Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visual Studio 2010 / .NET 4.0 and WinForms

This week saw a major release from Microsoft: Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0. There are not many feature changes from their Beta Releases. (Also see ScottGu's and Scott Hanselman's blogs).

As expected, there is nothing new in WinForms except the fact that it can make use of many new .NET 4.0 features like MEF. And of course, there will be bug fixes and performance improvements as the Group Manager of WinForms says in response to a comment in Somasegar's Blog: "We continue to invest in WinForms for .NET FX 4.  This includes the core expectation of maintaining compatibility for applications already written in WinForms, fixing bugs that developers have reported, contributing to overall developer experiences across Visual Studio, as well as perf work and some feature development."

That "some feature" he mentioned is not to be seen any where. Look at the What's New in the .NET Framework 4 article in MSDN. It doesn't even mention WinForms!

Those who are still fond of WinForms find it comforting to say that  "WPF is still growing and it need much attention unlike WinForms which is matured and used for many critical LOB applications around the world." :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ScatterView for Windows/WPF is here!

Finally, the wait is over and Microsoft has released Surface Toolkit for Windows Touch. Now we will be able to create Windows Applications that are touch enabled and works on Windows 7 computers with touch screens. The Toolkit brings many good old Surface touch controls including the much awaited ScatterView to the Windows platform. The good thing is that tremendous research has been done by Microsoft team in the areas of user experience and usability for these controls and hence we developers can save precious time otherwise spent on developing custom touch controls.

The controls included are:
LibraryBar, LibraryContainer, LibraryStack, ScatterView, SurfaceButton, SurfaceCheckBox, SurfaceInkCanvas, SurfaceListBox, SurfaceRadioButton, SurfaceScrollViewer, SurfaceSlider, SurfaceWindow.

These touch specific controls responds to touches, stylus and mouse clicks and have many special touch features (One example is the bulging out of scroll bars when touched).

One thing that is missing from the Toolkit is a Simulator similar to the Surface Simulator to help out those developers who do not have a touch screen.  Also the applications written using these controls will now only work on Windows 7 and not on Surface. Hopefully these may change when they release the next version of Surface (Surface 2.0) based on .NET 4.0.

Microsoft Surface Toolkit for Windows Touch Beta can be downloaded from here and more details can be found at the Surface Blog.