NetAdvantage for .NET
Christopher Lukose, Corporate Trainer
Infragistics has been one of the leading Microsoft component vendors since the early days of Visual Basic. As Microsoft's underlying component technologies have changed, Infragistic has not only kept pace but has been a rapid implementer of Microsoft's cutting-edge specifications. It comes as no surprise, then, that Infragistics' collection of NetAdvantage for .NET component suite represents the culmination of their expertise with a polish that sets the standard for other component vendors to follow. This suite contains something for every .NET developer: from the vast collection of over 85 unique components and XML-based AppStylist for Windows Forms, to its superior ASP.NET components.
A hallmark of all Infragistics controls are their clean design, easy to use UI wizards, comprehensive documentation, and a plethora of working code examples that can often be cut and pasted into an existing project for immediate executable effect. There are even full-blown working applications such as Infragistics Portfolio Manager that not only seamlessly showcases the controls in action but also educates on .NET programming best practices. NetAdvantage simply represents a superb collection of high-quality software engineering and a must-have inclusion in any serious .NET developer's toolbox.
Like they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words." So when it comes to exposing data in a way that makes it easily and efficiently assimilated by the end user, a graphical representation is often the best option.
Whether the need is to build an end-user application or an internal ad hoc tool, Ilog's JViews is the one-stop solution to deal with visualization needs of all kinds. Capable of handling large volumes of data and ready for real-time applications, the different components of the JViews family covers the following areas: diagramming, maps, planning and scheduling, charts, telecom networks, and defense maps. For each of these areas, a wealth of rendering options is available.
Three major deployment models are supported: standalone GUI, AJAX-enabled web, and Eclipse integrated. JViews components come complete with authoring tools, like the Dashboard Editor or the Eclipse-based Diagrammer that complements the software development kits.
.NET Framework 3.0
It has been a busy year for Microsoft. With the new release of its flagship operating system, their commitment to all things .NET has been renewed with an updated SDK to match the innovations embedded in Microsoft Vista. While it's possible for Windows XP developers to take advantage of some of the power the new .NET Framework 3.0 has to offer, additions such as Windows Cardspace, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation, and especially Windows Presentation Foundation were optimized for the Windows Vista experience. Consequently, the new version may not be as rapidly embraced by those individuals seeking the significant improvements made between .NET 1.x and 2.0, but there are enough new libraries to the framework to warrant the labeling and recognition of a full point update. Most striking is the fact that these additions cover such a broad span of IT professional needs, with a lot of new technologies waiting to be mastered.
Intel Threading Building Blocks
With the advent of multi-core CPUs, the need for multithreading capable code has become compelling. But the traps and pitfalls are numerous for the developer willing to tap this surge of computing power. Lurking anti-patterns and counter-intuitive behaviors, coupled with the lack of thread-aware semantics in common programming languages, make this journey a perilous one.
Enter Intel Threading Building Blocks, a cross-platform C++ components library from Intel Corporation, Santa Clara. From synchronization primitives to thread-safe collections, this library allows developers to work with thread-aware building blocks and benefit from their solid implementation. Furthermore, the library also contains a set of generic parallel algorithms that is a neat invitation to go further in the quest of scalability.
Complete with one year of Intel Premier Support, this library will complement advantageously the toolbox of any C++ developer having to deal with parallelized and multithreaded application.