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UK’s largest independent care provider builds a new web based monies system with Visual WebGui

"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

Live fromVSLive - Day 3

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Today was another good day at VSLive. With all the Silverlight and WPF action going on I am on sensory overload. After all the cool-aid that I've been drinking while here I am almost starting to think that Silverlight is going to kill Flash, but then I look at Expressions Blend 2 (I know you can do a lot in Silverlight with out using Blend, but it needs to get better to allow for better design) and realize that it still has quite a ways to go before it can compete.

The other big session was about the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 8. IE 8 has quite a few improvements over IE 7 these include a better set of development tools and web slices (they are like mini RSS feeds from a portion of a site). One interesting feature is the accelerators feature which makes it possible to highlight some text and have it sent directly to a web site (like a maps site or Google). You can read more about accelerators here.

IE 8 also promises to be more standards compliant and this will affect about 20% of web sites (so, finally people will have to start writing better code), so you will want to check you site on IE 8 to make sure it looks good. The new version also has support for cross domain XML, although I prefer the implementation that will be coming out in Firefox. IE 8 will be released very soon (as soon as in the next few weeks). You can get Release Candidate 1 of IE 8 here and check out all of the new features.

All in all this has been a great conference and one that I wouldn't mind coming back to.

Visual WebGui 6.3.1 development environment versions Released

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

Change log
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.

Bugs fix
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

Visual WebGui AJAX Framework

The Visual WebGui RIA Platform Technology - Overview

This is the first article within a series of articles that explore the technological aspect of Visual WebGui's RIA Platform features, benefits and usage scenarios.

This article is a “General Overview” of the technology aspects of Visual WebGui which will be followed by a series of 10 detailed articles released each week for the next 10 weeks. The next articles which will explore Visual WebGui's technology by diving into each of the technological aspects and will be structured as following:

Introduction – a general description of the explored aspect.
Overview – a technological overview of the aspect
Summary – Summary and further relevant considerations.

These are the different technological aspects of Visual WebGui which will be explored by the following articles:

Aspect 1 - Visual WebGui in Microsoft’s technologies stack

Technologically Visual WebGui can be best describes as an extension to ASP.NET for application development and deployment.As such the best way to start over viewing the solution would be by exploring Visual WebGui position in Microsoft’s technologies stack.

Aspect 2 – Command level virtualization

Being a server centric architecture; Visual WebGui presents a unique mechanism of balancing between the server state and the client UI rendering state at any given point of time.

This aspect is crucial in the path to understanding the following other aspects:

Security
Performance
Scalability and deployment economy
Multiple Presentation Layers

Aspect 3 – Security

Visual WebGui presents the “Empty Client” model, a paradigm shift in which the client downloads a kernel of plain and static code which is responsible for further communication with the server. This concept is secured by design as the client code cannot control the server behavior under any circumstances.Visual WebGui does not solve the entire issues spectrum of securing your applicative environment, however, by shifting the issue to more comfort zones which are the middleware communication between the client and the server and securing the server, the security problem becomes solvable, controllable and reach military grade easily.

Aspect 4 – Performance

Being a server centric architecture, Visual WebGui is an immediate “suspect” for being less responsive or for suffering from high latency. This suspicion is far from being true, on the contrary Visual WebGui has proved to be more responsive than pure client side solutions due to the fact that Visual WebGui extremely reduces the CPU usage on the server, optimizes the communication protocol between the client and the server to a degree never realized on web before, optimizes the UI rendering and leverages the client power when it can create a better responsive experience. With this mechanism Visual WebGui offers an optimal balance of communication between the server and the client.

Aspect 5 – Scalability and deployment economy

Visual WebGui is fully scalable and redundant across web farms due to a unique capability of enabling serialization of the entire state model into a floating state server (preferably cluster DB based state server).A single IIS server can server between 200-400 concurrent users and even more since it reduces the CPU usage dramatically.

Aspect 6 – Multiple Presentation Layers

The outcome of Visual WebGui architecture is a generic object model that is completely separated from UI rendering. This architecture which is often described as decoupled presentation layer provides the ability to render the UI and consume the application practically from any device which can receive and send XML.The application itself runs on the server and acts on objects containing only metadata and data and the client only renders the UI as reflected from the current application state on the server.

Aspect 7 – WinForms API Development and Migration Tool

The fact that Visual WebGui flattens web development to a single layer, made it possible to select the most productive and intuitive WYSIWYG development paradigm which is WinForms.Visual WebGui mimics WinForms API in order to provide the entire toolset available for desktop application development including Data-Binding, Layout options (anchoring, docking etc.) and a visual WYSIWYG designer.Due to the similarity of Visual WebGui API to that of WinForms API, it is quite a straightforward and natural process to transform any native WinForms Application to Visual WebGui and by that provide an application which can be consumed either as a desktop application or a plain web application.

Aspect 8 – Extensibility and Custom Controls

Being pure web architecture, Visual WebGui utilizes the web server and client technologies underneath; therefore, it is possible to create new controls based on the same concepts and set of tools in Visual WebGui. The various extensibility options will be explored further in this document.

Aspect 9 – Visual Designer Extendibility

Based on the fact that Visual WebGui uses WinForms designer to develop generic web applications, it also provides designable controls. Not only the controls are inheritable and extensible but their designer behavior can be customized and new designer behaviors can be created for custom controls.

Aspect 10 – Technical aspects in cloud computing scenarios

Being a highly optimized server centric architecture; Visual WebGui has high value and support the model of cloud computing scenarios in terms of compatibility and considerations.

This information can also be found on the Visual WebGui platform technology section.

Migration Tool

Live fromVSLive - Day 2

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Today was a very good day at VSLive. The day started with a great key note by Tim Huckaby (and quite a few other people during the demos) that was about going beyond HTML and featured demos using Silverlight and WPF. The WPF demos showed some great 3D demos and even featured some cool demos on Microsoft Surface (the table that is also a touch computer). You can see more about Surface here.

The day went on to have some great sessions including a session on Restful communication in .NET applications by Jon Flanders (it was full of reasons to stop using SOAP whenever possible). It even touched on using JSON (one of my favorite topics). You can read more about Jon at his blog.

The day went on finish strong with a great presentation by Tim Huckaby (you can read more about Tim here) on WPF. This was another presentation featuring a lot of great WPF and Silverlight demos. The day even finished with Tim trying to get his Windows 7 build to blue screen (apparently Windows 7 is quite a bit better than Vista, but it doesn't have all of it's video driver issues resolved yet). He wasn't able to get it to happen during the sessions, but I saw him do it before the session (it brought back memories of Windows 95).

Even though most of my application development is done in other languages (except for some C# and C++ that I am doing for a couple of projects) this has been a great conference. Hopefully, tomorrow will continue to be just as good.

Live from VSLive!

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I just got done listening to the key note at VSLive and it focused on the upcoming Visual Studio 2010. We where the first group at a conference to get a sneak peek of the new IDE.

My first thoughts of Visual Studio 2010 is that the interface is very clean. The new version of Visual Studio includes many things to help you write code faster, such as HTML snippets and the ability to generate classes after you reference them.

The Visual Studio 2010 Beta will be released in the next few months and the full release is currently scheduled for September of this year. It looks like it will be worth checking out.

You can see a video featuring Visual Studio 2010 here.

A new Technology section launched on visualwebgui.com

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:

What is VWG
Position in MS Technologies
Command Level Virtualization
Security
Performance
Scalability and Deployment Economy
Multiple Presentation Layers
WinForms API Development and Migration Tool

Visual WebGui platform remains un-hackable after 3-month security challenge

More than 1,700 users attempted to break into the Visual WebGui pipeline unsuccessfully during the $10,000 Security Challenge that ended this month after airing for over 3 months.

The contest offered $10,000 prize to anyone who could break into the Visual WebGui pipeline via the Visual WebGui NOC web application and required participants to provide a reproducible pathway into the Visual WebGui pipeline in order to claim the prize. Despite by more than 1,700 break-in attempts, Visual WebGui was not hacked and the prize remains unclaimed. The Visual WebGui "Empty Client" architecture is secure by design and provides bullet-proof security to AJAX and Silverlight applications. The Empty Client approach means that the entire application flow, UI logic, and validations are developed and processed on the server and virtualized on the browser while the web browser serves as a “display” for the output and a “receptor” for user input. Thus, only essential UI data is sent to the client, which includes no applicative or sensitive data, preventing the break in and theft of confidential information on the server.

Navot Peled, CEO and founder of Gizmox commented: "The fact that no one was able to successfully hack into the Visual WebGui pipeline shows that Rich Internet Applications developed with Visual WebGui are inherently safe and secure by design... As the Empty Client name indicates, the client holds no data or logic, and every action the client wants to take must be authorized by the server first. Not only does this significantly increase security, but the Empty Client design allows events to be raised on the server for every client action while also remaining flexible enough to make web applications responsive, scalable and customizable, enhancing the end-user experience."

Read the official Gizmox Security Press Release or learn about the Visual WebGui Security concept

New Studio Suite & SDK released for simple, cost-effective web development

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.

Major Features:
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.

Visual WebGui AJAX Framework for Enterprises

Visual WebGui 6.2.3 SDK Released

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:

Issue Summary
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.

Visual WebGui RAD AJAX Framework

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