XAF v23.1 EAP — Runtime Customization, No Code and Usability Enhancements for Blazor UI

XAF Team Blog
22 March 2023

As you may already know, we are a couple of months away from our next major update (v23.1). This post describes some of the features we expect to ship in early June and details what’s inside our Early Access Preview build (for additional information, refer to our mid-year 2023.1 roadmap). If you own an active Universal Subscription, feel free to download this Early Access Preview (EAP) build at your convenience.

If you own an active DXperience Subscription and would like to learn more about our Cross-Platform .NET App UI (XAF) or Web API Service, you can explore the features described herein by logging onto the DevExpress Download Manager and installing this EAP build in trial mode. Once you do, please take a moment to tell us whether these new features address your business needs. This will help us fine-tune our implementation before official launch.

If you are using a trial and want to try these preview features today, you can purchase a DevExpress Universal license online (this will give you access to the early access preview build). If you own a non-Universal subscription and are ready to upgrade, email us at clientservices@devexpress.com for preferential upgrade pricing.

What's Inside and What's Next

So as not to overwhelm you with a bunch of information at once, this EAP post focuses on a handful of XAF Blazor v23.1 enhancements. XAF Blazor UI enhancements mostly involve usability and runtime customization capabilities (this is because Low-Code/No-Code .NET application development for Desktop and the Web represents one of XAF’s core development pillars) When time to market and efficiency matters (especially in today's world), XAF can help you deliver line-of-business apps in the shortest possible time using RAD techniques - I will prove this claim in a second.

Note: Additional XAF enhancements from our 2023.1 roadmap are also available in this EAP build today - I will detail these enhancements in separate blog posts. Please stay tuned, because I know many of you are eager to learn more about Middle Tier Security for XAF WinForms UI with EF Core 7/6, Web API Service Swagger Schema support, Multi-Tenancy support for both XAF Blazor and WinForms UI, Dependency Injection support for XAF controllers and business objects.

ASP.NET Core Blazor UI - Part 1

Runtime Form Layout Customization and Enhanced Flexibility 

Much like its WinForms desktop counterpart, XAF Blazor v23.1 allows you to customize form layout at runtime directly in your web browser. If you’ve used XAF's WinForms UI, you already know that runtime UI customization (for both developers and end-users) can be a time saver - customizable apps can address changing business requirements without the need for redeployment.

As you would expect, you can disable these advanced customization capabilities for specific users by setting CustomizationEnabled = False (using the Model Editor and applying it to a specific DetailView node or globally under the Options | LayoutManagerOptions node).

Filter Editor and Find Panel to Help Shape Data

XAF Blazor v23.1 integrates a JavaScript-based filter control from our Web Reporting/Dashboard product line into XAF's DxGridListEditor and CriteriaPropertyEditor. This new feature will support popular criteria language options (based on reference, collection and scalar/value type properties such as strings, numbers, etc.).

This feature should address most advanced filtering scenarios, especially for power users and application administrators. This is another example of XAF’s No-Code/RAD capabilities - removing a large burden from XAF application developers and instead expanding end-user capabilities for the better (to save time and minimize friction).

XAF Blazor v23.1 also supports the following Application Model properties for the ListView node within the Model Editor: IsFooterVisible, PreviewColumnName, Filter, and ShowFindPanel. XAF will also automatically support column header filters once this capability is introduced in the underlying Blazor Grid control (later this year). All these filtering enhancements in DxGridListEditor will be a good alternative to the existing auto filter row.

Colored Icons in Main Menu to Help Distinguish Key UI Commands for End-Users

As you may have noticed above, XAF Blazor v23.1 introduces colored icon support within the main menu toolbar (instead of dark images used today). We created a new SVG image set from scratch (inspired by modern LOB apps). Note that navigation control images have a different style and have not been updated for this EAP - we are looking forward to your feedback before we proceed.

Additional Menu Commands for Faster Data Entry and Navigation for End-Users

XAF Blazor v23.1 improves usability for important CRUD operations such as creating, saving, and navigating records:

  • We removed New and Close Actions from the root DetailView to save space.
  • We added Save & New/Save & Close Actions to the root DetailView (support for popup DetailView is expected in v23.2). Of course, Save & XXX dropdowns remember the last executed item - helpful for repetitive operations like creating numerous records in succession.
  • Next Record/Previous Actions help improve record navigation when you analyze or read data forms (much like XAF WinForms/WebForms counterparts).

We also added "QuickAccess" and "Notifications" Action Containers (top right corner) - you can now place built-in or custom Actions in the top right corner of your app.

Your Feedback Matters!

We recommend that you test the new features outlined in this post within Visual Studio 2022 using our MainDemo.NET.EFCore or MainDemo.NET.XPO demo (from "c:\Users\Public\Documents\DevExpress Demos 23.1\Components\XAF\"). We kindly ask that you use the Employee and Task forms, because other forms have not been fully tested. You can also test the EAP build with your real app, but please remember that this build is not ready for production code.

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 v23.1 release cycle. As its name implies, the EAP offers an early preview of what we expect to ship in two months.

We realize beta-testing is a time-consuming process and we are grateful to those who invest time with our EAP builds. Find the current implementation lacking flexibility? Feel we've overlooked a valuable usage scenario? Does our current implementation fail to address your business requirements?

Please post your thoughts in our roadmap survey OR create a Support Center ticket. We will happily follow up and do what we can to extend the capabilities of our new products/features.

Dennis Garavsky

Principal Product Manager

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