Review: Instrumentation Studio for .NET
Instrumentation Studio for .NET
+86 (10) - 8841 6081
One of the great success stories in the design of programming environments in
the last decade or so has been custom controls. There are zillions of vendors
out there who will help you dress up the user interface of your applications.
The latest venue for such things is the .NET application, and this particular
set of controls is designed to work with .NET Windows Forms - the vendor
provides sample code in both C# and VB .NET.
As you can probably guess from the name, Instrumentation Studio is a set of
controls (13 in all) that are suitable for industrial-looking user interfaces.
This includes guages, LEDs (both colored and numeric), odometers, sliders,
toggle switches, and so on. Since you can layer your own image files on top of
most of these (for example, the toggle lets you specify images for both ON and
OFF positions) you can use them to mimic the appearance of any piece of
equipment you happen to have hanging around. This in turn means that
computerizing and existing process can be done without a huge learning curve for
those who already know how to manipulate existing machinery.
I installed the controls and gave them a spin. The design experience is fine,
and the properties, methods, and events seem well-designed. There's a nice
little demo application that gives you a sense of possibilities as well. Century
Soar has packaged the controls up as separate DLLs, which means you only need to
redistribute the ones that you use (and the developer license includes unlimited
redistribution rights). Each control also comes with a basic but comprehensive
If you're doing cross-platform work, it's worth noting that they have the
same controls available in ActiveX and VCL versions as well. That could ease the
transition between different development environments considerably. There's also
a trial download available.
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.