Product Review: Telerik RadControls for Windows 8
Of the major tools vendors, Telerik Inc. was first out of the gate with a commercial suite of native Windows 8 controls in mid-October. (As I write this review, ComponentOne and Developer Express Inc. offer previews of their respective Windows 8 controls, and Infragistics is releasing the beta of its NetAdvantage for Windows UI package.)
The initial offering from Telerik is a small package of 20 controls. Included in the package are six graph/chart controls, four data-entry controls and -- the jewels in the crown -- the HubTile and Pagination controls for supporting the tile-based interface of Windows Store (formerly "Metro-style") projects. The controls are very good and fill key gaps in the Windows 8 toolbox. Do be aware, though: These are native Windows 8 controls, so they not only require Visual Studio 2012, they'll only install on a computer running Windows 8.
Telerik provides four dedicated HubTile controls for implementing the behavior of the tiles you see in the Windows 8 home screen. The RadHubTile allows you to display notification text; the RadSlideHubTile displays a graphic and a title (which can be more than just text); the RadMosaicHubTile is a container for a set of images; and the RadCustomHubTile lets you define two sets of content and swivel between them. The Pagination control allows you to walk the user through a set of pages, each displaying some combination of graphics and text (including thumbnail previews of the next page).
XAML and HTML5
Telerik debuted the package in October for $99. At that price, RadControls for Windows 8 -- which includes a one-year subscription of updates and new controls -- was a steal. However, the company plans to start raising the price in $100 increments each month (beginning in December) as it introduces more controls, until RadControls for Windows 8 reaches the estimated full price of $999 in August 2013. Paying almost $1,000 for 20 or more controls seems like hubris to me -- and I like these controls. The goal is to encourage developers to commit to the Telerik package before others hit the market.
[Click on image for larger view.]
If I were building a Windows Store application right now, I'd really like to have the HubTile controls (the Date/TimePickers are nice, but there are freeware tools that I could try). At the current price, I'd buy. Once the price gets closer to $999, though, I'd wait for some competition in the marketplace or for the suite to acquire a lot more controls.
Price: $99 (as of October 2012; rising to $999 by August 2013)
Quick Facts: A collection of 20 controls for building Windows Store apps
Cons: Not many controls right now for what will soon be an awful lot of money
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/.