Reviews

Review: ILOG Gantt for .NET

ILOG Gantt for .NET
starting at $3750
ILOG
Moutain View, California
(650) 567-8000
www.ilog.com

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 need.

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.

About the Author

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.

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