Introducing WPF Diagrams 2.0

Introducing WPF Diagrams 2.0
We’re pleased to announce the second version of WPF Diagrams, a set of controls and components for displaying and editing diagrams in Windows applications! WPF Diagrams 2.0 includes new diagram types, new pre-built shapes and a dramatically simpler API for many scenarios. You can use WPF Diagramming to construct standalone diagrams, layouts or images, or you can use it to give your users a graphical way to build ‘live’ business objects such as business processes or data analysis flows — and now it’s easier than ever!

New shape diagrams…

To the existing repertoire of flow diagrams and star diagrams, we’ve now added absolutely positioned or ‘shape’ diagrams. Unlike flow diagrams and star diagrams, shape diagrams don’t have any logic associated with them, so they can be used for a wide variety of situations — from instructional graphics to UI prototyping to kitchen design! Users can move shapes around and connect them up as required.

…and goodbye separate products!

Part of our massive set of improvements in WPF Diagrams 2 is to merge the old Flow Diagrams and Star Diagrams products into a single product. We did this because WPF Diagrams 2 brings together all the capabilities of cyclic and acyclic diagrams — as well as adding so much more. And you’re not limited to shape, flow and star diagrams: we’ve made it easier to define your own diagram types so if you’re building anything from a BPMN editor to a circuit diagramming solution, WPF Diagrams is the product for you!

Pre-built shapes

We’ve also hugely expanded the number of shapes built into WPF Diagramming. Nearly 80 shapes are pre-defined, from basic geometrical shapes like rectangles, stars and ellipses, through block arrows including curved arrows, callouts and multi-way callouts, to conventional flowchart and system design shapes like decisions, sort or merge operations, storage and the ever popular punched tape.


WPF Diagram Shapes

Of course, you’re not limited to our shapes: it’s easy to define custom shapes so if you’re building the next Balsamiq clone or circuit diagramming solution you’ll be right at home with WPF Diagrams 2.

Smarter layout options

We’ve improved and added new layout algorithms for diagrams and connections, including an A* pathfinder for fast, non-colliding connection routing and a force based layout algorithm for that sproingy effect everyone loves so much. The layout classes now work with all diagrams, not just flow or star diagrams.

WPF Diagram Toolbox

New toolbox control

We’ve always had great support for creating diagram nodes and connections from a toolbox, with a variety of interaction modes and handy previews. In WPF Diagrams 2.0 we’ve added a dedicated toolbox control with grouping and filtering to make it easy to work with large numbers of node types.

Simpler API

The WPF Diagrams Foundation API provides a huge amount of flexibility, but many applications don’t need that flexibility. So for applications that just want to get it done, we’ve added a simpler API which makes it much easier to build shape-oriented diagramming applications. The new high-level API allow you to use pre-built shapes, define your own shapes and style your diagrams in just a few lines of XAML, without diving into the Foundation API.

We’ve also taken the opportunity to clean up the existing API a little. We’ve merged some overlapping properties, and significantly reworked the XML serialiser to make it easier to extend to support custom data and custom node types. (These are breaking changes so if you are an existing 1.x user you may want to keep a copy of the 1.x DLLs around until you have time to migrate. We’ll provide more info about this in a subsequent post.)

Learn more

WPF Diagrams is bursting at the seams with capability – your imagination really is the only limitation for what you can achieve with the new version. Find out more about what is can do, and see more examples of the awesome visuals you can create on our WPF Diagrams page. Check it out!

Try it out

Want to take it out for a spin? You can download the trial edition of WPF Diagrams 2.0 for free. And we’re offering a limited launch discount.

Existing Mega Pack and WPF Diagrams customers already have the version 2 installation files in their accounts.

Take it for a spin and let us know what you think!

Mindscape Phone Elements released!

Windows Phone 7 Controls with Phone Elements

I’m really pleased to announce the world’s first comprehensive suite of Windows Phone 7 controls is now available! We’ve got some great controls in the box that will really make delivering Windows Phone 7 applications a lot easier. This post covers some of the controls and what they can do however we will be posting more over the coming weeks about specific controls as there is simply too much to cover in one post. We also have a great offer for the next two weeks on how to get a free license for yourself.

Performance

We have put considerable effort into performance tuning the controls on the phone. There’s been a lot of talk about the performance of WP7 applications not being as good as it could be and we wanted to make sure our users don’t suffer from that. Jason has been buried in his profiler digging around finding places that we could improve performance — you’ll get the benefits of the countless hours of performance tuning that has been done.

Charting

We raised the bar by incorporating a first class charting suite into our WPF Elements and Silverlight Elements suites. Many vendors expect you to buy a charting suite as separate product but we wanted to maximise the value to the end user instead. We’ve done the same with Phone Elements by porting over the full charting suite from the existing control suites. This means our charts don’t just look great but there’s amazing smooth panning, the ability to handle millions of data points and zooming all built in. Pictures don’t do this justice – it’s a great experience just flicking around the charts in your hand.

Here’s one of the 14 different chart types included in the box:

Windows Phone 7 Charts

Everything you’d expect

Of course on top of charting we’ve included the foundational controls that are so important when building a great user experience. There’s date pickers, time pickers, a gesture library, color pickers, infinitely scrolling list boxes — the list goes on. We’ve worked hard to make sure they all work the way you would expect with the Windows Phone so that you can deliver a natural experience really quickly.

Windows Phone 7 Listbox

And, as always with Mindscape products…

  • Our software is alive – we’ll be posting nightly builds and you’ll get new features, controls and enhancements every day
  • We don’t ship bloat – download the trial and you’ll get just the Phone Elements install. We don’t sucker punch you with a multi-hundred mega byte download of everything we build. You’ll get just what you want.
  • Only the controls you need – Why ship a “window” control for a phone when it doesn’t fit with that paradigm? We don’t add controls that only exist to build our control count. We build controls you’ll actually use, even if it means our control count is less than others. We’d rather build great controls you’ll use and love.

Our offer launch offer
As you know, we always offer a special deal when we launch a new product. We love getting the initial feedback from people so here goes.

  • Tweet this link using the button below
  • Follow @MindscapeHQ on twitter
  • Post a comment below telling us what control you’d like to see for Windows Phone 7
  • Do all of these and we’ll give you a free license! Valued at $299 USD! We will email you at the email address you use for your comment below.

Also, if you have a blog, post a review of Phone Elements and we’ll happily provide some free licenses for you to give away to your readers. Just email me and I’ll help you out.

We’re really excited to see what you build with this offering and would love to hear back when you deploy and application using Mindscape Phone Elements!

How to get hold of Phone Elements

Happy coding!

Our offer to those impacted by the Christchurch earthquake

This post is for Christchurch folk who have relocated to Wellington temporarily.

There has been a tremendous outpouring of support for those impacted by the massive Christchurch earthquake that hit Christchurch on Tuesday. A lot of this support has come by the way of accommodation being offered in other parts of New Zealand so that people have somewhere to sleep, eat and bath. There’s a fantastic support site run by our friends at Trade Me for those wanting to offer accommodation.

The Mindscape office in Wellington has 5 desks spare at the moment with comfy chairs. We’re opening our space for you to come and do your work or just get out of the house! While we have five spare desks, we only have a few spare computers so if you do happen to have a laptop that would be great, but not essential. You’re welcome to use our internet, power, table tennis table and anything else we can offer.

This offer is also open to the large IT firms around that may have Christchurch based staff in Wellington but are running out of desks for them – we’re very central and happy to have them in our office.

If you’re interested in coming to the Mindscape office next week please email me so I can manage numbers: jd@mindscape.co.nz

Honestly, I’m not sure what the mindset will be of those who have relocated for the time being or if this offer will appeal to anyone. It just seemed like something we could do to help at this stage of the disaster.

If you’ve read this far and you’re one of our blog subscribers not based in New Zealand the best way that you could help is by donating to the cause.

John-Daniel Trask, on behalf of the Mindscape team.

Tagged as General, News

WPF Elements 4.0 is here!

We’re pleased to announce the availability of WPF Elements 4.0, the latest version of our suite of controls and components for Windows Presentation Foundation.

Beautiful data visualisation with WPF Elements charts

The big news in WPF Elements 4 is a gorgeous set of charting controls. Silverlight users have been enjoying these for a while and now they’re available for its big brother too. Take a look at some of the cool charts you can now create:

And there’s more examples here!

Packed with controlly goodness

Of course, WPF Elements is also stuffed to the brim with other controls for business and media applications, including:

  • Scheduler (Outlook-style calendar)
  • Property grid
  • CoverFlow animated list control
  • Dual progress bar and slider controls
  • Numeric and currency text boxes
  • Date and time pickers
  • Colour pickers
  • And many more!

WPF Elements 4.0 includes enhancements to many of these controls, such as new recurrence and work hour options in the Scheduler and item-level visibility control in the OutlookBar.

Get it now

WPF Elements 4.0 is available for download now. You can get the free trial edition from the Downloads page or purchase it from the store. And if you’re a current user of WPF Elements, it’s a free upgrade — grab it from the store now!

LightSpeed 4 Beta now available!

LightSpeed 4 Beta Now Available

That’s right! Kicking off 2011 in style, we’re excited to announce that we have started shipping nightly builds of LightSpeed 4 Beta! LightSpeed 4 Beta is available to current LightSpeed 3 customers now.

What’s new with LightSpeed 4?

The primary focus of LightSpeed 4 has been on distributed enhancements – helping get your data get where it needs to be with LightSpeed taking care of all the hard work. We posted about some of the highlight features for distributed solutions in an earlier blog post, but the highlights: Distributed Entities, DistributedUnitOfWork, RIA Services, DTO mapping improvements and much more!

There’s plenty of other great things coming with LightSpeed 4 and we will be sure to be posting about them in the coming weeks.

We’d love to hear from you!

To help make this the best release of LightSpeed ever we would love to hear your feedback on LightSpeed 4 Beta. Fire us an email, post in the forum, poke us on twitter – whatever way you want, we want to hear your feedback. Bug reports, feature suggestions – anything.

Download it now!

Current LightSpeed customers can download immediately from their account page. Look for “LightSpeed 4 Beta Program”. The nightly builds will be available under the files for this product. If you’re not yet a customer, go and check out the free version of LightSpeed 3.11 and see what you’re missing out on! :-)

Notes for the beta

If you’re using the beta, please remember:

  • Uninstall any existing installations of LightSpeed before installing the Beta.
  • LightSpeed 4 does not install side by side with LightSpeed 3.
  • There have been changes to DTO generation so if you’re testing a solution that uses DTO’s please get in touch if you have any issues.

Have fun!

Archives

Join our mailer

You should join our newsletter! Sent monthly:

Back to Top