It is especially hard if you are writing your own salary at the end of the day. Your applications need to be as flawless as possible while maintaining a level of user friendliness that can easily be experienced by users of all skill levels.
Now I know that there are many of you that are developing for the newer technologies such as Windows 8, or perhaps a mobile platform. But I know for a fact that there are many developers that need to get the job done in the shortest amount of time using the simplest methods available. The answer for many developers is Windows Forms.
Essential Studio For Windows Forms
Yes, the humble Windows Forms application doesn’t have to be drab and grey. You can really spice it up with some great controls and make it something extraordinary. I have recently been using Essential Studio for Windows Forms which is a very good product by Syncfusion. They also make a host of other products, so head on over to their site and have a look.
Getting back to Essential Studio for Windows Forms, the first thing that got me really excited was the rich set of controls available. Containing over 110 controls, here are some of my favourites.
- PDF Viewer
- Super Tooltip
- Ribbon Form
- Multicolumn Tree View
- Spelling Checker
- Grid Control
This is by no means a complete list, but I enjoyed playing around with these and want to mention a few of these found in Essential Studio specifically.
Essential Edit for Windows Forms is probably the one control that got me excited the most. You see, it is a text editor control (similar to the Visual Studio code editor) that you can expand to include advanced text editing features. With features such as syntax highlighting, IntelliSense, undo–redo, copy–paste and many more, Essential Edit easily allows you to enhance the capability of your Windows Forms applications. This is an awesome control and one that opens up many opportunities for some great custom software (Think dev tools).
Essential Schedule does exactly what its name suggests. It has a very real Outlook calendar-like feel to it. It allows you to add feature rich scheduling capabilities to your applications with ease. It also includes user notification via reminder windows and you can easily change the theme to one of several built-in themes.
XlsIO, DocIO, ProjIO
Essential XlsIO allows your application to read and write Microsoft Excel files, even on systems that do not have Microsoft Excel installed. This makes it a perfect candidate for a reporting engine for tabular data.
Similar to XlsIO, Essential DocIO also adds read, write, and modify functionality of Microsoft Word documents to your application. It too, can be used on a system that does not have Microsoft Word installed.
Here is one that surprised me. Essential ProjIO is a native .NET library. You can now add the capability to your application to read and write Microsoft Project .xml-format documents. Once again, it does not rely on Microsoft Project being installed on the system it is running on. Because it doesn’t use the COM Interop, and because it is written in pure C#, ProjIO can be used in any C# or VB.NET application.
How many times have you walked on site having to support a legacy application, only to have it fail at build time because it requires Office to be installed on the machine it is running on? Believe me, if a company has to fork out extra cash for Office licenses just so that an application can function correctly, you are headed for disaster. What if the company just doesn’t use Office at all? These three controls resolve some of the most requested and tricky feature requests issues. What a pleasure.
Multicolumn Tree View
The Multicolumn Tree View is a very nice control. Derived from the tree view control, it does something that everyone has been overlooking all along. It makes great use of the wasted white space to the right of a tree view control. Allowing you to add more columns, you can now display additional information or data for a selected node in the tree view.
I have yet to see a data aware Windows Forms application that does not use a grid of some sort or another. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you develop an application, the most logical way to represent large sets of repeating data is by using a grid control. Syncfusion doesn’t disappoint here either. The grid control is highly customizable and you can style it to fit in with your application’s theme.
And now for the absolute pièce de résistance of this excellent product. The Syncfusion Dashboard. With 110+ controls to choose from, it will be quite plausible to think that you will stop and ask yourself, just how do I use this control? Enter the Syncfusion Dashboard. It links to many real samples of each control, presented to you in a clean and easily navigable interface.
All the tools are listed and categorised allowing you to explore and play with each control to your heart’s content. The samples are presented in an easy manner allowing you to experience the full power of the control.
Having a look at the samples for Edit, you will notice that clicking on the Custom Config File sample will expand it. This allows you to run the sample and also to view the source code. This is awesome, especially if you need real solid code examples to implement it in your application.
This feature alone makes the Syncfusion Dashboard incredibly powerful. The sheer amount of work that has gone in to bring the value of the control across to the developer is evident in the effort expensed by Syncfusion to develop these working samples and source code. If you spend a little time with Essential Studio for Windows Forms, you will realise that it will soon catapult your drab Windows Forms application to super star status.
Unlike other controls I have worked with and used in the past, Syncfusion doesn’t compromise on the quality of this product. How many times have you downloaded a control set from a company claiming all sorts of incredible features; but at the end of the day you are stuck with a Visual Studio tool box full of controls and reams of documentation to read through.
The nature of software development these days is such that we as developers don’t have the time to read through loads of documentation in order to learn more about a control. Syncfusion have hit the sweet spot by giving the developer succinct information, correct and working examples and source code too.
Go and give Essential Studio for Windows Forms a try. I am certain that you will love it.