Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Software Review - NetAdvantage For .NET Suite- NetAdvantage For ASP.NET 2008 Volume 1 From Infragistics

This is the second part of a three-part series that will cover what is contained in the NetAdvantage For .NET Suite. The three products are NetAdvantage for ASP.NET, NetAdvantage for Windows Forms, and NetAdvantage AppStylist. You can go online to explore more about the products in this suite. The goal of this series it to define what each product does and what it can do for you.

Infragistics over the years has positioned itself as a leader in the development of the presentation layer technologies. By creating high quality, reusable presentation layer tools for ASP.NET, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Tablet PC, and Java Environments, they are able to provide their customers with the ability to accelerate the development process by reducing development time.

The NetAdvantage For .NET Suite is compatible with Visual Studio 2008, and Visual Studio 2005. It works with Microsoft Windows XP and Vista. Infragistics products are subscription-based which gives you updates and upgrades for the period of the license; usually one year. So when you see the terminology "2008 Volume 1", this means it is the first release for this release of the product for that year. The license is also developer based which means that the developer can install it on more than one machine, but they are the only one who has the right to use the license.

NetAdvantage for ASP.NET

So what is NetAdvantage For ASP.NET? It is a toolkit for creating ASP.NET Web-based applications. It contains an extensive set of over 35 visual and non-visual controls including AJAX grids, charts, toolbars, menus, listbars, trees, tabs, and much more.

The NetAdvantage For ASP.NET is a complete toolset for building the presentation layer of your ASP.NET applications. The ASP.NET Controls and components are built on server-side and client-side architectural frameworks. They communicate and interact using JavaScript objects and XML. The server-side is designed to operate within the ASP.NET Framework and much of its functionality is derived from classes, structures, and events in the framework. The client-side objects are implemented as JavaScript functions on the pages that are invoked at the time that each event occurs.

So what is new with NetAdvantage For ASP.NET?

• Full Support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 – is new in NetAdvantage For ASP.NET. Included is support for the integrated development environment (IDE), and all .NET controls and components have been tested within this new environment.

• Aikido Framework – is the first release of Infragistics new Web User Framework. It is an architecture built into NetAdvantage For ASP.NET that supports the creation of lightweight, cross-browser, XHTML and CSS-based AJAX controls. Currently based on the Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX extensions 1.0 and ASP.NET 2.0, it is meant to remain aligned with the new ASP.NET 3.5 programming paradigms as they arise. The goals for this framework are to provide high-performance, standards compliance, major browser support, and the ability to make the object model simpler to understand and employ.

• Web Splitter – is a new ASP.NET splitter bar that provides a clean and elegant way to separate content within your Web application. It gives your user the ability to resize, expand, and collapse the content contained with the content pages. You can split horizontally, vertically, and resize your content panes.

• Web Dialog Window – can display as a simple DIV section in your HTML page and is able to bypass many of the pop-up blockers that are present in today's browsers while still appearing to the end user as a pop-up window. You can set the dialog box to behave as a modal or modeless dialog to better control your application. There is a customizable header, and it resizes just like the dialogs on your desktop. YouNetAdvantage for ASP.NET can tell it where you want it to appear on the page. And it takes care of remembering whether the user has minimized, restored or maximized its appearance.

• Web Image Viewer – is a new sliding image control that provides end users with an easy-to-use Web interface for viewing images that can also serve as a navigational control. The images can be oriented horizontally or vertically through a single property setting. There is a custom configurable animation behavior that determines how the images appear as they are scrolled through. It can be data bound to a custom data model that has the file path to use for accessing the images, the target URLs when they are clicked, as well as the tool tip to be displayed.

• ITypedList Data Binding for WebGrid – is a new grid and combo box control that fully support data binding against the ITypedList interface,

• Web Hierarchical Data Source – is a non-visual control that lets you combine disparate data source controls such as SQL data sources, Access data sources, etc. The designer wizard takes you through step-by-step identifying the parent-child relationships. It then exposes the multiple sources as a single data source to other ASP.NET controls.

• Web Chart – adds a tree map chart type. This gives you the ability to display large amounts of data sets as nested rectangles where the size of the rectangle regions correlate to the importance of the data the rectangle represents.

NetAdvantage for ASP.NET Ultra Grid

• Web Slider – is a new control that is an AJAX-enabled track bar that lets you present users with an easy-to-understand way of entering data values that are incremental and are confined within a range.

As with NetAdvantage for Windows Forms, NetAdvantage For ASP.NET, it can seem quite overwhelming when you first begin. Infragistics though, has put together some really good help documents to get you started. In the case for NetAdvantage for .NET Studio, you are provided with a getting started guide and then a developer guide which takes you through the best way to learn the product. Since this is a subscription-based product, you are also shown what you need to do to upgrade your application as new releases are made, as well as how to deploy your application.

NetAdvantage for ASP.NET

There are two licenses that you can purchase NetAdvantage For ASP.NET. First is with Priority Support for $1,290.00 USD, and Standard for $795.00 USD. For the Studio it is $1,490.00, and $995.00 respectively. Priority support includes one year of priority phone, 24-hour chat and rapid response online support. As an added bonus, with either license, along with the updates, upgrades, and product releases, you also get the C# code for all ASP.NET tools and designers. You can even download an evaluation copy. There are no features disabled during your evaluation period.

If you are tired of having to repeatedly design your ASP.NET application interfaces, having to spend more time than you want on the look and not enough time on what really counts (the product), then I highly recommend you take a look at Infragistics NetAdvantage For ASP.NET.