Q4 SP4 - some initial first impressions

2 posts, 0 answers
  1. BryanKinkel
    BryanKinkel avatar
    3 posts
    Member since:
    Jan 2007

    Posted 24 Jan 2007 Link to this post

    I installed the Q4 SP1 update last night - didn't get very far due to a problem with the Designer (but promptly addressed by Telerik). But here are a couple of my initial thoughts based on installation and examination of the included sample application.

    I'm not sure if a single massive sample project is the way to go. I was able to load the project and recompile it with no problem. But due to the size, it was sluggish to load. And I still have not been able to locate the main form for the sample project...

    The learning curve is also an issue that has been echoed by other forum members here. You have what seems to be a well thought out group of objects. But the help file really needs more walkthroughs.

    My main interest is control functionality, not application skinning. I prefer for the OS theme or WindowBlinds to handle look and feel. Skinning in an ASP.NET application is important. I think it is less so in a desktop app. I suspect some developers who use the controls will not make up their own themes and will just use the default 'Telerik' style.

    The controls were not installed by default into my toolbox. It would be nice if a "Telerik WinForms Controls" toolbox group was created and populated.

    Seems like most of the control fonts default to MS Sans Serif. Ugh. I suggest going with Verdana or Tahoma for a more up to date look.

    In the end, I'm not sure if this suite is going to be right for my project. I heard of the suite through a slick, multi-page ad in MSDN. And I thought it would be a low impact, light set of Vista-style controls that are not native to the Framework.

    But it seems like the controls are more similar to other big suites on the market. It is a nice package, but I might end up using only 10% of the controls and still have to ship 7.5 MB of runtime assemblies. And isn't the market filled with dock, toolstrip and panel controls?

    I'm going to continue evaluating the controls. And I will keep watching the website for updates. But at this point I'm on the fence.

    Thanks for listening.

    -- Bryan Kinkel

  2. Vassil Petev
    Admin
    Vassil Petev avatar
    1765 posts

    Posted 25 Jan 2007 Link to this post

    Hello Bryan,

    Thank you for your extensive feedback. Let me try to address your concerns:

    sample project
    The samples come in a single application, similar to the way we present our ASP.NET controls (www.telerik.com/r.a.d.controls). The idea was to recognize the format of the samples, but with a different, more Vista-like looks. You have properly observed that it is a little slow at the moment, due primarily to the sheer number of examples. QSF optimization is one of the main tasks for the next major release, due in April. We are also planning on restructuring the examples to take less resources, and to be able to accommodate new controls and their respective examples. For example, a basic grid control will have at least 20 examples which, as you can imagine, will be quite a burden to the current app.
    Any suggestions on QSF optimizations are very welcome and will be properly rewarded.

    learning curve
    As with every new software one comes across, there is some learning. We will do our best to flatten the learning curve so that it is easy for our users to find the information they need faster and be able to understand the innerworkings of the product. What we are currently working on is:
    • enhancing the help manual - we will provide more How-To's and better description of the frameworks itself, as well as the API
    • video tutorials - WinForms video tutorials are in the works, hopefully we will have the first batch uploaded at the end of next week
    • Knowledge Base - this task is with high priority for the next release. We are still gathering customer cases and ideas which we will provide articles for, but the first articles will be live next week
    • we will also push the community to share their knowledge and implementations through our Code Library - this may not have a direct impact on the learning curve, but will surely help you with the development process.

    control functionality, not application skinning
    Our framework was build with both in mind - adding new functionality and creating new controls is quite easy. At the same time, you can easily skin the products to fit your case.
    Our research shows that skinning and animation are some the most cumbersome tasks that a developer has to do. This is the reason we have supplied a powerful (and easy, once you get the feeling of it) tool which you can use for this task - the Visual Style Builder. This tool can also separate development from design, so that developers and designers can focus on different parts of the application at the same time. As you can imagine this can cut costs in the long run, by shortening the time needed for development and design.

    As to core functionality, there are still many essential controls missing from the suite, namely a grid, a treeview, an editor, etc. These will gradually appear in the suite with each new major release so it will be a good idea to check back with us regularly to see how far we've got.

    installation
    The installation should have installed the controls in your VS2005 toolbox. We are not sure what the reason for not doing so is, but we will be glad to investigate it further if you provide us with more details on your machine and OS. Was your VS2005 running when you installed our controls? Did you have a Windows Form open in the designer when you checked for our controls? I am attaching a screenshot of what the toolbox looks like after a clean installation of our controls.

    our plans
    As noted above, we plan to add new controls to the suite with each new release, and we plan to add the most requested ones the soonest. Time will come when we will have all essential controls that are needed by a developer.

    Indeed, r.a.d.controls for WinForms could be viewed as "yet another WinForms suite" in their current form, however the benefits are not just in the products the suite offers any more. Rather the experience is becoming more and more important - how easy it is to use one suite vs another, how quickly can a control be set up and ran, how customizable it is, how much power you have over the product itself, and how much resources you have at your disposal (docs, articles, videos, live support, frequent bug fixes, personal care, etc). Our focus is not on being the "largest control set on the market". Rather telerik has managed to stand out of its competition be providing very good developer experience, many features, ease of use, and excellent support services.

    I hope that you will see the benefits of our WinForms controls with the new release, scheduled for April. If not, we will be happy to hear and discuss your thoughts on each new release.


    Sincerely yours,

    Rob
    the telerik team

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