Review: Iron Speed Designer
page 1 of 8
Published: 01 Jun 2005
Unedited - Community Contributed
Abstract
A walkthrough and review of a powerful Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool for ASP.NET, Iron Speed Designer.
by Steven Smith
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Introduction

Iron Speed Designer is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool developed by Iron Speed Inc. Unlike many similar products I’ve encountered and worked with, Iron Speed Designer has immense breadth and depth of coverage and details. It’s been my experience that a particular tool might be good at generating a data access layer, or providing some simple UI for managing the contents of a table. Another might have decent documentation or supporting samples and videos. One of the things that immediately struck me about Iron Speed’s product is that it includes all of these things in a single package. Their designer handles the data access layer as well as the user interface, and includes very detailed wizards, documentation, and even video walkthroughs.

In order to put the product through its paces, I constructed a simple link management administration site using the tool. This was a real-world requirement of mine, albeit a fairly simple one.


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User Comments

Title: Licensing Issues   
Name: Richard Buehler
Date: 2012-11-23 6:36:10 PM
Comment:
I have had several issues with there licensing model. There attitude is everyone is a thief and make using a product you have purchased imposable to use at time.

I have used it to develope several applications BUT several time has become unregistered resulting in loss of revenue on my part. Twice I was told theye were having problems with there servers, once I was told it was my fault because I joined my desktop to a domain. And the latest I dont know because all I get is voice mail, and I am dead in the water unable to respond to a clients request to make a change.

For what I have used it for it's a goog product but their licensing is so bad that it causes loss of revenue.
Title: Penny wise, pound foolish   
Name: Laura
Date: 2010-10-21 4:49:24 PM
Comment:
I disagree with the comments that ISD improves productivity. The time saved up front in rapid development will be spent on maintenance and troubleshooting down the road. In my experience, making a small change such as adding or removing a column from a page often leads to errors. For example, stored procedures will be regenerated incorrectly and I have to manually fix the code. Troubleshooting is a nightmare because of the volume of code generated. Try running an ISD application in Visual Studio and hitting F10 thousands of times to find the one line of code that isn't working.

Although you can write custom code, even experienced .NET developers will find that there is a learning curve to understanding the ISD object model. Add to that the fact that upgrading an application from previous versions of ISD will more often than not break the application. This means you have to keep multiple versions of ISD on your development machine. As the code model can change quite a bit from one major version to the next, you have to know how to write custom code for each version.

To sum up, in my experience working with Ironspeed has been a frustrating experience. Fortunately my department heads have decided not to do new development in this tool.
Title: Webwonk   
Name: Ed Dzgrenik
Date: 2010-08-23 6:13:34 PM
Comment:
I fully agree with the comments on what a great .NET developer productivity tool ISD is. My only issue has been with their draconian licensing practices. One memorable incident was when I needed to do a full OS reinstall of my PC after a system crash. Upon reinstalling ISD, it required a license reset.

When I complained by phone and email to the rude female VP in charge of sales(!) she told me that I should have had the foresight to back up my ISD install so I could just copy over the licensing config files. Hmmm.

She then told me that ISD support techs would not reactivate my license w/o chg., as my tech support had lapsed. I responded that my company and I had paid thousands of $$$ US over the years for ISD and should not have to pay again for additional support for a product we had already licensed. She handed me off to an underling in a huff and refused to answer any further emails.

I requested that her subordinate provide me with contact info. for their CEO so I could complain about his licensing practices and his rude VP's distinct lack of "customer service" and tell him that it just MIGHT be costing his company big bucks. No CEO contact info. was available from their web site and the support person refused to provide me with any. I told them that was the last time I was going to spend a penny on their product until they junked the DRM-Nazi mentality and methods -- and started treating their customers with more respect.
Title: Top Notch Product and Company   
Name: Jeremy Scrime
Date: 2010-06-28 8:54:08 AM
Comment:
I have been using Iron Speed since the late 3.x versions and have been amazed each time a new release comes out. The company is dedicated to making this product the best RAD tool for .Net Development bar none. They listen to their customers, they participate in the Forums, they actively give demos of the product and features. They have a dedicated user community that pushes the product to continuely grow and get better.

I don't see how anyone would want to hand code the 80% of the code that this tool is able to do for you in a consistent, quality tested, reusuable fashion.

I consider our IT Shop small and without this tool we would not be able to develop the 20 plus .Net applications we currently have in production. The small size of our IT department did not deter the President of Iron Speed scheduling a conference call on his request with us to get feedback on our experience with the product. That's only happened with one other development tool in my 14+ years of being a programmer and speaks volumes towards the dedication this company has in producing a superb product.
Title: Best Agile Development Platform in the Market   
Name: Akesh Gupta
Date: 2010-06-26 5:17:36 PM
Comment:
Our team has used Iron Speed Designer since their version 1.x to design and develop Enterprise Ready Web Applications for Fortune 500 companies during the last six years.

Like any other product, there are positives and negatives. By focusing on positives, we have been able to do the impossibles in a record time.

As most of the developers have found it out from their experience that it is easy to develop than to modify and support (and hence very few teams are willing to provide support and maintenance). With Iron Speed Designer, the maintenance of any project becomes quite easy and leads to long term client relationship.

If you don't plan a project, it will be tough to manage it and Iron Speed Designer is no exception. Iron Speed Designer is not a magic wand which can make things happen like a magic. It is indeed a very creative tool which can generate applications with consistency. Using Iron Speed Designer cuts down on our QA and Testing time tremendously.

As a novice user can't develop applications in Visual Studio very quickly without experience, it is the same in Iron Speed Designer.

From our experience, if you are looking to design and develop an application in agile methodology, Iron Speed Designer is the perfect product.

Over the last six years, it has come a long way and the feature list keeps growing.
Title: Old review and coments   
Name: James Whistler
Date: 2010-06-25 6:36:56 AM
Comment:
The review in this article is now quite old and the Designer product has developed significantly since this article was published. If you are new to the product, and at all interested in the potential of Iron Speed Designer, I would thoroughly recommend that you visit their site to understand all of the new features available.

Designer is an outstanding product and has enabled us to build applications of high quality, at great speed and at low cost to our clients. In short, in has enabled us to compete for, and win, projects which we would otherwise have never found profitable.

Daniel's blog entry below mentions some drawbacks of using the product which suggest some misunderstanding on his part. Repositioning screen controls such as menus or buttons can be done with simple drag-and-drop functionality; it really couldn't be any easier. He also states that re-generating an application overwrites customisations and that these have to be re-done. This simply is not the case. Designer goes to enormous lengths to ensure that customisations are not overwritten; to a far greater extent than any code generator I've used.

I write as an Iron Speed MVP and as a long-time user of the product. As such, it may be that you consider my comments to be unfairly biased in favour of it. However I am not an employee of Iron Speed but run an independent consultancy who make extensive use of Designer. My positive comments on the product simply come from a strong belief in its abilities.

I can't comment on the sales experiences of some of those making comments here but, if you are in the market for a code-generator for ASP .Net, I would thoroughly recommend you take a look at Iron Speed Designer. It's the best product available by some margin.
Title: Iron Speed Designer 7   
Name: Jay
Date: 2010-06-24 5:11:42 PM
Comment:
No tool is a silver bullet, but Iron Speed Designer certainly fills a need when designing data oriented applications. You really have to consider the trade offs. Hand code all that logic vs generating an application that help you hit the ground running.

With version 7 you now have:
* In addition to 'web site' projects (non- .csproj and .vbproj), the ability to generate Web Application project and also deploy to SharePoint
* Formulas to reduce the amount of custom coding
* A menu configuration tool for your Manu.Sitemap

Other items worth mentioning:
* Now includes Master Pages so you can reposition the layout of the site (Daniel lists this as a con, but it no longer applies since just about anything in the layout can be modified)
* Iron Speed has an active community forum so if you have questions. No product is perfect and having a community to help is a big plus. http://ironspeed.com/forums
Title: Mr   
Name: Miles Gibson
Date: 2010-06-24 4:52:55 PM
Comment:
Iron Speed Designer is the best code generation tool on the market, hands down. I can build web applications that work in a few minutes. Iron Speed generates an n-tier application, complete with AJAX, stored procedures and a stunning front-end, all in minutes. With many choices of page styles and page types, I can also customize each and page. Having an application that generates 100% .NET code (either C# or VB) is a beautiful thing! I can safely write my own custom code in "safe" classes, so that code generation happens around me.

The latest version 7.0 adds some really great stuff, including support for SharePoint, and the complete line up of AJAX tools. The new property sheets replace all of the old dialog boxes, and opens up far more configuration than before. Simply put, a great thing.
Title: IronSpeed review and recommendations   
Name: Daniel
Date: 2010-04-22 9:00:18 AM
Comment:
Here's an article with a run-down of the pros and cons of using IronSpeed:

http://blog.webonweboff.com/2010/04/iron-speed-to-generate-or-not-to.html
Title: code ontime   
Name: fg
Date: 2010-03-28 8:33:07 AM
Comment:
I agree with codejunky. been using code ontime for 3 months now and these guys are really getting it right!
Title: 90 days of upgrade support   
Name: DumCoder
Date: 2010-03-24 8:02:33 PM
Comment:
I had a terrible experience with them as well. I think the Sales Team(probably one person) is nuts. Glad I didn't buy their product. Can you imagine a 2K product with 90 days of upgrade support and the upgrades are bug fixes. I didn't want to get stuck with a buggy product for 2K and pay premium for having the bugs fixed. I hope they take the feedback and improve customer relationship.
Title: Alternative to IronSpeed is Code OnTime   
Name: CodeJunky
Date: 2010-03-03 2:40:55 PM
Comment:
There is an alternative to Iron Speed that blows their socks off. Try Code OnTime Generator. The price is reasonable and the functionality is quite superior than that of Iron Speed.
Just try their live demos at http://blog.codeontime.com/2009/11/web-site-factory-preview-3.html.
Title: Things have changed   
Name: Newhunter
Date: 2010-02-15 4:00:45 PM
Comment:
Look carefully at the timestamp of the comments. I absolutely LOVE this product. It does everything it promises and more.

However, I have to agree with the last three comments. I have never in my life been exposed to a more devious and downright dishonest group of professionals in my life. Problems started in 2009 (just like the bad comments).

They take licenses away without telling you. They accuse you of stealing without talking to you about what's going on. I even had the head of sales tell me she wouldn't help me unless I admitted to her that I had screwed up and that "I was wrong." I felt like I was being treated like a thief.

And that's their sales department!

Someone needs to come in and run these guys out of business. Someone else can do this without the attitude problem. Come on Silicon Valley..where are the start ups?
Title: ISD Gustappo   
Name: Ex-user
Date: 2009-04-23 2:02:16 PM
Comment:
To my knowledge, this is the only software company in existence that essentially spywares their customers to make sure you are not "cheating." They staff an entire department of employees whose job it is to monitor your activity when using the product and they will cold-call you and/or your clients if they see anything "funny" going on, and before presuming misunderstandings, accuse you or them of cheating/stealing. Who do you think is paying for the cost of that practice? You are in the purchase price. So you are paying them to potentially harass you in the future should you make a mistake.

The product is good, but it's not that good to be worth the sacrifice you make. There are other tools out there which do much the same thing. Even Microsoft does not violate your privacy while combating software theft. Condoning this practice opens the door to dangerous invasions of privacy in your future. If you care about privacy, don't support this company until it revises it's licensing practices and reroutes it's resources towards better customer service and a better product rather than funding it's own gustappo.

In addition, you are forced to upgrade the tool when your support contract runs out and they refuse to help you even when the issue you have is a problem with their product. Before they will even look at the issue, you get to pay for a new version. Consider every year or two having to buy it again and weather that ongoing cost is worth it to you.
Title: Beware license anality and downright stupidity   
Name: anonymous
Date: 2009-04-09 7:27:50 PM
Comment:
Ironspeed is an impressive tool, but the licensing seems to be administered by tools too.

As btaplin describes above, Ironspeed monitors the licenses online at all times. We had two licenses running for a few hours when trying to troubleshoot problems with the newer version of the designer by comparing to the old. Ironspeed responded by disabling the licenses shutting us down for at least a day.

Also, stupidly, the internet connection to Ironspeed.com must be live at all times for the designer to work. Any interruption in internet connectivity will shut you down (or at least prevent the designer being opened). In our experience with this, the connectivity interruption was not at our end of the connection, but at Ironspeed's. (Their website could not be reached while other internet sites were live.) Nonetheless, we could not start the designer during these outages.

So, expect hassles.
Title: Buyer Beware Again   
Name: John
Date: 2009-04-09 6:17:45 PM
Comment:
Pay attention to these. Apparently they are very happy to sell you the product...again and again.
Reinstalling on the same machine... more sales.
Quite the scam. Not a reputable firm.
Title: Great customer satisfaction   
Name: Jason
Date: 2008-12-30 6:12:50 AM
Comment:
We have used Iron Speed for custom software development on several projects of various types and sizes. Our customers have been very pleased with our responsiveness as requirements change. The fact that our clients can ask us to make database and UI changes and have those implemented in hours instead of weeks is a major benefit. This allows the client to "play" with a version of the application to "test" the business process and get back to us immediately with changes. The speed at which we can generate a new version of the application and the resulting customer satisfaction would not be possible without Iron Speed.
Title: Program Engineer Yahoo!   
Name: Sirinivasan Ram
Date: 2008-12-05 8:05:24 PM
Comment:
I benn using IronSpeed for over a year now. Every thing work fine the software saved me a lot of time. The thing is you have to learn all the deatures and functiuon before blaming the software (IronSpeed Designer). Perfect Choice
Title: Nice UI too!   
Name: BestISDeveloper
Date: 2008-11-06 12:43:44 PM
Comment:
The best thing about the tool is that I don't have to worry about developing the user interface. This saves a lot of development time and all of my projects look very professional!
Title: I created 2 apps in about an hour   
Name: RADDevelop
Date: 2008-11-06 12:42:56 PM
Comment:
We were able to ramp up quickly using Iron Speed Designer. It’s the first RAD tool that I’ve ever seen that actually works (and I’ve looked at a lot in the past).
Title: Way better than hand-coding   
Name: KingCoder2
Date: 2008-11-06 12:42:06 PM
Comment:
This thing saves a lot of time. I just pointed it at my database and it gave me a fully working application in 5 minutes. It works really well when you have a normalized database with descent foreign key definitions – the better structured your database, the better app you’ll get. We built most of our custom CRM system using Iron Speed Designer which is used by all our sales reps.
Title: Iron Speed is awesome!   
Name: Jimi Jegonia
Date: 2008-11-02 7:19:20 AM
Comment:
One of the great decisions I ever made in my career is to shift from windows desktop
programming to web application development, from classic Visual Basic & VBA to C#.

It should have been a very painful paradigm shift without the versatility and awesome
power of Iron Speed Designer. I used it to generate parallel codes that truly accelerated my learning momentum and it constantly amaze me that only my imagination can limit its dominance.

High returns and happy programming life only happen if you have a tool like Iron Speed Designer that you know too well.
Title: Iron Speed allows code customizations   
Name: Jim Murphy
Date: 2008-10-15 8:48:11 AM
Comment:
Iron Speed is a great tool. The majority of the learning curve is learning OOP. Someone who is already familiar with developing web apps in .NET and who is solid on OOP will pick this tool up quickly. It is straight forward to add custom code that is saved even though you keep rebuild the app by means of overriding existing methods or handling events. Understanding the page lifecycle in .NET will help you make the right customization in the right override. Again, this is straight .NET for the most part.
All in all, this tool has saved my butt several times - by making 1 hour changes turn into 2 to 5 minutes. I have used this tools for several years and find that it is maturing nicely. I love it.
Title: Honest opinion   
Name: San5050
Date: 2008-10-15 7:41:13 AM
Comment:
There is a learning curve, I agree but the advantage of using it outweighs the learning curve a lot. Out of the box, it generates all the maintenance pages, and has packed with a lot of code customizations. For something you want to custom develop but not covered in the wizard, I'd strongly suggest tapping into the technical forum or contacting an IronSpeed MVP. That takes away a lot of hours trying to poke around. In all, this is a very good tool in my opinion; and it makes it even better when you start being better with it.
Title: Iron Speed Rocks!   
Name: Miles Gibson
Date: 2008-10-14 8:15:06 PM
Comment:
I love Iron Speed. It has revolutionized my web development consulting practice. I can do in days and weeks what takes others months and years. An out of the box solution that works and works well. You have to see it to believe it!
Title: Personal Opinion   
Name: Baljeet Matta
Date: 2008-09-02 10:26:37 AM
Comment:
IronSpeed accelerates application development with concentration on business logic(as it creates the basic pages), with features like ajax, advanced datagrid.Code clarity and modularity with documentation increases the effeciency and stylesheets give a stunning look to the application.Flexibility to work with any database, Inegration of Third-party tools, all these decrease response time for application. Pre implemented Advanced Security and Concurrency enables the application to work in multiuser environment.We have been working with IronSpeed since ver 4.3 and it is getting better and better with new features being added in each new version.
Title: My Personal Opinion   
Name: Adish
Date: 2008-08-31 5:23:22 AM
Comment:
This tool like any other, has a learning curve. Blaming the tool 'coz u haven't learnt it isn't the right thing to do.True,there are licensing issues, but you can't expect ReallyGood things for free. I have been using Iron Speed for over a year now, and it has turned out to be great value for money. A small investment has saved me lots of time (and money). More than that, my apps are now Robust and Bugs Free and time required for maintenance is now available for family! All my team members are so glad we work on IronSpeed.
Title: Personal Opinion   
Name: ISDSucks
Date: 2008-06-23 2:39:35 PM
Comment:
Ok, I'm really sick of all the rosy red reviews of Ironspeed. This program is garbage, that produces more garbage. Within Ironspeed, you cannot make any meaningful changes to the program, and outside of ironspeed, in Visual Studio, none of the controls will even load. If you have to make any sort of actual custom code/buttons/anything good luck with this 'Code generator'. It makes me sad to think that people are so hard up for cash that junk like this passes for a "Code Generator".
Title: Nice   
Name: A Maven
Date: 2007-06-13 6:05:25 AM
Comment:
This article is very nice to get started with this new tool
Title: Versions and Updates   
Name: Steven Smith
Date: 2007-01-03 10:40:03 AM
Comment:
Dragondevil - You're right, I should have included the version number in this review. I guess the article date is the best you can go from in this case, but it's definitely good feedback for future articles and reviews.
Title: Valuable info made more valuable?   
Name: dragondevil
Date: 2007-01-03 6:36:55 AM
Comment:
ahhh I thought this article contained a version number but I guess I was wrong. Including that would be very valuable as well as demonstrate your consistency and as well, attention to detail.

Updates, no matter how minor, would also suggest some integrity in ownership and recognition of value in having done the review in the 1st place.

Versions, dates, updates
Title: So, it is worth a try,... Thanks   
Name: jbd
Date: 2005-08-04 9:15:03 AM
Comment:
Thanks for your review, I am considering developping applications for our cie using this tool and I understand from you comment that the tool is worth a try.

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