June 2007 - Posts
Some time ago I did a review of web charting controls and as other people might be looking into this as well I thought I would share a brief summary. Now I didn't do a complete review so make sure that the chart controls in question have all the features you require.
When you want to go for good looks there is one clear winner and that is ComponentArt. Their charts look amazingly good and none of the others comes even close. Not that their competitors look bad, in fact most of them look quite nice, but there is a clear winner When looking for functionality they weren't the winner but still very good. One thing to note is that some of the interaction samples didn't work in FireFox 2 while they did in Internet Explorer 7. See http://www.componentart.com/charting for more details and make sure you take a look at their Web.UI suite as well as that has the same great UI features.
A few examples:
When it came down to functionality the winner was Dundas. Their charting control looks pretty good as well but has a very rich API including lots of server side events for stuff like selecting data points. Another interesting feature is that pretty much every part, including labels and the like, contain a Href property allowing it to become a hyperlink. Nice stuff , see http://www.dundas.com/Products/Chart/NET/index.aspx for more details.
A few examples:
Another interesting one to use are the DevExpress controls which appear to have more favorable licensing/redistributable conditions then the previous one. But then again I am no lawyer so check them carefully yourself! More info at http://www.devexpress.com/Products/NET/WinForms/XtraCharts.
Of course there were some less than good experiences as well. One set of controls that failed to install in a Virtual PC where from ChartFx. The install did work on a regular PC but trying to use them resulted in a runtime error. Needlessly to say that was enough and I didn't look any further
We are just finished with the last day of the 2007 Microsoft DevDays and looking back it would say it was a was a great success. Lots of people, from what I hear almost 25% more than last year, attended and from what I heard most where more than happy. I attended some more good sessions today and did my Worflow Activity development Chalk&Talk. Not all that many people turned up for the C&T session but we still had some interesting discussions. Marcel also did a Workflow presentation including a quick demo of his impressive WCF activities for Workflow Foundation which you can find here.
I am already looking forward to next year's DevDays event.
And yes I did swipe my banner and it's in my office now
The first day of the Microsoft DevDays is almost over as I am listening to the last session of the day. At the moment I am listening to Ingo Rammer presenting about combining WCF and WF to create solutions. And he is doing a good job, I just hope there will be enough questions left tomorrow for my WF Q&A session.
Before this there have been a number of other interesting sessions. Scott Guthrie did the keynotes and as usual he did a great job Of course a lot of material is the same as was presented at MIX but that was to be expected. And Scott did give it a bit of a local color by using a European map instead of one of the USA for the airline demo.
The MVP's and user groups have their own community area near the entrance. This is a pretty good place and we are getting lots of attention and enjoying it!
More sessions to come tomorrow and tomorrow afternoon is when I do my Q&A session.
And I just couldn't resist this picture
No not the one in Athens, Greece but the one just announced by Microsoft.
Apparently the Patterns and Practices group is busy and keeps turning out new stuff. Recently they released version 3.1 of the Enterprise Library with some interesting capabilities. This time it's a new product code named Acropolis. The tag line says "The future of Smart Client" and that should give you a pretty good idea of what the goal is.
Apparently they have taken the lessons learnt from the Composite UI Application Block (CAB) and the Smart Client Software Factory (SCSF) that build on top of CAB and decided to build a new product code named Acropolis. This new product will replace both SCSF and CAB so keep that in mind when working with these two. Of course Acropolis is some time away so waiting for that might not be an option and anyway they promise assistance with the migration. Of course "assistance with the migration" has proven to be another way of saying "you need a complete rewrite" in some cases .
Anyway for more info check the blog post by David Hill or Glenn Block. Additionally you can find some information, download the preview bits and a short demo video at http://windowsclient.net/Acropolis/Default.aspx.
Recently Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell recorded a DotNetRocks interview with Frans Bouma. Now I listen to most DNR episodes during my commutes in the car but I think I will repeat this one a couple of times. Frans is a really nice and bright guy so it usually pays to listen to what he has to say. And we had a lot of fun together last year when we did the Visual Basic versus C# session.
For what it is worth, if you are looking into ORM products his LLBLGen Pro is certainly worth a look. I have used it on a number of projects and it is a great product.
Enjoy the pod cast.
I actually missed the release or the WCF activities for windows workflow a few weeks back but Marcel de Vries did a demo yesterday as part of his presentation at the SDE meeting. And I must say its an impressive piece of work that includes the whole enchilada, from sending and receiving messages all the way to generating the actual WCF class required in your service.
If you need to do any work with WCF and WF before the Visual Studio Orca’s release I can only recommend that you download this library and give it a good try. Of course with Visual Studio Orcas and the .NET 3.5 framework Microsoft will release support for WCF straight out of the box but for now this is the way to go.
And for that matter if you are interested in developing WF activities yourself taking a good look at these might prove a good lesson as there are a lot of things, like transactions, state management and persistence, to keep in mind when developing custom activities. Also if you are in the Netherlands and want to learn more about WF Activity development I suggest you come to the Microsoft DevDays in Amsterdam where I will be hosting a Chalk&Talk about the subject and Marcel will be presenting on WF as well.
You can download the WCF activities for windows workflow from: http://www.codeplex.com/WCFWorkflow