Janus Web GridEx


VB.NET Forum Admin
Jun 3, 2004
Programming Experience

There is no doubt in any professional developer's mind who the leading manufacturer is of the world's greatest grid controls! That's right, the Janus GridEx has been the industry leader for years for one of the most feature rich, versatile, flexible, easy to understand grids of all time! We have been absolutely fascinated with the Janus GridEx we've put to use for years in our VB6 apps and moving to .NET we open up yet even more exciting opportunities from this great company and their brilliant user-interface components.

In the world of ASP.NET it's obvious the difference between Web and Windows applications is becoming more of a gray area, but even more so the dilemma of developers deciding how to architect their next application. With the finest web grid control available, the Janus Web GridEx, there is no limit to what a developer can achieve in a web based application. The close nit group based out of Panama has done one remarkable job once again moving from their ActiveX award winner to their .NET counterpart and we'll focus on the web version in this review.

Naturally the grid control is one of the most popular forms of managing mass amounts of data, whether simply pulling a lot of data from a database or for performing modifications and saving back to the database, the grid is one of the most versatile user-interfaces for performing this task with minimal development effort. However, programming the native ASP.NET grid control has been quite a challenge for some and has tremendous limitations as well as performance issues that can grind a web application to a halt. Folding in custom column editors and hierarchical data presentations can certainly be a daunting task for any much less the work required to make a native grid editable and handling the associated tasks of saving the updated data. With the Janus Web GridEx these tasks are as easy as it could possibly get and will make any developer look like a pro and we'll keep the secret between us! Janus takes the grid to the next level with popup calendar editors, multi-column drop downs, image drop downs, advanced column sets (a way of stacking or grouping columns to keep them organized), impressive sorting and grouping capability, clicking column headers to sort, or dragging and dropping a column header on the group bar to group. Advanced hierarchical displays, either parent/child tables or self-referencing, format conditions, stored filters, and one impressive object model making dynamic control as easy as your native spoken language!

We could honestly write pages upon pages in this review as this web grid control is so extensive, however the intent here is to go over the major elements, show a few samples of the core areas, and let you download the demo and see for yourself why this is one grid control every developer should have in their toolbox! So let's take a look at some of the major functional areas and features to show you what's available here, then you can download the demo and see for yourself why this is a must have for every .NET developer.

To start with, the Janus Web GridEx comes with outstanding integrated documentation integrating directly within the help system of VS.NET. Not only is the documentation integrated but also includes some of the most extensive tutorials and task based "walkthroughs" that will show you step-by-step how to use this control and get the most out of it with minimal time or effort. The effort is on the Janus part, they did the word, they'll guide you through taking this grid to the limits.


Figure 1. Task Based Help (Walkthroughs)

It's one thing to have a columnar layout of data, however presenting a lot of data in a readable, understandable, and further editable format is one that can be nearly impossible with the native ASP.NET grid server control. However, with the Janus Web GridEx, defying ".NET Physics" once again, they have made this a breeze. As shown in several screen captures below, you can see the extensive editor support from image columns that can act as row selectors, enabling multi-row selections, multi-column drop downs, image drop downs, calendar popups, checkbox columns, link columns, and so much more!


Figure 2. Image Columns and Image Drop Downs


Figure 3. Multi-Column Drop Downs


Figure 4. Conditional Formatting


Figure 5. Hierarchical Displays


Figure 6. Column Sets

As you can see from the samples above, this review doesn't require much to type, the pictures have all the words one could type within themselves. Fascinating to say the least! And keep in mind, this is a WEB grid control, this is all running inside a web browser on a web site. But this review would not be complete if we didn't show one of the most well put together designers of all time. Janus has always done a remarkable job with the design time side of the house with their great designers and their .NET components continue to improve upon an already solid baseline.

Figure 7. Designer Interface

As you can see in Figure 7 above, the designer is well thought out, intuitive, and easy to use. However, the properties and control available to tailor your grid is just amazing. You have complete control of every aspect from adding/removing columns and complete column configuration with all available editors within, and columns can be created by simply clicking the "Retrieve Structure" link on the bottom of the property page area or from the popup menu when right-clicking on the grid control. Styles are extensive with incredible fidelity as well as ability for localization.

As the pictures in this review speak words that cannot be expressed in any review, there is no other grid available in ASP.NET that can even come close to what the Janus Web GridEx has to offer. If you're looking for features beyond that of the standard ASP.NET grid server control, look no further! Deployment is a breeze with no royalties or runtime fees required. And for those that know and enjoy the power of client side scripting, you'll be amazed at what the Janus Web GridEx can do with your JavaScript know how! Visit the Janus web site for more information and purchase your licensed copy today from your favorite component vendor.