As we enter into the new fiscal year here at ComponentOne, it is once again time to summarize what’s new and what’s coming in our products. This is the perfect opportunity for you to check out what we have planned and to make suggestions. Your input will help direct our future efforts. Thank you in advance for your feedback.

HTML5 / Wijmo


The HTML5/JavaScript combination continues to be the hot topic for developers. Over the last few months, we’ve seen AngularJS (Google’s platform for HTML5 application development) gain traction and become more popular than ever. We’ve also seen more and more products announce versions that will target ‘modern’ browsers, meaning they will no longer support IE8.

We see all this as very positive news. We have supported AngularJS for a long time now, including pre-built directives and samples with Wijmo. We are excited to see that targeting modern browsers is quickly becoming a mainstream option.

We recently released version 2014 of Wijmo, our complete suite of controls for HTML5 development. Among the exciting new features, my favorites are the new Candlestick chart control for financial and statistical applications and three new themes to make your applications more attractive and functional.

We have also been working on a new product that targets modern browsers. We are planning to release a beta version of this product in August, so please stay tuned for this exciting news. It will be well worth the wait!

XAML


The XAML platform continues to be extremely important for us. The improvements we make to our common code base are immediately reflected in our Studios for WPF, Silverlight, Windows Phone, WinRT, and LightSwitch. Big news from the Microsoft BUILD event is ComponentOne’s support for writing universal XAML apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

In 2014, we have added automation support for coded UI testing in WPF and WinRT (LightSwitch already had that for a while). We also added chart grouping, an exciting feature that allows you to create smarter charts without having to write any extra code. And we improved our C1CollectionView, which is now even faster than before and supports incremental loading, which improves performance when loading large data sets.

Later in 2014, we plan to add the following new features to the XAML stack:

  • New Pivot grid and modern-UI inspired controls for WPF

  • Improved map control

  • Scheduling for WinRT XAML

  • Enhanced support for Entity Framework (with the release of C1DataSource for EF6)


LightSwitch


Our Studio for LightSwitch continues to leverage the improvements we make to the Wijmo and XAML controls. Late last year, we added a Silverlight-based Gantt chart control. Early this year, we added several new HTML5 data visualization controls based on the popular D3 library. These include Bubble chart, Gantt chart, Heatmap, Timeline, and Treemap.

We plan to continue expanding and improving our Studio for LightSwitch with new tools based on our Wijmo and XAML controls.

Most recently we released a couple of NuGet packages that make it really easy to integrate ActiveReports with LightSwitch HTML client apps. In the server project, you have access to the report designer and can consume LightSwitch data sources directly. In the client project, you get a ready-made screen that hosts the HTML5 report viewer and communicates with the server project to render the report. The generated code also includes guidance for implementing parameterized reports with the viewer UI, or in code using LightSwitch screen properties.

You will want to check out Michael Washington’s blog post, Creating a LightSwitch HTML Report Using ActiveReports (using Parameters and Intrinsic Data), for a real world demonstration.

WinForms


In 2013 we released several important improvements to our Studio for WinForms suite. My favorite is the new Theme Designer, which we have improved significantly since the initial release. We now offer over 25 professionally designed themes that you can easily add to your existing applications to make them look and behave better than ever.

We are also releasing a new version of our Entity Framework data source. This version is based on Microsoft’s Entity Framework 6, and allows you to leverage EF6’s power and ease of use in your WinForms applications.

Spread


Spread is one our most popular controls. It provides a Microsoft Excel look and feel on any platform. In the v1 2014 release, we enhanced support for Windows 8.1 and IE 11. Spread for ASP.NET provides enhanced support for Chrome and Safari (in addition to IE and FireFox). This new version also includes support for printing and tables.

Later in 2014, we will release versions with support for Pivot tables and touch.

We are also planning enhancements to SpreadJS, the JavaScript version of Spread. The new version will support more cell types, and will receive performance enhancements to make it one of the fastest HTML5 grids on the market.

ActiveReports


We are very proud of the recently released ActiveReports 8, the latest version of the most popular reporting tool on the market. ActiveReports 8 adds an HTML5 viewer so you can see reports on mobile devices. It also has support for maps and a server core for scalable and distributed report execution and scheduling and caching of batch reports. Finally, we added an easy-to-use browser-based report designer.

Later this year, we plan to release ActiveReports 9, which will add an HTML5-based portal for ActiveReports Server, report designer feature and usability enhancements and speed improvements.  We will also add a Table of Contents report item, tracing mode, and query designers.

As discussed in my highlights of LightSwitch, we released a couple of NuGet packages that make it really easy to integrate ActiveReports with LightSwitch HTML client apps. Michael Washington’s blog post, Creating a LightSwitch HTML Report Using ActiveReports (using Parameters and Intrinsic Data) shares additional insight into this integration.

Doc-To-Help


If you are a DocToHelp user, you are probably familiar with the widgets feature we added late last year. You can now add active content to your help by embedding JavaScript widgets into the help content. This is a major new feature because it adds a new interactive dimension to help targets, and because it is extensible by nature.

Plus, in mid-2014 we will release a new Doc-To-Help companion product called Nest Server. This is an easy-to-implement server that will host NetHelp outputs, allow users to comment and rate topics, and provide usage statistics to Doc-To-Help users.

Finally, we plan to make sure you have the best all-in-one solution you can find. Look for an improved authoring experience with many content editor enhancements, SharePoint 2013 support for those who enjoy using SharePoint to manage documents, and a new screen shot capturing and editing utility.