What's New in Third-Party Blazor Tooling

Third-party development tool vendors in the .NET Core space are shipping new components, helpers, controls and other goodies for Blazor -- the red-hot Microsoft project for using C# in web development instead of JavaScript -- ahead of its general availability debut coming in May.

That's when the client-side component of the project (Blazor WebAssembly) will catch up to the server-side component (Blazor Server) and ship as Blazor WebAssembly 3.2, for which the first preview was just released. That hopefully will complete the project, providing a full production-ready framework especially useful for creating client-side interactive UI code running in the browser.

Microsoft says the benefits of using .NET for browser-based web development include:

  • Stable and consistent: .NET offers standard APIs, tools, and build infrastructure across all .NET platforms that are stable, feature rich, and easy to use
  • Modern innovative languages: .NET languages like C# and F# make programming a joy and keep getting better with innovative new language features
  • Industry leading tools: The Visual Studio product family provides a great .NET development experience on Windows, Linux, and macOS
  • Fast and scalable: .NET has a long history of performance, reliability, and security on the server. Using .NET as a full-stack solution makes it easier to scale your applications

In its documentation, Microsoft says the Blazor UI component system includes re-usable UI components from top vendors including Telerik, DevExpress, Syncfusion and Radzen. Here's a quick look at what all four vendors are doing in preparation for the May debut of Blazor WebAssembly 3.2:

Telerik UI for Blazor
This product line comes from Progress, which just last week announced its latest release, called the R1 2020 release. The company, claiming to have provided the first set of native development tools available to support Blazor, said its offering "is now equipped with a set of 30+ native components made up of the most requested and advanced components across the Telerik portfolio."

Highlights of the release include:

  • The ability for developers to embed reports directly into a Blazor app via integration with Progress Telerik Reporting, for generating previews within a Blazor application
  • New Grid features such as row virtualization, column reordering and resizing, scrolling and batch editing
  • New components including Scheduler, ComboBox and Autocomplete
  • New globalization and localization capabilities
  • Full support for .NET Core 3.1

To preview what's coming, the company published the "Telerik UI for Blazor Roadmap R2 2020," which lists:

  • Support for both Server-Side and WebAssembly (NET Core 3.1 LTS and .NET Core 3.2 Preview Versions)
  • New components including: MultiSelect, Upload, Tooltip, ListView, Pager, DateRangePicker and Drawer, along with enhancements to the Scheduler and Grid

"Our goal with Telerik UI for Blazor is to continuously deliver native production ready UI components and support both Blazor hosting models -- Server-Side and WebAssembly," the company said. "We will ensure your server-side apps work with .NET Core 3.1 LTS, and at the same time your client-side apps are continuously compatible with all latest preview versions of Blazor WebAssembly 3.2."

Coming from Developer Express Inc., DevExpress UI for Blazor is in the v19.2 release cycle, for which the company earlier this month published the following highlights:

  • .NET Core 3.1.1 Support: "Version 19.2 supports the recent .NET Core 3.1.1 update that contains security and reliability fixes."
  • Localization: "You can now localize our Blazor UI components. Localization is available for both server and client side Blazor hosting models."
  • Data Grid Enhancements: Asynchronous Data-Aware Operations; Binding to Custom Data Source; CheckBox Column
  • Scheduler -- Operation events for appointments: "v19.2 ships with new events for our Blazor Scheduler control. These events allow you to manage changes to individual appointments."
  • Editors - Null Text: "NullText is a helpful feature which displays placeholder text in our ComboBox when empty."

"DevExpress UI for Blazor ships with over 15 UI components (including a Data Grid, Pivot Grid, Scheduler and Charts) so you can design rich user experiences for both Blazor server-side and Blazor client-side platforms," the company says on its "Blazor Components" site.

Coincidentally, the company just today (Jan. 29) published the "Blazor UI - 2020 Roadmap" that details new and improved components, including many of those listed above which are available in the v.19.2 Beta. In addition it lists new components such as File Manager, Toolbar, TagBox and a large selection of others.

In yet another coincidence, the third vendor on Microsoft's list, Syncfusion, also just today announced Essential Studio 2019 Volume 4, which features Blazor Components among many others. "The Syncfusion Native Blazor Components library is the only suite that you will ever need to build an application, containing over 65 high-performance, lightweight, modular, and responsive UI controls in a single package," the company says.

"This release finalizes Syncfusion's Blazor components and adds popular features such as a Chat control for Xamarin, significant new controls for Flutter, and more," said Daniel Jebaraj, CEO of Syncfusion, in a news release. "We're pleased to be at the forefront of Blazor development and proud to present our production-ready suite of Blazor components."

The company listed updates to the Blazor Components libarary including:

  • Over 60 high-performance controls
  • Bullet Chart that displays one or more measures and compares them to a target value
  • Customizable handwritten signature support in PDF files
  • Frozen rows and columns with row virtualization to improve grid performance

Also listed were the ability to set backgrounds for chart and chart area and other chart improvements, along with enhancements to File Manager, Grid, Heatmap Chart, Maps and many others, including Visual Studio scaffolding templates for Data Grid, Charts, Scheduler, TreeGrid, Rich Text Editor, Word Processor, and PDF Viewer.

Guidance about what's coming up is provided in the "Road Map for Essential Studio for Blazor," including:

  • New components for Essential JS 2 for Blazor: Kanban; Progress Bar; Dropdown Tree
  • Preview to production-ready components -- Nearly 20 components are to be marked as production-ready components for Blazor, ranging from Accordion to ComboBox to File Manager
  • Various enhancements to components such as Bullet Chart, Range Selector, DataManager, DataGrid, TreeGrid, Maps and many more

The Radzen Blazor Components offering is free for commercial use, providing a set of more than 40 native Blazor UI controls installable via NuGet with no registration required, though a paid-support subscription is available.

The company touts its fully native components implemented in C# that don't depend on or wrap existing JavaScript frameworks or libraries and support both the server-side and client-side components of Blazor. Component familiies include: General (Button, Icon, Dialog, etc.); Containers (According, Card, Fieldset, etc.); Forms (Autocomplete, CheckBox, ListBox, etc.); Validators (RequiredValidator, LengthValidator, etc.); Data (DataGrid, Tree, etc.); and Application Scenarios (Hierarchy, Cascading DropDowns, etc.).

Producitivity improvements provided by the offering reportedly include:

  • Quickly create Blazor pages with the first WYSIWYG Blazor designer in the industry
  • Scaffold a complete CRUD application from your MSSQL, MySQL or Postgres database
  • Authentication, authorization, user and role management are built-in. No need for you to configure ASP.NET Identity
  • Customize the Radzen Blazor Components look and feel to match your or your customer's branding
  • Full Visual Studio support. Run your Radzen Blazor application directly from Visual Studio Code or Visual Studio Professional
  • Deploy your Blazor applications to IIS and Azure with a single click
  • Licensed per developer and not per application end user
  • Dedicated support with 24 hour response time (or even less)
  • Active community forum

Of course, many other components are also available from a variety of sources, with many free offerings being developed on GitHub, as you can see here.

As the May debut of Blazor WebAssembly 3.2 nears, along with the follow-on shift to the unified package to be called .NET 5 in November, stay tuned for more news of Blazor tooling.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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