Chris White Quote: DevExpress Case Study


EdgeRater is a one-man operation. I started this company in 2007 after leaving my full time senior developer position at Microsoft – a position that I held for 5 years after our company ‘NCompass Labs’ was purchased by Microsoft in 2001.

The goal of the EdgeRater is to provide tools for swing traders so that they can be consistently profitable when trading securities such as stocks and ETFs.

I released my first product ‘EdgeRater Professional’ in October of 2009 and my second product – the 'ETF Trading Bandit' in October of 2010. 2010 was the first full year of sales and I now have over 100 paying customers and many hundreds of trial users.

How It All Started

EdgeRater Professional

The first product started out as a personal tool to help with my own trading and was initially built using the standard components that came with Visual Studio. Because it was only intended for personal use it didn’t really matter so much about the UI. After I showed it to some trader friends they wanted to take advantage of it also and so I was persuaded to develop it into a full product.

I had two main goals for the public release – one was to make this the fastest tool for analyzing stocks and the other was to make the UI experience great. I wanted to use an Office 2007 Ribbon because Office 2007 had just been released and I had been working on the Office team at Microsoft.

Choosing DevExpress

I built 3 simple Ribbon applications using 3 different vendors’ suites and then rated each based on performance and quality of the UI. DevExpress was a clear favorite from that perspective and I was really impressed by the documentation and design of the API.

So after making that choice I was pretty much set to go and went ahead and purchased the full suite and started work on my product.

Development Details

It took about 2 years to get from the first line of code to having the product for sale on the website. During the first year most of the time was spent designing and developing and then in the second year I shifted to more business oriented tasks such as forming a company, designing a website, gathering beta testers, developing promotional materials, writing documentation and many other things that just seemed to need attention.

One of the challenges of the project was to allow users to code up their own strategies using either C# or a simple technical analysis scripting language and then allow parameters to those strategies to be entered at runtime.

I was able to derive from the DevExpress Property Grid Control which had most of the functionality that I needed and then add a bit of custom code in the derived class to get it exactly the way I wanted it.

I was also able to use the Tab Control in an unconventional way that made sense in my application. Here I wanted to have an area on the screen that users could drag and drop strategies into from a library. I ended up with two separate tab pages displayed side-by-side rather than overlapping as in the normal mode and added a large image and some descriptive text into the headers. I also added a toolbar menu inside each of the tab pages to make it easier to work with the contained strategies. These tab pages work really well as drop targets and look great.

EdgeRater Case Study: DevExpress WinForms Tab Control with Embedded Toolbars

I also love the skins provided and really appreciated the copy-n-paste code that was suggested on the support site for integrating a skin selection gallery into the Ribbon control.

The Layout Control has become very familiar to me and it took a bit of time to figure out all the nuances, but these days it is one of the first things that gets added to any new UI control that I add to the product.

A Second Product in Four Weeks

Trading Bandit by EdgeRater

Last October I released a second product (the ETF Trading Bandit) that I developed in just 4 weeks using DevExpress components. I already had most of the underlying code from EdgeRater Professional, but the ease of use of the components and also my previous experience and familiarity allowed for some rapid development.

Overall I have been really impressed with the DevExpress components and I believe they make my product look like it has been worked on by a team of expert UI designers.

Chris White
EdgeRater Professional and ETF Trading Bandit Developer