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As I spent time last week updating my Callisto library for Windows 8.1 I realized it was a long time between the last release.  Well, I’ve finally updated it for Windows 8.1 release which is now available.  This is a major, yet minor release…allow me to explain.

Windows 8 Support

As of the Callisto 1.4.0 release, Windows 8 support ends.  Support in the non-commercial Open Source world is a bit of a funny term as the support has always been provided by myself and Morten.  I wrestled for a few days trying to keep a source code base, NuGet packages and Extension SDKs in sync with minimal impact.  After that exercise I realized this was just not going to be worth it.  Windows 8.1 developer platform has way more to offer and I just want to move forward.  I’ve locked the Windows 8 release at 1.3.1 (last one) and kept archives of the NuGet/Extension SDK bits on my GitHub project.  The latest code and packages are for Windows 8.1 only.  If you are working on a Windows 8 app and see a notification of a NuGet/SDK update, you should NOT update to 1.4.0.  The tools should block you here, but in case it doesn’t you will be broken in some cases.  I realize this may be an inconvenience to some, but I just couldn’t justify the extra support time for me in this regard.

Windows 8.1 version – first release

So what’s new in the Windows 8.1 version of Callisto?  Well, to be honest, not much.  This primarily is a release to get it on the platform, produce supported bits for Windows 8.1 and .NET Framework 4.5.1 for apps moving forward.  There actually are no new controls in this release but it does bring some minor updates.

Morten was able to check-in our first iteration of Designer support for the controls.  You’ll see all custom properties represented in property panes, have a better drag-and-drop experience, and be able to re-template using Edit Template.  I’ll have a principle moving forward that new controls should have this as the minimum bar for designer support.  Unni has been a tremendous help in motivating Callisto to do this as well as rapid-response help in working through some kinks.  The designer support is only provided in the Extension SDK installation as designer metadata and toolbox usage is not supported in NuGet.

As a new feature in Windows 8.1, XAML now compiles to XAML Binary Format (XBF).  XBF brings performance gains to startup of your application.  As a result of this I’ve prioritized your apps’ performance over developer convenience in some areas.  What this means is that the SDKs ship the XBF version of the toolkit’s generic.xaml.  This gets packaged in your application and helps app startup performance.  For NuGet, what this means is that you don’t get “Edit Template” support in Visual Studio.  If you are using the NuGet package and want to re-template one of the controls, you’d need to grab the template from source and copy it into your project.  This may be an inconvenience but few people re-template Callisto controls and the performance benefits of XBF are prioritized here.  There may be a time in Visual Studio’s release where they will support generating the XBF from the NuGet package, but that is not currently supported.  For the Extension SDK version, I ship the design-time generic.xaml for the control so this is not a problem…and you still get the XBF benefits when your package is built.

In addition to this designer goodness and basic platform support, the 1.4.0 release deprecates a few controls.

WHAT?!

Yes, as a part of Windows 8.1, new controls were provided in the base XAML platform and Callisto versions aren’t necessary.  The list of deprecated Callisto controls include:

  • Flyout – now provided in Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls.Flyout
  • Menu – now provided in Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls.MenuFlyout
  • SettingsFlyout – now provided in Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls.SettingsFlyout
  • DynamicTextBlock – now provided by the TextTrimming=”CharacterEllipsis” in Windows 8.1
  • WatermarkTextBox – now provided by the PlaceholderText property provided in Windows 8.1 on input controls

It is a sad day when some of your most-used and proud controls aren’t used anymore, but this is a good thing for developers.  The XAML team worked hard to address the feedback and close the gap in these areas.  As a part of this, some of the planned work around Date/Time pickers was stopped as those are also now provided in Windows 8.1 (and global calendars supported!).  The bugs that exist in the deprecated controls won’t be addressed.

How do I migrate from the Callisto deprecated controls?

Great question!  In a follow-up series of blog posts I’ll show how to migrate off of these Callisto controls to the included ones for Windows 8.1.  Please subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter for notification of when I send out the migration articles.  Here are the migration guides for the deprecated controls:

Please help me and others by posting comments if you find more migration gotchas that people should know about!

What is Callisto’s future then Tim?

It is bright.  I love development and I love helping people.  In my view there are still some compelling needs that I see app developers having that are higher level than what the platform provides.  I’ll be still driving forward with Pivot and DataGrid (under testing right now) as well as looking at some other interesting helpers to existing controls by way of some clever attached properties.  If you have suggestions, please log a suggestion on the GitHub site for consideration!

I have a lot of fun doing community/Open Source development and will continue to do so.  I hope this post helps understand the Callisto roadmap!


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.


11/1/2013 10:59 AM | # re: Callisto Update for Windows 8.1
When I upgrade my Windows 8 into 8.1 and installed 2013 Express for Windows, I got a error that "CAN NOT FIND Callisto"
First I think maybe it is because I upgrade Callisto into 1.4.0, however, even I uninstall 1.4.0 and re-install 1.3.1, this error can not be solved.

What should I do?
11/1/2013 11:01 PM | # re: Callisto Update for Windows 8.1
@WildDagger - Did you re-install the Extension SDK or the NuGet package? When upgrading to 8.1, the new release Extension SDK would be needed as it installs into the 8.1 SDK locations.
1/31/2014 4:15 AM | # re: Callisto Update for Windows 8.1
Hi Tim,

Thank you for your work on these controls. I've been using them ("Menu" mainly) on a project for months and it works great although not very customizable (but maybe windows 8 Menu is not either).
It's a shame that you deprecate it in this release, because the windows Menu that already existed in windows 8 has a limit to 5 items ! That's why i chose yours for my project. I guess i will have to find another kind of UI.

Thanks anyway for the hard work.
Regards
Jerome
1/31/2014 7:46 AM | # re: Callisto Update for Windows 8.1
@Jerome: MenuFlyout is in XAML as a control in Windows 8.1 -- see my migration post on that topic: timheuer.com/... which should suit your needs.
2/5/2014 7:27 AM | # re: Callisto Update for Windows 8.1
hello tim i installed windows 8.1 and vs 2013 pro , i tried to install callisto version 1.40 but it fails
it gives me the next message :
Installation de « Callisto 1.4.0 ».
Installation de « Callisto 1.4.0 » terminée.
Ajout de « Callisto 1.4.0 » à ContosoCookbook.
Désinstallation de « Callisto 1.4.0 ».
Désinstallation de « Callisto 1.4.0 » terminée.
Échec de l’installation. Restauration...
Impossible d’installer le package « Callisto 1.4.0 ». Vous essayez d’installer ce package dans un projet ciblant « .NETCore,Version=v4.5 », mais le package ne contient aucun fichier de contenu ou référence d’assembly compatible avec cette infrastructure. Pour plus d’informations, contactez le créateur du package.

it means impossible to install callisto, instalation failed :/

i just wan to use it for the exemple of contosocookbook help pleas
2/5/2014 9:07 AM | # re: Callisto Update for Windows 8.1
@Hadjer - please see the beginning of this post noting that this is only supported on Windows 8.1 now. It is likely the version of the Contoso Cookbook example is Windows 8. If you retarget that to Windows 8.1, then this will work.
Gravatar
2/9/2014 1:34 AM | # re: Callisto Update for Windows 8.1
Hi,
Actually I am developing a windows metro app for windows 8.0 sdk and I have to create a setting pane,So I want to know if I can use callisto or not for SDK 8.0.
I am using Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate trial Version.
Please tell me option other than Callisto.
2/16/2014 9:07 AM | # re: Callisto Update for Windows 8.1
@pk - yes you can but you will need the version for win8 only.

 
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The opinions/content expressed on this blog are provided "ASIS" with no warranties and are my own personal opinions/content (unless otherwise noted) and do not represent my employer's view in any way.