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A Look Ahead in 2013 – Words from the CTO

This has been an exciting year for us at ComponentOne. We were acquired by GrapeCity and saw amazing new products and valuable resources added to our assets. Our customers will see practical benefits of this in the near future as we align our product lines and optimize our resources. At the same time, we saw the release of Windows 8 and the new style of touch-based Microsoft applications that promise to span the gap between the desktop and mobile devices. The next few paragraphs give you a quick update on what we are planning for the next few years and where we see the industry going.

Our Focus

As a company, we focus on professional developers. We love all the new cool features as much as anyone else, but cool is not enough. Our focus is and always has been on less flashy features such as performance, ease of use, stability, standards compliance, and above all solving real problems. For example, take a look at our FlexGrid control for the XAML platform. This is a grid control that is less than 200k in size, yet provides blazing performance and all the features you could want from any grid (including printing, for example). That is why for the last 20+ years we have been the component provider for many leading companies in industries that range from financial services, energy, and manufacturing to engineering and communications.

What's Next for ComponentOne

As a leader in the component industry, we have products that span all of the platforms supported by Microsoft. Here's a quick summary of what we are working on and planning for 2013 and beyond.

HTML5 and JavaScript

ComponentOne was the first component vendor to ship a suite of widgets based on jQuery. The product I am referring to is Wijmo, our complete kit of over 40 UI widgets, which is now two years mature. Since its release, Wijmo has been growing fast, both in terms of features and adoption. We realized early on that many JavaScript developers wanted to enjoy the benefits of the MVVM platform, and we so we decided to officially support the KnockoutJS library (rather than create something custom). KnockoutJS is an incredible product, with a huge community behind it. Even more recently, we added support for Google's AngularJS library, which is quite different from KnockoutJS, but provides similar enhancements to JavaScript developers. This is another example of our commitment to standards. We chose to support KnockoutJS and AngularJS rather than re-invent the wheel and force you to learn how to do data binding our way. By the way, ComponentOne is the first component vendor to announce support for AngularJS. In 2013, we will continue to enhance our support for these libraries and for our customers, providing not only products but also guidance, support, and a platform for growth. The most exciting addition to Wijmo in the first half of 2013 will be the addition of a Spread widget to the library. This is a jQuery widget that is an Excel clone, with all the features Excel users are familiar with and love, including selection, editing, and even advanced features like sparklines. Of course, since this is a pure HTML5/JavaScript library, all modern browsers are supported. We didn't stop there. We also support Internet Explorer 8. Remember what I said earlier about focusing on professional developers and not just the flashy stuff? ;-) Beyond that, we will continue to focus on Wijmo as a platform for the future. This will include a new layout component, expanded infrastructure, and improved support for touch and mobile devices (including Windows 8). As with all our products, we will also continue to work on improving our documentation, adding great new samples, and expanding our community even more.


XAML was born with WPF, and since then it has expanded across platforms including Silverlight, Windows Phone, LightSwitch, SharePoint, and now Windows 8. This is great for component vendors and for our customers. We are able to use a single code base and provide outstanding quality and consistency over a broad range of platforms. For example, even though Windows 8 is a brand new platform, our Studio for WinRT XAML already includes controls that are extremely powerful and mature. Our XAML controls include the best grids, charts, and report viewers, which were introduced in early 2008 and have been continuously improved ever since. In addition to these traditional favorites, our Studios include unique controls that address practical scenarios such as importing and exporting Excel files, viewing and printing PDF documents, and editing rich text in HTML. In 2013, we plan to continue investing in the XAML platform. We will soon introduce a C1CollectionView class that makes data binding in WinRT closer to traditional XAML data binding (with filtering and sorting support). We will also continue to support Microsoft Silverlight, which continues to be a popular platform with many developers who may plan to migrate to HTML5 and JavaScript at some point in the future, but are not ready to do so yet. Even though Microsoft apparently decided to stop investing in Silverlight, XAML is still a core platform, and since Silverlight is a part of it, we will continue our investment and support of Silverlight. Finally, WPF continues to be at the core of the XAML platform. Our customers are doing fantastic things with WPF, and many are migrating legacy applications written for other platforms to WPF. We are happy and proud to be a part of that picture and to help customers that started using our FlexGrid in their VB6 apps and are migrating to the FlexGrid for WPF.


WinForms is one of the least talked about platforms, but it is also one of the most used. It is likely to remain so, because even though it is no longer one of the cool new technologies, it is still efficient, solid, stable, and easy to use (this should sound familiar). We plan to continue investing heavily in the WinForms platform in 2013. Among the planned enhancements are new and more powerful visual styles, including a Modern style to give WinForms apps a fresh contemporary look and feel; new controls that make it easy to create tile-based applications with a Modern UI look and feel; and enhancing touch support where appropriate. In case you haven't been following the not-so-cool news, remember that we have recently added some important new controls to our Studio for WinForms. This includes the GanttView control that provides functionality similar to Microsoft Project and our Studio for Entity Framework, which allows you to use the latest Microsoft data technologies in your WinForms apps, leveraging the same designers, techniques, and controls you are used to.


2012 was a great year, and I look forward to all that 2013 will bring. From the GrapeCity and ComponentOne team to you and yours, we wish you a very successful year ahead.


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