Infragistics Rolls out New Components

After its Powerset acquisition, Microsoft is pushing semantic search as the replacement for traditional keyword search.

As leading component maker Infragistics Inc. repackaged and updated its suite of controls for .NET and Web developers, Microsoft last month released its own set of free charting tools.

The NetAdvantage for .NET suite, priced at $1,195, combines and extends the capabilities of two discrete Infragistics products: NetAdvantage Web Client, which incorporates ASP.NET and Silverlight controls; and NetAdvantage Win Client, which incorporates Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) controls. Both cost $995 per developer.

The company shuffled its lineup to give dev shops more flexibility, according to Jason Beres, Infragistics' chief technical evangelist. "They don't want to have to buy separate products and make it complicated," Beres says.

Infragistics' new package focuses on advancing support for XAML-based WPF and Silverlight development. Support for the Office Ribbon UI, advanced charting and a high-performance Data Grid are included in the WPF package. Infragistics also touts xamDataGrid improvements, including end user column customization and support for persistent grid customizations. There are also Windows Vista-like Calendar and Calendar Dropdown controls, a Navigation Bar control and a WPF Tab control.

Additionally, there are several new features for Windows Forms development, including support for 1-million-row Excel 2007 spreadsheets and advanced Excel formula integration and translation.

Redmond Strikes
The release of NetAdvantage comes as Microsoft is stepping up its own efforts in the controls arena. Redmond last month released Chart Controls, which the company is offering free of charge for .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. Microsoft's controls provide a set of rich data-visualization tools for developers who want to create ASP.NET pages or Windows Forms apps with interactive charts that simplify complex statistical or financial analysis.

Microsoft says Chart Controls lets developers quickly set up interactive charts and graphs for apps without writing any code, based on technology it acquired last year from Dundas Data Visualization, a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based provider of data-visualization technologies.

"This should provide a useful-and free-addition to your standard ASP.NET toolkit of functionality, and enable you to easily add richer visualization and data workflow scenarios to your ASP.NET applications," wrote Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the .NET Developer Division Scott Guthrie in a blog posting outlining some charting scenarios using the tool.

Microsoft is providing a sample environment geared toward new developers. The environment provides more than 200 samples for ASP.NET and Windows Forms, as well as the C# source code for each sample. In fact, the samples cover every major feature in Chart Controls for .NET Framework, the company says, enabling new users to see the Chart Controls in action and to use the code as templates for their own Web and Windows apps.

The feature set includes a comprehensive list of 2-D and 3-D chart types; multiple chart areas, legends and titles; customizable visual-appearance features; built-in data manipulation and formulas; annotations capabilities; axis scale breaks and smart-label positioning.

Microsoft's latest push shouldn't marginalize third parties such as Infragistics, says Peter O'Kelly, principal analyst for O'Kelly Consulting. "Microsoft is not out there to cut off the air supply of partners," he says. "They need to do it because they basically need to sustain the definition of what a platform is, and not defer to third parties."

About the Author

Michael Desmond is the Editor in Chief of Redmond Developer News. John Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley.

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