What’s New in 18.2: Ultimate UI for WPF

Brian Lagunas / Tuesday, November 06, 2018

It’s that time of year. That time when you walk into a store and you see all the Christmas decorations, and you think to yourself, “wait a minuet, it’s only November”. Well, here at Infragistics, Christmas comes multiple times a year and this time, it’s coming in November! Our gift to you, this November, is the release of Infragistics Ultimate UI for WPF 18.2. All the elves in our workshop have been working overtime to bring you the new features you asked for on your wish list.  Naughty or nice, it doesn't matter to us, everyone gets these awesome new features.

Now, let’s turn on the holiday music and unwrap this gift of awesomeness!

Financial Chart

First up: all the great improvements we made to our xamFinancialChart.  You may remember that we released the xamFinancialChart with 18.1, and we have had a ton of great feedback to make it even better.  We started by redesigning the toolbar and the legend.  Once you see it, I know you will agree; It's easier on the eyes and easier to navigate. However, making small visual improvements is like getting a pair of socks for Christmas. Yeah, they’re useful, but it’s not what you really wanted. Let’s open the big presents!

Callouts

Okay, this gift is from grandma. She wanted to make sure you could annotate important data points in your financial data and customize the values in callout boxes based on your logic. For example, show stock split, dividends, or calculate the maximum price in your data source. You know how grandma loves her Callouts!

Crosshairs

This next gift is from your cousin Gary.  He wanted to make sure you could configure Crosshairs to display a horizontal line, vertical line, or both lines at the location of the mouse cursor. In addition, the crosshairs can show values of data points at the mouse cursor location and render these values in colored boxes over the X-Axis and Y-Axis labels.  If you are displaying financial data, this is a must. Thank you, cousin Gary!

Final Values

This one is from your friend that you never really talk to but twice a year.  They wanted to see the values of the last data point in your data source, so they gave you the gift of the Final Values annotation.  This annotation is rendered as a colored box for each data source over the Y-Axis label.

Tooltips

This one is from Mike at the gym.  You know, that guy at the gym that likes to give you workout advice even though you never asked for it.  He noticed that you really liked to provide Category tooltips for your end users. However, only one tooltip would show that combines all tooltips for all series when you hover over a given date.  Mike thinks your tooltips would be much better if you used the Item tooltips so when you hovered over a given date, an individual tooltip would be rendered for each series.

Scale Breaks

Your uncle Danny gave you a good one. His wrapping job might not have been great, but it’s the contents that really matter.  Uncle Danny wanted to add Scale Breaks so that you could exclude custom ranges from your data source on the x-axis.  This would allow you to do things such as exclude all data items that fall on weekends or holidays.

Category Chart

The great thing about all those gifts that you received for the Financial Chart, is that they apply to the Category Chart too.  It’s like getting double the gifts from the same people.  Here are a couple of screenshots of the same features (applied to the Category Chart instead).

Callouts

Crosshairs

Final Values

Tooltips

Highlight Layers

The only exception is the Highlight Layers feature. Your aunt Becky thought that your Category Charts needed highlights just like she added to her hair at the salon last week.  She is giving you two types of highlights because she’s “hip”.

  • Category Highlight renders a vertical rectangle that stretches from the start to end of the category that is closest to the mouse cursor. This rectangle is filled with semi-transparent gray color by default.

  • Item Highlight renders a vertical rectangle for each data item in a category that is closest to the mouse cursor. This rectangle is filled with semi-transparent color that matches the color of the series by default.

Charts are the gift that keeps on giving!

Excel Engine

You have already got a ton of great gifts for all your charting needs, but your mom and dad are saving the best gifts for last.  These are the gifts that are in the largest boxes behind the tree.  These are the gifts you have been working your way up to.  These are the gifts that will take your line of business WPF applications to the next level.

Sparklines

Your mom knows the value of a sparkline.  She has told you many times that a sparkline is a tiny chart in a worksheet cell that provides a visual representation of data. Sparklines are used to show trends in a series of values, such as seasonal increases or decreases and economic cycles; they can also be used to highlight maximum and minimum values.  Showing trends in your worksheet data can be useful, especially when you’re sharing your data with others. 

With the release of 18.2, you can now add sparklines to your Excel documents using the Infragistics Excel Library with one line of code.

Once you have an instance of the Infragistics Worksheet, simply call the Add method on the SparklineGroups collection. Supply the type of sparkline you wish to create (Column, Line, or Stacked), provide the cell you wish to insert the sparkline, and then provide the range of cells that represent the data the sparkline will use.

After you have created your sparkline, the Infragistics Excel Library gives you an intuitive API that you can use to style various aspects of the sparkline to meet your visualization requirements. The API allows you to enable and control the colors of high and low points, negative points, the first point, the last point, and all markers to name a few.

These styling points align with Microsoft Excel’s contextual “Design” tab that is shown when the sparkline is selected in Excel.

Thanks, mom. You’re the best!

Chart Support

Your dad has always been the serious one. He thinks it’s time to bring out your inner executive with the addition of charting support in the Excel Library. With support for 70 different chart types, you can now create dashboard reports that visualize data in a clear and easily digestible manner.  This brand-new Excel Charting API gives you complete control over how your charts are rendered with the ability to include a legend, a title, axis titles, and a vast number of options for styling such as gridlines, tick marks, colors and more. You have the full power of Excel charts at the tips of your fingers. The best part, you don’t even need to have MS Excel installed!

Adding a chart to an Excel document is easy.

Using the Infragistics Excel Library, create or get an instance of the Worksheet object, and then simply call the AddChart method on the Shapes collection. Supply the type of chart you wish to create (choose from 70), provide the size and location of the chart, and then provide the data and any other formatting settings you want to apply to the chart.

Since we are creating native Excel charts, when you open your document in Excel and select a chart, you are given the “Design” and “Format” contextual tabs that you would get if you were to have created the chart directly in MS Excel.

Your dad may be awkward at times, but he really comes through when you need him.  I can now dynamically create Excel charts without having Excel?  This is the best gift ever! Thanks, dad! You rock!

XamSpreadsheet Features

Now, it’s hard to top your mom’s gift of sparklines and your dad’s gift of Excel charts, but your sister Stacy still has something in store for you.  She knows the importance of finding and presenting your data to your end-users with accuracy and efficiency.  That’s why she has given you with the following gifts.

Custom Sort Dialog

Since sorting is so important in any Excel document, we added the very useful Custom Sort Dialog to give you full control over how you want to sort your Excel data.  For example, if you have a Department column and an Employee column, you can first sort by Department (to group all the employees in the same department together), and then sort by name (to put the names in alphabetical order within each department).

Top 10 Filter Dialog

A new option available from the AutoFilter drop-down list is the Top 10 feature.

When you filter a list using the Top 10 feature, only the top number or the top percent of records remain. You can also filter to display the bottom number or the bottom percent of records. For example, if you want to list the top wage earners in the company, you can filter the Salary column to display only those records with the top ten salaries. If you filter for the top ten percent of wage earners, however, your list would include only those personnel whose salaries together equaled ten percent of the total.

Although called Top 10, you can filter for any number or percentage of items you desire.

Filtering and Sorting Improvements

In 18.1, we added the AutoFilter drop-down to the spreadsheet. The drop-down had menu items for sorting ascending/descending, clearing a filter applied to the column and to apply a numeric/date/text filter. However, it didn’t have a way to apply a sort or filter based on the forecolor, fill or icon.  In 18.2, that dropdown contains items to allow filtering or sorting based on the foreground, fill or icon of the cells within that column.

Filtering menu:

Sorting menu:

Deselect a Selection

Sometimes when you're selecting multiple cells or ranges in Excel, you accidentally select one or more that you didn't intend to. Using the Deselect Feature, you can deselect any cells within the selected range. Pressing the Ctrl key, you can click, or click-and-drag, to deselect any cells or ranges within a selection. If you need to reselect any of those cells, continue holding the Ctrl key and reselect those cells.

So you get an overlay like this when you hold ctrl and mouse/press down on a selected cell:

And releasing results in:

Thanks, Stacy. Even though you are in the bathroom for 3 hours every morning, I still love you.

CI Builds Available on the Infragistics NuGet Feed

Last, but not least is the gift you bought yourself.  You hated waiting long periods of time to test that brand new feature. To verify that bug fix. Or, when you’re just curious about what we are working on before it’s officially released.  Well, now you can! You went out and got yourself brand new CI (continuous delivery) builds of Infragistics Ultimate UI for WPF that are available on the Infragistics NuGet Feed (https://www.infragistics.com/help/wpf/nuget-feeds).

To gain access to the latest CI build, open up the “Manage NuGet Packages for Solution” dialog.  Choose “Infragistics” as your package source. The make sure you select the “Include prerelease” checkbox option.

You will now have the CI builds as a “Version” option to install into your projects:

The CI builds can be identified with the version numbers that end with the “ci” moniker.

Let’s Wrap this Baby Up!

That does it for our 18.2 release of Infragistics Ultimate UI for WPF. If you are wondering who all the people are that gave you all of these amazing new features, it’s the great people at Infragistics. When you are a customer of Infragistics, we like to think of you like family.  We work everyday and all day to make sure we bring you the best value we can with every release of every product.

As I always like to point out, if you have ideas about new features we should bring to our controls, important issues we need to fix, or even brand new controls you’d like us to introduce, please let us know by posting them on our Product Ideas website.  Follow and engage with us on Twitter via @infragistics. You can also follow and contact me directly on Twitter at @brianlagunas.  Also, make sure to connect with our various teams via our Community Forums where you can interact with Infragistics engineers and other customers. 

If you are not using our WPF controls yet, remember that a free evaluation download is only a click away.

Lastly, when you do build something cool with our controls, please make sure to let me know.

If you’re up for it, guess which character I am in this post. Am I grandma, cousin Gary, uncle Danny, or someone else?

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