I would like to introduce a new development code named “theme designer / control designer”. The new designer simplifies the way to create custom controls and themes in a Visual WebGui application. Up until now, Visual WebGui RIA Platform/Framework provided extreme productivity and simplicity with the out-of-the-box client side behavior / look and feel, but when advanced customization was needed, it called for a different level of development. Since most customers will require customization of various aspects of the UI, we have decided to work on creating a theme designer that would simplify the customization of the UI.
I think I don’t need to elaborate on the business value of customizing the application to be tailored to the customer's needs, and until we provide a rock solid solution for this problem, I personally will not sleep at night…
Case Study: Informatec saves over 50% developing its telephony Call Account Management System with Visual WebGui
A new case study is published on the www.visualwebgui.com showcases section:
Informatec saves over 50% developing its telephony Call Account Management System with Visual WebGui
"Using form visual inheritance, we quickly developed about 50 end-user forms in 2-3 months with 3 developers while the original estimation using traditional ASP.NET was over 6 months. Visual WebGui is an amazing time and budget saver" Sergio Gomes.
The case showcases Brazilian company Informatec's Hotbill Call Account Management System that was developed and deployed using Visual WebGui in less than half the expected overall project duration.
Informatec looked to replace its existing application UI with a new end-user interface which would be more suitable for today's corporate world. Therefore, Informatec needed to create a new application which can provide all users with a quick access to application via a web browser from anywhere, with minimum client software and hardware requirements. It was also important that the new interface is user friendly and intuitive and includes at least the same functionality of the existing application, while performance especially with database access should be improved.
You can read the complete case study and view the demo application here.
Gizmox CTO Guy Peled posted an announcement about the new Control and Theme Designer expected to be released in the near future in which he describes in details the needs for such tool and the solution that is now being developed. The new designer simplifies the way to create a Custom control and theme to a Visual WebGui application.
Read the Introducing the new Control Designer and Theme Designer... article
on Guy's renewed blog.
"Using the WebGui approach meant that in spite of our small team we could quickly create an industry leading solution in house according to the requirements which resulted in significant cost savings." Ewan Walker, Craegmoor IT Team Leader
This new case study published on www.visualwebgui.com showcasing Craegmoor's in house conversion and enhancement of their desktop existing MS Access client monies application to a web based solution.
"Using the Visual WebGui technology to enhance the existing desktop MS Access based tool, provided the new solution with access through a standard Web browser which requires no plug-ins or other client-side software, virtually eliminating installation and IT support time. The improved application speed and response has resulted in an end user satisfaction and an overall improved process management which increased client and customer confidence as the full integration with legacy applications removed the need for reconciliation between systems and work in line with agreed business practice.
Visual WebGui Rich Internet Application Platform migration tool allowed the Craegmoor IT team to create an industry leading solution in house quicker and more cost-efficiently than with any other solution. The in house development not only saved the IT team development expenses but also means that maintenance should cost less and the response to any changes in legislation can be very quick."
The full Case Study is available here:
UK’s largest independent care provider builds its new web based system with Visual WebGui
Gizmox released Visual WebGui RIA Platform/Framework developement environments' version 6.3.1.
This is a stabilization of 6.3 and another step towards a release version. The new version brings a significant enhancement in cross-browser support with full compatibility for Netscape and added support for popular browser like Chrome, Safari and Opera.
All 6.3.1 downloads can be found here.
This is the change log for version 6.3.1
VWG-4038 - Browser support added (alpha level) for Chrome, Safari and Opera.
Netscape is fully supported.
VWG-3820 - Users can now install any of the VWG installations only if they have Administrator permissions on that machine.
VWG-4030 - TextBox with databinding was not updated when bound datasource changed from field with data to empty.
VWG-3976 - ContextMenu was not shown in FireFox.
VWG-2913 - When image was larger than PictureBox and set to Zoom it did not rendered properly.
VWG-3718 - ComboBox displayied the word null when item was blank.
VWG-3944 - Databound DataGridView bug when entering value of first column in newly added row fixed.
VWG-3963 - ListBox did not fire Click event in FF3.
VWG-3877 - Combobox dropdown is opend on enter with tab and not on leave.
VWG-3958 - ScheduleBox WorkEndHour property setter fixed.
VWG-3901 - TableAdapters and DataSets are shown on component tray (bottom of designer).
VWG-3830 - Dragging scroller above controls which contains editable IFrames in FF fixed.
VWG-3938 - Navigation keys did not function in text boxes under FF.
VWG-3816 - Focus transfer from bound TextBox to Button doesn't work on Tab key press fixed.
VWG-3898 - When opening a ComboBox dropDown the scrollBar covered the text on the left.
VWG-3825 - VWG Documentation registration fixed.
VWG-3887 - MouseEventArgs.X and Y in ListView MouseDown event are not set with true value.
VWG-3886 - ListView.Click events SelectedItem is set now to the right item.
VWG-3792 - UniqueIdExtender is availble in design time and the CUID is available in generated HTML code.
VWG-3890 - In 'Add Inherited Control' wizard, WebGui.Forms Assembly controls were missing.
VWG-3832 - Tab pages images design time bug fixed.
VWG-3818 - Label Text was cut and did not go to next line for labels with defined width.
VWG-3847,3841 - DataGridview - add new row to a Binded DataGridView throw an Exception.
VWG-3849 - TextBox.Text == string.Empty problem fixed.
VWG-3845 - Watermark textbox throw a JS error on focus in IE.
VWG-3885 -OpenFileDialog did not fire FileOK event in FF3.
VWG-3826 - Standalone .CHM fixed and used as a standalone help file.
VWG-3838 - SplitContainer did not retain it's SplitterDistance when form was saved.
VWG-1996 - Timer intervals bug after opening dialog window fixed
A new Technology section was launched yesterday on the visualwebgui.com website which explores the basic technology aspects presented by the Visual WebGui solution.
The first subject “What is Visual WebGui?” provides the initial background on Visual WebGui, its features, benefit and usage scenarios. Then there is a deep dive into the following technological aspects of Visual WebGui:
Visual WebGui Studio Suite enables the building of enterprise-class rich internet applications with two open source products: The Professional Studio that offers subscribers unlimited technical support with enterprise-grade warranty and service level agreement (SLA) which is available for free download and the free Express Studio allowing absolutely free web development coupled with VS2008 Express Edition.
The new Professional Studio Suite also offers enhanced developer experience (DX), and simplifies all aspects of web development to a degree never realized in web development before. Apart from the VWG designer, the feature list also includes complete integration into Visual Studio & ASP.NET, the complete Windows Forms Controls toolkit, 3rd party controls wrapper wizard and more. All these enable you to leverage existing skill sets, software assets, and infrastructure providing an overall faster time to market and reduced development costs.
In addition, enterprise grade scalability and redundancy are available with server extensions and new enterprise-class services, such as prototyping, consulting, hot-fixes and more are available in order to optimize the development experience. Visual WebGui’s commercial Studio Suite will offer commercial deployments at absolutely no additional cost.
DataGridView bi-directional data-binding support added
Top-level property for a Form control implemented same as WinForms
Major Visual Studio Integration stabilizations.
Major Designer stabilizations.
Presentation layer selector added.
Ordering Tree-View functionality added
VB project templates set completed (as in C#)
Fully functional ImageList capabilities added
A large number of bug fixes and adjustments towards WinForms API and runtime behavior also included.
Free Download here.
Gizmox announces the release of version 6.2.3 of its SDK. This is a further stabilization and enhancement of the revolutionary 6.2 SDK which introduced the Visual WebGui Developer Experience with full Visual Studio integrationin, consolidate installation, incorporation of both the DHTML and the Silverlight in one package, and the ASP.NET wrapper wizard.
The new 6.2.3 SDK solves some issues that contribute to a smoother development experience. These are some of the issues solved in this version:
VWG-3493 - Theme registration and selection was changed. The developer can select one theme or none. An error provider was added to indicate theme rows with errors. These rows will be saved and can be selected as the current theme.
VWG-3484 - Silverlight theme registration bug fixed.
VWG-3483 - TextBox Max length property bug fixed. Now you can edit part of the text by selecting it after it reached the max length size.
VWG-3402 - RibbonBar - DropDownBox showing a js alert popup with the menu item name fixed.
VWG-3385 - Control drag image was added to all the themes.
VWG-3383 - WGLables.GetLocalizedMonthString null value protection on CurrentUICulture added.
VWG-3389 - ASP.NET Control Wrapper menu item missing problem fixed.
VWG-3481 - DataGridViewComboBoxColumn populates items when it is data binded problem fix.
VWG-3464 - Accessing the scalable service was separated to a different method.
VWG-3359 - DataGridView population problem on form load fixed.
VWG-3460 - DataGridView vertical scrollbar where shown even if not required.
VWG-3463 - Web_OnClick.objSource was not cleaned after click is being raised.
VWG-3378 - Form Box result was null even when value added.
VWG-3367 - FormBox Form property was not saved in Viewstate.
VWG-3348 - SearchTextBox Text property was not shown when set by code.
VWG-3366 - FormBox Form property can now handel string.empty.
VWG-3327 - Crystal report after wrapping had no properties in design time.
VWG-3466 - Double click and click events on datagridview fixed.
The new SDK is available for Download.
The following is the first part of a 3 parts series of articles ppublished on VisualWebGui website describing the various available migration options of desktop/smart client applications to the web using Visual WebGui migration tool.
In order to discuss the migration process of legacy desktop applications to the web, we should first agree on 3 different types of desktop applications:
- WinForms based desktop application (C#/VB.NET). The UI layer is coded using .NET languages – the business can be .NET, COM+ or any other interop.
- VB 6.0 based applications. The UI layer is coded with VB 6.0.
- Other desktop or smart client technologies (C++ MFC/ATL, Delphi, Java etc). Any other smart client technology based applications.
WinForms based desktop applications to Web
Normally, without Visual WebGui the migration process of a WinForms desktop application to the web will require a full re-engineering of the UI layer to fit the web architecture and capabilities.
If we take WinForms migration to ASP.NET for example using any AJAX 3rd party controls in order to provide a rich UI experience, we will have to consider:
- Entirely new API.
- Entirely new update approach.
- Entirely new look & feel – or work hard to customize the UI to look the same.
- Lighten the amount of data transferred to the client and presented at any given time to avoid severe latency.
- Compromise on features list due to the web limitations.
- Handling security holes created as a result of opening services consumed by client side AJAX and transferring business logics to the client.
Visual WebGui SDK is fully integrated with Visual Studio and provides the exact same API and set of tools/capabilities which are provided out-of-the-box with WinForms 1.0 and 2.0. This fact enables the native capability of simply copying any existing WinForms source code to a VWG project and providing a fully functional equivalent web application.
The basic 3 steps of migration (view a walkthrough tutorial):
- Open a new Visual WebGui application.
- Copy the code from your WinForms project into this new web application.
- Replace any reference to WinForms API namespace (“System.Windows.Forms”) within the code to Visual WebGui API reference (“Gizmox.WebGUI.Forms”).
Any standard WinForms application which is using the 58 WinForms out-of-the-box controls will then compile and execute as a plain web application.
The outcome of this short process is an ASP.NET based solution in terms of deployment and runtime and has the following properties:
- Deployment is copy & paste equivalent to an ASP.NET web site.
- Server infrastructure requires an IIS and .NET CLR only.
- The application can be consumed from any plain browser - no installation is made on the client.
- Minor static and cached footprint on the client ~200kb of plain JS and HTML code due to the Empty Client concept.
- Support for multiple presentation layers with the same code base (DHTML/Silverlight or Smart Client).
- Highly secured due to the Empty Client concept.
Considerations & Exceptions
There are 3 major setbacks you might have on the process which you can quantify in advance and estimate the amount of work that has to be done in order to migrate your application:
- Minor differences between the VWG API and WinForms which are mainly caused by architecture differences.
- The amount of 3rd party controls that are used in your application. This section describes a situation of using some non-WinForms out-of-the-box controls (for example Infragistics or DevExpress controls etc). In those cases you can select the most suitable solution from the following 3 options:
- Choose a similar control from the WinForms out-of-the-box, adjust your code to use it and then perform the migration process.
- Select an equivalent 3rd party ASP.NET control (Infragistics, Telerik, DevExpress etc.) which provides the same functionality, wrap it by a click of a button in VWG and adjust your code to use it.
- Write your own VWG custom control which will perfectly suit your needs and then adjust your code after the migration process to use this control.
- Thread safety – since a WinForms application can contain static members which are accessible to a single user, you should now consider one of the following:
- Replacing those static members to a synchronized multi-thread safe data structures.
- Lock critical read/write sections to protect concurrent multi user access.
- Remove the statics and find instance or DB based solutions.
- Memory load – in a desktop application, there might be places when the original consideration of the amount of memory in use was based on the assumption that the executing machine is local. therefore, many items are loaded to memory simultaneously without limitation.
Now, on a shared memory environment, when the server does the heavy lifting, the amount of memory consumed by each user will set the number of concurrent users that can be served by each server.
The following steps are recommended:
- Consider loading items to memory on demand (keep only the headers and the identifiers in memory).
- Remove any large objects read to memory – for example, don’t save binary objects to memory, instead write the binary to the response stream directly to the client.
- Prefer DB based paging on entire prefaces and memory based paging. Visual WebGui provides mechanisms to enable it easily.
Migration of any WinForms application to the web using Visual WebGui has the following advantages:
- In 3 simple steps you will be able to get very close to a working web application.
- The effort you have to make in order to accomplish a fully functional web application is measurable.
- The application can keep using the existing BL and DL layers, and only the UI is either migrated automatically or adjusted.
or to view the tutorial:
How to Migrate WinForms to the Web
Sun has just released the JavaFX platform, consisting of 3 major pieces: the JavaFX SDK, the Netbeans 6.5 IDE with JavaFX, and the JavaFX Production Suite (formerly Project Nile), a set of tools to allow designers the ability to import digital assets from design tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
All are available for download on the JavaFX site, which was redesigned (thankfully) for the launch.
As noted in the Sun blogs, JavaFX Mobile is currently in beta and expected to be released in February.