Review: Instrumentation Studio for .NET

Instrumentation Studio for .NET
Century Soar
Beijing, China
+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 help file.

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.

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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