We’ve recently completed the product planning and strategy for the rest of the 2013 fiscal year. There are a lot of new exciting direction in our product lineup which is exactly what I want to share in this blog post. Many of our roadmap will be based on your feedback – thanks for participating with our 2013 product survey. If you haven’t aware with the survey, please click here to participate and let your voice be heard.
Flashing back at a glance, 2012 was such an amazing year as we delivered hundreds of new controls to various .NET development platforms. We delivered major line-of-business controls which include a high-performance tree list, a multitude of data-aware controls such as pageable combobox, multiple selection combobox, innovative query builder; Windows 8 style navigation controls as well as the industry’s first charting suite with full MVVM and data binding support. In addition, all flagship ASP.NET components have been updated to support latest browsers, and several have been redesigned to support HTML5. As you can see, it was really one of our most aggressive releases in our release history.
As you may have aware, all our product lineup so far (until 2012 R2) are mainly based on Microsoft’s .NET technology and strongly focused on line-of-business application development for the Web and Desktop platforms which include ASP.NET, Silverlight and WPF. To the date, we’re proud to empowering hundreds of thousands developers worldwide with an indispensible toolset that enables them to build .NET based business applications easily, quickly, and rapidly.
While the web and desktop platforms will still be around in the foreseeable future, we learnt that the software development landscape and paradigm has shifted aggressively to target mobile devices. Of course, that’s not a new story as the mobile development ecosystem has existed since the advent of iPhone and Android devices. Back at those times, most apps were targeting consumers – and there are very little needs or demands in the business or enterprise spaces for mobile apps. However, based on our extensive research and development since the past year, and based on the demands from our enterprise customers, we’ve seen the light shed on the mobile world. Read on.
Enter the Mobile World
At Intersoft, our ultimate mission is to create incredibly powerful and easy-to-use tools that enable rapid business application development. From ASP.NET, Silverlight to WPF – we’ve accomplished our mission very well. This year, we will continue our development journey to the other side of the world – the mobile development world. I’m very excited to announce that the mobile tools development will now become our priority and we’re committed to deliver successful mobile tools – just as we’ve successfully delivered hundreds of ASP.NET, Silverlight and WPF tools.
Why entering the mobile development world, you might ask. There are a number of reasons why we finally decided to jump into the mobile bandwagon, but I’ll try to keep my answer simple: because it’s the future of computing. Sure, people will continue to use their PC at home (as in Gates vision “One PC at every home’s desk”), but today people no longer spent most of their time on the PC – thanks (or blame) to the powerful ARM-based mobile devices that allows you to do many productivity tasks on the go.
The same paradigm has now entered the small and medium business as well as larger enterprises. Ask yourself this question, why would you need a PC on your office desk if you can login to your corporate network and check your sales reports, signing documents, review executive dashboards and many more – all with the small mobile device in your hand? Furthermore, with low-cost and affordable mobile devices today, businesses have started to reveal the benefits and advantages of mobile over PC such as reduced TCO and maximized employees productivity. As businesses increase their interest and demands on mobile, that will mean one thing in the end: increased demands on business mobile application development
Ultimately, that will simply mean one thing to you: get yourself ready for mobile development. And to us: get ready to deliver mobile tools for rapid business apps development.
Mobile Development Challenges
As a third party .NET vendor, it makes sense to choose the easiest and closest route to enter the mobile development, and that would be definitely the Windows Phone or WinRT since both are still based on .NET platform. The main problem, however, is the relatively slow adoption rate which makes it less appealing on the business side. This is understandable because enterprises cannot control what mobile devices their employees and consumers use. Most requirements that we heard from our enterprise clients will be to support at least two of the most owned mobile devices. Needless to say, that will definitely fall to iOS and Android based devices. As we see it, one of the biggest challenges here is multiple mobile platforms support, just like multiple browsers support in the Web development.
Obviously, we all loved .NET and C# which has been our mother language for decades. And also to the Silverlight and the great MVVM pattern that allow us to layer our applications in a way that enables truly scalable and extensible architecture. As you discover the mobile development, you will find horrible platform divergences and unfortunately none of your favorite skills are applicable in these mobile native platforms, for examples, iOS uses Objective-C while Android uses Java. Alternatively, you may want to resort to HTML5 – only if your users afford mediocre and compromised user experiences.
But wait a second, what if it’s possible to write native iOS and Android apps leveraging exactly the same .NET skillset that you already accustomed to? And takes it even further, what if you can build iOS and Android apps using your favorite Silverlight-style data binding and MVVM pattern? That would be too good to be true, you might think. If such “possibility” exists, that will not only save your careers and make your development life a lot easier, but more importantly, it opens up a whole new opportunities to explore and a lot of potential business apps that you can contribute for the world.
Frankly speaking, we’ve been extensively researching to look for that “possibility” in the past years. We were silent and seemingly have no progress whatsoever when it comes to mobile. That’s because we want to ensure everything before we gave you that shed of light, the news of the existence of that “possibility”. We’re almost there, read on.
So here we are. I’m honored to be the first to announce our mobile tool project codename “Crosslight”. Yup, Crosslight. As if it’s the reborn of Silverlight, Crosslight enables you to use the same Silverlight and MVVM skillset to create cross-platform mobile applications. And so that’s how the name was coined. I tend to think the philosophy this way “The light to the cross-platform mobile development”.
If you’ve developed MVVM-based Silverlight apps using our ClientUI library, you’ll find pretty much the same thing in Crosslight. You’ll find delegate command, event aggregator, IoC container, and everything you loved about MVVM such as ViewModel, and converter. So far, we’ve managed to revive many of the data binding capabilities found in Silverlight such as two-way data binding, converter, nested property path binding, collection binding, item templating and more – and we have recreated all those capabilities to both iOS and Android platforms.
At the end, you’ll be able to create business apps that are not only targeting iOS and Android, but also targeting Windows Phone 8 and WinRT. I hope you’ve got it clear at this point, Crosslight is all about modern mobile development, from iOS, Android, to Windows Phone 8 and WinRT. Along the way, we will be also introducing our new technology partner who provides non Microsoft implementation of .NET that makes Crosslight a reality. Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement.
We believe that the best and the right direction for the mobile development is to build mobile apps using the native SDK of each platform – instead of hybrid HTML5 apps. Now that you can build amazing mobile apps with C# and MVVM, there are no reasons for not building one with native SDK which offers the best, uncompromised user experiences.
Soon – hopefully before the end of March – you’ll be able to beta testing Crosslight and start building your first cross-platform, MVVM-based mobile business apps.
Silverlight, WPF, ASP.NET and HTML5
Now that we’re going to have Crosslight, what’s going to happen to Silverlight and the rest of .NET platforms? Needless to worry, we’re highly committed to the existing platforms who make the most of our customer base. We will continue to make new best-of-breed components for Silverlight and WPF – particularly the new Reporting lineup which has been in development since last year. This reporting lineup is huge and noteworthy – because we’ll bring in new technologies that weren’t possible previously. That’s mainly because most reporting players in the market didn’t build their Silverlight/WPF reporting product from the scratch, but simply porting from .NET 2.x based which used old and outdated techniques.
On the ASP.NET lineup, this year we will have major upgrades to all our ASP.NET components. And when we say “all”, we really mean it. This simply means that all ASP.NET components will be redesigned to support HTML5 and CSS3, including WebEssentials, WebInput, and WebTreeView. Also expect new version of WebScheduler with improved day light saving and time zone support, as well as new version of WebTextEditor with IE10 support and much more.
At this point, you can see for yourself that 2013 is going to be a very exciting year for all of us. The new Crosslight, and new tools across Silverlight, WPF and ASP.NET will keep us busy enough throughout the year. In the upcoming 2013 R1 release, we will be the first vendor to offer toolset with the broadest platforms support– ASP.NET, Silverlight, WPF, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and WinRT.
This is probably the longest product roadmap blog that I’ve ever wrote so far. But I hope you enjoy reading and learning our roadmap, and hopefully it gives you insights about our direction, where we will spend our time and effort the most, and what you will receive as part of your on-going annual subscriptions. So the next thing that you should do is checking your account and make sure your Premier subscriptions are up-to-date for the rest of the year.
To find out more details about our 2013 roadmap, please logon to Intersoft Developer Network using your Intersoft ID to read the complete details about the upcoming products as well as the release schedules. After logged on, bring up the Home window, then click on the link in the Announcement section to open the product roadmap window.
For prospect customers who are interested in our 2013 roadmap, please send your email to email@example.com to request a copy. We’ll send you a copy of NDA to be signed in order to receive the roadmap details.