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Infragistics bows NetAdvantage 2004 for 'fit and polish'

It wasn't too very long ago that the Web browser became "the ubiquitous client." The immediate result was a shift to server-side development and a catch-as-catch-can approach to user interfaces.

Now, as bosses worry about poor end-user productivity, a more deliberate approach to useful interfaces is beginning to appear. But the broad mass of developers tends to excel more on the logic side and less on the presentation side. It is pretty difficult for most developers to build interfaces with world-class look and feel, but that may be what is needed.

Moreover, there are fewer "widget-side" tools vendors ready to pick up the slack than in the past. Among those tools makers that have stayed the course is Infragistics.

Infragistics recently began shipping Infragistics NetAdvantage 2004 Volume 2, a toolset for developing user interfaces for Windows Forms, ASP.NET and COM. According to company representatives, the Infragistics architecture, based on shared assemblies and common object models, goes a long way toward easing the task of user interface development. Importantly, the end result has a look and feel that is familiar to end users.

The NetAdvantage process, as described by Brad McCabe, chief evangelist and director of development at Infragistics, allows a developer to configure the complex or simple settings of an element through a step-by-step process where no more than seven or eight properties are presented to a user at a time. An AutoContent Wizard, said McCabe, lets teams create libraries of presets to help enforce design standards across applications.

As McCabe told Programmers Report at Microsoft Tech-Ed earlier this year: "Fit, finish and polish is starting to take over."

Gartner Research Vice President Mark Driver estimates that from 25% to nearly 40% of overall time and effort through the development process is somehow related to the presentation layer. While that estimate may be high, there is little question that successes in presentation development provide inordinate returns on effort.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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