What are the general thoughts on the 2008v1 release so far? We have just started to use it and don't really see much new or improved. Are there any massive improvements?
Right now we are tryign to decide to renew our subscription or move on to another suite such as Telerik.
The Infragisitcs controsl have been ok and we have usedthem for years but overall they are very heavy for web use and more complex than they need to be. Support and sample code is also weak in our view.
Our thoughts are very much the same as yours i.e. we don't really see any massive new or improved features.
The only real benefit for us is that 2008v1 has resolved a lot of the incompatibility issues when using earlier versions with visual studio 2008!
We are also thinking about moving on to another suite, mainly due to the lack of documentation, comprehensive coding examples and support.
The controls are good, but it just takes too long to learn about how to use them and all of their little nuances. In order to find out more about a particular control, we find ourselves trawling the internet and infragistics forum most of the day. This is both ridiculous and too time consuming. It puts us under the impression that, with the lack of good example code, they really are trying to pedal their training courses. I recently received an advertisement for two of their courses running at about £1000+ each for 2 days training!!! This not only seems like a lot of money but I'm also very dubious about how much could realistically be achieved in those 2 days, given that, at the moment, it takes us about that to learn just "one" control by ourselves!!!
Besides windows form applications, we are also developing a one touch web application. We don't intend to use any of the controls for the web app due to the enormous overhead that they add.
I can't debate the perceived value you all have because everybody's looking for different things and maybe won't care about X but will care about N.
But just so you know, from a purely factual perspective, here's the high-level list of things added in the last year with links to more details. [I'm limiting the list to ASP.NET because that seems to be the focus here, but you can get this info for others on the product New Features pages--there's a list at the bottom to previous new features lists.]
New in 2007 Volume 1
New in 2007 Volume 2
New in 2007 Volume 3
Throughout last year, we were also building, refining, and improving (and providing public CTPs) of our new Aikido framework, which is key to the future of ASP.NET at Infragistics. Our major design goals for Aikido are:
New in 2008 Volume 1
We've also been working to improve and enhance our samples, docs, online community resources, UX, dev support, and overall quality, and we have an ongoing commitment to continue those improvements as well. With a deep, feature-rich set of tools like we have, there is bound to be a learning curve no matter how you slice it, but we are working to minimize that curve. Given the vastness of what we have in place and the need for backwards compatibility, some improvements will take time to see their full effects, but we are listening to your feedback and we are acting on it.
I list the stuff in the last year because that's what you need to consider when considering whether to re-up a subscription. We work hard to keep delivering real value to our subscribers year over year. Just looking at one release, since we release 3x a year, doesn't give you the full picture for judging whether or not to renew.
As I said, I'm not intending to dispute your perceived value; you all have to make that judgment on your own based on your needs and experiences. I just wanted to point you to relevant data to help make your decision.
Hope this helps.
With all due respect to the requirements for maintaining complex software, I'd have to say that one of our primary observations about Infragistics products is that the steak has frequently fallen short of the sizzle. Our Senior Engineer with 25+ years of programming experience on the 80X processor family remarks frequently that Infragistics should spend about half the time they spend on their web presence and sales efforts on the development of the product. When our techs finally decipher the toolset, it's easy to achieve impressive results, but we often wonder whether we may have been able to do something similar in a comparable amount of time without the 3rd party tool. Under circumstances like this, payout begins only with the second or third project accomplished with the tool, and only then when it's done by the same technician.
Your observation that the 2008v1 product seems not to hold much substantial change over past releases is one that I've, personally, made with prior releases. The ever-present critique that it seems all-too-apparent that nobody on the design team ever revisits documentation with an eye toward continuous improvement seems so hackneyed that it now seems a foregone conclusion that mentioning it will do absolutely no good whatsoever.
Here's a workflow statistic: When we put new technicians to work with infragistics tools, IN EXCESS of 73% of their tool time is spent viewing the help documentation. By comparision, when we receive new MS releases (for instance our recent adoption of .NET 3.5 or VS2008) new technicians spend about 18% of their tool time in help systems. We're now several generations into the ASP.NET product line from Infragistics and still don't have context-sensitive help (or even easily-searchable help, for that matter.) This type of documentation is fine for in-house solutions where the majority of help documentation viewers are already familiar with API and technique, but it's woefully inadequate for efficient production use.
Infragistics pushes hard for developers to adopt annual subscriptions to their packages, but after our first experience with it, we quickly decided that it would be highly undesirable to pay far more than we pay for a tool like VS2008 Professional Edition for a toolset that lacks the polish and attention to detail that IG should be backpushing with every release. Someone at IG might invest some well-spent time reviewing how to detail existing offerings during a development cycle rather than adding new features with weak appeal and heavy potential for regression.
That's my .02 worth, this is our 5th year using IG products, and our second annual release purchase.
Jason LockridgeSr. ProgrammerSmithSystems, Inc.Los Angeles, CA
I have to agree that the learning curve for Infragistics controls can be fairly steep. I have been using IG controls for Win and WebForms for some years, and have a fair understanding of the controls I use. Learning any new controls can be somewhat daunting, and can consume large amounts of development time.
I also use controls from other supliers, and have found the experience to be fairly similar.
The easiest way a developer can learn a control is to see it in action. OK, I know IG has examples etc, but these tend to show many controls being used simultaneously and only cover perhaps a single aspect of the control a developer may be interested in.
A much better way would be to have many simple examples in a library. On release of a control, IG could produce a few examples of the control being used. Then when a developer runs into trouble trying to use the control, either IG or a forum contributer could provide a solution example. In this way a shared libary of simple examples could be quickly assembled, providing both old and new developers with an easier learning curve.
So, what about it IG ? Would you create a contributable library in these forums ?
Based on your description, I'm wondering if you've seen what we call our "feature browsers." They are typically very focused in on single control, single feature samples, more like what you are describing, I think.
As for community samples--totally! I think it'd be awesome for folks to contribute those. In fact, you should be able to do that here and now on these forums. If you click on the Options tab while posting, you can attach a file there, which could easily be a ZIP w/ a sample. We do have a limit, IIRC, on size, but it should be high enough for most targeted samples.
We can also take anyone's samples to share on our community site if you like. We don't have a way for you to post there directly right now, but we're more than happy to facilitate that.
Keep the good ideas coming.