Ged Mead (XTab) is a Microsoft Visual Basic MVP who has been working on computer software and design for more than 25 years. His journey has taken him through many different facets of IT. These include training as a Systems Analyst, working in a mainframe software development environment, creating financial management systems and a short time spent on military laptop systems in the days when it took two strong men to carry a 'mobile' system.
Based in an idyllic lochside location in the West of Scotland, he is currently involved in an ever-widening range of VB.NET, WPF and Silverlight development projects. Now working in a consultancy environment, his passion however still remains helping students and professional developers to take advantage of the ever increasing range of sophisticated tools available to them.
Ged is a regular contributor to forums on vbCity and authors articles for DevCity. He is a moderator on VBCity and the MSDN Tech Forums and spends a lot of time answering technical questions there and in several other VB forum sites. Senior Editor for DevCity.NET, vbCity Developer Community Leader and Admin, and DevCity.NET Newsletter Editor. He has written and continues to tutor a number of free online courses for VB.NET developers.
View all articles by Ged Mead...
What's In The Box?
ComponentOne describe their Enterprise Studio package as “the largest, most complete toolset for Windows, Web and application development available anywhere “. Marketing hype aside, there is absolutely no doubt that the package includes an impressive range of components. So as a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a screenshot of the very comprehensive list of what is included:
Installation and Help
Installation of the package was hassle free. The whole thing is a fairly large download, more than 500MB in total but in these days of wide bandwidth broadband this is probably not a problem for most people. However, if you do need your copy on disc, this is available from ComponentOne
One of the reasons that the installation and setting up in Visual Studio was so easy is that the help provided is excellent. There is a level and style of help for everyone. The range includes:
Online and downloadable demonstrations (Executables)
Downloadable Source Code Solutions
Tips and code snippets
PDF User Guide for each component
On Line Guide (similar to PDF but far easier to use when replicating the tutorials; lots of useful links to details of class members.)
“Help Central” Help Desk
It is clear that the folks at ComponentOne have tried hard to address the needs of users at all levels. The downloadable PDF manuals, for example, contain a cross-section of information ranging from the basics of importing namespaces to the most minute level of detail of all members of the component. Just to give you an idea of the level of detail, the C1Print Component PDF manual alone, for example, is over 700 pages long.
If you are only interested in VS2005, you should note that some of the Help samples on line and some demos are only for earlier VB.NET versions and not all applicable to 2005 version. You can of course use the code logic of the earlier version samples and recreate your own using the newer 2005 components, but it’s additional work that you probably won’t want.
However I checked with ComponentOne and they assure me that they have this in hand and will be releasing demonstrations (both online and downloadable) as well as additional sample code, starter kits, and more in the near future.
It simply wasn’t possible for me to fully review everything in this large package, so I decided to try out a small cross-section of Windows Forms components using both VS2003 and VS2005. As you saw from the screenshot earlier, you do get an almost complete matching set of components tooled for both the 1.x and 2.0 Framework versions included in the package.