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XAML Preview Tool Improvements in Rider 2021.1 EAP

In the latest Rider 2021.1 Early Access Preview (EAP), we’re helping .NET developers have the best development experience in building Windows-native applications. We’ve improved the XAML Preview tool, an essential feedback mechanism for WPF and XAML developers.

Introduced in Rider 2018.1, the XAML preview tool window for WPF (on Windows) allows developers to preview the results of their XAML changes directly in Rider. And it just got better!

Getting started with WPF in Rider

Currently, the XAML Preview is only available on Windows for applications targeting the .NET Framework. From the New Solution dialog, we can select the WPF Application template under the .NET category. After creating a new WPF application, we’re ready to use the XAML Preview!

Reworked UI for XAML workflows in JetBrains Rider

Now let’s see what’s new!

Reworked UI/UX

Rider now places the XAML Preview tool within the editor window itself, giving you the option to switch between many orientations and layout options.

Reworked ui for XAML workflows in JetBrains Rider

Once the solution is loaded, Rider will display the preview icons in the top right of the editor, allowing you to choose from Editor Only, Editor and Preview, and Preview Only views. Additionally, based on your preference and screen resolution, you can change the preview tool’s orientation from being vertically or horizontally separated from the editor.

XAML preview toggle buttons for different layouts

Highlight UI elements by clicking XAML tags

When working in the XAML editor, you can focus on a specific tag. The XAML Preview tool will now highlight the focused element, so you get a little extra help when trying to find "that" UI element in an intricate UI design.

Selecting XAML elements to be highlighted from preview tool

Interactive tabs in preview

The XAML Preview tool now allows you to click through TabItem instances. The addition vastly improves your experience building multi-tab user interfaces.

Tabs being switched in XAML preview tool

Design-Time Properties used in preview

You may have many UI elements dynamically resize through logic. While this can enhance the runtime experience, the design-time experience can suffer. The XAML Preview tool will now respect design properties such as DesignHeight and DesignWidth when rendering previews.

XAML preview tool showing design time properties

Other fixes and improvements

If you’re interested in the details, here is a full list of bug fixes, enhancements, and features:

  • Fix sudden lock of resource files or assemblies during interaction with WPF preview (RIDER-31109RIDER-24465)
  • Improved support for resources which are defined in the application definition file and merged resource dictionaries (RIDER-22590)
  • Added support for design time attributes (RIDER-21860)
  • Preview navigation (RIDER-21610)
  • Added support for resources definitions in referenced assemblies (RIDER-25286)
  • Reworked UI/UX of the WPF preview, the preview tool is placed in the editor, with possibilities to switch orientation and layout (RIDER-32877)
  • Improved support for WPF markups, custom markups, control and data templates, third party controls (RIDER-20673RIDER-24805RIDER-28211RIDER-38804)
  • Click on the descendant of TabItem will change active tab (RIDER-17190)

.NET Core and .NET 5 support for XAML Preview

While this upcoming version of Rider does not have XAML Preview support for .NET Core 3 or .NET 5, we are currently discussing plans to bring the XAML preview experience to those developing on those target frameworks. Interested developers can follow progress on those discussions in the following ticket: Support Xaml Preview for .NET Core and Beyond.

As always, we value community feedback, and upvoting issues helps us prioritize development work.

Conclusion

We continue to work hard on supporting native development, and we see Windows developers as a valuable part of the .NET ecosystem. We hope to continue bringing enhancements to your development workflow and value your feedback. Please continue to provide input at our official Rider issue tracker, as it is indispensable to our community’s future of growing .NET developers. Additionally, please leave a comment below, or follow us on Twitter @JetBrainsRider.

Download the latest Rider 2021.1 EAP and give it a try!

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