Blendables Components

IdentityMine provides UI components to simplify coding in WPF.

Component maker IdentityMine Inc. recently released a set of user interface components aimed at developers writing apps for Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). The Blendables Essentials Mix is a suite of 10 components that aim to address some of the most common challenges in WPF coding projects.

The suite is the result of years of consulting engagements by IdentityMine, a consultancy founded in 2001 that began specializing in WPF development three years ago. The 10 components in the Essentials Mix package are culled from modules the company built for customer engagements.

"We ended up with this giant toolbox of components internally," says Kurt Brockett, director of product management at IdentityMine. "Each one of these tools speaks to what you can categorize as a pain point."

Blendables Essentials Mix includes a Zoombox control for free panning of images or elements, a TimelinePanel control for creative visualization of chronologically displayed items, and a Carousel3D elliptical layout control that offers full ItemsControl-style functionality. The ChromelessWindow control lets designers craft a custom look for application windows, while preserving the default functionality of the windows' chrome elements like title bars and status bars.

The controls are designed for use in development projects targeting WPF, which unifies 2-D and 3-D graphics and offers powerful hooks for applications to efficiently display sophisticated bitmap and vector graphics, as well as animation and video.

In the Background
However, as Forrester Research Inc. analyst Jeffrey Hammond notes, WPF has been a little slow to emerge.

"I think WPF has suffered to some extent because of the overall focus on RIA-style development, Silverlight included," Hammond writes in an e-mail interview. "I haven't run into many IT shops that are exploiting .NET 3.0 yet."

That should change, Hammond notes, as Windows Vista adoption rises in 2008. One issue that dev shops will face as they move to WPF is increased performance overhead. Brockett singles out the use of visual tricks like glow or blur effects, which when used on animated elements will force the system to constantly re-render the effect, dragging down performance.

Pricing for the Blendables Essentials Mix starts at $395. The company offers a 20 percent volume discount for purchases of five or more licenses.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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