Infragistics, ComponentOne, Xceed, DevExpress, Janus...


VB.NET Forum Admin
Jun 3, 2004
Programming Experience
So many suites out now. What do you think of them? Which do you own? I have just about all of them and use Infragistics and Janus the most. I'm enjoying DevExpresses XtraReports but it's a close second to Data Dynamic's ActiveReports. Haven't used ComponentOne or Xceed just yet, some of Xceed's stuff is on the horizon. Share your suite favorites...
All components...


I'm a beta tester for several component devleper firms. My test experience indicated that none of all the suites was complete. Here is what I found out:
- Infragistics: the most complete suite, unfortunatley, some of their components lack the user-friendlyness (and developer ease of implementation) that Janus has.
- Janus: 'small' suite, but their grid and editors are the best around. Their panelmanager is superb. their commandmanager (menu) could be better, but it is good overall.
- DataDynamics: I use the ActiveReports. They're not as easy in use as Crystal Reports, but they are very flexible.
- Crystal Reports 11: be sure to have the latest edition, it's very good for fast designing reports and very user-friendly (export possibilities).

There are some annoying things. And you will definitely encouter that with all other suites. E.g. the default height of a Janus textbox is 20, one of Infragistics is 21. Some suites have Office2003 look 'emulated', some implemented built in. These are all things you should keep in mind. Be sure to take components that 'look' and 'feel' the same.

So, I use all of these suites in my big 'Q2C' project (more then 12 projects in 1 solution, 300+ forms). And they all work smoothly together.


I agree on the Janus grid. I have been a long time user of their products. However, as a "suite collector" myself, have you checked out the new Developer Express XtraGrid v3? It is absolutely amazing! I'm interested in your "review" of the grids out there, particularly the Janus GridEx v2 vs. XtraGrid v3.

While you're at it, give me your take on comparison of Data Dynamics ActiveReports .NET v2 vs. Developer Express XtraReports v3.

I'm really at a loss in deciding which to use for the grid and report component between these two now! I've used AR for years, but XR looks fantastic!


Just finished testing the complete new suite of DevExpress.

Their editors have always been of greatest quality, they still are. The DatePicker is not as good as the Janus (MouseWheel support for changing the months). Their LookUpEdit is also not as good as Janus MultiColumnCombo (grouping support). If Janus would add the search by column, it would simply be the best component around for its purpose. I like the fact that multiple buttons can be added to each editor (like Infragistics has, Janus only supports 1 extra button, which is mostly more than enough...)

About the Grid. Yes, impressive what they've added to it. I'm a bit afraid that the ease of use is a bit gone due to this. Also, I use the 'layouts' from Janus GridEX now, which I store in my SQL database per user. So, my users can change the layouts for own convenience :). Also, the Office 2003 look of Janus is looking better than the one of DevExpress. One feature I like the most about DevExpress is the ability by which you can type and search a value in the grid.

The PanelManager of Janus is the best around (Panels, Docking, OutlookNavigationBar, TaskPane), so if you want to achieve Office alike programs, this is a must have.

The reporting.If Crystal Reports wouldn't have had such a huge install package on the customers computer, I would advice to use Crystal 11. But between ActiveReports and XtraReports, hmmm, I think I prefer XtraReports. They are cheaper, nice html look, and the end-user designer looked quite well.

Overall conclusion, since I own Janus, Infragistics and Crystal already, I see no need to change to DevExpress at all. For people who don't have any of the above yet, they should consider several things:
  1. How important is the 'Office2003' look and feel. If this is very important, go for Janus (and perhaps Infragistics). If you prefer own skinning, definitely DevExpress.
  2. Do you need good scheduling components as well? Janus, no doubt there!
  3. Do you need basic charting? Infragistics.
  4. Do you need web versions of your components? Janus (and perhaps Infragistics for charting and so).
    Check out the new trial version of Janus, they have added a panelmanager component for web (Outlooknavigation, panels, ...)
  5. You need tabbed MDI, like VS.Net has? Janus (Infragistics is ok, but doesn't look as nice and smooth).
  6. Tablet PC compatibility? Infragistics!
  7. If your customers need to be able to change/add reports, you should take ActiveReports or XtraReports. When the customer has the money, use Crystal instead.
Si, I hope this will help you further in your desicion, because I've put a lot of time in this test.

Good info. I'm torn as I am a Janus fanatic, always have been, and yeah, I too store layouts. DevExpress really is taking off since they came out with XtraReports, and the new grid looks really nice. I'm sure Janus will surpass them after their next release (VS.NET 2005 + a few months) but I'm in need of something sooner and I'm torn between Janus and DevEx with DevEx's new XtraGrid v3. I don't care about modeling after Outlook 2003, I'm tired of everyone writing apps using the same UI. How about some uniqueness 'round here? :)

I'll have to look more indepth, but that skinning feature in DevEx is just amazing. Not that I'd use it as the included skins are impressive.
New versions...


Well, you need to take some more things in though. If you already have Janus, the upgrade price will be less than buying new components of DevExpress. Also, I know the guys from Janus quite well (advanced beta tester). If you like something very well, and it is interesting, they will add it.

Off coarse, I don't know what app you are making, but in mine it is very important to have a continoues look and feel. Check out the screenshots on This is the project I'm working on (singel developer :)). Toolbars, treeview, some multibutton editors and statuspanel are Infragistics, all the rest (grids, panels, tabs, editors, ...) are Janus.

Now, I took a look at Longhorn and some new GUI's that will come out with Avalon and so. Pfff, unbelievable. You know Erain? They have an export ready for animated toolbar icons. If this will be the future of our apps, we need reschooling ;) (see examples)


P.S.: contact me on MSN for this discussion, perhaps we can help each other in this kind of choises, :)
I developed my company's software (aprox 180 forms) using Component One Studio for .NET and I love it!

I have utilized the TrueDBGrid throughout the project. Although the coding for the grid is slightly different than the visual studio grid, it's benefits outweigh that drawback.
I particularly like the filter bar provided at the top of the grid. Only drawback is when filtering integer fields it does not do the partial filter ie (show all the integers that start with 123).
Technical support have always responded within 2 days to all questions.

Major drawback - expensive, expensive, expensive. I didn't have to pay for it!
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I personaly use Devx for one reason, It has all the controls (for the most part), that any application could utilize, but being able to drop a single instance of defaultlookandfeel on the main form, set the skin or theame element and have every dialog, control, and dexex component all match in style is what realy drives this suite for me.

Devexpress xtrareports is good, it's my choice over chrystal, but one thing it lack is support for multi table datasets. if you have a dataset with multipul datatables, you can only bind to one of the tables.

never tried Janus but after reading this post I sure to check it out

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