Thursday, December 20, 2007

News brief: Enterprise adoption of Vista still slow

Here's an interesting bit of news for those of you developing applications in (or for) the Enterprise space. According to October 2007 Gartner research published by InformationWeek, Windows Vista is installed on just 0.9% of all Enterprise PCs. That compares to projections in 2006 that suggested it would exist on 6% of PCs by this time- off by a factor of 6! The research also revealed that businesses have delayed their Vista deployment plans nine to twelve months past their 2006 projections. If we assume those plans don't suffer additional delays, it's reasonable to believe fewer than 10% of Enterprise PCs will have Vista by then end of next year. Additional Gartner research backs that up.

Why do I bring this up and how does it relate to Telerik? For the better part of a year, developers have been struggling with the decision to build new Windows apps with WinForms or WPF. While both are viable platforms on the dominant XP operating system, WPF is not guaranteed to be installed and the hardware of an XP machine may not be able to take advantage of WPF's modern architecture. Even under those conditions, if Vista's adoption were taking off and businesses were quickly ushering in the era of accelerated graphics and WPF, it might make more sense to charge ahead with the new platform and say goodbye to your WinForms years.

But Vista isn't taking off at expected speeds. Even the impending SP1 is not garnering the reaction that past SP1s have brought to new versions of Windows. That means as developers there is a lot of life left in WinForms development, and even a lot of good reason to wait a while longer before beginning WPF development.

I bring this all up, of course, because Telerik has the full toolbox of controls for your WinForms development that enables you to deliver those next gen, "WPF-like" UIs in WinXP without waiting on Vista to arrive or hardware to be upgraded. That frees you from worrying about the platform and hardware while enabling you to build modern looking applications. And when the time really arrives for mainstream WPF development (maybe with Windows 7?), Telerik's RadControls for WPF (coming in 2008) will be there to make the transition easy. Just some news and ideas to keep in mind as you enter a new year and begin finalizing your development plans for 2008.

Telerik launches new Enterprise Services

When it comes to developing software, Enterprise software shops (especially internal software shops or "factories" as they're often called these days) are a unique animal. They have massively complex requirements, tight deadlines, carefully monitored metrics, and the need to respond quickly to any of the crazy innovative ideas the business units submit. Having spent some time myself in a large, Fortune 200 IT shop with over 1,500 people, I know first-hand the challenges facing Enterprise developers are unique.

Telerik also recognizes the unique nature of Enterprise development and with the Q3 2007 release has launched new services tailored for Enterprise customers. These new services are primarily aimed at providing extra levels of support and training for large development teams that need to be 100% confident they can generate rapid ROI with Telerik tools. Launching this week are:

More services will be introduced in the coming quarter, including a number of innovative new services focused on training. For now, though, if you're an Enterprise customer (defined as a customer with 15 or more licenses), head over to the Telerik website and review the new service options available for your immediate consumption. If you're not an Enterprise customer, watch for more exciting information soon about new services designed for you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More new "Prometheus" controls: RadScriptManager and RadStyleSheetManager

The Q3 news just keeps coming today, hot on the heels of the official Q3 2007 release. This time I want to bring your attention to two new controls in the Q3 2007 "Prometheus" release: RadScriptManager and RadStyleSheetManager. Some eagle-eyed developers may have spotted pre-release versions of these controls in our Futures releases, but the Q3 release marks their official readiness for production applications. These "manager controls" provide some very neat functionality for "Prometheus"-based applications and deliver some features that aren't possible with the old ASP.NET 2.0 control architecture. Let's take a closer look.

This control, as the name indicates, is similar the ScriptManager control that ships with ASP.NET AJAX. In fact, if you use the RadScriptManger, you should remove the "plain" ScriptManager from your application. Aside from delivering all of the "normal" functionality the original ScriptManager provides, the RadScriptManager is also capable of combining all "Prometheus" JavaScript resources in to a single web resource request!

The effect is controlled at the control level via a new "EnableScriptCombine" property and it does require that you register a new HttpHandler in your web.config. Once it's enabled, though, you can significantly reduce the HTML output to your page and reduce the number of requests that your page needs to make during load to initialize "Prometheus" controls.

Like the RadScriptManager, the RadStyleSheetManager enable you to combine all of the CSS output for "Prometheus" controls in to a single stylesheet web resource request. If you have many "Prometheus" controls on your page, this can dramatically reduce the number of stylesheet links your page must request and load. The one caveat, though, is that this feature only supports embedded resource files. That means this feature only helps if you're using a control's default skin. If you're using custom skins, you'll have to do manual stylesheet combining to achieve the same effect.

The RadStyleSheetManager is also controlled at the control level via the "EnableStyleSheetCombine" property and it also requires a new HttpHandler in your web.config.

These tools should help anyone trying to maximize the performance of "Prometheus" controls, especially those who currently spend time manually combining the control JavaScript resources. Look for the tools in the latest "Prometheus" build and have fun building even better applications with Telerik's controls.

New "Prometheus" online demos framework

While we didn't build up any hype around the "secrets" contained in the Q3 release, that doesn't mean there aren't a few surprises for you. One of the most obvious surprises is the brand new framework for the RadControls "Prometheus" online demos. The update is mostly superficial at this point, but it paves the way for a more modern Telerik demos website as we head in to 2008. The online demos framework (or "QSF" internally for "Quick Start Framework") was long overdue for a refresh, and this update finally begins to push out the XP-era styling for a more current Vista/WPF look-and-feel.

Expect more updates along these lines as we continue to update all of our online resources. In fact, in the not so distant future, you can look forward to completely revamped Telerik Blogs and a new and improved The blogs update is first up, so keep your browsers locked to this blog for more details about that change in the coming days and weeks. Hopefully you'll enjoy the new looks as they roll out and find that they make it even easier to use Telerik's online tools.

RadControls for Silverlight demos online

Following the huge interest in the RadControls for Silverlight exposed during the recent World Premiere event, Telerik has delivered on its promise to make the RadControls for Silverlight demos available online. Now you can do more than watch the Silverlight controls in action; you can try them for yourself. Everything shown-off in the World Premiere (and then some) is available online, which includes the following Silverlight controls:

  • RadAnimations
  • RadButtons (6 types)
  • RadCombobox
  • RadListBox
  • RadMenu
  • RadProgressBar
  • RadSlider
  • RadTabStrip
  • RadTextBox
  • RadTreeView
  • RadUpload
And while you can't download the Silverlight controls during this release, you can use the "View Source" tool on all demos to see the related XAML and C# markup. These demos should start to help you really think about how you'll be able to use Silverlight to build applications in 2008 and prove that Silverlight is going to be a platform just as capable as ASP.NET or WinForms.

While you're playing with the online demos, do remember that this is an alpha preview. Performance is severely limited by the Silverlight framework itself, so you can expect the final versions of these controls to be much faster than they are today as the framework matures. Other than that, have fun and be sure to share your feedback!

Q3 release live

Here's some news that should please those of you who just can't wait to get the latest Telerik bits at release time: the Q3 2007 release is live! The dev teams and product managers have worked hard to get the bits out to you before the expected Wednesday arrival, so you can begin enjoying the goodies in the Q3 release a day early. We've already covered the make-up of this release in previous posts, so if you're still wondering what's new be sure to review the archives.

As with all releases, the final step at Telerik is updating everyone's licenses so that you have access to the new code. That process does take some time, so if you don't see the new bits in your account right now, wait a few hours for your account update and check back again. While you wait, you can check out the official release notes for Q3:

The entire website is still actively being updated for Q3, so don't be concerned that the new Q3 banners are not on the homepage yet. They'll be there soon. You just have fun with the new controls and check back here often for more Q3 news.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Q3 2007 this week (update)

The time has finally arrived! Well, maybe I shouldn't say "finally" since it has really only been a few months since Q2. Either way, this is the release week for Q3 2007 and there are a lot of fun things coming out soon. Over the past several weeks we've talked about what you can expect to see in this week's release, but in case you've missed some of those posts, here's a quick (not exhaustive) recap:

  • VS 2008 compatibility updates for all controls
  • Native build of "Prometheus" controls against .NET 3.5
  • 6 freshly "Prometheus'd" controls: RadGrid, RadTreeview, RadCombobox, RadMenu, RadSpell, RadUpload
  • 7 brand new WinForms controls: RadColorDialog, RadDateTimePicker, RadMaskedEdit, RadStatusStrip, RadRotator, RadRadioButton, RadSpinEditor
  • Major enhancements to 2 "classic" ASP.NET controls: RadChart and RadGrid (RadEditor will get major enhancements in SP1)
  • New 'Export to Excel' feature in Telerik Reporting
  • Tons of new and improved documentation for all controls, especially WinForms controls
  • Preview release (online only) of RadControls for Silverlight
Clearly, there's a lot going on across all of the product lines at Telerik and a lot to get excited about as a developer. The release should drop by the middle of the week, so check your downloads on Wednesday or Thursday for the new bits. Consider the release your first present this holiday season!

UPDATE: Added RadSpell to the list of new controls coming to "Prometheus" in Q3.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Silverlight World Premiere huge success (update)

With almost 1,000 people registered to attend from over 61 countries and about 400 actually making the live event, I think we can say the interest in Telerik's Silverlight controls is huge. The world premiere event today for Telerik's RadControls for Silverlight went very well and I want to thank everyone that attended. Hopefully the early look at Telerik's work in the Silverlight space gives you confidence that we are committed to the framework and already well on our way to producing the best UI components available on the market.

For everyone that missed the event live (or had trouble dialing-in to the audio bridge), I have moved quickly to make the on-demand version available online today! Check out the recorded version right now (download is about 50 MB) and then take a look at the "Follow-up Question & Answer" PDF that contains all unique questions asked during the presentation with answers. If you still have questions that aren't addressed there, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll be happy to help.

Now on to the Q3 release next week! Don't forget that you'll be able to get your hands on the online demos showcased today during next week's release activities.

UPDATE: For those not able to view the WMV version of the recorded webcast with the GoToMeeting codec, I have re-encoded and uploaded a Quicktime version. The new version is available from the original on-demand link.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Don't forget, InstallFest tonight

I hate to taunt those of you not in the Houston area, but this is a PSA I must make as the local NHDNUG President. Tonight is the big "VS 2008 InstallFest" for the Houston area that I've mentioned to you previously. The event kicks-off at 6:00 PM at Microsoft's local Houston offices and is scheduled to wrap-up around 9:00 PM (though I'm sure you can leave early). If you didn't register for the event, "walk-ins" will be welcome, but the registered attendees get first dibs on the free copies of VS 2008. If someone who registered doesn't show by 7:30 (or so), Microsoft will start giving away VS 2008 copies to people on the walk-in waiting list. Obviously, get to the event on-time if you didn't register and want a good spot on the waiting list.

Otherwise, the event should be fun. Free food, games, and plenty of networking to waste the night away while you get your comp copy of Visual Studio. The registration is closed, but you can still visit the registration page for the event address and details. See you tonight!

P.S. I hope those of you not in Houston managed to find an InstallFest in your area. If not, pretend you never read this post. InstallFest? Must be a myth.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Telerik Overview webcast this Friday

This is a busy week for online webcasts. In addition to the "RadControls for Silverlight World Premier" this Friday at 3:00 PM EST, I will also be doing a webcast earlier Friday that provides a general overview of Telerik. Now I know what you're thinking. "If we didn't know who Telerik was, then why are we reading this blog." Fair enough, and for many of you who have been with Telerik for a while this webcast isn't targeted at you. But if you're interested in getting the full picture of what Telerik does (beyond ASP.NET), this is a great webcast to attend.

The webcast will begin at 12:00 noon EST and cover all of Telerik's product lines- ASP.NET, WinForms, Reporting, Sitefinity- at a high level. If you find yourself saying, "I didn't know Telerik made WinForms/Reporting" components when reading that last sentence, you should definitely register to attend.

This is part one of a four part webcast series that focuses on Telerik's products. In parts two through three, we'll drill down into the individual product lines and talk about the features, merits, and uses of each. Those events will be much better suited for those of you just looking to more clearly understand one of our newer product lines. I'll provide registration details on this blog once they are available.

For now, those interested in the overview should register for the webcast and then tune-in Friday morning for the first webcast of the day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

ASP.NET MVC, 3.5 Extensions CTP released

In the rare chance that you missed this breaking news in the .NET community, here is your courtesy notice that the ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions CTP Preview has been released. That's right. A "CTP Preview". Doesn't that make this a preview of a preview? I think the CTP naming has gotten a little out of hand in this case, but the point is clearly that this is an early preview release of unfinished features coming to ASP.NET.

Nonetheless, this release is crammed-full of new goodies for ASP.NET. Frankly, it's a lot more exciting than the recent official .NET 3.5 release. Included in this preview of a preview are:

  • ASP.NET AJAX improvements (including history support, permalink support, JS improvements)
  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data Support
  • ASP.NET Silverlight Support
  • ADO.NET Data Services (including "Astoria" preview)
I haven't talked much about MVC on this blog, but you can check out some of my thoughts on the new framework on my ASP.NET Weblog. There is definitely a lot to take-in with this release (as if there wasn't already enough new stuff to deal with), so expect a lot of additional information in this blog and others over the coming weeks. For now, the best place to go to get download links to all of these bits is ScottGu's original announcement post.

Had enough new technologies and frameworks in 2007 yet?

RadControls for Silverlight World Premiere Webcast

I've got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that (for reasons too complex to explain here) the "Visual Studio 2008 Celebration" scheduled for today in San Jose, California has been canceled. The good news is that means we are moving the world premiere of our RadControls for Silverlight 2.0 online where everybody can participate! No longer exclusive to those that could make it out to San Jose, Friday's world premiere event will be hosted live and online for your viewing pleasure. This event marks the first public appearance and public discussion of Telerik's RadControls for Silverlight 2.0, so if you want to be one of the "cool kids" at the office Christmas party, you'll want to attend this Webcast.

The Webcast will review Telerik's involvement with Silverlight, talk about its current plans for Silverlight 2.0, and (of course) show live demos of the RadControls for Silverlight. The controls, like the framework, are still alpha, but this will be your opportunity to glimpse the work Telerik is doing in the Silverlight space.

To join the fun, hit the registration link now and reserve your virtual seat. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible this Friday, December 14th at 3:00 PM (EST).

Friday, December 07, 2007

WinForms Q3 beta ready for download

As we rapidly approach Q3, the WinForms team has stepped-up to the plate with a public beta of the RadControls for WinForms Q3 2007. The Q3 release for WinForms is packed with new controls and performance improvements, some of which we've talked about before. There are seven new controls in Q3 for WinForms, including:

  • RadMaskedEditBox
  • RadRotator
  • RadStatusStrip
  • RadSpinEditor
  • RadColorSelector
  • RadRadioButton
  • RadDateTimePicker
In addition to all of the new controls, the entire Telerik Presentation Framework has been tweaked to run faster than ever. All controls are now more responsive thanks to faster screen painting and refreshing.

The only major control that won't get its "major" update in Q3 is RadGridView. RadGridView has been totally rewritten and the new major version is significantly better than our current GridView and better than most other WinForms grids out there (performance-wise). It will be released shortly after Q3, but we'll be publishing many more details about how that will work soon. For now, just note that the improvements in the Q3 version of GridView are just the tip of the iceburg that is to follow in January.

The documentation is also getting a big boost in Q3, so check that out too if you've found the docs to be lacking in the past. All in all, there are a lot of good things going on in Q3 for WinForms developers, so get started today by downloading the beta and telling us what you think about all of the improvements.

Sitefinity Challenge open, Win free stuff

What better way to spend your weekend than competing in a good 'ol fashioned geek challenge? Actually, it won't take your whole weekend, just a few minutes of your time. What do you have to do to play? Simply head on over to the Sitefinity Challenge start page, read the simple instructions, and get started. You'll have to watch a few short videos showing you some of the cool things that make Sitefinity unique, answer a short 15 question survey/quiz, and that's it! If you answer all 15 multiple choice questions correctly, you'll be automatically entered in a drawing for some fabulous prizes. The first three winners of the random drawing will get a Zune media player ('cuz everyone has iPods these days) and a free commercial Sitefinity license. The next 12 winners won't get Zunes, but they'll still get the $900 commercial Sitefinity license for free! Not bad for an effortless challenge.

You've got until January 31st to play, but I'd suggest you play early so you don't forget. The prizes will be a little late to make Christmas gifts, so I guess you'll just have to enjoy them yourself guilt-free in the new year.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Feedback wanted, WinForms new and improved documentation

It is not often that I call on you to volunteer to be editors, but the opportunity has presented itself again. This time it is for the new and vastly improved RadControls for WinForms documentation. Over the past several months, Telerik and it's incredible documentation partner, Falafel, have been diligently pounding away at filling-out and improving the documentation for all RadControls for WinForms. Our early surveys found that documentation was a weak point for WinForms, so we've been working very hard to fix the problem. And now we can happily report that we think we've done a good job.

But what do you think? That's what we really want to know. If you're a WinForms developer (and according to my local survey, about 20% of you are), take a look at the new documentation and tell us what you think in the official documentation feedback forums. Even if you're not a WinForms developer, take a look at the documentation and let us know how you think it compares to other documentation you've used. A simple "pretty impressive" or "you really need more about X" is all we need to know. So put on your editor hat and give it to us straight!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Survey Says: Most .NET developers not attending User Groups

In yet another completely unscientific, non-representative straw poll run on this site, I asked how many of you, dear readers, attend a local .NET User Group (or DNUG). It turns out, most of you don't attend DNUGs. I found the results of the survey a little surprising considering the audience. You represent developers passionate enough about technology to spend time tracking down and reading a very niche blog like this. You are exactly the type of people I'd expect to find attending DNUGs.

So that begs the question, why don't you attend a DNUG? Are there no well organized DNUGs in your area? Do you prefer to spend your evenings as far from technology as possible? Or do you simply not find DNUGs appealing? Whatever your answer, I want to know. Sound-off in the comments and let the world know your opinion of .NET's little social learning clubs.

And, of course, if you're in the Houston area, don't miss the premier of the North Houston DNUG in early January. I promise it will at least be an okay time.

Sitefinity 3.1 SP2 released, Road Map reviewed

In what is a relatively small update for Sitefinity developers, the second service pack for 3.1 was quietly released this week on This update mainly targets problems involving generic content in sites running multiple languages, but a few additional problems have been fixed along the way. If you're interested in reviewing the paper thin release notes, jump over to the Sitefinity forums and have a look.

More exciting is that work continues to move steadily forward on Sitefinity 3.2. Still on track for a January release, 3.2 is going introduce many new features to the CMS platform, including:

  • Integration with Windows Workflow
  • Ajaxification of most Sitefinity tools (finally!)
  • New! Document module for creating document galleries (photos, media, PDFs, etc.)
  • New! Newsletter module for creating/sending HTML email campaigns
  • New! Notification Service with API for sending automatic emails
  • Export tool for exporting projects to reusable templates
So that's 3.2 and January- just a few short weeks away. The Road Map for the next next major version, 4.0, has also been published online, giving you a unique long term look at what's coming in Sitefinity. So far (and these things could change, obviously), 4.0 is promising to deliver:
  • Automation service for tasks like background indexing and auto page publishing
  • Sync service for auto dev-to-prod migrations and mirrored servers
  • Integration with Silverlight
  • Browse-and-edit mode for editing sites without entering admin area
And that's just some of what's planned! Clearly some exciting progress being made on Sitefinity, the first bit of which we'll get to taste in January. If you're still not developing with Sitefinity, what are you waiting for? Really. Let me know in the comments.

"Prometheus" Futures updated, available now

Today I am excited to bring to you, hot off the build servers, the latest RadControls "Prometheus" Futures release. The Futures release, as you may remember, is designed to preview some of the work being done in the "Prometheus" suite in-between official releases. The releases are similar to betas, but since the "Prometheus" suite itself is in a long beta period, the "Futures" process helps avoid naming confusion.

I must admit that I am very excited about this release. In it are previews of "Prometheus-ized" RadGrid, RadComboBox, RadMenu, RadUpload, and improved versions of RadEditor, RadWindow, and RadChart. The Prometheus suite is really starting to feel complete with this release, but more exciting than the new controls are the new features and major performance improvements being delivered in the controls.

For example, the versions RadMenu and RadCombobox in Futures have added the ability to bind directly to web services and completely control item collections on the client (with changes persisted to the server). RadGrid has an all new- completely rewritten- data binding core that is delivering incredible performance boosts (I'll provide some solid numbers soon). And by Q3 RadGrid will also have a brand new ExportToExcel engine that will give you unprecedented control over your data exports.

So while we're not going to see any "new" new controls in Q3, we are receiving some great improvements in existing controls. I like to think of Q3 this year as a release that will make the core tools we use everyday better than ever- faster, more flexible, and with additional features. As we move in to 2008 with a revamped set of "base" controls, we can then move on to bringing new innovative controls to the web.

Want to get your hands on today's Futures release? Head over to the Telerik website and download your free copy or take the online demos for a spin. The demos do not yet feature the improvements in the Prometheus Futures controls, but everything will be updated for Q3. Enjoy the new release and don't go far- Q3 will be here in about two weeks.