Soon after using Component Art controls, I started testing Infragistics controls. Infragistics packs far more controls in the suite compared to Component Art. They include a ton of ASP.NET controls, Charting controls, and WinForms controls, all for the same $700. In working with the grid control I saw that it was very powerful with lots of settings but was difficult because of their naming conventions. With Component Art it was very easy, the names used for various control attributes made sense. All in all I think the $700 for Component Art was not justified when compared to Infragistics. The word in the market is that Infragistics is more mature and more used among developers. The developer inside me likes Component Art, simply because of it's ease of use, having said that Infragistics is not that hard too use. You would see immediate developer productivity with both tools, as well as AJAX support out of the box. Which one to buy is your choice depending on what you want to accomplish. If you are never going to need the extra controls that Infragistics has, go for Component Art, even though it costs more. Component Art follows the "keep it simple, stupid" mantra to which I would like to say "keep it cheap as well, stupid"
I have seen Component Art ads in the MSDN magazine many times, but never paid much attention to it, until today. I decided to try it out and was completely blown away. If you ever have thought of doing AJAX and have been waiting for a tool, Component Art should definitely be on your short list. I have to admit I have not tried other tools out there, but I did check Infragistics, their live demos are not as polished as Component Art but I will still give it a try in a few days. Both companies pack 6 to 8 controls in their package and charge around $700. I think these tools are a bit pricy, but then you have to decide whether you want to be a rocket scientist or use the tools and move on. Bottom line, I think the controls are worth every penny given the kind of neat stuff you can do with it.
There was too much confusion about the relationship between WinFX and .NET framework. In order to clear up the confusion, MS decided to unify all these technologies under one name i.e. .NET Framework. No more WinFX, the next version of .NET Framework will be 3.0 which would include all the WinFX technologies. Sweet... was my reaction until I found out that .NET Framework 3.0 internally will use Framework 2.0. Uhh!!!
Yes, I understand Microsoft's position on this, they have just released 2.0 and still fixing bugs and getting ready for SP1, they cannot expect customers to jump ships so soon from 2.0 to 3.0, hence they are going to keep the 2.0 Framework as is, and version all WinFX technologies as 3.0. During installation, the setup will detect the presence of 2.0 and will only install additional components. I am totally fine with them doing it for this release but I really want them to simplify and keep the entire stack under one version moving forward. It would be too confusing for developers working on different pieces to keep up with the version numbers. Hopefully they will get a lot of feedback from developers at TechEd and would clean up the versioning mess as well.