I have some bad news and some good news. RSS Bandit is built using user interface controls that are not provided by default by the .NET Framework to enhance it's look and feel. A common practice among vendors of such user interface controls is to offer them for free to developers to gain mindshare and once these developers are 'hooked on their product' they withdraw the free version. This means that developers of applications that use these user interface controls will end up having to pay the vendors if they want to use newer versions of these controls. This has happened twice to me with RSS Bandit. The first time was when DotNetMagic went from free to being only available for purchase. The second time happened a few months ago when Divelements cancelled the free version of their controls which are used extensively in current versions of RSS Bandit.

We were in a lurch and just as I thought that I'd have to start some sort of blog fundraiser so we could pay for these controls and keep RSS Bandit free to use, Torsten was contacted by the good folks at Infragistics who've donated use of their controls to our project. This means that we'll be replacing some of the user interface controls used by RSS Bandit and adding some new functionality to the UI. See the screenshot below for some of these visual enhancements.

I'd also like to take this time to welcome Ariel Selig to the RSS Bandit development team. He's already made some decent contributions in replacing our old UI components with the new ones.


Categories: RSS Bandit
Tracked by:
"RSS Bandit [Jubilee Release] Status Update" (Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life) [Trackback]
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Tuesday, August 1, 2006 10:09:39 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Maybe you should add a Tagcloud?

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 10:28:38 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Thanks for the mug shot!
Tuesday, August 1, 2006 10:47:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Nice interface, but... is this the end of the newspaper view? All messages in a category of a feed on a single scrollable page? I hope not, it's the only view I use...
Frank Robijn
Tuesday, August 1, 2006 10:53:15 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
The newspaper view is still there. The Outlook 2003 style view shown in this screenshot will be optional.
Wednesday, August 2, 2006 8:28:43 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
That thing of "baiting" developers then withdrawing still drives me up the wall!

DivElement's loss I suppose -- they'd have gotten a lot of free publicity!
Wednesday, August 2, 2006 11:02:42 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I've used Infragistics' controls in the past and they are really nice. One question though. How will people other than the project developers be able to compile RSS Bandit if it is dependant on Infragistics' controls? Last I used them they required a license file in order to use them in a project.
Thursday, August 3, 2006 6:43:01 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Some of the GUI is already available for "free" if you would switch to using .NET 2.0...something I know from previous posts you don't want to do yet.
Friday, August 4, 2006 4:03:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I would suggest as a go-forward basis either using various UI toolkits that are already open-sourced and free or use the built-in controls (or build your own). Relying on third party controls is futile even if you have a sugar daddy who's bought a set for you. Forward versions may not be free and for anyone who is considering doing something with the project, they're tied to decisions you made that they may not be able to.

I plan to blog on open source projects in light of the fairly healthy debate going on as a result of NDoc and RSS Bandit is a tool I use and like the fact it's open source. However I am bothered by the reliance on toolkits like this. I mean, you've already been burned twice and now you're swapping out the controls again for yet another library that isn't going to always be free? That just doesn't make sense to me unless you're refactoring the systme to make it so abstract that any UI can be swapped in (which I doubt).

I think Bandit is a cool project but I don't think this is a wise decision and would suggest you think about other alternatives. I'm sure you have and this is only my opinion so YMMV.
Saturday, August 5, 2006 3:23:34 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I think Bil (Bill?) has it right: you've already been burned twice, and now you're going to play with the same fire a THIRD time? You need to do some combination of 1) roll your own, 2) use open-source controls, and/or 3) switch to .NET 2.0.

Maybe this would also be a good opportunity for you to communicate to your Microsoft colleages the frustration of having new UI widgets in Office or Visual Studio but not having such widgets widely available & supported from Microsoft.
Saturday, August 5, 2006 4:32:37 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
1.) I don't have the time or familiarity with Windows GUI programming to roll my own
2.) I haven't found any high quality Open Source GUI toolkits for .NET. Then again I haven't looked that hard in a while.
3.) Switching to .NET 2.0 will happen when we have a large number of our users on it. Right now less than 10% of RSS Bandit users who read my blog have .NET 2.0 installed based on analyzing my server logs.
Monday, August 7, 2006 8:46:57 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Bil has a good point -- what will you do when Infragistics decide to withdraw support? And how will developers sans Infragistics contribute?
Monday, August 7, 2006 1:49:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Any chance you'll provide the option of a Mozilla-based renderer instead of always using the IE one?
Wednesday, August 23, 2006 5:38:57 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Saturday, September 2, 2006 4:38:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I realize it's a learning curve, but the excuse of "I don't know how to build a GUI" doesn't cut it. You learned the other frameworks, and now you're about to learn Infragistics (which isn't a simple task). That just sounds odd to me.

Take a look at the examples on asp.net where they built Outlook using just OOTB components in .NET 2.0. You can even use their Outlook sample as a starter and just hook in the backend services to fill in the tree view, feeds, etc.

I don't see why this is so difficult?
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 3:19:06 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
"Switching to .NET 2.0 will happen when we have a large number of our users on it. Right now less than 10% of RSS Bandit users who read my blog have .NET 2.0 installed based on analyzing my server logs."

Bull! I'm sure more than 90% of the people visiting your blog aren't even using IE -- this means you can't tell just by examining UI headers alone how many people are using .NET 2.0.


Even if it were true:
You'll get a large number of RSS Bandit users on .NET 2.0 the minute RSS Bandit supports .NET 2.0.

But hey, if you want to be burned (again), then feel free. The current RSS Bandit incarnation works pretty well, and you're the one feeling the pain of having to migrate to a new UI toolkit, not us.
Comments are closed.