ClientUI vNext Roadmap Unveiled
It’s been a busy time in the development labs here at Intersoft as we’ve been working hard on the next major release of WebUI Studio, which will introduce a handful of new products across all .NET development platforms. In the latest release, we’ve shipped dozens of data-aware controls essential for line-of-business Silverlight/WPF application development – ranging from grid view, tree view, data pager to document viewers and more. In this post, I will preview what we’re working on and what you can expect in our next volume release particularly on the ClientUI lineup.
Even More Data-aware Controls
The latest ClientUI release introduced a new data component model called QueryDescriptor which allows you to build Silverlight/WPF apps entirely with MVVM design pattern. With the favor of loosely-coupled implementation and data provider agnostic architecture, developers found QueryDescriptor to be an ideal solution for their business apps which heavily rely on data-intensive controls such as grid view, data pager, and data filter.
Three new data controls will join the ClientUI data lineup in the next release – featuring built-in QueryDescriptor support. These controls are UXDataComboBox, UXDataSearchBox and UXDataLookupBox. One of the most powerful controls shared across these new controls is the filter-as-you-type capability which automatically retrieve the filtered data from server. If you’re also a ASP.NET web developer, you should be familiar with controls with such functionality like WebCombo.
Consider that you have a data form that requires users to enter the Member ID, naturally you will a combo box kind of control to allow users to select a member from the list. But often times, users cannot easily find out the right member without looking it up first against other properties such as Company Name, Address, and so forth. How would you address such scenario? Easy, open a lookup window, that’s right!
But wait a minute – what happened if you need dozens of different lookup in the form? You see, you will be spending enormous time and effort building dozens of lookup windows – not to mention the ViewModel associated to each of the lookup window.
Meet UXDataLookupBox, a new kind of data control that combines the type-ahead auto complete behavior with advanced lookup functionality. Dozens of lookup windows are now things of the past! Not only you get the benefits of streamlined and faster development, your end users would thank you a million for the intuitive user experience. See the following shot for the big picture.
As shown in the above illustration, UXDataLookupBox sports a modern callout style interface to host the lookup content and results, which is automatically positioned in center against the lookup dropdown. And as in the good tradition of Intersoft controls, every element of the UXDataLookupBox is fully customizable and template-able.
Another major data-aware lineup in the next release is the much anticipated ScheduleView control which has been turbo-charged with more features than originally planned. Due to its large set of features and capabilities, I decided to write about ScheduleView in a dedicated blog post.
Report Viewer for SQL Reporting Services
Yep, you read it right! We’ve been providing a multitude of UI and data controls in the past releases, and we’re now taking ClientUI to the next level with a full-featured, WYSIWYG report viewer. When determining which to use for the reporting engine, we quickly came up straight with the decision to target Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). One of our strongest reasons in choosing SSRS lies in the fact that most of our customers already deployed their reports on SSRS. There’s no point to create our own report engine while the majority of .NET shops and customers are so accustomed to SSRS already.
ClientUI’s next generation report viewer will be the first in the industry that supports high-fidelity rendering of a report. This means that whatever you designed in your report will appear exactly the same in the report viewer; be it the image, tablix, styling, or other supported report items.
The SqlReportViewer will also include many powerful features not available in other similar products such as high-performance report streaming, on-demand report loading, journal-aware navigation, data drilling support, and an intuitive report browser. Best of all, the SqlReportViewer is engineered with MVVM-ready architecture, enabling you to create custom views for the report parameters and bind them to your ViewModel for user interaction handling.
Ribbon, Flow Document Framework, and More
In addition to the powerful data and reporting lineup, the next version of ClientUI will continue to lead the market with state-of-the-art UI controls such as ribbon bar, ribbon window and gallery list. Unlike many other ribbons which were built with older Office 2007 architecture, ClientUI’s ribbon is engineered from the ground up to support the best of Office 2010 ribbon specification, such as the backstage menu, blazing-fast ribbon reordering and fluid resizing, and nested key tips. And to even impress your users, combine it with the new Win7 style transparent window designed to host the ribbon together.
We have received numerous questions from Silverlight developers nowadays: How do I create a rich text document in Silverlight? The answer is simply you can’t – because Silverlight doesn’t ship with something called flow document framework although its cousin, WPF, has it. There are no single good solutions to this particular challenge thus far since creating such functionality is not only difficult, it requires great passion and advanced algorithm knowledge. Literally, you can think of it similar to creating a mini web browser already.
At Intersoft, we’re committed to deliver advanced products that are highly demanded and challenging. I’m pleased to share that the ClientUI vNext will ship a full-featured flow document framework which supports both Silverlight and WPF with single codebase. In addition, we will also introduce three new document viewers dedicated to the flow document. This ultimately aligns with our vision for the document lineup, which we have started in the previous release through the introduction of fixed document and XPS document viewer.
The list of new controls doesn’t stop here. We also have exciting plans for ASP.NET lineup such as major update to WebGrid Enterprise. Read the complete roadmap in Intersoft Developer Network portal, see the details below.
Release Schedules and More Details
For existing customers, please logon to Intersoft Developer Network using your Intersoft ID to read the complete details about the upcoming products as well as the release schedules. After logged on, bring up the Home window, then click on the link in the Announcement section to open the product roadmap window, see the screenshot below.
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All the best,