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Can Components Stretch Your Dev Dollar?

I was talking to the folks at ComponentOne the other day regarding their Studio Enterprise 2008 v3 suite of cross-platform components. The suite was released last week and packages up a wide range of modules for WPF, Silverlight, ASP.NET, WinForms, .NET Compact Framework, iPhone mobile and even ActiveX development.

What, no support for Win16 user interface controls and dialog boxes? I'm disappointed.

One question that did come up during the meeting was the timing of this release, which occurs just as the broader economy (beyond the previously devastated financial and real estate sectors) has begun to accelerate into a dive. Despite widespread calls for sharply reduced IT and dev spending in 2009, Chris Meredith, product manager for ComponentOne, said the downturn may actually increase opportunities for his group to sell components to dev shops.

"In these dire economic times, unfortunately people are looking for the best way to do things in the shortest amount of time for the least amount of money," Meredith said. "And when you factor in the amount of man-hours our controls can offer, I think people are still looking at it as a very necessary and viable option, even with the downturn of the economy. So I don't think we are being that affected by it, to be honest with you."

Could Meredith be whistling past the graveyard? Sure. IDC has adjusted its growth projections for the U.S. IT market in 2009 to 0.9 percent, down from a previously projected 4.2 percent estimate. The collapse of numerous financial institutions and the dire condition of the Big Three automakers will no doubt produce broad IT and development sector dislocations.

But John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC, noted in a statement that "IT is in a better position than ever to resist the downward pull of a slowing economy." He singled out the importance of IT and development in mission-critical operations. In short, businesses that hope to operate throughout the downturn will have to keep producing fresh code and deploying and maintaining IT systems to do it.

What do you think? With dev shops no doubt counting every penny, are pre-packaged component libraries an effective way to stretch developer productivity and get the most code for your dollar? E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 12/09/2008 at 1:15 PM


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