What is the best winform UI component set?

0 votes
asked Sep 1, 2008 by sean-kearon

I've been looking for a commercial winform UI component set for a while now. I've looked at most of the big players out there and I think I'm going to spend my cash on the Developer Express DXperience package. It's not cheap, but does a lot of great things like integrated printing and reporting, a good spell checker implementation, etc. It's been quite a learning curve as it's feature rich, but they have a great support site and give good support.

I'm wondering what other people use and if there are any "gotchas" with the Dev Express components.

12 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 10, 2008 by darkwoof

Another fan of the DevExpress components. Accelerated my development with lots of built-in enhanced feature-sets compared to the default ones in VS.

Referencing Dave Arkell's post, I was previously on their Professional subscription (have since upgraded), and those comes with the WPF beta components too. Can't remember about silverlight, but should be present too.

I find the components quite stable, and where there's a reported bug, they are usually fixed quite promptly and then a maintenance build is released.

They tend to add new components to the subscriptions every now and then without increasing the price, so those are often a nice surprise. Recently we got gauges and rich text editors added to the mix, just so happened that I wanted them for a project too!

Haven't really extensively tested the other brands, but I'm quite happy with what I've got. =)

0 votes
answered Sep 1, 2008 by aku

I've used DXperience, Syncfusion's package, Infragistic's package, Xceed's stuffs and many other components.
I can say that in terms of flexibility and reliability Xceed components are good choice. It terms of feature set richness I would vote for DevExpress

0 votes
answered Sep 1, 2008 by martin

Don't go for the ComponentOne suite. We did and are now seriously considering the move to Developer Express DXperience.

The C1 controls are not bad, but we often find ourselves coming upto stummbling blocks and just being told by support "Well that's by design".

0 votes
answered Sep 1, 2008 by andy-brice

The Krypton controls look very nice. The basic toolkit is free, but you have to pay for the ribbon and tab controls.


0 votes
answered Sep 1, 2008 by dave-arkell

We initially bought just the XtraTreelist component from DevExpress, but have been so impressed that we went onto buying the Professional Winforms Suite, and this year we upgraded onto the Enterprise Suite (which does both Winforms and Web).

As a bonus, it comes with code rush and Refactor, which once you get the hang of them, they help save time (plus, it makes your code look pretty...).

I'd say their support is pretty good - I've found a couple of bugs in the past which I've had a reply to within 24 hours, which states they will fix the issue in the next release.

One gotcha (if you could call it that) is that most of their components have a 'Properties' property which is where a lot of common properties get set. I find that a little annoying to use because they need a few more clicks or keypresses to get to, but at least you can get the job done (they tend to put things like input masks in here - regex, numerical etc).

One think that took a bit of getting used to is with the XtraGrid and Treelist, which if you want to do some custom display for specific cells, you have to hook up an event that fires before the cell is displayed.

Hope my ramblings help.

Edit: One thing I meant to add is that Dev Express are rolling out Silverlight and WPF controls too. They're in beta, but you get access to the betas on the Enterprise Suite (I'm not sure about the others). Currently they have a Silverlight Datagrid, a WPF Datagrid, and WPF charts, but they're doing more eventually. In addition, they are constantly adding features to their current products. For example, last month they added Gauges to the controls.

0 votes
answered Sep 1, 2008 by ramesh-soni

We use Infragistics. The best part is that it is up to dated with the latest version of the .net.

0 votes
answered Sep 3, 2008 by d2viant

DevExpress has solid components. We're currently using the DXperience on some enterprise applications and found the community documentation to be pretty thorough.

The only major issue we've had so far (and this is symptomatic of all 3rd party controls) is that we haven't been able to use them when automating our UI testing of WinForms applications, since the controls don't implement the standard hWnd handles and sort of implement their own rendering internally to address events by the user.

0 votes
answered Sep 3, 2008 by simon-munro

Without a doubt you should get the DevExpress component suite. Don't wait or procrastinate, just download it and get moving. The value you are able to provide to the project that you are on is worth what they cost.

I have been using DevExpress components since they started (about 10 years) and they just keep getting better and better. On one project the 'standard' was Infragistics, but they didn't last very long - DevExpress blows them away.

Gotcha's on DevExpress? The main one is that some of the controls (like the grid) are so feature complete that they can get complicated. You will be discovering better ways to do things years later because it takes a while to get your head around the model. My main gripe with them is that when you start pushing them hard, you find that a lot of the things that you need to access are implemented as methods, not properties - so you have to remember to look at methods to get what you want rather than obvious properties. Support is okay, but it would be better if there were more samples and a bigger knowledgebase.

Overall awesome controls - don't waste any more time.

Note: I have no commercial or other affiliation to DevExpress - I'm just a user.

0 votes
answered Sep 3, 2008 by kevin-fairchild

Have used Infragistics more often recently on some projects. Like DevExpress, it has plenty to offer. Unfortunately, things that seem like they should be easy to do are typically buried under 10-feet of intellisense.

If you only use 10% of what is offered in the components, Infragistcs and DevExpress might be a bit more than you need. But I think if you're really pushing your components to the limit and don't mind figuring out things a bit on your own, either would be a good choice.

-- Kevin Fairchild

0 votes
answered Sep 3, 2008 by scott-dorman

It really depends on what controls you actually need. The different suites are nice because it's "one stop shopping" but I've found that I never really need the majority of the controls provided. The other thing to watch out for is that some of those controls are very far removed (long inheritance chains) from the base UI control they replace or don't actually derive from that control at all and simply wrap it, which is the case for a lot of the Infragistics controls (not sure about the others).

Personally, I much prefer the smaller more targeted offerings where I can get just the controls that I actually need. The best I've found are from Divelements.

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