DevExpress developers ask for more Windows Forms, say Silverlight and WPF not ready

DevExpress, which creates add-on components and tools for Windows and Delphi, has posted its 2011 roadmap. This shows more convergence between components for Silverlight and WPF:

In essence, by the end of the year, the functionality of DXGrid, DXEditors, DXDocking, and DXRibbon will be the same across both platforms.

As for Windows Forms, or winforms, the roadmap says:

With regard to the Windows Forms controls, it is most likely that there will be a large number of smaller enhancements and new features rather than any large complex new control. The reason for this is simple: we believe that our offerings for this platform are very mature and robust.

Customers posting comments to CTO Julian Bucknall’s blog are not happy:

It is sad to see Winforms pushed back so much. WPF is still too slow on most computers for major apps and SL is not mature enough for a complete ERP app.

says Sigurd Decroos, while Heiko Mueller is more blunt:

Sorry guys, but with this roadmap I will not extend my subscription. I use only WinForms and ASP.NET and I’m not interested in WPF/Silverlight – WPF at this time for me is not suitable for my kind of applications (larger business Apps). Silverlight in my eyes is a dead technology – HTML5 is the future for rich internet applications.

Porting is also an issue says Ioannis Mpourkelis:

I believe that you should put more resources on the WinForms controls for 2011. Winforms is here to stay for many years, especially for the companies who want to support existing Winfroms applications. Currently it is impossible to port WinForms applicaitons to Silverlight and very difficult to port WinForms applications to WPF.

Check the full comments for more.

More evidence for the uncertainty around where Microsoft is going with its rich client API.

Update: Bucknall comments on this specific issue here.

3 thoughts on “DevExpress developers ask for more Windows Forms, say Silverlight and WPF not ready”

  1. This feedback is very interesting, but I’d like those writing comments to get more descriptive. It is one thing to say “Its too slow” but without showing real numbers that isn’t a valid comment. My experience with WPF is the opposite. Winforms was slow and WPF is fast.

    Saying WPF “is not suitable for… larger business applications” is just silly. I can’t imagine what else it is suitable for. Although I can imagine getting this impression after seeing yet another demo where only the UI aspects of WPF are presented instead of all of the excellent business application aspects.

    All that said, if you have large investment in winforms, it is a tough migration and interop between the two isn’t great (its not bad either). It is a steep learning curve and many of us have been putting it off for years.

    However, if you have been putting it off you should really think twice. WPF has warts for sure, but those warts are more than made up for by all of the advantages WPF has over Winforms. Databinding alone almost is enough, but adding Behaviors and the commanding model really puts WPF ahead of Winforms.

  2. “but without showing real numbers that isn’t a valid comment.”

    I like numbers too.

    “Winforms was slow and WPF is fast.”

    How fast was WPF?

  3. Anyone that thinks Windows Forms is better suited for business application development than WPF has obviously never bought into the idea of a presentation pattern like MVVM.

    DevExpress does need to address the performance issues of their WPF controls, but that is precisely why I’m glad they’ve decided to put a stake in the ground with Windows Forms and focus on the WPF controls. They should a) target .NET 4 b) revamp and optimize their visual trees and c) try harder to do things the “WPF way” (ie, bind a grid column using a regular {Binding} instead of a simple field name, stop deriving from FrameworkContentElement, etc.)

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