ComponentOne Studio Enterprise v4
Enhance Virtually Any User Interface
By David Mack
ComponentOne has released Studio Enterprise v4, and there are literally hundreds of user interface controls included. The controls cover the gamut of ASP.NET, .NET, ActiveX, and even mobile devices. In essence, there is something in this suite for everyone who is doing user interface development on a Windows-based platform.
Studio Enterprise uses the same model as does Microsoft with its MSDN subscription. After purchasing the subscription, you get all the controls they produce, as well as any upgrades or enhancements, for one year. Because an exhaustive review of this extensive product wouldn t be practical, I instead focused on the new controls or enhancements for the purposes of this evaluation. To supplement what is covered here, I highly recommend that you visit ComponentOne s Web site to see a complete list of controls.
The installation of Studio Enterprise is easy to follow and separated into sections so that you can install the controls you want. The installation takes several minutes, however, so don t think it s frozen it s simply registering all the controls you selected.
I started playing around with the Flash for .NET control and found it very easy to use. You won t have a problem using the new Flash control if you are familiar with using the Graphics classes in .NET. The ability to create slide shows in Flash is very nice. You can even make them interactive by adding buttons with your animation. I was also able to have control over how Flash content was displayed by using the C1WebFlash control. As with all the Studio Enterprise v4 components, there are samples included with the installation.
The other control I looked at was C1WebTopicBar. This control lets you expand or collapse a menu very similar to the Windows Control panel. I had a little trouble synchronizing the C1WebTopicBar with the other content on the page, but a quick search of the knowledge base on ComponentOne s Web site took care of that. Being able to dynamically update that information and display it when appropriate definitely enhanced the interface. One enhancement that ComponentOne made to several menu controls, including C1WebTopicBar, is the implementation of an auto-format property, which helps maintain the uniformity of your interface.
I have to compliment ComponentOne on their Web site and all the support that is available. There is a great deal of information on the site, and it s organized for easy navigation. I was pleased to see forums for all the components that ComponentOne offers and even more impressed when I realized the forums are actively monitored by ComponentOne. Based on the postings in the forums that I followed, ComponentOne is open to suggestions (and they implement the ones that they can).
Studio Enterprise v4 by ComponentOne is a great suite of tools; there is truly something for everyone. The suite of tools allows you to enhance your interface without taking the tedious time to write a control. It s definitely worth the money and time to invest in this suite of tools.
David Mack is a technical lead for the National Intelligence Division of Titan Systems and an independent consultant. He has more than 10 years of experience in object-oriented programming. Reach him at mailto:[email protected].
Web Site: http://www.componentone.com
Price: Starts at US$599.95/per year