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Presentation Layer Cake

Don’t you just love the presentation layer? Back at Microsoft PDC (professional developer conference) 2005 Bill Gates received rapturous applause for the Windows Presentation Layer (WPF) demos he was touting on screen, many of them using Infragistics technologies.
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Written by Adrian Bridgwater on

Don’t you just love the presentation layer? Back at Microsoft PDC (professional developer conference) 2005 Bill Gates received rapturous applause for the Windows Presentation Layer (WPF) demos he was touting on screen, many of them using Infragistics technologies. Well, it could have been that – or it could have been the excellent Bill Gates goes to College skit he did with Napoleon Dynamite.

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Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

So, if you’re a developer with an innate desire to get your hands on a user interface component toolset available for the WPF, where do you turn? I spoke to a couple of developers about this and they do typically use a web interface or a stand alone application – but it’s often down to the language they’re in, rather than the whistles and bells offered by a particular solution itself.

That said, Infragistics still pumps out version after version of its NetAdvantage for WPF – each one with more “depth and functionality” (lovely terms – I wish I had either facet) so they say.

Ask Microsoft about this and no doubt you’ll get a cheesy comment like, “It’s all about the user experience!”

Ask someone with a little more vision and you might get, “Developers want end users to have the flexibility to reconfigure their user interface making the most effective use of screen real estate.” Well – the real estate bit is still cheesy, but I read that somewhere and thought it was OK-ish.

In search of the truth, tonight I spoke to Peter Lindsay, managing director of Infragistics Europe and he told me…

“Our goal with Infragistics NetAdvantage for WPF is to leverage the power of WPF to make the user interface of line of business applications easier to use which creates a very positive user experience. With NetAdvantage for WPF 8.1, developers get the controls needed to meet the goals of producing high-fidelity, full-featured line of business applications with re-usable, stylable components.”

Stylable? Is that a new word Peter?

In search of a third party opinion, I spoke to the nice independent chap called Geoff Hirst who runs a developer shop called 64Bitz Computer Consultancy Limited. Geoff said, “You know, it is all about the experience - and if there’s a tool or user widget out there then go get it. After all, guys like Infragisics and DeveloperExpress have the expertise that brings all these features within the developer grasp, plus these products have many many man hours of testing behind them.”

“The downside, if there is one, is at the moment the actual demand for WPF and other glitz is pretty subdued. We are making this stuff available in our new applications, because we want to be seen to push the envelope, but it’s not something we are being asked for,” added Geoff.

So what have we learned? GUIs are interesting and all things presentation layer related are pretty interesting too. Infragistics is deeply in cahoots with Microsoft, but – wouldn’t you be if you had created some really good-looking technology and Gates (pre-departure) and Co. thought you were the best thing since sliced lobster?

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