Announcing Intersoft 2013 Product Roadmap

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.

If you’re Silverlight or WPF developers, you may feel – at a glance – reaching the bottom of your career. You might be unfamiliar with Objective-C or Java, yet you hated JavaScript. It’s a rather difficult choice – go learn Objective-C, Java and WinRT; or anxiously waiting for new clients wanting to build Silverlight apps. None of these choices sound appealing.

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.

Introducing Crosslight

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.

Wrapping up

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 sales@intersoftpt.com to request a copy. We’ll send you a copy of NDA to be signed in order to receive the roadmap details.

Best,
Jimmy

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30 thoughts on “Announcing Intersoft 2013 Product Roadmap

  1. Shajahan Ansari

    I’ll be the first to test the mobile UIs. I have been waiting for that since 2 years. I’m sure it will be amazing..

    Reply
    1. jimmyps Post author

      Glad to hear back from you Shah. Yes, it took quite a while for us to wait and see for the right direction in the mobile development. And now we are firm about the direction, let’s get into it..

      Reply
    1. Jimmy

      The first beta was supposed to be announced early this month. However, as we’re supporting more platforms at once, there are several sprints that we decide to include in this phase. We expect the beta to arrive in the next 2-3 weeks.

      Reply
    2. Bunny

      Your felt buckets look awesome! You could totally use those suckers for all sorts of things… Or buy NEW things to put in them!If your husband is opposed to Foreigners Giveaway, my vote is for International Giveaway of Mystery. Groovy baby, grolwovy!~HoloyToo Cheese Please

      Reply
  2. Ben Hayat

    Wow Jimmy… How are you? 🙂
    Questions on XLight!
    * Let me get this clear in my head. Is there a “plugin” requirement for Win8, iOS and Android to run?
    * What IDE will we be using? VS12?
    * What’s the final code running on these devices? Native assembly or IL code or JS?
    * How can we do desktop & Mobile with ONE framework?
    * What about middle tier data access to serve client.

    Awesome news Jimmy!
    ..Ben

    Reply
    1. jimmyps Post author

      Hey Ben, glad to hear from you. It’s been busy weeks as we’re going into scale we have never been before — creating UI tools that work beautifully across various mobile platforms.

      Most of your questions will be covered in my next blog post. What I can reveal now is that all apps will be compiled into native form of each platform, although our tools will be in the form of .NET library so yes — you will be able to use VS 2012 to build apps.

      Our direction has been avoiding JS, so you can expect LoB mobile apps development with native UI and uncompromised user experiences.

      Keep in touch…

      Reply
      1. Ben Hayat

        Jimmy, I know you & your team can pull it off. The most essential point is that, not to neglect the desktop development, since in LoB apps the bulk of the data entry transactions take place with Desktop app. Mobile is more of an “Extension” to a desktop app.
        So, in your next blog, tell us how we should build a “Complete” app (Desktop/Mobile) that share backend data.
        The next question is, what’s your plan for middle tier like we had with RIA or DevForce to handle the middle business tier.
        The third point is, how do we design forms? For example LightSwitch generates forms on the fly and the developer/designer doesn’t have much control. In today’s apps, if your app doesn’t stand out, your dead, before born. I know Intersoft is the master of UI & UX.

        I’m truly excited and sure you’ll have a great product. When do you expect for the next blog? Somehow I’m not getting notification email when you have new blog.
        Take care, talk soon!
        ..Ben

  3. Ben Hayat

    Jimmy, I highly suggest to produce a video that demonstrates the concept and intention of XLight for people to spend a few minutes watching to get on the bandwagon. It takes a person much less time to catch your idea than spend reading long blogs. This way one can immediately decide if Xlight is for them or not. This video is only to get the concepts across and not a working product yet.
    Hope this helps!
    ..Ben

    Reply
    1. Jimmy

      Thanks for the suggestion Ben. Yup, surely we will have some technical introduction videos when the time is right. We have pretty much significant progress in these past few weeks, hopefully we can come up with a CTP release along with numerous samples in the upcoming week.

      Reply
      1. Ben Hayat

        Jimmy, I was talking to some .Net friends anout your direction, and it seems like it got everyone’s attention (as it did mine). Then the question came up that, are you using “Xamarin” in order to do write C# code and then convert it to iOS and Android? Or did you you buiod your own framework like “Xamarin” to write one code and have it ready for mutiple OS’s?
        Similar concept is done with JS and PhoneGap.

        Be sure to post on FB any new info, so I can re-publish it.

  4. Ben Hayat

    Jimmy, as I had raised this question before, I’d like to elaborate more on this, so you can address this case with more details. Basically, the types of developers that are interested in using your products, are more like business app developers that deal with database than “Website” developers.

    Since this form of application is also a “3-tier” app, it requires a middle tier Data Service that provides data and could also have business rules for getting and setting data.

    My question is, are you only providing a client GUI for the mobile or are you providing a full stack (Client & middler tier) integration that we could use to build Mobile & Desktop with Data handling?
    I’m bringing these up to provide you feedback what the developers are looking for. Hope this helps!

    Reply
    1. Jimmy

      Thanks for the thoughtful feedback Ben, really appreciated. We’ll be providing end-to-end solution — from the app frameworks to the UI on each platform. Agree, the LoB mobile app will be 3 tier as in Silverlight. The middle tier can be very flexible, you can connect to a Web, WCF, REST, OData, or even sync to the cloud. What I’m trying to say is mobile app has a whole new dimension of data tier, unlike in Silverlight which is more restricted to the domain-level service.

      Trust me, there are lot of stuff that we would love to share 🙂 Can’t wait for it, but unfortunately we have several priorities to be completed before we can ship the first bits… hopefully in a week or two..

      Reply
      1. Ben Hayat

        Jimmy, I’m really excited. Take your time. First impression from new developers is very important to trust your direction. I know [from many years] you put out great product, but I have a feeling XLight is going to open up a new business venture for you.

        I’ll be waiting…
        ..Ben

    1. Jimmy

      Thank you for your patience. We have pretty significant progress in the past weeks and will have the first bits released very soon, so we don’t plan for a private beta as the information we share will be almost identical. Stay tuned and keep checking back.

      Reply
  5. Ben Hayat

    Jimmy, Since we will write the code in a .Net environment and use .Net libraries, my question is, in order for the final generated code to run on iOS, are you building a Virtual Machine that has all the required .Net libraries to support the app?
    If yes:
    a) How will that impact on the overall performance and memory usage, by having a VM?
    b) What if Apple decides not to allow VM running apps within them, just like they stopped any code written in ActionScript that were being run in VM?

    It would be very important to let us know, how the final code runs in iOS and Android. I’m very nervous of Apple pulling the plug, as soon as they see people are getting around their preferred system (Objective-C).

    Please advise!
    ..Ben

    Reply
    1. Jimmy

      Hi Ben,

      No. Crosslight will not build the final results on the top of VM, Instead, it will be compiled to native Apple binary format. So there won’t be any restrictions on the distribution or AppStore deployment side.

      We’ll post exciting updates and new announcements soon, so bear with us for a moment.

      – Jimmy

      Reply
      1. Lanette

        We chose AIG mainly because of the sound content. We have used this literature for the past two years and have been amazed with the concrete le11sns&#82so;not just fluffy, feel-good lessons. The teachers love the layout and I love the major help with ideas and decorations!!! We never have to edit out questionable elements nor do we feel that we need to supplement with other materials. The themes are exciting, and the drama each day is something that our young people have a blast preparing and performing. Thanks AIG!!!

  6. Ben Hayat

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    Please be sure to highlight this fact from the get go, because many fear (with valid reasons) that Apple will pull the plug on VM and will not go in that direction. For example, Xamarin runs in the sandbox of a VM, and many devs I spoke to, worry Apply can block VM plus the performance and memory side effects.

    During development for iOS, do we need to have a Mac to complete the development cycle? Some tools require you to have a Mac connected to PC to compile and run the app on a Mac OS.

    This anticipation is killing me. 🙂

    Reply
    1. jimmyps Post author

      Ben, please post your question in the new blog post. Thanks!

      Actually, we’ve been working with Xamarin for a while. Many of incorrectly interpret how Xamarin works. The output of the Xamarin result is not cross-compiled nor interpreted, it’s completely native and App Store approved. You can read more in the latest blog post.

      Reply
    1. jimmyps Post author

      You bet it right. We want to make sure a few more things before forming the storm 🙂 But I can assure you that the wait worthed it. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned.

      Reply
  7. Ben Hayat

    Jimmy, by using C#, .Net and your toolset, what are we loosing, compared to developing on Mac OS and C Objective and iOS toolset?
    Another words, do we have access all the sensors and devices’ API on iPhone?
    As each version of iOS is released from Apple, how long will it take for Intersoft to catch up to their newer version?
    I think it would be real helpful before you release the beta, you can provide us a Q&A to answer many questions.
    Thanks!
    ..Ben

    Reply
    1. jimmyps Post author

      Hi Ben, we’re updating the post and will be making available information that weren’t quite ready previously. With regards to progress, we’ve moved ahead to RTM product finalization — this means there might not be periodic blog updates in the meantime, but expect some major shots on the next update.

      Reply
      1. Ben Hayat

        Got you!
        Just wanted to keep this info. alive, in case others were wondering as well. Keep up with the good work.
        Approximately, when do you plan to RTM? And pricing as well, if possible.
        Thanks!
        ..Ben

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