Tag Archives: WebUI Studio ASP.NET

Coming soon in 2013 R1: New Features for ASP.NET Lineup, All-new Modern UI Themes, and more

As outlined in our 2013 product roadmap, we’re going to have very exciting new products coming up soon. There will be entirely new kind of lineups that we’ll introduce such as reporting and cross-platform native mobile development tools. On top of that, we will also be making available several major product upgrades to the ASP.NET lineup which include WebScheduler, WebTextEditor, WebEssentials, WebInput and the rest of the ASP.NET components.

All of the upgraded components will feature full HTML5 and CSS3 support. This means that – for the first time ever – our entire ASP.NET lineup have fully support HTML5. This allows you to use any combination of the components in your HTML5-powered web apps. Furthermore, we’re implementing nearly 90% of user-driven feature requests and reported issues.

In this post, I’ll share some details about the improvements and new features made available to the WebTextEditor and WebEssentials.

Improved Spell Checker and Redesigned WebTextEditor

The WebTextEditor suite is one of the products that will receive major updates in the upcoming release.  The WebTextEditor suite includes three components: text editor, spell checker and file uploader. All of them

One of the most frequently requested feature is the tighter integration between spell checker and text editor component. When integrated to text editor, the spell checker component has now supported spell checking in multiple sections. This allows users to simply press the spell checker button, and it will go through all the sections available in the text editor. See screenshot below.

Spell check for multiple sections

More importantly, all the three components in WebTextEditor now fully support HTML5. This is a significant upgrade due to the various different editing behaviors across multiple browsers – even when they run on same HTML5 doctype.

Furthermore, the next generation WebTextEditor will sport the new Modern UI design consistently throughout the entire user interface elements – from the look and feel, colors, icons, panels to the status bar and tool bars. It’s important to note that, unlike competing products, our Modern theme is not just a simple visual styling, many various elements and layout are also revamped to look best with the Modern theme. Take a closer look at the screenshot below.

All Modern UI experience for integrated controls

And here’s another shot showing the Modern theme with the enhanced Gallery task pane, context menu, dropdown button, and the rest of the input controls.

Modern UI theme across all visual elements in WebTextEditor

The same goes to the spell checker component. When used in standalone mode, the dialog box now sports Modern UI theme as well.

New DialogBox UI

All-new Modern UI Themes

In the upcoming release, WebEssentials will also receive major version upgrade. It will  join the flagship product family to fully support HTML5 that renders identically in all modern browsers today.

As Microsoft-based software shop, you may have feel the pressure from your customers to align your products’ user interface to match the latest design from Microsoft. You’re in luck – all 15+ user interface components in the WebEssentials umbrella will sport Windows 8 style (“Modern”) user experiences. Get a closer look at the WebEssentials components with the Modern theme design applied. I hope you liked them!

WebAccordion

Accordion styling based on accented color

WebRating

WebRating styling based on accented color

WebCalendar

WebCalendar Green

WebCalendar Orange

WebProgressBar

ProgressBar Green

ProgressBar Orange

WebSlider

Silder Green

Slider Orange

WebListBox

WebListBox with Modern theme

In addition to the new theme, WebListBox will include a much anticipated feature: Horizontal orientation. You will now be able to use the listbox as scrolling toolbar or navigation menu with intuitive user experiences.

Horizontal WebListBox

WebSlidingMenu

SlidingMenu Blue SlidingMenu Conversation Blue

SlidingMenu Orange SlidingMenu Conversation Orange

WebRibbon

WebRibbon with Modern theme

WebRibbon with Modern theme

Summary

In this blog post, I’ve shared some high-level details toward the upcoming release for the ASP.NET lineup. This will be a very exciting release as we’re renewing all our ASP.NET components to support the latest technology. None left behind! This means that you’ll be able to use any combination of our tools in your HTML5-based project without worrying the compatibility issues across major browsers, including recent ones such as Firefox 20 and Internet Explorer 10.

And with the all-new Modern UI design theme made available to the entire user interface components, you can align your application’s look and feel with the latest Microsoft’s user interface design, and further take your application to the next level.

In the next post, I will share the rest of our ASP.NET product family that will join the HTML5 and Modern UI revolution, including WebScheduler, WebInput, and WebTreeView. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the next post!

Warm Regards,
Handy

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2012 R2 Online Samples and Documentation Updated

First of all, Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed building apps with our tools in the past year, and we look forward to work with you again in 2013! We’ve plenty of exciting new products that we’re planning in this new year, and we’ll update our roadmap shortly in the next few weeks.

In case you missed the news, we’ve shipped the 2012 R2 volume release last month. You can download it here, and check out the what’s new list here. In addition to the new products listed in the “what’s new” list, the R2 release actually ships much more new features and enhancements that weren’t listed in the website. For instances, we also introduced sophisticated “cell locking” feature in UXGridView, brand-new theme manager, performance improvements in all combobox-variant controls, new usability feature in UXRibbon, and much more.

Where can I see all the new features and enhancements, you might asked. It’s in the documentation that you can access online today. The online product documentation features lightweight navigation interface similar to those in Help Viewer. You can easily browse through each topic from the left-side tree navigation, or from the breadcrumb at the top.

ClientUI Online Documentation

I’ve compiled several interesting topics that I think you should check out:

In addition to the online documentation, we’ve also recently updated the online samples for ASP.NET. The online samples now reflect the latest release which includes all-new WebDesktop samples demonstrating HTML5 and CSS3 support. In addition, many of the samples have been updated to the latest Modern UI styles.

ASP.NET Live Samples

Among dozens of WebDesktop controls that receive full HTML5 support, one that is quite noteworthy is the WebPaneManager control which undergone major surgery in order to achieve “fluid layout” that works in HTML5 browsers. If you’ve worked with layouting in HTML5, I trust you already foresee the difficulty level to create “fluid layout” that supports dynamic width/height, not to mention the support for nested groups and resizing and other UX features. Luckily, you can easily achieve complex layout now using the enhanced WebPaneManager control. See the following screenshot for example.

WebPaneManager supports fluid layout in HTML5

The beauty of the new WebPaneManager is that it’s very lightweight – thanks to the revamped layout from TABLE to DIV, and more importantly, it supports combination of fluid and static width/height – all without requiring scripting! This means that when users resize the browser, they’ll see real-time response. We haven’t seen a control with such capabilities thus far in the market, so we’re pleased to be the first delivering such innovative controls to you.

Well, you can check out the WebPaneManager samples and the rest of updated ASP.NET online samples here. Enjoy!

Best,
Jimmy

HTML5 Development – Part 2

In the previous HTML5 development part 1, we have shared our development roadmap for several WebDesktop components which were redesigned to fully support HTML5. As you may already aware, the WebDesktop UI suite contains dozens of standalone components ranging from tab control, navigation panes, to desktop and windowing controls.

In this blog post, we’re going to discuss more about the explorer pane and some windowing controls that have been redesigned for HTML5. WebExplorerPane is a well-known UI component to create rich user interface where a series of navigation items are divided into sections.

Rendering WebExplorerPane

Rendering layout in HTML5 is much more complex than HTML4. The new specification in HTML5 introduces a number of  limitations of TABLE usage thus we spend extra efforts to modify the layout rendering that use TABLE into DIV. In other words, we’re going to create a new WebDesktop version that fully supports HTML5 and CSS3. The goal is to create rich controls with less foot print to improve the overall performance.

Tweaking WebExplorerPane to HTML5 is quite challenging. Most of the issues are coming from the layout and behaviors. As seen in the below figures, the Fig 1.1 shows the rendering problems – notice the padding and the layout issues. The Fig 1.2. shows the tweaked version with pixel-perfect layout and structure.

Figure 1.1 Simple Padding (Layout error)  Figure 1.2 Simple Padding (Layout Fix)

Moving on, we found that expand and collapse behaviors in WebExplorerPane are no longer working in HTML5. Initially, the explorer pane is set to collapse. However, the script behind explorer pane doesn’t work as instructed. This caused the expand/collapse function to fail, which you can see in Fig 2.1 and Fig 2.2 screenshots below.

Figure 2.1 Explorer pane should be in collapsed mode. Figure 2.2 Explorer pane should be in expanded mode.

At the current state, the WebExplorerPane has been completely revamped with the expected behaviors and smooth animation. It’ll be shipped as part of WebDesktop 4.0 in the upcoming release.

Rendering WebDesktopManager

Layout and behavior issues are also found when rendering WebDesktopManager in HTML5. As you can see in Fig 3.1 screenshot below, the desktop window is gone from the screen.

Figure 3.1 WebDesktop Rendering error in HTML5.

The taskbar is rendered well in WebDesktop, but the others are not. This issue occurs because the height’s configuration in HTML5 is more complex. However, this problem can be solved by changing the height of DIV container to 100%. Figure 3.2 DIV’s height is set to 100%.

As a result, the window which is normally visible now becomes invisible due to overflow in the table. When the overflow is removed, it still fails rendering the window as you can see in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3 Overflow is removed, window is not properly rendered.

After exploring a lot of sources and references, we’ve decided to eliminate the usage of TABLE because it will produce more complex issues in the future development. Therefore, we decided to use the DIV markup as the main layout rendering in all the windowing controls.

In conclusion, there are several things that we’ve modified in rendering layout, such as WebDesktopManager uses DIV structure so that it’s expandable as well as its window, and the window header’s height is adjustable. The taskbar and shortcut structures are stay the same for now, but we will look forward their next development in the future.

In overall, the result can be seen in the figure below:

Figure 3.4 WebDekstopManager renders well after modification.

The enhancement also applies to WebDesktop’s UI interaction such as resizing or moving the window. As you can see in Fig 4.1 below, the layout structure is not well-rendered and it is again due to table structure issue in HTML5.

Figure 4.1 WebDesktop’s window is not well-rendered.

After several modification on the layout and structure by using the DIV markup, the issue in the window controls can be elegantly solved. See the following figure.

Figure 4.2 Complex Images is well-rendered after using DIV structure.

In addition, we’ve successfully tweaked the entire user interaction features such as window moving, resizing, and drag-drop. With these enhancements, the shadow mode is rendered well when you move or resize the window. See Fig 4.3 and Fig 4.4 for moving and resizing window.

Figure 4.3 Moving window is perfectly rendered with its shadow mode.

Figure 4.4 Resizing window is perfectly rendered with its shadow mode.

In this blog post, we’ve just scratched the surface of the next chapter of our UI tools. Our goal is to revamp all WebDesktop family members to fully support HTML5, and watch out for the brand-new themes that we will ship in R2. Stay tuned for our next development series!.

Cheers,
Handy

Getting ready for HTML5 components – Part 1

WebUI Studio 2012 R1 has been released a month ago and we’ve developed several new controls and enhancements to the existing controls. As you know, we already delivered WebGrid 8 and WebCombo 6 in the release which includes full support for HTML5 and CSS3.

For the R2 release, we’re putting major efforts on supporting HTML5 to the rest of our ASP.NET components, including the 30+ WebDesktop UI components and WebEssentials suite.  Even though HTML5 is still in the development phase, nowadays many developers are speeding up their web development to HTML5 technology. Looking into HTML5 capability and advantages, it’s surely promising for web development in the future.

Layouting in HTML5

The biggest challenge that we found during development in HTML5 is its layout. Rendering layout in HTML5 is more complex than HTML4. Based on HTML5 discussion forum, in order to make the layout’s size in percentage (%), the parent level height must be defined as well. Mostly, both <html> and <body> tags are set to 100% for its height.

We realize that WebDesktop structures are mostly using table. However, using table is not recommended because it has a limitation in HTML5. Therefore, we decided to revamp/modify WebDesktop’s structures to fit user’s requirement.

In this first series of my blog post, I’ll be sharing our experiences on the HTML5 development for the 2 members of WebDesktop family, WebCallOut and WebTab. Let’s take a deep look of what we’re currently doing with them.

Rendering WebCallOut

The first time when we convert WebCallOut to HTML5, we got numerous issues with the layout such as shown below.

WebCallOut's layout issue when using HTML5.

WebCallOut's pointer offset when using HTML5.

Notice that the rendering is completely messed up, and the pointer is also offset from the correct position.

After improving the control to support HTML5, the layout and rendering now shows perfect results, such as shown below.

WebCallOut's perfect layout after modified.

WebCallOut's pointer displays correctly after modified.

In the HTML5 migration, we tried our best to achieve pixel-identical results when comparing to the HTML4 implementation. So, if you host the control back to HTML4 doc type, the results will be identical – all with the same codebase.

Rendering WebTab

For the WebTab control, we decided to revamp the structure only for the content because the content itself needs to be in fluid. You’ll see numerous layout issues when using WebTab control in HTML5 such as shown below.

WebTab's structure issue when using HTML5.

During the research phase, we found that the usage of table no longer support fluid content in HTML5. The percentage height of fluid content is getting smaller or rather bigger than its container. When we tried to specify height in fluid content to pixels, it works like charm. Unfortunately, this method makes WebTab’s performance slower than before. Ultimately, we decided to revamp the entire rendering structure and no longer using table as the container to achieve the fluid layout.

WebTab's perfect structure after modified.

In addition, our team pay detailed attention on the UI aspects such as the tab header position and alignment, fixing the animation for active and normal tab header, adjusting style for complex image, and improving the style caused by the tab header’s height.

The tab header that uses complex images will also produce undesired results, which is caused by the table structure that involves multiple rows, shown below.

WebTab's complex images issue when using HTML5.

Thankfully, we found that it is possible to use one row in order to fix the WebTab and put additional final touching. After applying the new technique, the WebTab control now renders perfectly.

WebTab renders complex images perfectly after modified.

Hopefully this post gives you insights and big picture of what we’re doing for the HTML5 initiatives. I will share our development progress for the other controls in the next series of blog posts. So, be sure to keep updated with the next series of our development story.

Cheers,
Handy

February Special Offer – Double Your Development Power

Effective Feb 1, 2010, Intersoft Solutions is running a special  ‘Buy One Get One Free’ promo – purchase WebUI Studio for ASP.NET and get WebUI Studio for Silverlight with no additional cost (terms and conditions apply) – a $999 value.

This is a great opportunity to build your next RIAs using our rich Silverlight UI controls. Furthermore, we will deliver over 50 new Silverlight UI controls by April 2010, giving you more power to build rich and interactive business applications with full integration with the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 and many more. To learn more about our upcoming release, please contact me to request the product roadmap and see for yourself.

This promo is valid until 28th February 2010. Please click here for more details or email me at nathania@intersoftpt.com for any questions.

Warm Regards,
Nathania