Actipro Software is a provider of software components for the Microsoft .NET platform. Our focus is on delivering quality user interface software components that our customers can trust to add robust functionality to their applications. We have been developing Windows Forms components since .NET was first released, and have become a leading developer of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) components. In fact, Actipro Software is the very first control vendor to release a commercial WPF control.

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Important WPF Studio 2010.2 update, also with new Gauge and SyntaxEditor features

October 1, 2010 at 5:51 AM

Several customers reported some issues with the updates made in Docking/MDI for the first 2010.2 build.  One of the enhancements we made caused several side effects which were all related to the same issue.  We’ve resolved the issue and have posted an important WPF Studio 2010.2 build 531 maintenance release you’ll want to grab.  It’s available now on our site.

New features

The new build 531 also adds some neat new features to a couple products.


One new feature added to Gauge is the ability to place text on pointer needles.  We have options for how to orient the text too.  It can move exactly with the needle, can always render horizontally, or can move with the needle but intelligently flip upside-down when appropriate so that the text continues to render right-side-up such as in this screenshot:


Linear gauges also get easy-to-use text pointer labels.

Both circular and linear gauges also receive new features for managing refresh rate, similar to an existing feature we have with our digital gauges.


This feature is useful when there is a high update rate of data sent to the gauge.  The refresh rate will buffer the updates that appear in the UI to a designated refresh rate.  So instead of having a gauge pointer flipping all over and being difficult to read, you can set it up to just update a couple times a second and it will animate much slower, thus making the gauge data easier to visually consume.


Another new feature added is the ability to render lowercase letters in the digital gauges via a new character casing option.  Choose to force characters to lowercase, uppercase, or render text as-is.


A great update to SyntaxEditor is the new indent provider service.  This service can be registered on your language to tell the editor how to indent code when the Enter key is pressed.  Options are no indent, block indent, or smart indent.

Previous builds of SyntaxEditor for WPF used no indent, but the default has now been made to block indent if no indent provider service is registered on a language.  That means that when pressing Enter, text will move to the same indentation as the previous line.

Smart indent allows a language to programmatically indicate how to indent a line.  This means in C# for instance, you can scan back to see if you are right after a { character and indent a tab stop if so.

Another new service is a basic interface for supporting the formatting of text ranges.  Text formatting involves adjusting whitespace and symbols such as braces to make code more readable.

We’ve added some documentation on these new features and will be adding some samples of their usage hopefully in the next build.

Update on Silverlight Studio 2010.2

We are currently finishing up work on Silverlight Studio 2010.2.  We hope to have it out even as early as next week.

The 2010.2 version will have the new Book control in Views, along with all the SyntaxEditor updates made in WPF Studio 2010.2 such as the new LL(*) Parser Framework, indent provider and text formatter services, the Web Languages Add-on, and more.

Filed under: ActiproNew featuresWPF

Major new Gauge for WPF features and controls

November 9, 2008 at 6:24 PM

Our Gauge product has just been updated with two new controls, lots of new features for the existing controls, and several bug fixes.  This update is part of build 4.5.0480 that was released this past Friday.

Here are some details on some of the major new features and controls…

New Features

Logarithmic Scales

The CircularGauge and LinearGauge now support logarithmic scales with a configurable base. Logarithmic scales can be useful when more sensitivity is needs for lower values, since smaller values are spaced further apart.


A CircularGauge with a logarithmic scale using a base of 10

Glass Effect and Frames

All the gauge controls allow more customization of the frame rendered. The frame rim is now independent of the frame background, which allows you to mix and match the various effects supported by each. In addition, a new glass effect has been added, which produces a more stunning look.

CircularGaugeGlass     CircularGaugeNoGlass

A CircularGauge shown with (left) and without (right) the new glass effect

Dynamic Sizing

The gauges now support being resized dynamically, so that the inner elements resize proportionally. This is accomplished by specifying percentage-based sizes, but fixed-based sizes can still be used if desired.

DynamicSizeSmall   DynamicSizeLarge

A CircularGauge sized 200×200 (left) and 300×300 (right)

Scrolling Text

The DigitalGauge can now scroll the text displayed to the left or right using a configurable interval. This allows long text to be presented to the end-user using a marquee effect.


A DigitalGauge using the new dot matrix character type with scrolling marquee functionality

New Controls

Two new controls come with this update, an Led control and a ToggleSwitch control.

Led Control

The Led control is great for presenting simple state (on, off, blinking) information to the end-user. The led light is fully animated and customizable, with options for the light shape and colors.


An Led with a red light

ToggleSwitch Control

The ToggleSwitch control works much like the native WPF ToggleButton, but looks like a real-life switch. The switch is fully animated and customizable, with 2 styles to choose from.


A ToggleSwitch with a circular look


There are too many other new features to list here, but check out the latest build to try them out for yourselves.

Filed under: ActiproWPFNew features

WPF Studio v4.0 Released Adding Docking/MDI and Gauge Products

July 10, 2008 at 9:10 PM

We’re very happy to have just released WPF Studio v4.0.  This version is the culmination of several months of work and we’re sure you’ll love what you see.

Download Actipro WPF Studio v4.0 now

To celebrate, we’ll be posting details about a special promotion for existing UIStudio for WinForms customers who are looking to get into the WPF arena.

Docking & MDI for WPF

Actipro Docking & MDI is a complete solution for easily adding a docking tool window and/or multiple document interface to your WPF applications. Allow your end users to drag and dock tool windows wherever they please, and to persist their customizations. Also use this product to fill the gap left by Microsoft not including an MDI mechanism in the WPF platform.


Docking & MDI showing a docking operation in progress with the Aero theme active

Docking & MDI has been implemented with flexibility in mind. It has more options than nearly any other competitive product out there and mimics Visual Studio 2008’s capabilities. While it supports all the types of standard layouts you find in most docking window products, it also supports some extended functionality that you won’t find anywhere else.

Check out more information about the product or try a live demo on our site.

Gauge for WPF

Actipro Gauge is a control suite that implements circularlinear, and digital gauge controls for the Windows Presentation Foundation framework. Each gauge control has tons of options available, providing for limitless possibilities.


Circular, linear, and digital gauges combined to display monitoring information

Gauge controls are ideal for displaying several data points in a concise and compact area. Everything from cardashboards to medical and industrial equipment use gauges, and are quickly recognized and understood by users.

The circular and linear gauges are perfect for presenting a value, or values, bound by a specific range. The digital gauge is perfect for mimicking real-life LED displays.

Check out more information about the product or try a live demo on our site.

Other Enhancements

There were a lot of other minor enhancements and tweaks made throughout our WPF control products for this release.  We added several new demos and useful utilities as well.

Theme Browser

One great new utility found in WPF Studio is the Theme Browser.  A WPF Studio customer was kind enough to post a simple theme browser for our controls in the WPF Studio forums for the benefit of other customers.

We took this idea and ran with it, making a very helpful utility that lets you browse each Brush resource used by our products for the various themes.  The utility shows a preview of each Brush and even allows you to copy a DynamicResource reference accessing the Brush to the clipboard so that you can reuse it in your applications as long as the same theme is loaded.


The new Theme Browser, that comes with WPF Studio

This is really useful for those of you making some customizations to other controls and wanting to use the same Brushes as us so that you have a consistent look in your application.

String Resource Browser

Going along with the Theme Browser idea, we wanted to make a String Resource Browser.  All our products that display text in the user interface stores the default text in string resources.  You can customize or localize the text in code-behind via a single line of code for each item.


The new String Resource Browser, that comes with WPF Studio

The String Resource Browser lets you examine all the string resources used in our various products.  When you select a string resource, you have the ability to enter a customized version of it.  The Browser even generates the C# and VB code you can paste into your application to perform the customization.

Filed under: ActiproWPFNew featuresNew product

Sneak Peek: Gauge for WPF – Flight Simulation Gauges

July 8, 2008 at 1:55 AM

We’re just about ready to launch WPF Studio v4.0, probably in the next day or two.  Keep an eye on our site for the official release!

As another sample of what our gauges in WPF Studio v4.0 can do, here is a flight simulation gauges gallerythat shows a collage of gauge controls related to a flight simulation.


Flight simulation gauges that can be fully data bound

The full XAML source for these control samples are in our v4.0 Sample Browser.

Filed under: ActiproIn developmentWPFXAML

Sneak Peek: Gauge for WPF – Automotive Gauges

June 26, 2008 at 2:34 AM

We’ve been working some long hours to get WPF Studio v4.0 completed and into your hands.  Both the Docking & MDI and Gauge products are now just about code complete for their first release.  We already have a lot of samples that demonstrate major areas of functionality.  We are now working on documentation and designer support.

As mentioned before, WPF Studio v4.0 includes a complete set of circular, linear, and digital gauges, all of which are native WPF controls.

I wanted to highlight some of the capabilities of our gauges so we came up with an automotive gauges gallerythat shows a collage of gauge controls related to a car dashboard.


A car dashboard with gauges that can be fully data bound

All of the controls above are vector drawn (meaning they scale cleanly to any size) and can be data bound to live data.

Dampening, or the process of smoothing out transitions to new values, is fully supported too.  When enabled, as values change, the gauge needles smoothly animate to the new values like a real gauge would.

The full source for these control samples are in our v4.0 Sample Browser.  Stay tuned for some more sample screenshots soon.

Filed under: ActiproIn developmentWPF

Actipro’s WPF Product Roadmap – June 2008

June 16, 2008 at 12:10 AM

We’ve had a lot of interest from customers regarding our product roadmap for WPF development.  I wanted to post where things currently stand and where our future development priorities lay.  I also would like to give customers the opportunity to voice their opinion as to what they would most like to see added to WPF Studio down the road.

In addition, we are now announcing a new WPF product that will be available after the WPF Studio v4.0 release: PropertyGrid for WPF.

WPF Product Roadmap

Here is the roadmap for WPF development as of June 2008.

WPF Studio v4.0 Release

The WPF Studio v4.0 release will be available in the next several weeks.  We are still finishing up the two new products that have been added and are in the process of adding samples, documentation, etc.

Actipro Docking & MDI for WPF

The Docking product implements docking tool windows and MDI functionality for WPF.  We haven’t talked too much about the feature set yet, however we’ll get into that closer to release time.  Rest assured though that themes are created for all Windows system themes, along with all three Office themes.  It also will offer a huge number of options.


Docking and MDI in Windows Vista

Use the docking tag to search for info on this product in the Actipro blog.

Actipro Gauge for WPF

The Gauge product makes it easy to create any sort of circular, linear, or digital gauge.  These gauges can be used to represent data in digital dashboards, provide virtual instrumentation, and much more.


A circular gauge that shows how easy it is to create a working analog clock

Use the gauge tag to search for info on this product in the Actipro blog.

After WPF Studio v4.0

The following two products have had work started on them but were placed on hold temporarily while we divert our development resources towards getting WPF Studio v4.0 out the door.

PropertyGrid for WPF

A new product, PropertyGrid for WPF, will provide property grid functionality similar to that found in Visual Studio and Expression Blend.  We will get into more details about the product following the WPF Studio v4.0 release.  However its development is already fairly far along, and we expect it to be ready within a few weeks after the WPF Studio v4.0 release.


The first look at our upcoming PropertyGrid control for WPF

SyntaxEditor for WPF

SyntaxEditor for WPF will provide the high quality code editing experience you expect from Actipro, the industry leader in syntax highlighting editing controls and components.  One SyntaxEditor for WPF design goal is to make a common document/parsing library so that it can be shared with the next Windows Forms SyntaxEditor v5.0 and CodeHighlighter.  We also have a ton of new features planned that we will start posting about in the future.

As a WPF Studio Customer, Will I Receive These Products for Free?

As long as your WPF Studio subscription is active when a product is released, you will be eligible to upgrade to the new version and get any new products added to WPF Studio for free.  Each WPF Studio developer license includes a free subscription that can be renewed at its expiration date each year.

What Would You Like to See Added?

Let’s hear your comments on what you’d like to see added that hasn’t been listed in our roadmap above.

Some suggestions from customers have included:

  • Grid
  • Chart/graph
  • Scheduling
  • Reporting

Please post a comment and rank in order of priority which of these (or your own suggestions) that you would like us to work on.

At Actipro, the opinions of our customers matter and your feedback really will help steer our long term future development efforts.

First Look: Gauge for WPF

May 30, 2008 at 2:42 AM

We’ve been hard at work over here on several new products for WPF Studio.  The first that I’ve been posting about is the WPF Docking and MDI product.  The Docking product is one of the new products that will be part ofWPF Studio v4.0.

But we also have one other unannounced product coming to WPF Studio v4.0, and that is Actipro Gauge for WPF.  We’re very excited to have teamed up with NextWave to help enhance their forthcoming gauge product and include a split of the code as an Actipro branded product, and part of WPF Studio.

Gauge for WPF Features


A linear gauge… use to represent any sort of linear values, such as in meters

Gauge for WPF supports the creation of nearly any kind of gauge that you can imagine.  Basic gauge types include circularlinear, and digital gauges.  It includes a wealth of configurable properties, allowing you to completely customize the look and capabilities of your gauges.


A circular gauge… use to create any sort of instrumentation, meter, or knob

What can you do build with Gauge for WPF?

  • Electronic measurement gauges
  • Medical measurement gauges
  • Industrial measurement gauges
  • Knobs
  • Digital panels
  • Clocks and watches
  • Thermometers
  • Compasses
  • Vehicle dashboards
  • Flight simulation dashboards
  • Any other sort of circular, linear, or digital gauge


A digital gauge… use to create clocks or any type of digital readout

What are some common use examples for these sorts of gauges?

  • Business intelligence dashboards
  • Executive summary dashboards
  • Industrial or medical controls and readouts
  • Software interaction with electronic equipment
  • Simple digital readouts
  • Vehicle simulation


Both Docking for WPF and Gauge for WPF will be included in Actipro WPF Studio v4.0.  We expect final release in the coming weeks.



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Test Driven Development by Martin Blore

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The path to TDD and software excellence…

Posted on June 2, 2010 by Martin Blore

The more I study TDD, and the more I read Robert C. Martin’s study on clean code principals, the more I see this pyramid of development maturity.

TDD feels like the icing on the cake. The cake must come first. In this case, the cake is the principles and practices of clean code. Without clean code and the knowledge of Agile software principals, TDD is a very difficult practice to do. In my mind, the maturity model goes like this:

TDD Maturity ModelThe model shows level of difficulty and experienced needed, the further up the model you go. I have no doubt that some companies have taken TDD and enforced the process on their teams, without first going through the preliminary processes of learning. This is dangerous. I have seen projects eventually bury themselves in complexity and grind themselves down to a stop because of lack of clean code principles. When TDD is applied that way, not only will your software have fields of bad code inside of it, but you now have a test library to maintain with an equal amount of, if not more, bad code. The levels of complexity long running software projects can build up is scary. Maintenance costs and improvements become 10 times more expensive.

The investment in the above principles and practices are absoloutely golden to maintaining cost effective development of software.

“Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#” is a fantastic book from Robert C. Martin. Also, check out his Bad Code presentation over at InfoQ. It definitily got me laughing.