ComponentOne Studio for ASP.NET
How Suite It Is
By Brian Noyes
ComponentOne now has a suite of components focused specifically on your needs: ComponentOne Studio for ASP.NET. This product includes many powerful components that allow you to add complex functionality to your ASP.NET applications in minimal time. ComponentOne Studio for ASP.NET contains a collection of six ComponentOne products: WebReports, WebChart, WebDataObjects, PayPal eCommerce, WebGrid, and WebMenus and WebBars. You can purchase each of these components separately, but buying the suite costs less than two individual components.
My experience with the suite started off a little rocky because of some installation glitches I'm sure will be resolved by the time this makes it to print. But after resolving those issues, I was impressed with what I saw.
The documentation is a little sparse in places, but there are C# and VB .NET samples included with each component that demonstrate how to integrate the components into ASP.NET applications easily. The samples keep things simple, so they effectively help you determine how to start using the components in your apps. The components all integrate into Visual Studio .NET, allowing you to view them in the designers, set properties through the VS .NET Properties window, and - for many of the components - launch custom wizards that let you go far beyond the Properties window's capabilities in terms of design-time customization and code generation.
The WebReports component lets you generate HTML and PDF reports quickly and easily using report definitions you can design with the ComponentOne Report Designer. You can base reports on numerous kinds of data sources, and integrating the control is a simple matter of dropping it on a Web form and pointing it at its report definition. Reports are cached on the Web server for better performance.
The WebChart component contains separate 2-D and 3-D components. The list of chart types is comprehensive and should meet your needs for almost any common charting requirement. The VS .NET integrations shine well with this component, allowing you to select chart types and features graphically via a Chart Wizard, as well as set properties and view the results in the designer (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. The ComponentOne components provide a rich design-time experience with tight Visual Studio .NET integration, wizards, and design-time rendering.
The framework provided by the WebDataObjects component is a little complex to describe in a short paragraph, but if you are looking for a quick and easy way to design a consistent data-access strategy in your middle tier, these components are worth a look. The PayPal eCommerce component is brainlessly simple in concept and about as simple to integrate and use. This component essentially allows you to add shopping-cart and purchase functionality to a Web app quickly using the PayPal service.
For UI controls, the WebGrid component gives you a control that extends the ASP.NET DataGrid to add things such as custom paging, formatting, grouping with aggregates, drill down, and other features in far less code and time than you could achieve if you tried to create them with the ASP.NET DataGrid itself. Finally, the WebBars and WebMenus components let you quickly add hierarchical menus and command bars to your pages, customize and view them in the designer, and give you great navigation controls on your site in minutes.
Brian Noyes is an associate of IDesign Inc. (http://www.idesign.net) and a trainer, consultant, and writer. He's an MCSD with more than 12 years of programming, design, and engineering experience. Brian specializes in .NET architecture, design, and coding of data-driven Web and Windows applications, data access and XML technologies, and Office automation. He also is a contributing editor for asp.netPRO and other publications. E-mail him at mailto:[email protected].
Web Site: http:// www.componentone.com
Tell us what you think! Please send any comments about this article to [email protected]. Please include the article title and author.