, v20.2): support for filtering; propagate FindObject, CommitChanges, Refresh and other methods from NonPersistentObjectSpace to AdditionalObjectSpaces (T509228); support CRUD operations with non-persistent objects in a nested ListView of a persistent object DetailView (T486427T510338T695631). Available in v20.1 and more in v20.2.1.
  • You can expect further performance enhancements to the Application Model and other core sub-systems. For  instance, removing static XafTypesInfo dependencies and locks in ModelNode may result in faster app startup and unit tests as well as greater scalability for Blazor apps (v20.2).

Security System: Role-based Access Control & Authentication API

  • We will publish Blazor, Xamarin and WPF examples for XAF's Role-based Authorization and User Authentication API powered by the XPO and Entity Framework Core 5 ORM (see our GitHub repository for more information). To deliver more elegant and modern solutions, we're considering the following enhancements: asynchronous versions of popular security APIs (IsGranted, CanRead, CanWrite, CanDelete, etc.), token-based authentication and possible utility libraries that will encapsulate boilerplate code (v20.1, v20.2).
  • We hope to support Entity Framework Core to help more DevExpress and non-DevExpress customers benefit from XAF's Security System. In v20.1, we will introduce a secured Object Space for EF Core 3.1+ and examples for corresponding platforms. Available in v20.1.3.
  • Later in v20.2, we will support EF Core in our Blazor UI - Available in v20.2.1 (CTP).
  • We will include a built-in permission for XAF Actions (T618115). Available in v20.1.3Since the UI has yet to be finalized, we welcome feedback and thoughts about the interface. We're considering the following base functionality (v20.1):
    • A separate tab in the role detail form with a list of Action items like our built-in Navigation Permissions. In this grid, users will be able group data by display text, category, module and other context information. Please let us know your thoughts about this.
    • Users will view, add, modify and remove only permissions for Actions they want to prohibit or deactivate. We want to follow only the 'Allow all by defaultpolicy regardless of what is specified in the role, because other options do not make much sense for Actions. Your feedback is appreciated.
    • Users will be able to prohibit execution of both custom and XAF system Actions (for greater user flexibility and implementation simplicity).
    • Users will be able to quickly locate an Action in the lookup editor in the Action permission's detail form via search and grouping (for instance, to filter out XAF system Actions like Logon and Refresh).
    • Action permissions will hide Actions unconditionally: we don't expect to interfere with Conditional Appearance, State Machine, TargetObjectsCriteria or any custom rules that depend on criteria or object/UI changes in Controllers. If you want such dynamic functionality for Actions, it is better to implement it using these specific means. Please let us know your thoughts about this.

Unit & Functional Testing

Unit and functional testing are very important to XAF's target audience - development teams creating complex enterprise apps. 

For functional testing, we will continue to improve our cross-platform EasyTest engine. Enhancements will include new commands and features (for instance, you will be able to write Blazor functional tests for Chrome or FireFox web browsers in C# or VB.NET - learn more). For unit testing, we will add learning materials and release all required assemblies with helper/mock classes (like TestDBTestTestDetailViewFactoryBlazorAdapter, etc.). 

Additional enhancements are expected and will be driven by user feedback. If you have unresolved testing issues or usage scenarios, please post your feedback below.

Ready to start testing today? Please review the following articles to learn more:

Your Opinion Counts

As always, we look forward to your comments and questions. Please share your thoughts below or email

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 roadmap and the features/products listed within it are subject to change. You should not rely on or use this information to help make a purchase decision about Developer Express Inc products.

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