FREE: 5 Professional WPF Themes

Everyone loves free things! With the recent release of WPF Elements 5 we decided to beef up the free WPF control pack even more. Now in addition to the already free WPF controls you will find 5 professionally built themes to bring your applications to life.

5 superbly crafted themes
We have poured months of effort into creating pixel perfect themes both for the standard WPF controls and the WPF Elements controls. There’s Office Blue, Office Black, Office Silver, Expression (Alloy) and Expression Light (Alloy Light). You’ll be impressed by how easy these themes are to add to your project and your users will be really impressed at how great the application looks.

Three of five themes

Autocomplete Text Box for WPF

Autocomplete text boxes are great. We’ve made some great additions to this control recently and it will really help bring your applications up a level. Check out the new multi-value autocomplete box support that was included recently.

Autocomplete text box

Coverflow for WPF

Popularised in iTunes, Coverflow is a unique way of presenting data to your users. Beyond just static images and thanks to the power of WPF you will find you can set any arbitrary content as your covers — images, videos, other WPF controls, whatever you want! We’ve seen some imaginative uses of the Coverflow control over the years. You will be pleased to find everything you need in the box to configure the display exactly as you want it to be.


Prompt Decorator for WPF

This control adds a polish to your applications. Want to have hint text on your text box and drop down lists? Say “Search” appearing in your search box but disappearing when the user clicks in it? It couldn’t be easier with the Prompt Decorator control.

Prompt Decorator

Get the free controls with the WPF Elements 5 installer. You’re welcome to use the controls and themes listed here at no charge, with no royalties.

Happy coding!

Forums upgraded

Just a quick post to announce that our support forums have been upgraded! The last bit of Community Server has been surgically cut out of our website and replaced with a speedy ASP.NET MVC based forum with only the features we need.

Here’s the run down on what’s new:

  • Posting now uses the Stack Overflow Markdown editor that many of you will be familiar with
  • New posts are done from a single tidy page – no more tabs!
  • Attaching items to posts is simple and fast. AJAX based with progress indication and support for drag and drop are included.
  • You can now attach multiple items to a post. No more mucking around with zip files just to post two files!
  • No paging on threads. Our threads rarely go to multiple pages which means users often didn’t notice there were more pages.
  • Searches can now be narrowed to just a specific forum
  • Built on top of LightSpeed so it’s insanely fast from a database querying point of view

We hope you find the new faster forums great to use.

There’s undoubtedly some things we’ve missed, and we’re keen to keep improving the support experience, so I’d love to hear your feedback on how you find them. The best place for feedback is probably on this forum thread in particular:

Tagged as News

Web Workbench 2.0 – Faster, Minification and Pro

We’ve been blown away by the interest in the Mindscape Web Workbench. It seems .NET web developers were hungry for Sass, Less and CoffeeScript inside Visual Studio as we’ve now passed 14,000 installs! We’ve had a boat load of feedback and we’ve been incorporating the smaller bug fixes into our nightly builds while in the background working on a grunty new version for you all!

Going Pro

We originally released this tool to scratch an itch. We wanted to play with some of the cool new tech that was being used in the open source camps and so the idea of the Web Workbench was born. With the massive uptake in interest of the product though we’re thinking it would be fantastic to spend even more time investing in making it the best Visual Studio Extension possible. To be able to achieve that we need to fund the development while still keeping this as inexpensive as possible and also keeping what is currently there free.

Here’s what we have done:

  • There will always be a free version and everything in version 1 continues to be free.
  • None of the existing features will require you to have a Pro version and in fact they will just continue to run better than v1!
  • Some new features will be for Pro users only by way of thanks for supporting the new developments.
  • The price of the Pro edition should be low enough that it’s a no brainer to support future development.

That last point is the key one I want to make. We’ve been swamped with great ideas, feature requests and things we could improve. By purchasing a Pro license you’re helping support the future development of the tool and as a sign of appreciation we want those that help to get some nice extra bits and pieces.

So what is new in Version 2?

V8 Engine Enabled – Free FeatureGoogle V8 JavaScript Engine Logo
Feedback on the initial version was great… until folks had BIG files. Like 1000+ line CoffeeScript files. Unfortunately the JavaScript engine we used, while very cool, wasn’t quite fast enough to keep up with such large files. We have spent the last few weeks baking in Google’s V8 JavaScript engine that ships with Google Chrome to super charge the speed when working with larger files. Early feedback on a test release was very promising:

“I am using win7 x64 – I just applied the update and I am seeing a great improvement! Woohoo!” – Dan

“10 words: “Awesome job”!” – Bagosm (aka Binary Man)

This improvement is included for everyone, including the free users.

LESS compilation – Pro Feature
Initially we did not compile LESS files into .css files as we assumed folks used the JavaScript parser. Feedback was that it would be really cool if the Web Workbench would just create the CSS files on save in the same way that we do with Sass. So this is now included.

CSS & JavaScript Minification – Pro Feature
Editing the files is great, but having another step to do minification was proving to be a hassle to users. In the pro edition we now include the option to minify both the CSS output and the JavaScript output, saving you even more time!

Thanks again for all your feedback to date and we hope this release makes the Web Workbench even more compelling for you. Thanks to everyone who helps support the ongoing development effort by upgrading to the Pro edition — we have some really great ideas for the future and you’re helping it become a reality.

You can obtain version 2.0 by doing an update from the Extension Manager in VS 2010, or by clicking here to download it free. If you wish to support further development the purchase options are available within the Web Workbench itself. And if you don’t, well, all the features you love are still there and we hope you enjoy the free V2 enhancements as well!

Used Mindscape Web Workbench... Now the most ninja coder in the company

NHibernate Designer 2: Roadmap

Nhibernate Designer for VS2010The NHibernate Designer has been out for a wee while now and we’ve received some great feedback from developers who use it. With that in mind and with recent requests we wanted to share our roadmap for what we are imaginatively calling NHibernate Designer 2!

File-per-class generation
Currently the NHibernate Designer outputs all of the generated classes into one file. Even though this is code generated and shouldn’t be edited we got strong feedback from developers that they preferred a file per class approach. NHibernate Designer 2 will include the option to generate a file per class if desired.

Set up NHibernate configuration in more detail
NHibernate Designer already gives developers a starting point for their NHibernate configuration (right click the design surface -> getting started). To help new users get started quicker we’re overhauling this much loved feature to include the ability to visually configure how you would like NHibernate configured and then generate the appropriate configuration block! It can’t get easier than that.

Migrations support
We’re looking at porting the Visual Studio integrated migrations framework from LightSpeed into the NHibernate Designer. This provides for schema migrations that can be created and executed from within Visual Studio, creation of migration SQL scripts and also includes command line tools for running migrations on servers without Visual Studio installed. The LightSpeed migration engine includes support for several database engines (SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, etc).

Migrations can be created based on your model changes within Visual Studio, giving you a big leg up in creating your migrations.

We’ve also had feedback asking about third party migration frameworks. Is this important to you? Why? Leave a comment and let us know!

More chocolate sprinkles
Other ideas we’re tossing around include the ability to execute queries from within Visual Studio, model checking (validation and ‘lint’-type advice), and filtered views a la LightSpeed. If you like the sound of any of these then do let us know — your feedback helps us to prioritise features and decide where to make the cut!

We want to hear from you
This post as highlighted some of the key improvements we’re adding to the NHibernate Designer for version 2. There are plenty of other tweaks and improvements that will be included. Much of the current roadmap has come from user feedback — thank you to those who have provided it to date! And if you haven’t told us about your fondest wish then leave a comment to let us know — it’s not too late! (Heck, it’s never too late. Even after we ship it, it still won’t be too late.)

LightSpeed Book – now available!

I’m pleased to announce that LightSpeed developers everywhere can now purchase the official LightSpeed User Guide in printed form! Over 330 pages of useful advice and guidance on working with LightSpeed. The user guide acts as a great reference for your team and you will be sure to discover some gems to help improve your development experience even more.

Some of the topics covered:

  • Creating Domain Models
  • Basic operations with LightSpeed
  • Building web applications with LightSpeed
  • Controlling database mapping
  • Working with entities
  • Advanced querying
  • Search engine indexing
  • Much more

Pricing and availability

The eBook version is free – no charge. The physical version of the book is priced at $14.99 USD which covers production costs.

You can obtain either version from the Mindscape Lulu page.

Action shot

LightSpeed 4 User Guide Book

Tagged as General, LightSpeed, News


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