2011 Roadmap - Silverlight, WPF, WinForms, ASP.NET, MVC, Reports, CodeRush - DevExpress

Last year I conjectured that 2010 was going to be a watershed year in terms of platforms and technologies and I think, by any metric you may choose, it was. Visual Studio 2010, .NET 4.0, Silverlight 4, ASP.NET MVC 2, RAD Studio XE; forgive me if I’ve forgotten your favorite. Does that mean 2011 is going to be nice and easy? A smooth, sit-back-and-rest-on-our-laurels cruise? I’m afraid not. From this vantage point, it seems that 2011 will be even more of a watershed than 2010 was (or maybe watersheds are going to happen yearly from now on). I see Silverlight 5, ASP.NET MVC 3 and Razor, more CTPs for C# 5 and VB 11 and the new async functionality, IE9 (and whatever that means in terms of HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript), lots of leaks about Windows 8, LightSwitch, mobile support, and possibly even 64-bit Delphi.

So, yet again, we at DevExpress have our work cut out for us in the next 12 months. We have to understand, embrace, and extend these new technologies and platforms and produce the kinds of products and functionality that you, our customers, need. If we do receive your appreciation as we have in the past, it’s likely that we will continue to win those first place awards we’ve been privileged to win in 2010.

One of the big announcements we made last year was to introduce two major releases a year for our .NET products. This decision allowed us to produce huge well-received releases for both major versions. Nevertheless, the change wasn’t without its problems and so for 2011 we’re going to refine our processes to ensure that the major releases are produced more smoothly and that the minor releases are generated on a regular basis. We’ve also decided to move our VCL subscription package onto a two-releases-a-year basis to standardize our efforts for our Delphi customers (note these release dates will be offset a month or so before our .NET release dates to spread the load on our client services and support departments). I will restate from last year that the first .NET major release of the year will happen in the second quarter (say, May) and the second in the fourth quarter (say, November), subject to the usual caveats.

And what are those caveats? As is usual I have to sound my standard note of caution. These plans are our best estimate at this point in time for what we should be able to do in 2011, given our resources and our understanding of the technology landscape in which we operate. Any dates given are estimates. Any functionality we describe in this roadmap, especially the further out it is, may be postponed or cancelled altogether. We strongly advise our customers not to make firm plans based on what they see here: in an industry such as ours, things can change very quickly and we have to react just as rapidly to new opportunities that may present themselves.

(Please note that in the following XPF stands for eXpress Presentation Framework, and denotes both our Silverlight and WPF libraries.)

For DXDocking, we’ll aim for feature parity for the docking control between WPF and Silverlight as well as design-time support and MDI support in the first release. DXLayoutControl will see the addition of the DataLayoutItem and DataLayoutControl (which have the ability to bind to data without specifying an editor), and a Close button for both the GroupBox and the LayoutGroup (the ability to hide groups in other words).

For version v2011.1 the DXRibbon will gain the ribbon style from Microsoft Office for the Mac, BackStageView, and we’ll be providing an MVVM demo which not only shows off the ribbon but also the DXNavBar. The Gallery control will gain horizontal orientation.

With v2011.2 we shall be further enhancing DXDocking, DXLayoutControl, DXRibbon, and so on.

For the first major release of the year we shall provide the first version of a Silverlight scheduler control. The following release will see a DateNavigator control for the scheduler and a year view.

With regard to the rich-text edit control, we are considering providing a Document Server component to perform mail-merge and output to different formats; improving mail-merge with custom fields, field-related customization, and so on; providing better table support, supporting the .doc format, and providing new built-in dialogs in the first major release. The second release will contain auto correct and hyperlink detection as you type, and section and paragraph borders.

For the scheduler the main feature will be the year view. It is likely that this will be in the later release rather than the earlier one.

With regard to the pivot grid for ASP.NET, please see the new section for DXperience Analytics.

The second release of the year will see the completion of the pivot grid control for Silverlight, the improvement of end-user capabilities of the pivot grids, the addition of complete OLAP support, and filtering by summaries. We also hope to be able to flesh out our gauges by moving them to our XPF platform.

Moving onto XAF, there are many new features and enhancements coming. In the first release of the year, we’ll have: a security system on the data layer level; workflow integration with Workflow Foundation; various improvements to the ASP.NET UI (more AJAX, better performance); performance improvements across the board (we aim to halve the startup time, work faster with large detail collections); better filtering support (filter by form, etc); support for a multi-step UI (that is, wizards). We’ll also fully release the Domain Components support we’ve been working on in 2010. The second release will include improvements to the reporting and scheduler modules, easy calculated fields, grid list editor improvements (master-detail, more view support), and various design time improvements (Easy Test, designers, item templates, etc.). Finally we shall be releasing SilverLight & WPF UI support.

The next big change is that we are going to restrict which Delphi/C++Builder/RADStudio IDEs we will officially support. For Delphi these are Delphi 7 (we know a lot of you are still using it), Delphi 2007 (it’s the last ANSI string version), Delphi 2010, and Delphi XE. For C++Builder, it’s C++Builder 2007, C++Builder 2010, and C++Builder XE. (Of course, these include the equivalent RADStudio versions.)

In v2011 vol.1, we will provide the first evaluation version of our VCL components, for RADStudio XE. With regard to the controls, ExpressPivotGrid will support the compact layout for hierarchical row values (like the WinForms XtraPivotGrid in v2010.1); extend the number of summary types (for example, count unique values); add the end-user capability to easily change the SummaryType of data fields; improve the export to Excel functionality to make it possible to export data in a simplified layout to support further data analysis; and improve OLAP support. For the ExpressScheduler, we will increase performance by redesigning the data store; add an agenda view; add task groups and subtasks for the Gantt view; add milestone indicators for the Gantt view; implement a treeview-like hierarchy for events and tasks in the Gantt view; and add iCal support. The ExpressQuantumGrid won’t be without its enhancements either: we’ll add a grid design wizard; improve data controller performance; and add more chart views such as splines. For ExpressBars, expect to see an implementation of the Visual Studio 2005+ docking indicators to the Docking manager and an Office-like color selection dropdown.

In v2011 vol.2, we will add server mode to the ExpressQuantumGrid, that is, the ability of the grid to only request data from the database server that can be displayed. ExpressEditors will get several improvements. The date edit control will allow you to provide a way to specify edit mask/display format; the scrollbar control will be usable standalone; the buttons will gain access to an image list; the rich text editor will gain extra functionality; and we’ll add a Windows Explorer breadcrumb editor. The scheduler will get an agenda view. We shall also be adding new functionality and improving the tree list, the vertical grid, and the spell checker.

Thank you and best wishes,
Julian M Bucknall, CTO and The DevExpress Team