We are most excited to announce the immediate availability of our RadControls for Windows Phone 7 Q1 2011 Beta release. This is a major milestone for us and we managed to complete all the scheduled new controls and features as well as lots of bug fixes and polish over the entire suite. In case you still don't have a copy grab one from here.

I cannot wait to share what’s new in this release:

Gauge:


The First Look example in our Demo application

Gauges are a fundamental part of every data visualization application and that is why we focused our efforts on delivering industry leading solution to our users. The gauges consist of panels and controls that represent value ranges and indicators which point to specific values or sub ranges. The ranges and indicators are look-less and loosely coupled allowing for flexible combinations. The object model and class hierarchy are extremely light-weight and optimized specifically for the Windows Phone 7 OS allowing for smooth frame rates even when numerous indicators are updated many times per second. Radial and linear gauges can be easily created out of the box through XAML by combining different types of indicators and value ranges. Large numbers of predefined gauges are available out of the box in our examples application, providing a good start for new users.

DataBoundListBox:

RadDataBoundListBox - web service example
The Web Service example in our Demo Application.

RadDataBoundListBox is a super-fast and light-weight replacement of the standard ListBox. The control works in bound mode only and uses entirely custom approach for UI virtualization which eliminates all of the drawbacks present in the default VirtualizingStackPanel, allowing for practically thousands of items to be easily visualized and navigated. Scrolling is entirely off-loaded to the Compositor thread, allowing the UI thread to be as responsive as possible, which greatly improves the overall user experience. Rich data templates are handled with ease without any performance hit. Since loading time is extremely important in the mobile context, the control supports the so called “Asynchronous Balance” – a special mechanism that will display item after item within a small interval of time, allowing the UI thread to visualize each item before continuing with the next one, hinting at the user that data is currently being loaded.

JumpList:

RadJumpList - First Look example
The First Look example in our Demo Application

RadJumpList - First Look Example - Group Picker Opened
A group header has been tapped and the group picker (“Quick Jump Grid” as referred by Metro Design Guidelines) is opened.

RadJumpList extends RadDataBoundListBox by adding core data operations like filtering, sorting and grouping. Each data operation is described at an abstract level by a logical object (descriptor) that is added to the FilterDescriptors, SortDescriptors or GroupDescriptors collections respectively. The control also implements the so called (according to Metro UI design guidelines) “Quick Jump Grid” (or GroupPicker as we call it) – that is a separate popup UI which is visualized above the main list when a group header is tapped and displays all the currently available groups. Clicking on a group item within the GroupPicker will navigate to the beginning of the group and its child items. The group picker is highly customizable in both behavior and visualization terms, allowing you to even specify custom items as an ItemsSource. The control exposes events like GroupHeaderItemTap and GroupPickerItemTap, allowing you to easily override the default user experience.

Data Engine:

Although LINQ and its extensions over IEnumerable<T> interface provide data operations, they do not keep the current state of your data – how it is grouped, filtered or sorted. They also do not provide currency management (Current item) and do not notify you when some changes in the data occur. All these additional features are encapsulated in a stand-alone layer we call Data Engine. This layer allows you to “describe” the data operations you need through Data Descriptors – either generic delegate or property name based. 

We have also fixed the known bugs and have made many improvements/optimizations in the existing controls. More detailed information about the release can be found in our release notes.

And of course we have added a total of 10 new examples to help you get started with the new controls and features. All the examples are available in our QSF (Quick Start Framework) solution that is part of the download. Do not hesitate to leave us your feedback on our forums – we will greatly appreciate a bug report or a feature request – it will help us to build even greater controls.


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Georgi Atanasov


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