ExpressBars v6 Beta is Now Available to Subscribers

We are happy to announce the immediate availability of the ExpressBars v6 Beta to our active VCL Subscribers. ExpressBars v6 represents the most significant upgrade to this product library since its initial release over 7 years ago. Among key features introduced in v6 is support for Microsoft's newest toolbar/menu system – the Ribbon.

The following is a summary of features introduced in this beta:

Ribbon UI

With the TdxRibbon, TdxCustomRibbonForm, TdxRibbonPopupMenu, and TdxRibbonStatusBar components, you can build ribbon interfaces similar to those found in Microsoft Office® 2007.

In-Place Editors Extension

All in-place editors from the ExpressEditors Library can be used within toolbar items. Use the cxBarEditItem to create this type of item (note the ExpressEditors Library must be purchased separately).

Form Inheritance Enhancements

  • TdxBar is now a TComponent descendant (was a TCollectionItem descendant in the previous versions). This eliminates the problem when changes applied to the base form are not reflected in the changes to inherited forms after modifying a toolbar on an inherited form. Forms with older versions of toolbars are fully supported.
  • Toolbars on both the base and inherited forms can be reset.

Parented Forms and Frames

Parented forms and frames are fully supported. Problems with common keyboard shortcuts, accelerator keys, tab navigation, and hints in parented forms have been addressed.

Improved Support for Images and Image Lists

  • 32-bit icons with alpha blending.
  • Now you can optionally use the TImageList.TransparentColor property to determine the transparent color of an image instead of using its left-bottom pixel.
  • The image mask of a transparent glyph is now taken into account when painting an image from an image list.

Extended Appearance Control

Added the capability to apply custom color and font settings to a toolbar item’s caption and in-place editor (via the item’s Style and StyleEdit properties).

Runtime Usability Improvements

  • A centralized way to postpone painting and calculation of toolbars has been introduced via a bar manager’s BeginUpdate/EndUpdate methods.
  • New specially designed methods to simplify the creation, modification and repositioning of toolbars have been introduced.

Merging Mechanism Improvements

  • More than two toolbars can be merged.
  • You can now merge bar managers.
  • You can use the specially designed MergeKind and MergeIndex properties of a bar item to control merging.

Design-Time Improvements

  • Toolbars can now be selected using the mouse.
  • You can also select multiple items and toolbars by holding down the Shift and Ctrl keys.
  • It's much easier to delete the selected links, items, and toolbars using the Del and Ctrl+Del keys.
  • You can press the Esc key to access the selected object’s parent component (for instance, press the Esc key to move to the parent toolbar of a bar item which is currently selected).

Bug Fixes

  • Several bugs related to the position of a toolbar which was not correctly saved/restored after the toolbar was hidden/shown have now been fixed.
  • New items, which are added to a toolbar after storing its settings to the registry, an INI file or stream, will be visible after restoring the settings.

As mentioned previously, this beta is only available to active VCL subscribers. To obtain your beta copy, logon to our Client Center and download our Unified VCL installers.

Thank you and best wishes,
The DevExpress Team