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Jolt Awards 2014: The Best Programmer Libraries

, April 22, 2014 Astonishing collections of software bundled with superb design and coding tools
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Jolt Award: DevExpress Universal 13.2

Given the completeness and maturity of the many components in this year's packages, the Libraries category was tough going for the judges. However, one vendor's component suite made a stunning impact with its leaps in forward-thinking and polished presentation. DevExpress has been in the running for the top slot in the Jolt Libraries award for some time, but this year they have captured lightning in a bottle and were deemed the winner by a large margin.

What made their suite so compelling was their full embrace of the latest Web and development framework standards, their refinement of existing components to work beautifully and predictably across multiple platforms, excellent documentation support, and their exciting new additions such as inline form editing, a spreadsheet component with nearly as much functionality as Microsoft Excel (including charts, mail-merge, and PDF export), flyout panels, Windows 8-style Tile Control (with nearly 50 templates to choose from),and Live Tile manager component, a WidgetView document manager, overlay task bar assistant, PDF viewer control, and app themes to name a few. They have also revisited the controls like the Date and Time pickers and toggle switches to make them more touch-friendly via expanded target spacing for easier selection on Microsoft Surface and other Windows tablet devices.

Also new are the control designer UI updates that provide a consistent look and usability across the design-time dialogs, a new WinForms data source wizard, a FormAssistant component to specify form types and skins…and that's just the additions to the WinForms compilation. The Universal package also includes significant updates and new ASP.NET controls (such as the Grid Batch Editing, Ribbon, and Spreadsheet controls), MVC themes and enhancements, WPF, Silverlight, and Windows 8 XAML updates. DevExpress Universal also includes a powerful reporting suite that makes document viewing (preprinted and form print preview) a breeze. But most notable, the suite includes a powerful document server that supports spreadsheets, a variety of document types (Word, PDF, XML, EPUB, etc.), a Snap Reports and Barcode generator, and even a compression/archive generator and unit converter.

You can view all these components in action via videos and browser-based live demonstrations by visiting the devexpress.com website. You're likely to find yourself as impressed as we were. That is, simply stunned by the vast amount of functionality delivered in this library packaged with remarkable polish and attention to details. As mentioned in the first slide, DevExpress won the Jolt Award this year hands-down. It is unquestionably the best package in this category. — Mike Riley

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