The DevExpress 2007 Roadmap

2007 - Extremely Interesting Year for DevExpress and Our Customers

2007 promises to be an extremely interesting year for DevExpress and our customers. Companies like Microsoft and CodeGear, companies that directly affect what we do, are planning a number of new technologies and products this year. So far, in January, Microsoft have made Windows Vista and Office 2007 available to the general public. They have produced the second beta of Microsoft Blend, the WPF design tool for UX designers, and are moving forward aggressively with their plans for the next version of Visual Studio, codenamed Orcas, together with new functionality in .NET 3.5. CodeGear are also moving forward aggressively with their plans to provide a new version of Delphi, codenamed Highlander, in the second half of this year.

So not only do we have to monitor and understand these developments, but we have to move ahead with implementing our own requirements and customer requests. Expect to see us concentrate much more on .NET 2.0 and 3.0 and the new 3.5 across the board, bringing in some of the new features into our products. ASP.NET is going to be very important to us this year, and we're hoping to make a splash with our new WPF controls later on. That doesn't mean we'll be ignoring our main products like the WinForms and VCL controls: we'll be uncompromising in pushing forward with new controls and new functionality.

This year also sees the launch of our new eXpress Application Framework, enabling developers to easily create business applications for both WinForms and ASP.NET. And, of course, we shall be driving some new technologies in our IDE Productivity Tools space.

As in previous years, we're aiming to provide at least three major releases of our .NET DXperience Suites this year: v2007 vol. 1 in the first quarter, v2007 vol. 2 at around the half-year mark, and v2007 vol. 3 in the last quarter. There is a similar timetable, but offset to a certain extent, for our VCL products.

WindowsForms Сomponent Roadmap

The early part of 2007 will result in a release that will complete our initiative to provide the Microsoft Office 2007 UI look-and-feel across all our components. This release will also have some enhancements to our Ribbon control, server-side support for grouping and sorting in the XtraGrid (a joint venture with our XPO product), improvements to the layout and docking support, and many others. Possibly the most important new functionality in v2007 vol. 1 will be the OLAP support in the XtraPivotGrid, and since this has been added to the underlying code, it's also available in the ASPxPivotGrid. The XtraScheduler's foundational code has already been rewritten in order to provide a strong base for an ASP.NET version later on in the year, as well as a time line view (a much-requested feature) in v2007 vol. 1, and multi-resource appointments and other enhancements in later versions. We'll also have a new multi-language spellchecker component available in v2007 vol. 1 that works with our text editing components. For our corporate customers, we're looking at providing Mercury QuickTest Professional support for our components in v2007 vol. 2.

ASP.NET Component Roadmap

2007 promises to be a very exciting year for our ASP.NET customers. Late last year, we embarked on an aggressive development project to update and enhance all our ASP.NET components, as well as adding several new components into the mix. So for the next release, v2007 vol. 1, you'll find new controls that provide tag clouds, headlines, news items, title indexes, and so on, together with the results of our continuing efforts to add support for Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX to our controls. The next version after that, v2007 vol. 2, is even more exciting and will represent a major milestone for our ASP.NET customers: we've been listening to our customers' suggestions (and our own, for that matter) and we shall be releasing a new grid view component that will outperform all other grids, alongside new editors that will be easier to incorporate, configure and use. This grid view will intelligently balance client-side scripting, server-side processing, and AJAX to produce the most performant grid on the market. Also in v2007 vol. 2 we'll be releasing our new ASP.NET spellchecker component. Beyond that, work has already started on designing a new ASP.NET text editor control that will seamlessly bind with the spellchecker component to give you the best rich text editor for your ASP.NET applications. An ASP.NET scheduler component is also in the works as we gear up to bring you the best ASP.NET controls suite by the end of the year.

And don't forget, if you are an ASP.NET developer, you should check out the good news in the roadmap for our IDE productivity tools: we shall be providing more and more ASP.NET refactorings throughout the year that will accelerate your ASP.NET development.

.NET Reporting and Charting Roadmap

Our cross-platform reporting product continues to be an important part of our product line. For v2007 vol. 1, we are making numerous improvements to the export functionality: faster PDF generation, exporting to HTML by pages, much better customization. We're also providing functionality to enable group bands and detail reports to be reordered from the Report Editor at design-time. Print Preview windows will be able to display our Ribbon control in v2007 vol. 1. In the following release, we also plan to integrate Ribbon into the End-User Report Designer. In later versions of XtraReports, we'll also have tables and AJAX support for v2007 vol. 2; and report merging, saving and scaling in preview mode, and side-by-side detail reports support in v2007 vol. 3.

With regard to XtraCharts, again a cross-platform product, we have some exciting new functionality in store for this year. For v2007 vol. 1, we're providing scrolling and zooming for 2D charts in WinForms applications, with similar support for 3D charts available later in the year. Of course, we shall be providing support for new chart types throughout the year (first to come are 3D Line and 3D Step Line Series views, and we will make exploded pie charts available in both 2D and 3D for v2007 vol. 2), as well as adding features like showing a legend as a table of data. Another big request will be available in v2007 vol. 1: an improved calculation algorithm for the date-time scale and the ability to exclude invisible points from the algorithm.

WPF Component Roadmap

In January, Windows Vista was finally released to the general public and already new PCs are being sold with Vista pre-installed. One of the many improvements in Vista is Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), a new vector-based framework for displaying content and images. We are already researching which components we can profitably move to WPF and have started an initiative for developing a WPF component product. At the time of writing, we, as well as other vendors are hampered by the lack of or volatility of the design-time support in both Orcas (the next version of Visual Studio) and Microsoft Blend (the designer's tool for creating WPF user interfaces). Nevertheless, we are committed to producing WPF products this year.

.NET Business Frameworks Roadmap

Of prime importance in the first part of the year is going to be the official release of eXpress Application Framework (XAF). This product is currently in beta but is rapidly approaching release status. Once the initial release of XAF is available, we'll be improving the core design to enable things like task-based multistep UI, better dialog handling and maybe using Workflow Foundation to control UI flow. Alongside this, we'll add more UI elements and editors such as charts, pivot tables, printing and other editors we have in DXperience; deliver additional modules and services like workflow, documentation, and localization tools; improve the platform-specific UI (such as adding Ribbon for WinForms and use themes and ASP.NET AJAX in the web UI); and expand our documentation, training materials, guides, and samples.

IDE Productivity Tools Roadmap

Several changes are in store for our productivity tools in 2007. We have joined forces with a couple of teams at Microsoft to produce specialized and free versions of our Refactor! tool. The first product to be released under these new associations is Refactor! for ASP.NET, available almost immediately. This year we're also bringing our productivity tools release schedule in line with our main release schedule for the DXperience suites. Along with our stated goal of providing over 100 refactorings in Refactor! Pro by the end of the year (including such refactorings as Move Member, Push Up, and Pull Down, as well as some important ASP.NET refactorings like Merge Style, Split Style, Remove Tag, Surround with Tag, and many other style refactorings), we are also making some important core changes to CodeRush and DXCore to enable features like asynchronous Find All References, better dependency resolution, and "code smell" detection. In essence, we're making some long-term investments in the DXCore for benefits that will arrive in later versions.

Delphi/VCL Roadmap

2006 was certainly an interesting year for Borland, Delphi and C++Builder. With the spin-off of the dev tools business and the creation of CodeGear, we are looking forward to significant changes in market presence/share for CodeGear's tools. Throughout 2007 we will continue to support our position as the premier component vendor for the Delphi and VCL market. The first thing in the roadmap for our VCL customers is a new version of our ExpressBars Suite, due in the first quarter. This will contain a new Ribbon component that mimics the one in Microsoft Office 2007. In early 2nd quarter, we will be shipping a new skinning product called ExpressSkins. This will work in much the same way as the skinning functionality found in our .NET product line: you'll be able to re-skin an application built with our components on the fly and change its look completely with ease. Other products slated for updates in 2007 include the ExpressLayout Control.

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