Last post Sep 29, 2006 06:54 PM by PLBlum
Sep 29, 2006 02:14 PM|rayc|LINK
Sep 29, 2006 02:30 PM|dfields|LINK
I think you should choose the controls that you feel comfortable developing with, and that best suits your particular needs. Most component vendors have demo versions of their products. Popularity wouldn't be much of a concern for me other than the question,
"is this company going to be around?" I wouldn't want to invest in a product that is going to one day disappear. That said, I don't think Infragistics' products are going anywhere anytime soon.
I cannot speak for your unique situation, because I do not know enough about it, but I will tell you of my own. I weigh the costs of third-party tools based on the needs of each project. If I can save my client money by using a third-party component to
accomplish a specific task then I make note of that in the estimate. If the client's requirement is to use native .NET controls then I bill accordingly.
-- Dan Fields
Sep 29, 2006 06:54 PM|PLBlum|LINK
I am the author of several commercial third party controls. Obviously I'm biased toward having you use third party controls. But I'm also in a position to think about the question regularly: "Why use third party controls?"
- The specific list of controls provided by Microsoft in ASP.NET 2 is not as complete as many people want. Some examples: Combobox (textbox + dropdownlist), masked textboxes, datepickers.
preventing paste, handling "blank" with a hint or style sheet change, adding assistance tools like a popup calendar to a datetextbox or spinners to an integer textbox.
Third party controls give that to you immediately.
- Any control you can add to your toolbox can greatly reduce your development time. There are many free third party controls out there. Grab them up!
- While Microsoft has a certain type control, is it the best for your needs? Take the Calendar control. It looks great initially. They did a lot of work to generate the right look and make it localizable. Do you desire some addition features like picking from
a list of months to jump to a month, having a Today button, or avoiding the postback with each click? Third party controls are built to address the needs of users.
- Third parties are engaged in a competitive environment (even the free ones). Look at all of those grids, menus, and datepickers out there. See how they are improving frequently. Microsoft really doesn't compete on any particular control because they don't
make money or prestige off a particular control. So they don't enhance individual controls nearly as fast or with as many features as users have demanded. Look at every control introduced in ASP.NET 1.0 against its counterpart in ASP.NET 2. So little has changed.
Since I'm the author of a replacement validation system, I had a list of 27 limitations in Microsoft's ASP.NET 1.0 validators. With ASP.NET 2, they addressed only 3 of them.
- Free does not equal good.
- "Microsoft developed" does not equal "right for you".
- Commercial controls are often priced very inexpensively. Yes, if you look at the big companies (Telerik, Infragistics, ComponentArt, etc), they seem to charge around $300 per control module. But the little guys are often using shareware pricing (under $50).
My own suite of controls has modules that can be purchased for $40-$90.
- You have the option of using a trial version to gain enough experience with a third party control to determine if its worth purchasing. Its GOOD to be forced into an evaluation phase. With Microsoft's stuff, you are likely to start using it and only later
discover how its limitations require you to ignore your goals or abandon all of the work you put into it. I see this all the time with validators as I answer questions on this forum. I'm often left to telling them "you will have to invent a hack" or "you can't
- Finally, TIME=MONEY is a valid issue for any business. Would you rather spend $100 on a web control that works for you or several weeks of design, coding, and testing (where your time is has a cost to someone)?
So explore the available controls. I recommend going through these three sites to get the most options (and read customer reviews): this site's Control Gallery (under Resources),
www.411asp.net. Grab free and trial versions. Evaluate them.