Mobiform Software is a company that specializes in using XML technologies to deliver graphics and multimedia, as well as for designing and developing application interfaces.
As such, Mobiform has been and remains an enthusiastic adopter and exploiter of XML-derived Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and the Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML). Mobiform's VantagePoint WPF Controls feature a wide collection of buttons, gauges, and sliders, as well as animations for mechanical and hydraulic elements such as motors, pumps, fans, pipes, tanks and so forth.
The visual elements involved are incredibly sharp and clear, and their implementation in SVG makes them scale and display well at many resolutions. The interactive VantagePoint demo that the company provides through its product page lets anyone who wants to manipulate control parameters (backgrounds, borders, height, width, corner radii, and so forth) do so using simple visual controls on the page.
Shape, size, font, and color controls are all incredibly accessible and perfectly simple and straightforward to use. I especially liked the flexibility and usability of the various gauges and sliders. Dashboard designers can have a real field day with these controls, and should find them suitable for all kinds of displays and applications. (Note: I had trouble running the demo using FireFox, but it worked perfectly with Internet Explorer -- no big surprise from an environment that targets the WPF and the .NET Framework).
If there's any downside to the WPF Controls, it's price. Individual components cost from $95 to $195 per seat ($995 for the whole suite for a single developer seat), and $995 to $1,995 for a site license for the same components ($9,995 for a site license for the entire suite). That said, developers should find enough capability and flexibility here to justify the cost, particularly when they work on multiple applications that can make use of their features and functions.
The company is also working on a new product called VantagePoint MAPS. Once released, this product will provide a complete set of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) map controls that include geographical maps of all the continents, with political boundaries for all the major countries that occupy them. I expect this offering to combine scalable map information with interesting geographical displays and controls that developers are bound to find at least as interesting and useful as the VantagePoint WPF Controls for dashboard and metrics.
Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail email@example.com with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!
This was first published in December 2007