The development of RadDiagram for Silverlight and WPF continues to move full speed ahead during the Q3 time-frame. After the Q2 release and the awesome series of features we delivered, it is now time to focus on the next best diagramming bits. Of course,we'll continue to refine the existing features, improve the flexibility and extensibility of the diagramming API, make the visuals even more rich and clear the path for more grandiose data visualizations and user interactions. However, the world continues heading towards a more colorful spectrum of form factors, platforms and technologies, so the Q3 release will be a transition towards the next big thing in diagramming. We'll keep you up to date on this and for now we'll highlight the more classic (and expected) features we're working on.
Another much requested feature is the free-hand and polygon drawing tools which allow you to draw freely shapes on the diagram surface, resulting in respectively arbitrary shapes or multi-line (open or closed) polygons.
The ruler we introduced in the previous release will respect the zooming as will be integrated with the background Grid. It will also be more integrated with the printing feature and the related page-splitting, so you can see how a diagram is spread across print pages even before you hit the print or print preview button.
Custom connector were introduced in the previous release and allow you to define an arbitrary amount of hotspot on a shape where a connection can be attached. Once defined this connector is supposedly immovable and part of the shape's visual definition. There are however situations where the fixed position of a connector is not desirable while it's semantic meaning is constant. The most notable example being the foreign-key connection between two table shapes in a SQL designer. Indeed, in this situation the connection has a precise (semantic) meaning while the endpoints typically glide around the edge of the table shapes. In the next release of RadDiagram you will be able to create this type of connector and it thus articulates a whole species of diagrams which were previously not possible.
The current version of RadDiagram allows you to group shapes and thus enables interactions with sub-diagrams as one entity, as far as rotation, translation and scaling is concerned. These groups are however non-visual structures and cannot be styled or given content besides the group elements. The visual container is much like groups except that it also acts as a true visual shape (including connectors, templating and such), much like the ItemsControl or HeaderedItemsControl in XAML. Like the gliding connectors, this feature opens up a whole range of possibilities and diagramming scenarios: workflow diagrams, collapsible containers, swimlane diagrams, UML deployment diagrams and more.
Yet another much requested feature is a finer level of control regarding what a user can do at runtime with diagram elements; per shape enable/disable specific manipulations like rotation, resizing, editing, dragging, connection creation and so on. So, we'll expand the API with more properties and methods to give access to editing and alteration constraints.
The design experience inside Expression Blend and Visual Studio will get a facelift together with better support for automated (visual) testing.
The mini-map or thumbnail is a great way to navigate large diagrams but it requires still too much effort to wrap it into a control which contains the zoom and the expand-collapse of the view. We'll make sure in the next version the whole process of adding the thumbnail is a matter of click-and-go.
Diagramming shapes can host as good as any type of content and shine when used in conjunction with other Telerik controls. Earlier we demonstrated that you can leverage the rich RadDiagram API to incorporate gauges and other visualization controls inside a shape and through this create innovative dashboards and designers. We intend to take this article sample to the next level and merge it with the existing RadDiagram samples, which will hence highlight the usage of custom, visual shapes like charts, gauges, image and many more.
These are the major improvements we planned but your feedback and suggestions are, as always, very welcome.
Thanks to Francois Vanderseypen for the edit.
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