|Squeezernet Technologies provide Software Development Services to a wide and diverse range of clients. We provide both contract and freelance development services designing and building Microsoft Windows and Web-based solutions to exactly meet our client's requirements.
Most recently we have embarked on our own in-house project to fill a niche in the UK Entertainment Agency / Entertainer industry. DJ Workbench will provide both a Windows based and a web-based solution to assist in the workflow management of Entertainers and Entertainment Agencies alike. Both modules will work alongside each other and provide a two way interface allowing the consolidation of CRM and workflow solutions in the business.
For the last thirteen years, we have focused on Delphi as our main development environment. The nature of this project was an ideal fit for a solution built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, and even more so an application built on Version 2.0 of this Framework. Being Delphi experts, we knew this decision would increase our time to market, but this was offset by the significant gains that we would achieve by using these new technologies, not least the compatibility with the up and coming release of Windows Vista.
In light of all this, we had to identify components and libraries that were not only going to help create a professional looking and intuitive suite of applications, but would also help in reducing the time to market of our product. We have spent the last three months researching a wide range of different components from many different companies. We have decided with incredible ease and confidence that the product suite DXperience by DevExpress is the most ideally suited product for our requirements. This has been based on a number of factors:
- User Interface. For the Windows based solution, we want to give the ultimate user experience and feel that the Microsoft Office 2007 User Interface offers this in every respect. Although there are many component vendors providing large UI component suites, we found those provided in DXperience were by far the easiest to use and gave the most satisfying feel to our application. The number of controls provided in DXperience is immense and will cover almost every eventuality.
- Cross-Platform Consistency. We want to provide a consistent look and feel to both our Windows and Web-based applications. DXperience Enterprise provides us with both ASP.NET and WinForms versions of many of their components. This helps us provide the consistent look and feel that we need and makes our customer experience more efficient and pleasurable.
- Reporting. As with any solution, ensuring your customer can keep in touch with your business is essential. Therefore, the need for robust and flexible reporting and analysis services is a priority. We also felt it essential to provide our end-users with the ability to create their own reports as no two customers ever want to see the same type of information all the time. We evaluated most of the few reporting tools that are available for Visual Studio and although there are some great tools, they are either a very expensive initial purchase or the cost of providing a run-time designer to the end user makes it totally unfeasible. DXperience provided us with everything we needed. A superb reporting tool with a royalty free end user report designer; and again support for both WinForms and ASP.NET. We also get the added bonus of a great suite of charting utilities.
- Scheduling functionality. As the main purpose of our application is to provide Workflow Management, scheduling and planning is an essential part of our product. DXperience provides a complete suite of scheduling components that match our requirements exactly. Even most of the standalone scheduling products in the market place cannot match those that are provided with DXperience.
- Productivity and tools. Alongside the wealth of components provided by DXperience, we also received the added bonus of some cracking productivity tools. CodeRush and Refactor! Pro will improve our whole development experience and will reduce the time and increase the efficiency of the whole development process. Added to this, the ability to generate a data access layer for our application is a massive bonus. We had been using a utility from another company to do generate our data access layer, but have decided to regenerate this based on the eXpress Persistent Objects framework.
- Support and Service. Having been a customer of DevExpress for the last few years for their Delphi components, we are extremely happy to be continuing using their component suites as we move into the Visual Studio .NET arena. We already have extensive knowledge of their Delphi components and this makes it much easier to adapt our development styles and techniques to .NET. We know that we will continue to receive the excellent service and support that we have over the last few years. This is essential in these times of constantly moving technologies and methodologies.
In all, it was a very easy decision to make on the component suite that we should be using.
We could have purchased lots of separate suites required by the project. Not only would this have worked out considerably more expensive in the long run, but would mean that we were having to work with may different companies programming styles, documentation and methodologies etc. DXperience Enterprise gives us everything we need out of one box with a consistent development experience with the added bonus of some great productivity tools. This coupled with Priority Support, twelve months worth of updates and also the ability to get involved with the BETA testing of future releases makes it an extremely attractive package. I have found no other companies offering this much both technically and from a service perspective. Since using their Delphi components we have never looked back and look forward to a long and healthy relationship with them going forward into the .NET arena.