October 2008 - Posts

As we near the end of the month, a new volume of NetAdvantage nears completion.  Yesterday I talked about the Silverlight futures, namely the Data Viz components.  Today I'll focus on the components and features you'll see on the other side of Halloween.

Windows Forms

Ofice 2007 (Excel)

imageLike you may have guessed from the header, the Infragistics.Excel library has been updated to handle Microsoft's Office 2007 file format.  What does that mean for you?  Well for starters, the Excel row limit is now raised to 1,000,000 rows.  Not that I would recommend reading a spreadsheet with a million rows, but should you have the need - it's there (and certainly better than the 65,535 limit of prior versions of Excel).  You'll also benefit from the human readable Office 2007 file formats.  I like to know that should I get curious, reading the file requires nothing more than notepad, or your favorite XML editor..

In addition to understanding the new file format, there was a ton of work done around translating Excel formulas to CalcManager formulas and vice-versa. 

To round out the Excel updates, there were a slew of new functions added to the WinCalcManager, bringing it even closer to Excel's extensive list of functions. 

 

WPF

xamDataGrid

Grid column moving and sizing!  Your users can now customize their columns (fields), and there's an API for you to use to save and load user defined settings.  Shown below, a column is being moved to a new position, indicated by the up and down arrows.

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xamOutlookBar

One of the most common forms of navigation used in an application.  A picture is worth 1,000 words..

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Printing Capabilities

Print the xamDataGrid directly, or print any Visual Element in your application.  Printing support also includes saving directly to a XPS document.  Perfect for automatically generating a report, and sending it out over the wire..

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xamCalendar

And xamDateTimeEditor (with calendar dropdown) - The xamCalendar enables you to display dates in a calendar month view, which can also be dropped down from the xamDateTimeEditor to enable users to choose dates from a visual calendar.  The calendar has an extensive set of properties to allow you to control the days of the week, or specify disable days.

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xamTabControl

- You should be familiar with a Tabbed UI by now, but in case you're not there's a screen shot below.  Tabs have come a long way since the days of Windows 95 control panel.. thankfully.  Notice these tabs even have the now super popular close buttons built right in.

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ASP.NET

WebDataGrid

If you haven't heard about the WebDataGrid by now, tell your boss you've been working too hard!  Built on top of the new "Aikido" framework, this grid proves to be the easiest to use and best performing grid in your arsenal.  Based off of a modular functionality, it enables you as the developer to pick and choose which features to load into the grid's footprint.  When a feature isn't selected for use, it not only disappears from the grid's memory footprint, but even more importantly, it disappears from the grid's property tree.

The changes on this grid are more than just skin deep, this was a complete re-architecture, and rebuild from the ground up. 

Take a look at the following series of screen grabs, and tell me it doesn't put a smile on your face..

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Above, a look at the ASPX that the WebDataGrid generates (notice how minimal it is!?).  Next a look at the default appearance of the WebDataGrid (this is without setting a single appearance setting).  And finally, a look at the HTML source of the grid. Not only is this all XHTML compliant, but you'll notice the markup is as 'clean' as it gets.

 

So what's next?  Well, download the release obviously.  Unfortunately, there are no download links set up yet, or I'd sneak that to you too.. :)  Keep an eye on www.infragistics.com for the official release announcement, which should be right around Election Day.

It's official, NetAdvantage for Silverlight Data Visualization components are no longer super secret NDA.  For those of you who I spoke to recently and told you to tune in for some important announcements around PDC.. here it is.

Aside from the Charts and Gauges that you've undoubtedly seen already, I'm proud to tell you about the rest of the Data Vis controls we've been working on.  To start things off, there the Map.

Map

Maps can be built out of standard ESRI files meaning you can build your own version of the United States that included Canada if you wanted to.  (Just joking Canada)  The Infragistics Silverlight Map control has support for drilldowns built in, enabling you to respond to mouse events. 

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Timeline

The Timeline control is exactly as it sounds - a Timeline. You can add markers to the timeline, as well as show details when the user selects a point in time.  There's also the nifty navigation bar allowing you to quickly move through time as if you were Hiro Nakamura (yes, I'm a HUGE Heroes fan).

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Chart

In addition to the wide variety of chart types you saw in the prior CTP's, charging got a huge update with zooming and scrolling.

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Gauge

The Gauge received some love as well, including some revised skins that fit in much nicer in a Silverlight application.

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All of these NetAdvantage for Silverlight Data Visualization samples are currently available online at http://labs.infragistics.com/silverlight/datavisualizationsamples/ 

So if you're like me, and can't wait - read more about the controls and download the CTP.

Ok, in the spirit of having fun at tradeshows, I have a challenge for you.  If you're at PDC and you want to win a free copy of NetAdvantage - read on..

It appears that there's a webcam set up in one of the vendor booths at PDC.  All you have to do to win is be the first person wearing an Infragistics t-shirt caught on that camera.  If you don't have a t-shirt, you can pick one up at the Infragistics booth.  If you do have a t-shirt, just parade yourself in front of the camera, and proceed directly to the Infragistics booth to find out if you won.  I'll do my best to capture your image for posterity.. :)  Oh, and the missing piece of information - the booth with the webcam is Telerik's booth.  Good luck!  And remember to smile for the camera!

A few times a year, I'm lucky enough to get to spend a week in Las Vegas.  Well, I use the term lucky loosely here.  A week in Vegas can be a huge drain, even if you're not gambling all of your money away, or spending your nights drinking out of glasses that are bigger than you are.  But it's still something that you need to experience to understand.

So why am I in Vegas?  Well, I'm speaking at a couple of conferences.  Today (Tuesday, October 14) is WebBuilder, and on Thursday (October 16) I'm speaking at VSLive.  If you're at the conference, stop by my session and say hi. 

Infragistics will be back in Vegas in November for DevConnections, so you'll get a chance to see us again.  I'll be somewhere in Europe during that time, and I'll be going to my first TechEd Barcelona.  I'm certainly looking forward to that.  If you're going to be at TechEd Barcelona, you should certainly stop by the Infragistics booth and say hi.  Generally that's true for any show.. but especially true if I'm there.. :)

Believe it or not, I'm more excited than anyone since I no longer have to speak in riddles revolving around what we're doing for Silverlight.  The NetAdvantage Silverlight Roadmap is officially public!  Here's a quick summary.

The Line of Business controls will be included in NetAdvantage for WebClient and NetAdvantage for .NET.

There will be two sets of Silverlight controls available. 

 

The Tools

Silverlight LOB controls will include:

  • xamWebGrid
  • xamWebTree
  • xamWebChart
  • xamWebOutlookBar
  • xamDialogWindow
  • xamDocumentExporter
  • xamSpellChecker
  • xamGroupBox
  • xamEditors
  • and Sharepoint WebParts

BTW, xam is pronounced "zam" which is a takeaway on xaml (the declarative language used in WPF and Silverlight).

Aside from the individual control listing, the basis of the roadmap is to allow you to build Line of Business supporting applications like you're building today, on the latest Microsoft technologies like Silverlight and WPF. 

 

Timeline

Milestone Date
Roadmap Announced October 2008
First Community Tech Preview (CTP) End of 2008
Second Community Tech Preview (CTP) March 2009
2009 Vol. 1 Release Q2 2009

There are still a couple of cards that haven't been turned over yet, so look for more announcements around PDC (actually we'll be making them AT PDC).  Speaking of which, if you're going to PDC this year you have to stop by the Infragistics booth.  I can't give too much away, but I think it will certainly be worth the visit - and I'm a bit bummed that I can't make it this year..

There has been a steadily growing buzz over jQuery, and many development teams have already introduced it as a standard library in their Ajax applications.  The buzz just got much much louder, when Microsoft announced that jQuery will now be included and officially supported inside of Visual Studio .NET. 

Even though I haven't yet embraced jQuery, it looks like it has huge promise and potential.  It's a well crafted light weight Javascript framework that makes most common tasks trivial.  It has great support for css selectors, meaning you can find an element based on a css selector instead of hard coding id's into every element.  What's even better, you can get references to multiple elements and treat them as a single entity - setting the css class on hundreds of elements in a single line of Javascript.  That's something I KNOW I can quickly get used to..

So my next step is to start playing around with this new (to me) framework, though I think I've already decided that I'm a fan. 

I'm interested in what you think.  Are you already using jQuery?  Are you planning on using it?  Is the fact that Microsoft is now standing behind this library make it more attractive to you?  Leave your feedback in the comments.

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