As some people may already know, we will be releasing a Windows Forms UI suite in Q3 2006. Apart from the semi-official announcement and the magazine ads, we haven't gone into much detail what's so special about our upcoming products.  I'll try to explain the benefits of our WinForms controls in details in several blog posts.

As an introduction, I'd like to mention the key points which the marketing guys found attractive and which formed the marketing message of the winforms suite. I thought you might want to know some of the technical details behind the marketing message:

  1. Unique architecture which follows WPF (Avalon) best practices.
    This sounds really cool but what really stands behind this message?
    Nothing more than:
    • Multiple (unlimited) levels of nesting UI elements / items.
      I'll definitely need a separate post to explain the benefits of this but in short:
      Let's say that you would like to put something else in the TabStrip Items collection rather than the usual boring tabstrip item. A button, some shaped primitive or... another tabstrip? You'll be able to do this. And the number of r.a.d.controls in your form will be still 1 (we all know that controls are heavy and slow).
    • Each element can inherit its parents’ appearance and behaviors or can be configured individually mimicking CSS and WPF.
      Oftenly you'll need to configure the appearance of only several parent elements and you won't need to deal with each part of the control structure.

  2. Separated logic from presentation - enables designers to freely customize the UI.
    You'll have a very powerful ThemeBuilder at hand with which you'll be able to customize the appearance of each element which is part of the control tree. For example you'll need only seconds to customize the gradient colors of all borders which are placed in elements of type RadButtonItem.

  3. Dynamic CSS-like styling and centralized Themes mechanism for complete control over UI elements.
    I already mentioned the ThemesBuilder. Maybe I have to say that runtime you'll be able to apply themes, change appearance properties and behaviors thus breaking the inheritance and customizing the control in a whole new way. You'll also be able to set conditions under which you would like these properties to be applied and these conditions won't be limited to a preset list of properties.

  4. Property animation effects through Styles/Themes.
    Yes, you'll be able to set animations for all kinds of properties using simple or complex conditions and you'll do this with 0 lines of code.

Btw the Office12 theme of the RibbonBar control was made by Zhivko (our web designer) for about 4 minutes including all the fancy gradients and backcolor animations.

If you would like to see a sneak preview of all this and if you'll be attending TechEd in Boston stop by booth #819.


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Hristo Kosev

 

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