AssessmentTool webcast announced

I would like to invite you to join us for a webcast on Thursday, Dec 2nd @ 17:00 GMT+2 which will explain and show how to run the new Visual WebGui AssessmentTool and to understand the report it generates. We will run the AssessmentTool on .NET compiled Assemblies (dlls and exes) and learn how to assess the readiness of the application for Cloud/SaaS in terms of the complexities of the manual adjustments that are required for the migration.

Assessmentool Report

The AssessmentTool webcast is the 1st of a series of sessions presenting the new CloudMove migration tools suite. However, we will also talk about the rest of the CloudMove solution roadmap in this session and mainly the upcoming TranspositionTool that will allow to automatically convert .NET Windows Forms code into a Cloud/SaaS ready code using VWG platform.

You can learn more about the AssessmentTool here.

Free registration link.


Visual WebGui 6.4 RC1 released

Gizmox R&D team has been working very hard in order to bring this version to the required stability level. During that period, thirteen QA versions have been produced and our QA team and beta-testers group have been testing it for a coupon real-world applications while covering all the possible scenarios we could think of.

The stability added in this version is really across the framework, mostly concentrating in client-side behavior and display matters but also in server-side and fine-tuning infrastructures. All of the Visual WebGui controls were touched somehow and brought to a much higher level of stability and completeness - compatibility with Windows Forms (MS .NET Client/Server).

The Visual WebGui Team is now very close to declaring the Visual WebGui 6.4 final Release version. Users who consider moving to Visual WebGui 6.4, should know that we have already completed 1832 development task-entries in Visual WebGui 6.4 as a total. Each such entry is a change to the framework, very large, very small and everything in between. In Visual WebGui v6.4 RC1 alone, 272 of those task-entries have been completed.

6.4 RC1 free downloads and free trials are available here.


ASP.NET Ajax will not be left behind the HTML5 rush, Visual WebGui the ASP.NET extension will support HTML5 frontends

It takes a short overview of Microsoft development tools and platforms evolvement in order to demonstrate the importance of supporting Web Forms development for ASP.NET Ajax with HTML5 enhancements. In an article that Todd Anglin publishes in Redmond Developers, under the title "Silverlight: What Web Forms Wanted to Be", Todd says that ASP.NET was supposed to be Web Forms. A framework that meant to duplicate VB6 ease of development or rather its more mature successor Window Forms. Asp.Net was expected to deliver this simple and easy development paradigm for web. But it failed, Microsoft could not reproduce stateful based development paradigm for a stateless environment. Years later Microsoft rolled out Silverlight that is really another trial to come up with Web Forms paradigm for website development. Todd says in his article " Silverlight is what Web Forms wanted to be, a stateful application development model that can be deployed and updated as easily as traditional Web sites. Unencumbered by the limits of stateless pages, developing for Silverlight finally achieves what ViewState could not: It allows traditional desktop application developers to reuse their skills and development patterns for applications that can be deployed with no installation, save for the Silverlight plug-in"

However, Silverlight does not seem to deliver as well, for 3, main reasons: it is propriety plug-in that enterprises hesitate to opt in for. It did not really maintain the classic state full development, and it did present a learning curve for the VB6 and WinForms developers. HTML5 is hitting faster and stronger than expected with its cross browsers, open approach and the support of world leaders: such as Google, Apple and now Microsoft and Adobe.

Todd says "Microsoft envisioned a world in 2002 where developing for the Web and Windows would be indistinguishable. Windows Forms and Web Forms tried to present a uniform approach, but ultimately Web Forms was bound by the limits of the Web and the vision was never fully realized."

Microsoft did make a huge step with Silverlight toward realization of the concept, but HTML5 takes it back to square one and to ASP.NET as a platform that target HTML.

And here is where Visual WebGui presents its value. VWG takes a different approach all together. It virtualizes Dot.Net code atop ASP.NET server, and by doing that, it provides 2 major achievements: In design time it enables the VB6 and WinForms classic development paradigm AS IS for ASP.NET Ajax, as Web Forms based development, with no learning curve for Microsoft core developers. In run time it enables again AS IS desktop richness and experience atop ASP.NET that turns ASP.NET Ajax into Rich Internet Application (RIA), deployed in a plain (plug-in free) cross browser environment and now with HTML5 frontend.

The outcome is the Web Form experience that Microsoft was trying to deliver with ASP.NET and later with Silverlight BUT IN A PLAIN HTML5 BASED BROWSER, with Silverlight-like rich user experience. This makes ASP.NET extension, Visual WebGui the first Microsoft shop solution to support stateful Web Form experience for HTML5. Very soon, developers will use the same drag & drop, stateful and event driven development paradigms of VWG to build perfect ASP.NET based data centric apps using HTML5 frontend for both desktop browsers and mobile browsers.

And what HTML5 features Visual WebGui is going to support? Among HTML5’s features and capabilities which VWG is about to support are further UI and behaviors flexibilities, Canvas, SVG and additional boost utilizing the local-storage
Some examples:

  • Utilizing a HTML5’s Canvas element which enables client side manipulation on images and client drawing simply by dragging the Canvas control onto the form and hooking-up to its events. Streamlined according to VWG’s concepts, you will of course be able to choose whether to handle events on the client side or on the server. Providing full jQuery support for those client scripting
  • VWG will enable the usage of the events bound scalable vector graphics (SVG) by dragging an SVG element to the Form and manipulating it through Object Oriented code or direct HTML5 tags & attributes. Events will be handled either by the server or by the client according to the developer’s choice.
  • Native HTML5 Audio, Video and media elements will be drag-able to the Form, controlled through Object Oriented code and events or directly customized using standard HTML5 tags & attributes, jQuery and JavaScript.

  • HTML5 new form field types such as Required Text, Email, Range, Date, Search, Tel, Meter etc will be added to the list of available controls. Those controls will inherit VWG efficiency at runtime and at the same time they will enrich and enhance the interactivity of the application.

  • Full complementing support for CSS 3 such as Border Radiuses, HSLA, Opacity and others will be present through the theme designer. Transitions and Animations will be controllable through Object Oriented code or direct HTML5 tags & attributes.

  • Improved drag & drop experience utilizing the newest HTML5 drag & drop concepts.


I want to introduce a new simple tool that can bring a huge change to your .NET (Windows Forms) applications. The new free AssessmentTool (as we call it) provides a quick assessment report about your Client/Server (Windows Forms at the moment and soon VB6 and other Client/Server technologies) application readiness to be moved to Web and Cloud using the Visual WebGui CloudMove solution.

The AssessmentTool is a simple, downloadable standalone EXE application that can be executed on the runtime assemblies of a WinForms application, from which it extracts detailed information regarding your project (technology statistics and usages). This information is by no mean a risk to your intellectual property as it collects technological information and statistics and not business logic analysis or algorithms capturing.

This tool is based on a wide database which is created progressively during the assessment process. After creating this database we run some queries on it, searching for patterns and usages that are risky or requiring manual adjustments when running as VWG Web or Cloud. The results are aggregated as a readable report which indicates the relative portion of the application that can be reused automatically (as-is). In addition it provides more specific information on the parts that will require adjustments and manual intervention.

Assessmentool Report

This report assists you further to decide and assess the efforts require to upgrade the application to the Web, based on the level of the automatic transposition vs. the manual intervention required. We expect that the majority of Window Form applications will show 80% - 90% portion readiness for transposition and will not require manual adjustment.

More info and the free download is available here.


Two giants are fighting and the third might win, Visual WebGui might be one of the winners of the RIA wars

Latest announcements by Microsoft executives leave no doubt. Microsoft is shifting its support to HTML 5 and by doing so gives up on its RIA platform Silverlight which it repurposes for mobile. Adobe releases a Beta of a new HTML5 supporting tool kit, and by doing so also embraces the HTML5 option. It does look as if both give in to the market preferences for standard, no-plug-in and non-propriety option of HTML5 (see "Microsoft favoring HTML5 over Silverlight: reports" ).

If we follow Microsoft's early announcements when launching Silverlight, Microsoft pointed out the value of Silverlight in two aspects: The first was the graphics and media richness it enables while the second was the .Net developer's quest for a simpler, .Net based RIA development.

In a new world where HTML 5 replaces Silverlight and Flash in providing a solution for the quest for standard rich internet, the second quest for simple .Net based development of rich Internet application is left unattended (now that Silverlight is off the shelf and no longer serves as RIA, developed the .NET way). Reading developers' reaction following Microsoft PDC in October 2010 is probably the best way to learn about the impact of this announcement:

"Silverlight is dead, quite a surprise they have for us in PDC this year. I think most devs arround the world were expecting just the opposite, the Silverlight 5 announce. I think Microsoft should had been more honest and recognize the big mistake they made, wasting so much time and resources in a technology that is never going to be used massively. I assume my mistake as a developer for the resources I invested in Silverlight. The most sad thing is there aren’t any tools for HTML 5 in .NET, those four years of Silverlight left us with the hands empty. I think is time to move to GTW, every evidence is screaming that Google is the future." (Quoted from this blog)

I must express my humble opinion here and say that there might be more to the Silverlight twist (and Flash) than meets the eye. It might also be a result of slow adoption rate in the business sector that pays for its applications (vs. the consumer that does not). Being in the business RIA market for some odd years, I have been hearing quite too often enterprise CIOs saying that they will not allow plug-in RIA solution for security reasons, no matter if it is Microsoft's or Adobe's. I have been also hearing enterprise CIOs complaining about the stiff learning curve and lack of productivity that the new RIA solutions impose. I have been hearing them complaining about the hardship of data binding and I have been hearing them complaining about slow response time of applications written with the new Ajax based RIA solution.

Visual WebGui does support HTML development the .NET way, and naturally supports HTML5
We have been there for the last 3 years, betting on HTML by boosting ASP.NET Ajax development and runtime and indeed, being highly rewarded by market opinion leaders, adoption and traction. We have been enabling the classic VB6-like desktop development paradigms for HTML based front-ends. And now more than ever it seems like we are here to collect the big prize. Visual WebGui enables the best of .NET simple and structured development paradigms for HTML5. Exactly where Microsoft has been aiming with Silverlight, but we target open standards non-propriety platform. And that is a big difference.

So dear developer, Silverlight might be dying but it is not necessarily Google GWT that you must migrate to. If you are a .NET developer, I do believe that it is Visual WebGui you are looking for. You will have the best, well entrenched .Net development practices only this time targeting the RIA winner HTML5 and JavaScript.