Software Gardening

.NET, web, community, architecture, practices

Month: October 2013

Book Review: Building UIs with Wijmo

Building great user interfaces for a desktop app isn’t easy. Build great web user interfaces is even harder. We using things like bootstrap or jQueryUI to make things easier. Have you ever looked at Wijmo? Wijmo is built on top of and extends jQuery UI. It comes in two versions, a free one that has a minimal, but usable set of widgets and a Professional edition that has really cool things like SVG graphs, a data grid, and even a web-based spreadsheet. You can even purchase a support contract that lets you pick up the phone and call someone when you get stuck. Wijmo is a product of ComponentOne. (Disclaimer: I do not work for ComponentOne, but I am a ComponentOne Community Influencer).

While Wijmo is pretty easy to pickup and use, like any technology, there are some tricky areas and gotchas. The book, “Building UIs with Wijmo” by Yuguang Zhang and published by Packt Publishing points out some of those areas, but also give you some basics to get you going quickly.

The book starts with an explanation of Wijmo and how to install then quickly moves into a simple widget, the Dialog. It provides a good explanation of how the¬†Wijmo dialog differs from the one in jQueryUI and how to take advantage of the differences. It even discusses loading external content into the Wijmo dialog’s IFrame.

Chapter 3 then discusses some of the form controls, particularly the Checkbox, Radio Button, and DropDown controls. There is a good comment about radio buttons that look like command buttons causing confusion to users (I’ve had trouble with these myself) and a good example for the DropDown control listing continents with countries nested underneath each one.

Chapter 4 discusses working with images and provides some configuration tips for the Carousel.

Chapters 5 through 8 move into more advanced topics and cover things like tooltips and using Wijmo themes for HTML5 video. Chapter 6 discusses building a dashboard using Wijmo and Knockout.js. While the explanation of Knockout is good, I found it lacking some information for beginners. In the two sample forms, it would have been better to show the finished product before discussing the code.

Chapter 7 talks about mobile applications and how to use the Wijmo AppView to make one application that is reactive and works on both desktop and mobile browsers.

The final chapter shows how to spelunk into the javascript code that is used for Wijmo and change its behavior and add features. It then discusses bringing the Wijm0 CSS themes into Themeroller to modify them.

There were some formatting issues in a few places where spaces were missing between words. Also, the writing did use action tense. For example, the author said, “I would encourage you” instead of “I encourage you”. This should have been caught in editing. The book provides a quick overview for some Wijmo components. There is no discussion of the most interesting part of Wijmo, the Professional edition. There was also nothing about Wijmo’s support of Angular. Overall, I’m not sure if the book adds much value as the Wijmo documentation and samples provided by the Wijmo team at ComponentOne¬†are very good.


Source: CraigBerntson

DevConnections & Silicon Valley Code Camp Followup

I’ve been remiss in not getting this but just after I got home, I injured my back and was flat in bed for several days. After that I was catching up at work.

First, thank you for attending my sessions. Second (ok, also tied for first), it was great to meet many of you and hear about your development processes and issues.

Slides and demo code are available now on my Presentations page.

In my MVC Unit Testing session, I used Ninject to show how to do Dependency Injection. But I also mentioned that Ninject turns out to be one of the slowest DI tools available. Here’s the link to the speed tests.

Source: CraigBerntson

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