Product Reviews

Create Visual Interfaces with Nevron Diagram for .NET

Move beyond buttons and text boxes to create visual interfaces based on interactive graphics with Nevron's Diagram for .NET

This is a very cool tool. With Nevron Software's Diagram for .NET you can build a user interface based around diagrams in a Windows Form (a WebForms version is also available). The diagrams can be workflows, flowcharts, concept diagrams, floorplans, UML diagrams or anything else that you can think of that can be expressed as a graphic.

Diagram for .NET includes several components, but you can create a diagram using just the NDocumentViewer control by adding diagram objects from code. Alternatively, you can use the included Diagram Designer to create a diagram (as you would with Visio) and then load that diagram into the NDocumentViewer. For a full solution, you can add more controls to your form to let your users create diagrams from a toolbox of shapes that you can define. You can even databind your diagrams to datasources to generate diagrams (treeviews and graphs) from tables in your database.

Once a diagram is displayed in the NDocumentViewer on a Windows Form, users can interact with it. Diagram for .NET has a rich object model with an equally rich event model. It's easy, for instance, to have code execute as the user selects, moves, adds or removes diagram objects. If you're letting users build their own diagrams, you can also process all the objects in a diagram to determine what the user has created. Style objects allow you to control a diagram's look and feel.

The sample applications I created were responsive and reliable. My one complaint was with the documentation. The programmer's reference is excellent and the package includes lots of code samples (though I had to add some references to get them to compile). What I missed was end-to-end instructions for typical scenarios. That caveat aside, I could have a lot of fun building applications with this product.

Diagram for .NET
Nevron Software
Web: http://www.nevron.com
Phone: (888) 201-6088
Price: Professional-$589 (volume discounts begin at three developers)
Quick Facts: Set of .NET controls (for Visual Studio 2005/2008) for creating user interfaces based around diagrams
Pros: Lots of functionality, rich object model and support tools
Cons: Documentation isn't as good as the product

About the Author

Peter Vogel is a system architect and principal in PH&V Information Services. PH&V provides full-stack consulting from UX design through object modeling to database design. Peter tweets about his VSM columns with the hashtag #vogelarticles. His blog posts on user experience design can be found at http://blog.learningtree.com/tag/ui/.

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