<st1:City>Dundas</st1:City> Chart for .NET 4.1

Enterprise Edition Exceeds Expectations

asp:review

 

Dundas Chart for .NET 4.1

Enterprise Edition Exceeds Expectations

 

By Mike Riley

 

There s a reason why Dundas Chart for .NET won the asp.netPRO Readers Choice Awards 2004 Best Charting & Graphics Tool category it s simply one of the most comprehensive and easy to use chart-generation components for the .NET platform on the market today (see Figure 1). Although I had never worked with Dundas Chart for .NET, I had high expectations for the product given the accolades previous versions had received. Expectations can quickly turn into critical disappointment when the real-world performance fails to meet the hype, but I can honestly say that not only were all my expectations met, they were exceeded. Even though there was a glitch during the product s installation (the installer failed when attempting to remove generated backup files), everything else beyond that point cemented the fact that this is one of the most impressive charting packages for the .NET platform with which I have ever worked.

 


Figure 1: The Stock Market Demo not only shows how easy it is to build a stunning Web-enabled data-dependent charting application that rivals the layouts of PDF-generated reports, but it also demonstrates the interactive flexibility and development approaches that work best with the product.

 

Besides the customary pie, bar, and line charts presented in standard and 3D display format, Dundas Chart features more than 50 chart types in the Enterprise Edition, including the exotic Kagi, Renko, and Spline Range charts, to name a few. In addition to the level of flexibility offered in the array of chart types provided, the charts themselves can be delivered as static images or, unique to Dundas Chart, as Flash or SVG animations (see Figure 2). I didn t think this would make a big impression on me; however, after seeing these in action, my mind was bubbling with new ways to present dry data in amazing contexts. Not even rich-client Excel-generated charts offer this kind of functionality out of the box. Another unique feature that is very cool is the addition of what Dundas calls Smart Data Labels. These focal points help highlight plots on a graph that require attention or that benefit from added numeric or label detail. These visual cues make deciphering important data points and anomalies considerably easier, and it s another bonus that helps to acknowledge how Dundas has incorporated a seemingly obvious feature that was rarely available in past charting solutions.

 


Figure 2: One of the most visually impressive features available in the Enterprise Edition is chart animations using Flash or SVG. Programming this eye candy into Web page displays simply takes a few lines of additional code.

 

Designing the ideal chart for display is made considerably easier using the Chart & Data Wizard instantiated within the Visual Studio.NET IDE (see Figure 3). The level of granular access to the various attributes is nearly overwhelming, and a bedazzled developer could literally spend days tweaking all the settings to produce the perfect chart. About the only distraction I found with this was the tool s insistence to use a masked form that is popular these days with media applications. I personally prefer the same consistent look and feel with my VS.NET IDE tools, and the Chart & Data Wizard was not only annoying to move around on screen because of its irregularly shaped curved boundaries, but it also prevented me from expanding the dialog box to a full screen view. Instead, I often felt constrained working within the smaller design window, especially when I wanted to dial up several display values on the same screen that a larger dialog box real-estate could have afforded me. Nevertheless, it s still quite functional and does the job well enough to not dwell on its restrictions.

 


Figure 3: The Chart & Data Wizard allows manipulation of even the most minute detail in the presentation of charts and graphs.

 

Dundas obviously is committed to providing the best set of charting components available for the .NET environment today. The product ships with excellent MSDN-formatted documentation and over 150 easy to understand examples in both C# and VB.NET syntax. If your next .NET project demands a sophisticated charting component, with the widest variety of charts with an easy programming model and tremendously flexible design, I highly recommend purchasing a copy of Dundas Chart for .NET Enterprise Edition. I predict you ll watch the satisfaction of your application users rise to new heights.

 

Mike Riley is an advanced computing professional specializing in emerging technologies and new development trends. Readers may contact him at mailto:[email protected].

 

Rating:

Web Site: http://www.dundas.com

Price: US$2,999 (single-developer license, one test server, and one production server license)

 

Pros

Cons

Extensive array of charting options available.

Slightly more expensive than competitive offerings.

Easy and intuitive object model, providing the ability to quickly generate charts and graphs from nearly any structured data source.

The Chart & Data Wizard uses a non-standard masked form that can be annoying to IDE dialog box purists.

Sports advanced features such as graph animation capabilities using Flash or SVG, built-in financial models, and smart data labels.

 

 

 

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