Monday, June 11, 2007

.NET Controls for the Desktop, Handheld, and Smartphone

GTI provides a variety of methods for creating GIS applications that utilize GTViewer’s functionality. GTViewer, itself, has an extensive OLE Automation interface allowing its functionality to be easily extended with specific workflows, data capture applications, network tracing and analysis applications, and many more. For those who need even more flexibility, GTI provides GTVx which is an ActiveX control version of GTViewer. While GTViewer and GTVx provide similar GIS functionality, GTVx can be embedded into an existing application or used to build a very streamlined version of GTViewer that only exposes functionality needed by a specific workflow. Together, GTViewer and GTVx cover the entire spectrum of customization and extension capabilities. However, GTI has not stopped with these two applications. Almost a year ago, GTI announced the Pocket GTViewer .NET control and now announces the GTViewer .NET Control for desktop development. These .NET controls provide a new generation of tools for developing applications using GTViewer technology.

The Pocket GTViewer .NET control was originally introduced for Visual Studio .NET 2003. This development tool created symmetry with the desktop development options by allowing the developer to either extended Pocket GTViewer with external applications or embedding Pocket GTViewer functionality into existing applications with the .NET control. The .NET control also allows the developer to create very streamlined versions of Pocket GTViewer that only expose functionality need by a specific workflow. Before the PGTV .NET control, there was no equivalent to GTVx on the Window Mobile platforms. Now a year after its introduction, version 7.0 of the PGTV .NET Control has been released and now fully supports Visual Studio .NET 2005 along with many new features such as redline support and a Data Monitor. Perhaps the most significant new feature in version 7.0 is its support for Smartphone platforms (Smartphone 5.0 and Window Mobile 6 Standard) as well as traditional Windows Mobile devices (Window Mobile 5.0, Windows Mobile 6 Classic, and Windows Mobile 6 Professional). So, with a single development tool, you can now target the whole spectrum of current generation Windows Mobile and Smartphone devices. See this posting for more details on Smartphone applicatoins.

While GTVx will be around for many years to come and continued development will make it a viable development tool for some time, the simplicity of the PGTV .NET control and its tight integration with Visual Studio .NET begged for an analogous version on the desktop. Of course, GTVx can be used with Visual Studio .NET, but its COM roots (which made so successful for the previous generation of development tools) make it seem antiquated in the world of .NET. This perception is unfortunate since GTVx does work very well with .NET and very sophisticated applications can be easily developed with it in a .NET environment, but forward progress cannot be stopped. GTI is introducing the GTViewer .NET control to provide a .NET specific tool for creating desktop applications. Currently, the GTV .NET control is very similar in functionality to the PGTV .NET Control providing all of the basic GIS functionality needs: Map Display, Redlines, GPS support, Data Monitors, View Management, Queries, Display Filter Support, and Raster backdrop support. In future versions, more functionality will be available in the desktop control simply because it does not face the resource limitations imposed by mobile devices.

Together the PGTV .NET control and the GTV .NET control provide a common development framework for building applications for the desktop, mobile devices, or phones. These next generation tools will keep GTViewer and Pocket GTViewer at the top of their game by leveraging the many benefits Visual Studio .NET and the .NET framework in general have brought to developers. For more information on the .NET control or if you would like to try one of the .NET control, please contact GTI.

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