Last week, I posted a case study on the New XAF Web UI from our DevPark customers, which caused another wave of feedback on the subject in our team blog, Support Center, social networks and in private discussions with passionate users. All of this was very much appreciated. In this post, I want to address some of the hot points raised as well as communicate our plans regarding this Web theme evolution.
First, let me provide a little more background on the new web style. Originally, the XAF theme was designed and implemented bearing both hand-held touch devices and desktop browsers in mind. The new design fully reflects our vision of modern web interfaces and was created in close collaboration with our lead UI designer Mike, whom I respect a lot. He also made up our company web sites, as well as a ton of other DevExpress desktop, web and mobile products and the ASP.NET themes in particular. Being derived from the Moderno theme, the XAF theme and the ideas built in it were later reflected in newer themes like Moderno and iOS.
Like with any new thing in the world, when this XAF feature was first presented, there were (and still there are) "haters" and supporters who have their own values and arguments. For instance, for ones it may be a positive change (e.g., "The new web style with its larger UI elements has also allowed us to rethink the whole UX concept and focus on the application data and functions that matter for end-users most of all"), while for others the same goodies may be not desirable (e.g., "Currently I develop LOB applications where these larger UI elements are not very well suited at all (screens with lot of info)..." or "my ideal UI is like the 75% zoom view of the current new UI"). Similarly, some may not like grayed icons or miss the old theme chooser, while others may truly love the current single theme with its large space, increased fonts and editors, collapsible layout groups, emphasis with capital letters and other essential attributes of the new web style. That is totally understandable, and we appreciate each side. It is also clear that everyone's client needs for a line-of-business web portal may differ a lot and require different tools or customizations. Like I recently commented in the blog: "There is no "one size fits all" product/theme/whatever and as developers we sometimes need to customize things to meet our client's needs better. For instance, large UI elements can be made smaller, white colors can be made gray using CSS and other techniques."
The latter does not mean, however, that the development of this theme is frozen and we do not want to better meet varying customer needs. Ideally, and at least for the most typical tasks, it must be equally suitable with little or no customization for both an HTML/CSS newbie or a professional web master easily locating and changing required DOM element styles in the Developers Tools window of a favorite browser (learn more...).
Thus, we always listen to each user feedback and are constantly improving the theme according to the most popular requests. Just to give you a few recent examples: there were a good number of requests to simplify the process of adjusting the New Web UI to match corporate colors. With v16.2, this process became much easier with the new options for changing the base color and font in code or configuration files of your app. Our XCRM.Web demo now contains a custom color/font scheme picker to demonstrate the use of these new release capabilities: