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Jeremy Murtishaw
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Jeremy Murtishaw asked on 09 Sep 2009, 05:52 AM
Hello Telerik,

I'd like to put a vote in for a FlowChart product. I've actually seen a few places where you guys have mentioned that you were coming out with one, so I'd like to know if it's still in the works. Our group is likely to pay a good deal for another product, simply to get a FlowChart and I know that it will be much worse than one you guys would put together. Some good news in this area would be wonderful.

Here's a link to a page with some diagrams like what we're looking for: http://www.lassalle.com/products.htm#Layout

Specifically, the ones like the hierarchical layout at the bottom would be great!

Thanks!
Jeremy

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Mike
Telerik team
answered on 11 Sep 2009, 09:09 AM
Hello Jeremy Murtishaw,

Thank you for the suggestion. We will consider adding a product you refer in our roadmap. However, it will be very helpful if you can elaborate a bit more on this control. For example, what are the scenarios you wish to use it, how much data will you generally displaying in it, what interaction would you expect to have with this control and so on.

Another interesting question is whether you are considering not only WinForms, but also WPF for this specific case, as we know it should be possible to use two technologies together in such scenarios?

Sincerely yours,
Mike
the Telerik team

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Jeremy Murtishaw
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answered on 11 Sep 2009, 09:55 AM
Hi Mike,

I'd be happy to elaborate.

Our group is not so much interested in creating or allowing users to create 'flowcharts' per se, but rather with the spatial representation of data. I think that one of telerik's few weaknesses right now is their over-reliance on controls that provide navigation and organization, and a minor lack of controls that present information in unique ways. Obviously the gridview is a major one, and RadChart exists for certain types of data, but there are many interesting ways to present data that are not covered. This one is a bit futuristic, but I'm sure Telerik could do it really well.

In our case, as I said, we're trying to display complex data hierarchies in a spatial representation. The data is coming from a non-relational system, and in its native environment exists much like a network of complex tree structures. As such, the tree layouts of these products are very valuable. The one twist is that the links between data in this database can violate some tree conventions, such as only one parent per node, etc. As such, some of the more advanced layouts are needed, and now performance enters into it. I have tried the top products available, and although their performance is quite good, it is likely helped by the limited graphics capabilities, which in our case, do not matter much, so we are somewhat satisfied. We are typically presenting anywhere from 10 to 1000 nodes, with as many links between them. 

If Telerik attempts to create such a product, I have a few suggestions. First, design with performance in mind, and allow the client to scale back the features [especially graphics ones] to achieve maximum performance if needed. Second, most layout algorithms are in the public domain, so incorporate a bunch of them from the outset to satisfy as many needs as possible. I really like MindFusion's Simulated Annealing algorithm and AddFlow's Hierarchical Layout, but I'm sure both of these are based on published algorithms. Also, since this control is really just a single view with self-contained nodes, links and images, it shouldn't require much integration with other components, and the first version should be somewhat self contained, with additional capabilities perhaps added over time, with measured cost against the performance, etc. Finally, make sure to handle simple events like right-click context menus and other basics, without forgetting any. Both of these other companies did!

With regards to WPF, I'm unfortunately not very learned on WPF. Can you explain how these two technologies can be used together? Can I incorporate WPF controls into winForms and vice-versa? Are there any products that Telerik has for WPF that are not found in winForms?

Thanks!
Jeremy
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Mike
Telerik team
answered on 17 Sep 2009, 11:51 AM
Hello Jeremy Murtishaw,

Thank you for getting back to us with this detailed explanation about the tool you need. The guys at Microsoft made WPf/WInForms interoperability very easy. We have a demo that may give you an idea how to use WPF inside WinForms app with RadControls:

http://blogs.telerik.com/martinvassilev/posts/08-10-24/host_telerik_rsquo_s_wpf_gauges_and_charts_in_radgridview_for_winforms.aspx

And the opposite - WinForms controls in a WPF app:
http://blogs.telerik.com/hristokosev/posts/08-02-20/have_a_safe_trip_from_winforms_to_wpf.aspx

As to our WPF offering, you can find details here:
http://www.telerik.com/products/wpf.aspx

We still do not have any product like the one you suggested for our roadmap, but our WPF offering is expanding very quickly and it will continue to do so. Thus, having in mind the product you wish and how heavy it would rely on graphics capabilities of the platform, it is much more likely that you find this product in our WPF offering sooner than in WinForms.

Please, feel free to share with us any thoughts that may arise about this product. We will gladly consider all good ideas for our future roadmaps.

Best wishes,
Mike
the Telerik team

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