Visual Studio 2013 support

Visual Studio 2013

I’m pleased to let you know that all Mindscape products have full support for Visual Studio 2013!

If you have have an active subscription you can download the latest nightly builds to get this new support. If your subscription has ended, you can renew it to obtain the latest builds.

Some products needed explicit support to work at all (e.g. Web Workbench), while others just have nice-to-have improvements like putting WPF controls into the toolbox for you.

Happy Coding!

Free Silverlight controls – yes, you heard right

I’m really pleased to announce that our free Silverlight controls now are live on the site and you can grab them here. We actually made these controls free when we released Silverlight Elements 2.0 last year but we didn’t make a big noise about it at the time – so now we are. We’d love to have all Silverlight developers grab these three controls and start using them in their applications. I’m sure you’ll see why developers love working with us.

So what’s in the box?

Coverflow is great for getting rid of a dreary old ListBox control. It’s fun, fast and very configurable. You can adjust the way the covers sit, their spacing and more with easy to use properties. But that’s not all of course, we’ll throw in the automatic reflections free of charge as well! So the next time your users want to be able to flip through data in style consider the free Silverlight Coverflow control.

Free Silverlight Coverflow

You can play with a demo of the Coverflow control here.

The book control is a beautiful way to present data to users in certain situations. Pictures don’t do justice to the Book control – it has full virtualisation to make sure your app stays performing well even with thousands of pages and then there’s the stunning smooth animations when users turn the page. The really great thing about this control though is the flexibility – you’re not limited to just text data or images. Want to put a hyperlink on? or a button? or a 3D spinning teapot? We’ve got your back.

Free Silverlight Book control

You can play with a demo of the Book control here.

Well this wee guy isn’t as sexy and alluring as the Book or Coverflow controls but he is handy in a lot more places. The expander is a great addition to your toolbox as it can be used to help declutter user interfaces by tucking away non-essential elements.

Free Silverlight Expander

You can play with a demo of the Expander control here.

And they’re all free!

We really hope you enjoy these free controls and that you’ll see the benefits of working with Mindscape controls. We’ve put in a lot of work so that you don’t have to. We hope you can wow your coworkers and customers. And if you really do put a 3D spinning teapot in your book — you’ll wow us too!

You can visit this special page to download the controls for yourself. We’d love it if you helped spread the good word and have some twitter buttons and facebook buttons for you on the page to help — thanks!

The Mindscape Silverlight ColorPicker just got more colorful

The Mindscape Silverlight Elements control suite comes with 2 types of color picker controls. One of them provides multiple ways for the user to pick a color. This includes picking a color from a list, a color palette or customizing the RGB values. The second one is an Office style color palette control.

Mindscape Silverlight color pickers

The color palettes in both of these controls can be customized by a developer by changing the colors it displays, adding more colors and providing a custom layout. We are pleased to announce that Mindscape Silverlight Elements now comes with 41 predefined color palettes to get you started. These new color palettes display a beautiful range of colors and will be familiar to Microsoft Office users. Each and every color has also been given a name which gets displayed in a tooltip.

Some of the color palettes available in Mindscape Silverlight Elements

The color palettes can be found in the StandardPalettes class. Each palette has its own static property which has been named after the equivelent theme in Microsoft Office. For example, GrayscalePalette, ApexPalette, FlowPalette and so on. To use one of the palettes with a color picker control, you simply need to use this code:

PaletteColorPicker cp = new PaletteColorPicker();
cp.Palette = StandardPalettes.FlowPalette;

These new color palettes are available through the latest nightly build (trial version here, customers can download from their account). If there are any features or controls that you would like to see in Mindscape Silverlight Elements, then let us know by leaving a comment on this blog post or drop by our forum.

Thoughts on Silverlight

As many of you will be aware, Microsoft’s PDC event this year occurred last week and with it came a comment from Bob Muglia that “our strategy has shifted” in relation to Silverlight. The impending release of IE9, Microsoft argues, makes HTML5 a viable option for “reach” applications based on the desktop Web browser, with Silverlight’s additional features making it the choice for more specialised scenarios such as Windows Phone 7, media-centric applications and line of business apps.

This comment has caused considerable concern in the Silverlight community. (Especially those who went into fainting fits at “Windows Phone 7” and didn’t see that Bob Muglia went on to talk about all the other areas that Microsoft are still backing Silverlight for.) As usual with a new technology, Microsoft went into marketing overdrive with Silverlight and sold it as the solution to everything from Web development to stubborn stains. Which of course it never was. Silverlight was, and is, a great platform for certain kinds of application. If you’re building rich media apps, intranet applications or certain kinds of Internet application, then Silverlight is still in the sweet spot. But Microsoft are saying that for building Internet-facing, cross-platform Web sites with maximum reach, they’re shifting their backing to HTML5.

So what does this mean for Mindscape customers? It means the same great support and investment in Silverlight, and a continuing focus on the Silverlight sweet spots. As you’ll know, we’ve got a great suite of controls for Silverlight – we’re on the Silverlight bandwagon and have many customers delivering fantastic solutions with the help of our products. We are committed to improving our Silverlight Elements product and have a release planned shortly for a major new version that includes some of the best chart controls ever built for Silverlight. We will continue to support Silverlight Elements and to actively invest in it; in other words – it’s business as usual for us! :-)

Further to this investment, we are not ignoring Windows Phone 7. We have Windows Phone 7 hardware and our developers have been working on testing the capabilities of Silverlight on WP7. We will be releasing an update for our Silverlight controls that fully supports the Windows Phone 7 environment. This will go beyond just making sure the controls run, but making sure we ship with native themes to create an excellent experience for end users and developers alike.

In short, just as we’ve always done, we’re investing in Silverlight for the development of some rich web applications, Intranet applications and Windows Phone 7 development — exactly the areas where Microsoft recommends it.

What about HTML 5?

We’re not technology zealots. We know that every technology has its place: Silverlight, HTML 5, Flash, even ActiveX. (Well, okay, not ActiveX. But every other technology.) And we’ll always be working hard to deliver what our customers need to create the best solutions possible — using whatever technology is right for the job.

We think HTML 5 is pretty awesome — a huge step forward from what was possible in the previous generation of browsers. But the reality is that there’s going to be a big lag in adoption. (Let’s face it, it’s hard getting some people to move on from creaky old IE6.) Even ignoring consumer adoption, HTML 5 developer tooling doesn’t come close to what developers are used to on the Silverlight or .NET platforms.

Right now, we’re watching HTML 5, taking notes, kicking around ideas, planning and seeing what value we can add which would aid in the delivery of kick-ass solutions. We don’t have any news for you yet, but keep watching for announcements — HTML 5 is going to be big and we’re going to be there!

Tagged as News, Silverlight

New Silverlight charting capabilities

As you may know from following this blog, we’ve been releasing parts of our Silverlight Charting controls on a nightly basis with Silverlight Elements. Last week I talked about the initial charts – Line, Bar, Pie and Doughnut. Keeping up with almost live-blogging the changes as they’re being released, today I’m pleased to announce some of the new chart types that are available immediately to Silverlight Elements users.

Some of the new features include:

  • Legend placement improvements to make it easier to place the legend
  • Logarithmic axis scale support
  • Pie chart selection options (light one part, pull it out, expand all slices, etc)

And of course the new charts which, I think, are best described with visuals…

Bubble charts:

Silverlight Bubble Chart

Multiple bubble series:

Multiple bubble series in Silverlight charts

Stacked line area charts:

Stacked area series chart in Silverlight

Stacked bar series:

Stacked bar series in Silverlight charts

Stacked bar series with a custom bar style:

Custom bar style chart in Silverlight

Stacked bar series in horizontal orientation:

Horizontal bar series chart in Silverlight

Scatter charts:

Scatter chart in Silverlight

Multiple scatter charts:

Multiple scatter series chart in Silverlight Charts

Stacked line charts:

Stacked line series chart in Silverlight

Spline charts (Smooths the line):

Spline chart in Silverlight

Stacked spline charts:

Stacked spline charts in Silverlight

Stacked spine area charts:

Stacked spline area charts in Silverlight

Phew – not bad for a weekly update I don’t think! :-) We have been asked if using the charting is currently supported – absolutely. They’re not completely finished, but if you do use them and have feedback or find bugs then we’ll be there to help you out so please – dig in :-)

You can try the charts with the trial of Silverlight Elements or if you’re a customer, grab your nightly build from the store here.

What would you like to see next?


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