A couple of months back we posted the Q1 2009 WinForms Roadmap and gave you a brief overview of what the new version of RadDock (or should I say RadDockingManager) will offer. I know that some of you have been waiting for it for some time now, so I decided to give you a detailed overview of what to expect.

In next week’s Q1 2009 you will find improved memory disposal, and numerous bug fixes. Although memory management has been given a nice upgrade, the rest is not too exciting, because we will release the same old RadDockingManager, with a facelift.

The exciting part is that shortly afterwards we will give you the next version of RadDockingManager (dubbed as RadDock), on which we have been working for the past couple of months, and which was mentioned in the Roadmap. We have concentrated on addressing all issues and shortcomings to make sure that you get a stable and easy to use RadDock component.

 

The upcoming RadDock will support all features that the current version has, plus a couple of new important additions which have often been requested. You can find detailed comparison between both versions in this ZIP file, but here is a quick overview of what’s new:
 
  • New, simplified and completely transparent architecture based on a single interface – IDockPane – which will offer direct access to all logical objects;
  • IDockPane will be backed up by an internal HostDockPane which will guarantee the correct behavior of hosted or hosting control(s);
  • Automated way of hosting and treating Control and/or Form objects, including a simpler and unified API for handling each case;
  • ToolWindows’ drag-and-drop functionality will be embedded directly in RadDock, rather than depending on window messages, as is the current case. This will guarantee correct drag-and-drop behavior and will solve flickering and window-deactivation problems of the main form;
  • The new version will feature updated UI, better drawing performance, better theme management, and better positioning of items, all through updated layouts;
  • The Load/Save layout will be based on Name for determining the docking content. Similar to XAML, the XML code will correspond to the logical objects in RadDock (an example is provided in the attached files);
  • Improved design-time support.
     
Here are some of the new features and enhancements, which emerged from the redesign of RadDock:
 
  • A much requested feature (which will be possible in the new version) is the ability to allow for objects different from IDockPane (such as TabPanels и TabStripPanel) to be added to the RadDock layout, i.e. to be hosted in RadDock, but with disabled docking operations, such as docking other objects in them;
  • The introduction of new CloseAction and AutoDispose properties which will allow control over the window’s Close behavior, as well as over memory management of the SplitPanel and DockPane objects (currently the Dispose method has to be called explicitly);
  • The new version will collect and use the information about the state of each DockPane— FloatingSize, FloatingLocation, AutoHideSize, Previous position, AutoHidePostion, etc. dynamically. The old version offered partial support for this;
  • It should be obvious by now that we want to provide you with a new, easier-to-use, and more powerful docking component. The new architecture will allow us to do so and boost your development.
     
To our regret, we did not manage to finish the new version for the official Q1 2009 release. Since we do not want to keep anyone waiting, we will provide the new RadDock version to all interested parties in a separate installer. Our target is to have a fully tested and supported version 2 to 3 weeks after the official Q1 release at the beginning of July. It will be accompanied by a detailed backwards compatibility document and a tool for migration from the old to the new version. The tool will take the Dock layout (in XML format) of the old version and will transfer it to the new XML format, recognizable by the new RadDock version. We will also have dedicated developers to help you with any questions or issues you may have during the upgrading process.

If you would like to get the new version, please post a comment below, or drop us a support ticket.

 

UPDATE: You can see watch an early preview of the new RadDock here: Introducing the new RadDock for WinForms. Join Developer Evangelist John Kellar as he shows you how quickly you can get up and running with the new version of RadDock. John covers the new features so you know what to expect and how you can use RadDock in your applications once it is officially released.


About the Author

Nikolay Diyanov

Diyanov is the Product Manager of the Native Mobile UI division at Progress. Delivering outstanding solutions that make developers' lives easier is his passion and the biggest reward in his work. In his spare time, Nikolay enjoys travelling around the world, hiking, sun-bathing and kite-surfing.

Find him on Twitter @n_diyanov or on LinkedIn.

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