NetAdvantage for ASP.NET Product Changes in 2011 Volume 2

[Infragistics] Murtaza Abdeali / Thursday, November 17, 2011

Infragistics has been developing ASP.NET controls since the ASP.NET framework was released during early 2000s. Since then, we have provided the toolset that have helped web developers take advantage of the Microsoft’s web platform, combined with the RAD environment & tooling for Visual Studio to build rich, interactive web applications. A lot has changed since then, ASP.NET framework has undergone 5 iterations, IE is no longer the dominant browser in the public space, Visual Studio has gone through 4 iterations, and from the client technology front there have been numerous updates on HTML standards, CSS, AJAX frameworks. Today, the web talks are all about JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3 and the modern browsers including Mobile Web.

These are a lot of changes, almost all the web elements from browsers, to frameworks to the client technologies have gone through iterations, the toolset that Infragistics started developing almost a decade ago was faced with some major challenges to keep up with all of these updates. The controls were not designed in a way that it could accommodate all these changes as they were happening and the code was becoming fragile as we continue to make tweaks to expand our reach as much as we could. We did not update the classic controls to support Web Kit browsers like Safari & Chrome because it would’ve required major rewriting of our rendering engine, which would pretty much mean breaking a lot of existing applications. Hence, we decided to build a new framework based on latest standard with performance in mind and modern browser support, named Aikido. We started developing the framework in late 2007 and since then any new controls we’ve shipped has been based on this new Framework.

We started addressing the sunset plans for some of the ASP.NET controls with a blog that I posted early last year. We do understand that this affects many of you, and we will continue to provide support as much as we can in this area. Input and feedback have been really helpful in making sure we make this transition and change as easy as possible for customers who plan to upgrade to our lasted framework stack. Here are some of the commonly questions asked:

What controls are retiring?

After going through the list of all the ASP.NET controls, the following controls were flagged as classic due to the fact that the code base was old and we were not able to expand browser reach on those.

  • WebGrid
  • WebCombo
  • WebDateChooser
  • WebListBar
  • WebCalendar
  • WebToolbar
  • UltraWebTab
  • WebDataInput
    • WebTextEdit
    • WebMaskEdit
    • WebNumericEdit
    • WebDateTimeEdit
    • WebPercentEdit
    • WebCurrencyEdit
  • WebMenu
  • WebTree
  • WARP Panel
  • WebPanel
  • WebNavBar
  • WebWeekView
  • WebGridExcelExporter
  • WebGridDocumentExporter

What is the sunset policy?

The details of the sunset policy & timeframe have been posted on my blog. The controls listed above are no longer part of the product starting 2011 Volume 2 release. These controls are going to be maintained until June of 2012. Developer support on these controls will be available until Q1 of 2014. Since 2010 Volume 1, these controls were taken out of the Visual Studio toolbox, if you need to locate them in prior releases, refer to this help article.

What options do I have?

You don’t have to upgrade if you don’t need to. The controls support the latest versions of Firefox and IE, so if these two are your primary browser targets, then you continue to maintain your existing applications. If you are looking at upgrading application framework over to ASP.NET MVC or are planning to do pure client-side UI development using JavaScript or jQuery, then check out our NetAdvantage for jQuery product, it is meant to cater to such type of web development needs.

On the other hand, if you want to continue to develop on ASP.NET Web Forms and have a need to take your application to Web Kit browsers or take advantage of the Aikido architecture like light weighted ness, and more standard compliance controls, then you’d have to replace the old control with the new one, and wire up the client and server events and functionality accordingly. Here are the one on one replacement for the controls that we are retiring:

 

Classic ASP.NET Control

New Aikido-Based Controls/Replacement

WebGrid

WebDataGrid , WebHierarchicalDataGrid

WebCombo

WebDropDown

WebDateChooser

WebDatePicker

WebListBar

WebExplorerBar

WebCalendar

WebMonthCalendar

WebToolbar

WebDataMenu

UltraWebTab

WebTab

WebTextEdit

WebTextEditor

WebMaskEdit

WebMaskEditor

WebNumericEdit

WebNumericEditor

WebDateTimeEdit

WebDateTimeEditor

WebPercentEdit

WebPercentEditor

WebCurrencyEdit

WebCurrencyEditor

WebMenu

WebDataMenu

WebTree

WebDataTree

WARP Panel

MS Update Panel

WebPanel

WebExplorerBar

WebNavBar

Custom Pager Templates with Aikido Grids

WebWeekView

Old UI, No longer supported in MS Outlook

WebGridExcelExporter

WebExcelExporter

WebGridDocumentExporter

WebDocumentExporter

I am in the middle of migrating over to the new toolset, how can I use both Classic & New Controls?

You can continue to use both the controls if you are on 2011 Volume 1 or earlier. Starting 2011 Volume 2, the classic controls are no longer going to be part of the product. Hence, in order to continue to maintain your applications that use classic controls, we have hosted “Version-Less” assemblies of them. It may require manual upgrade of your projects, but will allow you to continue to use classic controls until you are fully migrated over to the new toolset. You can download the version-less assemblies from the links below.

If you are on CLR 4 you need only assemblies for CLR 4

If you are on CLR 3.5, you'll need assemblies for CLR 3.5 (2011 Volume 1) and assemblies for CLR 3.5 (2011 Volume 2)

You will find an upgrade guide in the zip which contains instructions on how to apply these assemblies to your projects.

Where can I find help migrating to new controls?

Based on the feedback we’ve gotten so far, most of the customers find the grid control replacement to play a major role in the upgrade since it has the most code written around it, rest of the controls are fairly easy to move up. We have created a cheat sheet to help out understand the features and functionality of the new grid and how to configure them.

http://community.infragistics.com/blogs/craig_shoemaker/archive/2011/07/11/introducing-the-webdatagrid-webhierarchicaldatagrid-cheat-sheet.aspx

We’ve record a bunch of videos on the new grids and have posted it at our community site. http://community.infragistics.com/aspnet/media/default.aspx?tags=webdatagrid&Sort=Rating&PageIndex=1

Does the new grid support all the features of the old grid?

One of the things we’ve worked on side-by-side during the sunset planning is maintaining a feature parity matrix. This allows us to have the new grid be compatible to the most commonly used features available as the old one before we retired it. After you go through the list, you will find that the new grids have some features that the classic UltraWebGrid was never able to support.

 

Feature

UltraWebGrid

WebDataGrid

WebHierarchicalDataGrid

Hierarchy

yes

NA

yes

Editing

yes

yes

yes

AJAX

yes

yes

yes

--Load On Demand

yes

yes

yes

----Manual

yes

yes

yes

----Automatic

yes

yes

yes

--AJAX Events

yes

yes

yes

--Virtual Scrolling

yes

yes

no

Templating

yes

yes

yes

--Column Template

yes

yes

yes

--Header Template

yes

yes

yes

--Footer Template

yes

yes

yes

--Empty Template

no

yes

yes

--Error Template

no

yes

yes

--Instantiating at Runtime

yes

yes

yes

--Access Template Controls

yes

yes

yes

--Band Templates

no

no

no

Bound Mode

yes

yes

yes

--DataSet

yes

yes

yes

----DataTable

yes

yes

yes

--IEnumerable

yes

yes

yes

--Self Related tables

no

NA

yes

--DomainDataSource

no

yes

yes

--AccessDataSource

yes

yes

yes

--SqlDataSource

yes

yes

yes

--ObjectDataSource

yes

yes

yes

--LinqDataSource

yes

yes

yes

--XmlDataSource

yes

NA

yes

--HierarchicalDataSource

yes

NA

yes

Unbound Mode

yes

yes

yes

Client Side Functionality

yes

yes

yes

--Adding Rows/Events

yes

yes

yes

--Editing Rows/Events

yes

yes

yes

--Deleting Rows/Events

yes

yes

yes

--Cell/Row/Column Selection

yes

yes

yes

--Keyboard Events

yes

yes

yes

--Mouse Events

yes

yes

yes

--Dynamic Styling

yes

yes

yes

--Cancel Actions

yes

yes

yes

Validation Support

yes

yes

yes

Hidden Columns

yes

yes

yes

Unbound Columns

yes

yes

yes

Merged Cells

yes

CTP

CTP

MultiColumn Headers

yes

Yes

yes

Copy and Paste

yes

Yes

yes

Keyboard Navigation

yes

yes

yes

508 Compliance

yes

yes

yes

Export to Excel

yes

yes

yes

Export to PDF

yes

yes

yes

Paging

yes

yes

yes

--Custom Paging

yes

yes

yes

--Child Band Paging

no

NA

yes

Filtering

yes

yes

yes

Summary

yes

yes

yes

Client side data binding

no

yes

no

Pinned Columns left

yes

yes

no

--Pinned Columns right

no

yes

no

Column Resizing

yes

yes

yes

Column Moving

yes

yes

yes

Tooltips

yes

yes

yes

Sorting

yes

yes

yes

Selection

yes

yes

yes

Activation

yes

yes

yes

Styling

yes

yes

yes

--Css

yes

yes

yes

--AppStyling

yes

yes

yes

--Presets

yes

no

no

Internet Explorer

yes

yes

yes

Firefox

yes

yes

yes

Safari

no

yes

yes

Chrome

no

yes

yes

CRUD

yes

yes

yes

--Auto

yes

yes

yes

--Manual

yes

yes

yes

Switching Data Sources Dynamically

yes

yes

yes

Row Selector

yes

yes

yes

Custom Schema

yes

yes

yes

Row numbering

yes

yes

yes

CalcManager support

yes

no

no

Stationary header/footer

yes

yes

yes

Null text

yes

yes

yes

Saving/loading client profile (layout)

no

yes

yes

Multi-row summaries

no

yes

yes

Ajax (loading) indicator

yes

yes

yes

What is the future of ASP.NET toolset?
We are fully committed to our ASP.NET product and the future of web technologies. We want to continue helping you be even more successful using the Infragistics ASP.NET tools.  This change allows us to focus exclusively on the new, modern Aikido based toolset for Web Forms developers and also our latest jQuery/HTML5 based toolset released under NetAdvantage for jQuery. We will continue to innovate as well as maintaining our market leading data grid rendering performance. As we build out new controls which target modern, RIA scenarios, we will also continue to build more of the rich, high performing line of business controls which target modern browsers and enterprise applications. 

Lastly, I just wanted to let you know that this decision was not an easy one for us, but something we have to do given the market trends and needs. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to reach out to me at murtazaa@infragistics.com