Solution Providers Rally Around WPF

With Microsoft's MIX 07 conference looming, vendors and partners show their support for Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation, Microsoft's presentation platform for Web developers and designers.

With Microsofts MIX 07 conference for Web developers and designers coming up the week of April 30, some companies are lining up to demonstrate their support for the Microsoft developer and designer platforms, including Lab49 and Infragistics.

Lab49, a consulting firm that specializes in building applications for global financial institutions, this week announced that it has formed a practice dedicated to developing WPF (Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation) applications for the financial services industry.

As an early adopter of WPF, the consultancy, which has offices in both New York and London, has been prototyping and applying WPF to financial applications since its introduction. The company claims to be the first consultancy to create a dedicated WPF practice within the financial services industry.

Initial client projects include developing a prototype for a buy-side order management system and an algorithmic trading workstation for a top investment bank, Lab49 officials said.

"The Microsoft .Net Framework 3.0 and Windows Presentation Foundation represent a powerful new toolset for creating better, more innovative applications, said Stevan Vidich, Industry Architect with Microsoft Financial Services. "Lab49 combines deep knowledge of the industry with hands-on experience in this new technology."

Daniel Chait, founder and director of Lab49, in a statement, said: "Current user interfaces, such as trade blotters and pricing screens, tend to pack traders monitors with dense, inflexible grids of numbers with little enrichment or visualization. They tend to present data, not information. WPF lowers the entry barrier for rich, attractive, visual and interactive GUIs [graphical user interfaces]. The technology harnesses the full power of todays graphics hardware to provide a fast and responsive visualization of data."

In addition, Matt Davey, director of technology at Lab49, said the company is using WPF to assist in providing advanced, real-time data virtualization for data mining and complex event recognition.

"WPF applications can be deployed on a wide variety of workstation configurations and leverage Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation [WCF] to interoperate with new and existing line-of-business applications on practically any operating system or application platform," Davey said in a statement.

"This deep integration enables applications to be richly connected to changing data and sensitive business processes."

Meanwhile, also this week, Infragistics, of Princeton, N.J., announced the availability of its NetAdvantage for WPF 2007 Volume 1, a toolset that extends the capabilities of the WPF platform by providing data grid-style controls for developers.

Moreover, by using the capabilities of the WPF platform such as vector-based graphics, subtle animation and high stylization capabilities, NetAdvantage for WPF gives developers the tools required to create applications with rich graphical interfaces, the company said.

"Infragistics extends the power of WPF by providing developers and designers with a set of familiar controls that are critical to enterprise scenarios," said Parimal Deshpande, senior product manager of WPF and Microsoft Silverlight at Microsoft, in a statement.

"The controls available in NetAdvantage give developers and designers the ability to easily take advantage of the power of WPF to enhance the user experience of their applications."

NetAdvantage for WPF includes the xamDataGrid a presentation control that supports many traditional grid UI features such as inline data editing, hierarchical data display, and sorting and grouping of data, the company said.

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In addition to xamDataGrid, the new Infragistics offering features xamDataPresenter controls, which include tools such as xamCarouselPanel that provide the base layout functionality. Meanwhile, the xamCarouselListBox merges the xamCarouselPanel with a traditional bound items list, allowing users to bind a flat list of data items to a control which leverages the layout capabilities of the xamCarouselPanel to position each item in the list.

And xamDataCarousel builds on the concepts of the xamCarouselListBox by offering a variety of enhancements including hierarchical data display and the sorting and grouping of data.

Additionally, the control automatically generates item templates based on the structure of the bound data, freeing the developer from this responsibility, Infragistics officials said. Also, the xamDataCarousel, xamCarouselListBox and xamCarouselPanel give developers and designers UI layout capabilities that were unavailable before WPF, the company said.

"Infragistics set out to develop tools that expand the power of the WPF Platform. NetAdvantage for WPF does just that by providing next-generation user experience," says Andrew Flick, Infragistics product manager for NetAdvantage for WPF.

"Our WPF controls are built from the ground up to leverage WPF platform features, including exciting high resolution graphics, rich styling and animation capabilities, and integrated UI virtualization technology," he said in a statement.

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