Infragistics Delivers NetAdvantage Ultimate 2012, Adds Design Toolsets

The company's latest product suite offers powerful data components, mobile UX and metro-themed controls across multiple platforms.

On Thursday, Infragistics released NetAdvantage Ultimate 2012 Volume 1, the first of two major updates of the company's data visualization and UI development product suite planned for this year. The latest tooling, designed for Windows desktop, Web and mobile applications, is compatible with the Visual Studio 11 beta and Visual Studio 2010/2008.

The overarching theme of NetAdvantage 12.1, according to Jason Beres, vice president of product management at Infragistics, was to focus on delivering rich controls that enable developers to access data from anywhere, along with tools to build great user experiences, not only on the desktop but also on mobile devices, including tablets. "That includes jQuery Mobile controls that take on the native look and feel of Apple iPhones and iPads," he said.

NetAdvantage 12.1 addresses a trend in which developers, and users, are now consuming data from multiple services instead of just proprietary feeds, explained Beres. Most developers don't want to have to do complex coding to get that data out and present it in their applications.

"We've done a lot of work on our controls to make sure that no matter what platform you are trying to use, you can actually access that data--you can bind to that data easily," he said. "So, for example, if you are using our HTML5 product and you are writing a jQuery based app-- either MVC or HTML--and you want to access OData, XML or RSS feeds," he explained, "you can access any of those feeds on the client side. Likewise, you can access the same sort of feeds on the server side, but it's about making that data meaningful to the user."

Infragistics's core charting engine is now part of the jQuery/HTML Chart controls, which enables you to bind to more than a million data points at speeds as high as every few milliseconds, according to Beres. NetAdvantage 12.1 also features a new Geographic Map control in the XAML and Web platforms, which renders Bing, OpenStreetMap and cloud-based maps with support for the binding core underneath. For example, you could overlay every Walmart in the country over a Bing layer in milliseconds, Beres said.

With the NetAdvantage 12.1 product updates, Infragistics is also combining the standalone data visualization pack and platform-based UI components into a single SKU. NetAdvantage for WPF, for example, now includes the data visualization controls for WPF.

Design Toolsets
In addition to a continued emphasis on data visualizations and interaction models, Infragistics has focused on helping developers improve user experience (UX) development by including more design tools. The all-in-one Ultimate package, for the first time, bundles subscriptions to the company's eight Icon packs for vertical industries ($199 standalone) and the Quince Pro design pattern and collaboration software-as-a-service. The Ultimate subscription includes five user licenses to Quince Pro, which enables developers and designers to share design patterns, comment on images and integrate those collaborations into the application development process, or through links in SharePoint. The company has also updated its Pivot Grid control (Microsoft Pivot tables) with an emphasis on improving user experience.

With Windows 8 expected later this year, NetAdvantage 12.1 also introduces Metro-style controls (XAML, HTML5/jQuery and ASP.NET) for applications that support touch technology. The Metro-themed controls support touch interactions such as pinch and zoom, as well as swiping and flicking on the grid. "The touchpoints around the controls are padded so that you don't have to hit directly on the artifact on the grid to do a selection," said Beres.

Windows 8 controls for WinRT and WinJS are on the roadmap. Those products are expected to ship sometime after Microsoft officially releases the Windows 8 operating system. The company has not announced a release date.

NetAdvantage Ultimate 12.1 includes Windows Forms, ASP.NET, jQuery, Silverlight, WPF, Windows Phone, LightSwitch, Reporting, Icons and Quince Pro. The U.S. suggested retail price is $1,895 or $2,395 with priority support. A complete list of features for the NetAdvantage 12.1 products is available here.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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