or more than twenty years,
the foundations that have underpinned
Windows® development have remained stable.
From the original GDI introduced with Windows 1.0 in 1985
to the latest GDI+ refresh in 2005, a generation of users and
developers has become accustomed to the relatively simple
interfaces that can be built for Windows. In the rapidly
evolving world of software, few frameworks have proven
their value and withstood the test of time like GDI.
this stability has allowed us to amass a
wealth of resources and expertise that enable us to build
powerful Windows applications with relative ease. The applications
may not be the most visually stunning (especially
if the use of less accessible styling methods, such as using
bitmaps for buttons, is avoided), but they reliably get the
job done. We have learned to accept the limits of Windows
No overlapping objects
Limited transparency support
Limited object transformations
Difficult styling and control customization
“Good enough” is not
Times are changing,
though. With the introduction of WPF,
users are beginning to expect applications that match the
“clear and confident” interfaces of their operating system.
Traditional GDI-based experiences that have been “good
enough” for years now look strangely out of place and dated.
As developers, we must update our tools and skills to
meet these expectations or watch as our applications get
lost in a growing sea of visually impressive interfaces.
There are several ways developers
can respond to this changing environment:
nothing, deny reality
The easiest response is
to deny the importance of these new user experiences and insist that the
current Windows Forms styling is still good enough. Burying your head in the
sand won’t change the fact that your application looks dull, though, and your
users will quickly perceive your application as hard to use and behind the
Ditch WinForms and adopt WPF
Alternatively, developers can embrace Microsoft’s new
Windows development platform, WPF. WPF, introduced
with Windows Vista, has so far seen very slow adoption because
it radically changes the way applications are written
for Windows. To use WPF requires learning entirely new
programming languages and tools, like XAML and Blend.
Adopting WPF today means wasting years of Windows
Forms experience and starting over with a whole new development
platform- a platform that still has a very weak
visual IDE. Add to that the very specific .Net Framework
version required to run WPF applications and you’re facing
some serious hurdles to clear if you choose to adopt the
young WPF platform.
stunning visuals with Window Forms
Fortunately, there is a better alternative that blends the
visual styling of WPF with the familiar Windows Forms development
Telerik RadControls for
With RadControls for WinForms,
you can leverage all of your existing Windows Forms knowledge to build
applications that deliver the visually stunning experiences native to Vista.
Build modern applications that run on all versions of Windows- from 2000 to Vista- without using the WPF runtime.
The Telerik Presentation Framework (TPF), like Windows
Forms, runs on GDI+, but it uses advanced techniques to
unlock the full power of GDI. A simple API and one of a kind
design tools give developers easy access to these techniques
without requiring any advanced knowledge of GDI.
Without TPF, developers would need a strong grasp of the
GDI+ APIs to achieve similar visual effects in WinForms.
Telerik’s Presentation Framework is a highly efficient and
powerful visual rendering engine inspired by WPF best
practices. It bridges the gap between Windows Forms and
WPF, enabling you to deliver previously impossible visualizations
with unique characteristics:
Scaling, zooming, and rotation – You can manually
achieve these effects with GDI+, but by default they are
unaware of their surroundings. If a form is scaled, your
custom GDI element does not change, resulting in awkward-
often unusable- user interfaces. TPF is aware of its
surroundings, though, and automatically handles these
situations by intelligently updating elements and delivering
better user experiences.
Alpha-blending and transparency support – While visually
blending two objects is possible with GDI+, it is impossible
to control the transparency of nested Windows
controls. RadControls solves the problem, delivering
transparency through alpha-blending and transparency
of nested items. Easily control the transparency of any
RadItem via an Opacity property that affects text, border,
fill, and even SubItems.
Animations – Unique to Telerik’s Presentation Framework,
the RadControls animation engine allows any
property of type number, color, size, or rectangle on any
TPF control to be animated. Combined with Flash®-like
easings, TPF can deliver smooth animations and transitions
between control states that look much like WPF.
Shapes – the Shape Editor allows you to easily draw any
custom shape that you can imagine and apply that shape
to any RadControl UI element. It even supports Bezier
curves for complete control over your objects.
Application level skinning and themes – Unlike WPF,
the RadControls for WinForms includes a powerful Visual
Style Builder tool to help you maximize the visual impact
of your applications. Run from within Visual Studio® or
as a standalone utility, the Visual Style Builder allows
developers and designers to completely customize control
appearance and behavior without writing any code.
Customizations are saved in CSS-like XML files for easy
re-use throughout a project. RadControls for WinForms
brings another innovative theming feature to the Win-
Forms world – the ability to style entire applications with
a single click by blending the colors of existing themes
with matching colors.
Unlimited UI element nesting – Put a RadButton in a
RadMenu in a RadListBox. With the flexible and primitivesbased
TPF rendering engine, you can combine controls in
ways previously unthinkable in Windows Forms.
The RadControls suite includes over 50 unique tools that
take full advantage of these powerful UI features. From
the Office 2007 inspired RadRibbonBar to mainstays like
RadTreeView, RadGridView, RadScheduler, RadMenu, and
RadListBox to simple UI controls like buttons, textboxes,
and scrollbars, the suite includes everything you need to
quickly build WPF-like applications.
In no time you’ll have the slick WPF interface you never
thought possible- with the performance you still
demand, implemented in your Windows Forms application running
on all modern versions of Windows.
The future has arrived: WPF-style
controls for Windows Forms.
With the RadControls for WinForms you get most of the
benefits of WPF in the familiar Windows Forms environment.
You get a toolbox full of TPF controls, including the
high-performance RadGridView for WinForms. You get
powerfully easy configuration tools like the Visual Style
Builder and Shape Editor. You get to stop wishing you could
build visually stunning applications and you get to start
Test drive RadControls for WinForms today for free and
see for yourself how easy it is to give your application the
WPF-like interface you know it needs.