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Talking with Infragistics About Data Visualization

We recently reviewed Infragistics' "data visualization" bundle, concentrating on the Silverlight package ( Visualizing BI with Infragistics NetAdvantage for Silverlight Data Visualization). Since I consider myself a "business/database developer", the idea of a class of applications called Data Visualization was -- to the say the least -- intriguing. Fortunately, Megan Sheehan, senior product manager of Data Visualization at Infragistics, was able to take the time to talk about the product line.

Peter Vogel: What is "Data Visualization"?

Megan Sheehan: Data visualization is the process of visually representing often times complex data in a way that end users can understand. Most organizations have a plethora of data that they use to inform their business decisions, share information with customers and track their performance. Displaying data in charts, graphs and pivot tables helps people find the meaning in the numbers. Without Data Visualization, sometimes it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.

PV: Why would an organization buy your package rather than, for instance, a Business Intelligence package?

MS: NetAdvantage for Silverlight Data Visualization offers a full range of UI controls for business intelligence as well as maps, gauges, timelines, barcodes, an organizational chart and many others. The performance, quality and breadth of controls are the most compelling aspects for our customers.

PV: Who is the market for a package like "Data Visualization for Silverlight?"

MS: Silverlight developers who want to communicate information clearly and effectively, frequently as part of a line of business application. It's difficult to visually represent complex data well. The Data Visualization for Silverlight product helps developers display data in many different ways -- from charts and pivot grids to graphs, maps and gauges.

PV: What are the differences (if any) between the WPF and the Silverlight package? Why develop two different packages?

MS: We are committed to building our WPF and Silverlight controls on a unified foundation, so we have strived to have parity between the products from the onset, as much as the platforms permit. We decided to pursue this strategy for several reasons. First, we know that our customers are targeting multiple platforms depending on the needs of the project they're building, so we want to give them the tools that they need to be successful. Next, we feel we can deliver better usability and quality by sharing as much code as possible between the WPF and Silverlight versions of each control. It's easier for our customers to share/reuse code between their WPF and Silverlight applications if we ensure that our controls are comparable. By leveraging shared source code, Infragistics can deliver more UI controls to market faster.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 02/10/2011

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