With the Q2 release of the RadControls for Silverlight and WPF we are announcing the new RadRibbonView control. It is an easy-to-use implementation of the Microsoft Office 2010 “ribbon” UI, which will allow to codelessly organize all the functionality of your application into a single compact toolbar control. But all of you that are already familiar with our RadControls for Silverlight and WPF will say: “But what happened with the RadRibbonBar? Isn’t it the same and why we need a new one?” So in this blog post I will try to list the most significant improvements in the new control compared to the old one.
Improved MVVM support
When it comes to WPF the RadRibbonBar was missing the MVVM support, which was one of its major disadvantages. The new RadRibbonView comes with native support for MVVM scenarios both for Silverlight and WPF and also compared to the RadRibbonBar it is a lot more robust, especially when we talk about more complex applications using PRISM for example. Also the RadRibbonView ships two new properties: SelectedItem and SelectedIndex, which enrich the power and flexibility in such MVVM apps.
Here we can simply start comparing the length of the control templates. The RadRibbonView’s control template is around 80 lines of code and compared to the around 250 lines in the RadRibbonBar it is a huge improvement. The new control template is very clean and doesn’t contain any of the little “hacks” used in the old control. Already we have no tab control inside the ribbon bar, but instead the new RadRibbonView inherits a base implementation of the RadTabControl, so it no more needs no make the transition between the ribbon tabs and the tab items in the tab control. So we have no more unnecessary styles for the RadTabItem.
Improved Blend support
As an addition to the better xaml the RadRibbonView comes with 5 new Style properties (ApplicationButtonStyle, HelpButtonStyle, ContextualTabsStyle, MinimizeButtonStyle, WindowTitleStyle) which cover all additional parts in the control template, so you will no more need to extract the whole ribbon template in order to change some of them.
Improved design-time support
At last but not at least the RadRibbonView has better design-time support including the smart tags and the new design-time tab selection which allow your designers to achieve easily better results.
In this blog post I pointed out some of the major advantages of the RadRibbonView, but in fact compared to the RadRibbonBar, the new control has a lot more “smaller” improvements which make the RadRibbonView one of the best ribbon controls currently on the WPF/Silverlight scenes.
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