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Product Review: Intersoft Solutions' WebUI Studio 2012

Intersoft Solutions' WebUI Studio 2012
5 out of 5 stars
Price: Premier Edition starts at $1,789; other editions are lower-priced
Recommendation: For those looking for a rich assortment of .NET controls -- including developers who need budget-friendly options -- WebUI Studio 2012 merits your consideration.
Intersoft Solutions • +(6221) 458-73-997

Control suites are a popular product category among Microsoft platform developers, who use them to help save development time in building compelling, effective applications for end users. I'll continue my ongoing coverage of third-party .NET component/control suites in this article, as I review the latest such release from Intersoft Solutions: WebUI Studio 2012.

WebUI Studio 2012 is a comprehensive set of controls with which developers can build powerful, visually appealing ASP.NET, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and Silverlight applications. The controls included with the product seamlessly integrate with Visual Studio.

New WebGrid and WebCombo Controls

WebUI Studio 2012 ships with all new WebGrid (grid) and WebCombo (combo box) controls that support HTML5 and provide cross-browser compatibility. These controls incorporate many new features added since the previous version of WebUI Studio. WebGrid enables you to build applications with pivot charting, advanced data filtering, paging, and custom editors. The WebCombo control, shown in Figure 1, offers support for round-corner rendering and auto-complete behavior and also supports the Chrome 19 browser and additional themes that can be activated from Visual Studio. Users can directly add new items to the WebCombo combo box.

Figure 1: WebUI Studio 2012's WebCombo Control

WebGrid introduces a new technology named SmartBatchUpdate, shown in Figure 2, which allows users to add, edit, and delete records entirely on the client side, thus speeding up the data-entry process.

Figure 2: Using WebUI Studio 2012 WebGrid's SmartBatchUpdate

WebGrid includes a pixel-perfect tree-lines rendering mechanism and rich column interactions, features that will surely help developers in building powerful and rich data-driven web applications. WebCombo ships with enhancements for Cascading Style Sheets level 3 (CSS3) that enable developers to build applications with round corners and drop shadows.

Enhanced ClientUI Framework, DevForce Integration

WebUI Studio 2012 includes a new and enhanced ClientUI Framework, which provides a unified codebase for streamlined Silverlight and WPF development. The ClientUI Framework includes an intuitive Ribbon control, shown in Figure 3, which conforms to the latest Microsoft Office ribbon specifications.

Figure 3: Building Applications Using the Business-Oriented Ribbon Control in the WebUI Studio 2012 ClientUI Framework

The framework supports Visual Studio, including Visual Studio 2012, and Microsoft Expression Blend 4 and provides several project templates in both C# and Visual Basic.

Intersoft has also integrated WebUI Studio with IdeaBlade's DevForce, a software development framework for .NET and other platforms (iOS, Android, and HTML5/JavaScript). This integration should be especially helpful for developers in building scalable multi-platform applications.

Other New and Improved UI Controls

WebUIStudio 2012 includes around 120 new UI controls, among them navigation, layout, 3D projection, and transition controls. The UI controls include enhanced features for Silverlight and WPF development that take advantage of the new ClientUI Framework -- ideally enabling code reusability between Silverlight and WPF applications.

With the help of advanced-flow document control, developers can add a rich document capability to their Silverlight and WPF applications. An enhanced SqlReportViewer control enables users to interact with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports at runtime. WebUIStudio 2012 also includes a new multi-selection ComboBox control, a new Treelist control, and an enhanced MVVM-ready Scheduling control that combines a powerful architecture and an impressive user experience.

Rounding out the controls enhancements, a new UXPageableComboBox control, shown in Figure 4, lets you build applications with a smart data-filtering capability. The existing UXGridView control includes several advanced features such as empty row visibility and lost focus action and seamlessly integrates with the UXPageableComboBox control.

Figure 4: WebUIStudio 2012's UXPageableComboBox Control in Action

The installer automatically adds the required controls and project templates to the Visual Studio development environment. If you cannot find the controls inside the Visual Studio Toolbox, you can add them using the Intersoft ToolBox Utility for Visual Studio, which can be accessed from the Start menu. All the controls include the component designer, an intuitive project wizard, and a WYSIWYG control designer -- features that can help developers to leverage the product's core functionality in a minimum amount of time.

Documentation, Licensing, and Support

The vendor has bundled code and business application samples, white papers, documentation, and tutorials along with the installation package, which should help developers to quickly learn the usage of relevant controls. You can also view live demos of all sample applications, including a demo of the new ClientUI Framework, from the relevant product page. The one-click update manager enables developers to quickly update their product suite as updates are released by the Intersoft product team.

WebUI Studio 2012 ships with Silverlight Application Framework (SAF) and support for life-cycle management and the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) architecture and also includes an advanced Shell component that lets you build applications powered with Silverlight 3, 4, and 5. The product has a cost-effective and friendly licensing package and lets developers distribute and deploy ASP.NET applications to any number of clients without any additional fees.

Intersoft provides excellent technical support through live chat and email and also provides a comprehensive knowledge base with tutorials, videos, discussion forums, and blog posts by product team members. The support team promptly responds to all technical queries with a sample demo application, which I found to provide information helpful in understanding the product and providing information that could be used to resolve technical issues.

WebUI Studio 2012 is available in several editions: the Premier Edition, which includes all 370 UI components for ASP.NET, Silverlight, and WPF; editions for ASP.NET and Silverlight/WPF; and separate control sets.

A Rich Set of .NET Controls

After exploring WebUI Studio 2012 for a few days, I can say that I am pleased with the range of components offered in the suite. I strongly recommend WebUI Studio 2012 to fellow developers who want to build robust and powerful .NET applications with user-friendly interfaces in the shortest time possible.

Anand Narayanaswamy is an ASPInsider. He works as a freelance writer based in Trivandrum, India. He's the author of Community Server Quickly (Packt).

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