Partners display development tools at PDC 09

David Worthington
November 23, 2009 —  Microsoft's development platform announcements grabbed the headlines at PDC, but as usual, its partners injected their own innovations into the new technology. Here are some of the highlights from the show floor:

ComponentOne introduced Studio Enterprise 2009 v3. The release features a new Silverlight theme manager called ClearStyle that allows developers to make changes to controls without having to create templates, according to managing director Gustavo Eydelsteyn. ComponentOne also introduced a new client-side PDF control for reporting and printing, as well as eight Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) controls, which were ported from Silverlight.

Dundas showed off a new visualization data suite called Dundas Dashboard. Dundas Dashboard is designed for business intelligence software, and includes collaborative designers and wizards for creating visualizations. It includes Silverlight 3 controls for animation and interaction.

Gizmox, makers of Visual WebGui, announced that its application platform will run atop Windows Azure to migrate .NET desktop applications to the cloud. The process does not require a rewrite; instead, developers copy and paste Windows code into Visual WebGui, then select Windows Azure for runtime, according to the company.

Infragistics had a Microsoft Surface tabletop computer on the show floor to demonstrate its latest WPF controls. The controls work with Windows 7 touch-screen computers, or developers can download them for use with Microsoft's Surface SDK, said Andrew Flick, product manager for Win Client.

InnerWorkings introduced its CodeBox source code collaboration tool. CodeBox allows developers to add comments, ratings and inline annotations to code without modifying it, said vice president of marketing Brian Finnerty. Developers can also search on metadata and produce reports through a Web service.

Micro Focus demonstrated DevPartner Studio Professional Edition 9.1, which became available in October. It introduced support for Windows 7.

PreEmptive Solutions president Gabriel Torok said that the company aimed to "lower the cost of knowing" operational intelligence by providing developers with their own Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), similar to what Microsoft and other big vendors use to improve their software. CEIP injects technology that monitors Java and .NET into applications to collect feedback on user experiences.

Telerik introduced a Visual Studio productivity add-on called Just Code. Just Code assists developers with code navigation, quick fixes and refactoring, and it includes template support. The company extended those capabilities to JavaScript, which "many tools do not do all that well," said chief evangelist Todd Anglin. Just Code works in a separate process outside of Visual Studio, he said.

Xceed introduced a Silverlight 3 grid control that is designed to offer a fluid user interface experience, said Odi Kosmatos, vice president of R&D. The control works in the background to fetch pages in advance, so users always have instant feedback, he explained. "Other grids freeze the UI until the data comes to the users."

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11/24/2009 01:20:26 PM EST

As a user of Visual Web GUI, it was impressive to see the Visual Web GUI team in action at PDC. Not only did they have a well prepared demo, they had their top technical staff available to answer questions about the product. In a matter of 3 minutes, a demo was done that showed a winforms application, with tons of forms, get moved to a Visual Web GUI application, and worked flawlessly just by copying and pasting some code and changing some references. We have all seen the 3rd party controls at these conferences, with the thousands of features they have, but this little Visual Web GUI booth came off as a giant in my opinion. This product is a game changer. As it matures, it is the tool that represents how most of us should be building web apps. The first drag and drop tool for web applications. And winforms developers are building apps the day they download the product.

United StatesDerek Hart

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