If you read these tips regularly, you already know I often turn my focus to nifty toolsets designed to integrate with Visual Studio (and if you haven't read this tip before, now you know). In reply to my April 2005 tip about RichDatePicker I fielded numerous reader e-mails that shared their calendaring favorites with me. After a bit of Web touring and fooling around with some downloads, I've found another great tool in the calendaring space -- namely, Component Go!'s calendaring controls, generically known as CalendarGo!
The CalendarGo! bundle includes various controls designed for compatibility with Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0. As soon as the Microsoft stuff goes live in commercial form, Component Go! Plans to upgrade its offerings across the board, and already offers a VS 2005 version of its code in demo form. Best of all, the various CalendarGo! controls work within VS.NET in Visual Design mode, and interface readily with XML, ADO.NET, WebServices, and so on.
Inside the CalendarGo! bundle you'll find the following elements:
Resource Scheduler control: a Windows Forms control that enables management of time and resources (restaurant tables, staff, devices, and so forth). It creates a graphical display that looks like a Gantt chart to show how resources are used over time, and to indicate interdependencies and relationships among them.
Daily Calendar control: a Windows Forms control that enables easy viewing and editing of appointments and tasks similar to the daily calendar view in MS Outlook. Drag and drop moves of appointments are supported, with easy access to appointment properties for editing, changes, or deletions. Linked appointments may be scheduled. This provides linkage with the Resource Scheduler control as well.
Weekly Calendar control: provides access to tasks and appointments similar to the Work Week and Week views in MS Outlook. This control permits easy definition and use of extra data columns to make planning for multiple resources as easy as possible.
Monthly Calendar control: provides direct access to all day (and longer) appointments, with the same facility for definition and use of extra data columns for planning multiple resources as does the weekly calendar control.
MsgBox control: a MsgBox class designed for direct use and immediate access in Visual Studio that enables parameter assignment and viewing of effects without requiring any program restarts. It's much easier to use (and to check your work) than built-in MsgBox facilities in Visual Studio.
ComboCalendar control: combines all calendar controls in a single view (daily, weekly, monthly, and resource scheduler). Linked calendars can change all displays with a single mouse click. Select a display time interval, and ComboCalendar chooses the most appropriate calendar view to display its contents. Great for at-a-glance data presentation, and for stimulating user activity and interface navigation.
This toolset manages to be intuitive enough (and will be completely familiar to Outlook users) to make itself not just easy to set up and program, but also makes it easy for users to read, understand, and use on a daily basis. The full-blown bundle costs only $199 for a single license, and a 5-pack costs $599. Software built with these tools is royalty-free. It's definitely worth a look for anybody building software that requires calendaring, scheduling, or resource management functionality.
Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review.
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