Review: ILOG Gantt for .NET
ILOG Gantt for .NET
starting at $3750
Moutain View, California
If you've ever looked at Microsoft Project, you know what a Gantt chart
is: it's that series of little bars representing activities and lines
representing dependencies that your manager uses to explain how you're
holding up the whole project. ILOG Gantt for .NET is a set of Windows
Forms components, and associated support classes, that you can use to
bring Gantt charts to your own applications.
There are actually quite a few controls here that all work together. In
addition to the Gantt chart, there's also a Schedule chart (for showing
time-oriented resource reservations), as well as a batch of constituent
controls that build up these more complex charts, and other goodies such
as a load chart and a time scale. These can all be recombined and even
extended (there are excellent tutorials on how to do this) to build much
more than just a Project clone in your application. Any time you want to
display reservations or dependencies or the way that a batch of small
things fit into big timeslots, this product probably has the pieces you
Underneath it all there's a modified MVC programming model, with
interfaces specified for everything that you need to worry about. They
provide an in-memory implementation of the necessary interfaces to get
you started (and, once again, instructions on extending it) as well as
built-in XML serialization. Another nice touch is classes to convert
from a standard DataSet to the in-memory model that ILOG Gantt for .NET
expects, so you can hook your charts up to anything that will supply you
with a DataSet.
The quality of both the library and the supporting materials is
excellent - this is easily one of the best-designed and -documented .NET libraries I've ever seen. Installation was trouble-free, and left me with a batch of
controls in the toolbox. This wasn't overwhelming because the help is
great, and there are sample applications and quickstarts as well as a
full set of tutorials. A lot of thought has clearly gone into making
this product flexible as well as powerful, and I like the way that it
ended up: the default controls will work well for most people, but when
you need to do something extra you probably can.
If you've got a need for these controls in your next .NET application,
you can sign up for an evaluation at the company's Web site.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.