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Thread: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

  1. #1

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    ex-Administrator brad jones's Avatar
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    Post Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    When it come to 3rd party products you use when developing Visual Basic applications, other than Visual Basic/Visual Studio, what are the tools or libraries you use?

    This question is aimed at developers - not at those selling a product. Do not list a product you are selling or marketing, but rather only products that you or your company use.

    Include planning, design, testing, debugging, performance management, deployment, or any other products that are part of your efforts.


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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    I've used some parts of the DevEx suite of controls, though we've somewhat moved away from them. Initially, these were sold much like any other software, and much like other software, they have moved towards more of a subscription model to keep their customers interacting with them more, perhaps financially. We weren't doing enough to warrant any kind of subscription, but they do have an excellent grid with many features that make it superior to the DGV that MS includes in the .NET framework.

    Having said that, my general experience has been negative with third party control suites. It's not so much their fault, as the fact that we tend to create things and leave them alone for an extended period of time. This allows us to fall generations behind, or worse. Even with DevEx, we got some five full versions out of date, which started to cause trouble whenever we did need to go back and make any changes to the programs. A second program is even worse, as the company making the third party tool went out of business in the interim, which means that we have a tool with no support, no documentation (if we ever had any, it was lost during a move and/or a few retirements), and no clear path forwards with it. In that case, though, since the tool was VB6, I simply re-wrote the functionality in .NET.

    So, while it is possible to get components that fill specific niches and exceed that which is included in the frameworks, there is always the potential for the third party tool to simply disappear, or get upgraded to the point where what you has no longer has any support of any sort. Of course, the existing tool is likely to continue to work as it has for an extended period of time, you just have to be aware that it has a lifespan and issues that are separate from that of Visual Studio.
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  3. #3
    PowerPoster TysonLPrice's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    FarPoint VASpread
    BlackIce image controls
    Crystal reports
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  4. #4
    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    (.Net) We use Telerik Controls at my place, and they are not bad. The Desktop controls are better than the ASP.Net controls i would say. They are not cheap but if your company is paying that isn't an issue

    The Desktop Grid is a lot better than the standard Grid and the Ribbon & Ribbon Form are particularly useful if you need that type of menu structure.

    Other than that we use the free ImageMagick library for converting Images to PDF. This is a great library, really fast and works with pretty much all image types including large Tiff files.

    We use Adpose Word - for converting Word files to PDF

    We use PDFExchange - for creating and editing our own PDF Files progammatically.
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  5. #5
    Randalf the Red honeybee's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    MZ Tools - a great add-in for VB6 and now available for DotNet as well
    InnoSetup - alternative to the P&D Wizard, very flexible and extensible too
    Infragistics - grid and other UI
    Crystal Reports - thought it was part of the visual studio :-D it's so deeply embedded
    Win Help Creator for creating CHM and HLP files

    Something off the top of my head....
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  6. #6
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    ComponentOne: vsFlexGrid
    CodeJock: Suite Pro

    Compression Libraries (zLibWapi)
    MZTools 3 (VB6 Add-In)


  7. #7
    PowerPoster TysonLPrice's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    MZ Tools - a great add-in for VB6 and now available for DotNet as well
    I don't think the .Net version is free like VB 6.0.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    Active Reports and various export filters
    Ultra Edit

    MS Office
    SQL Server

    A few custom programs that I have written myself to help here and there.

  9. #9
    Frenzied Member gibra's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    - MZTools v.

    - ComponentOne - Studio Ultimate
    - ComponentOne - ActiveReports 11

    - 7-zip (free)
    - InnoSetup + ISTools + InnoScritp Studio (free)
    - Adobe RoboHelp 11 / 2015
    - Help & Manual 7
    - HelpNDoc
    - MS HTML Help Workshop (free)
    - Notepad++ (free)
    - UltraEdit 24.10
    - Agent Ransack 2016-867 (free)
    - Resource Hacker 4.5.30
    - NirSoft RegDLLView

    - MS Office 2013
    - SQL Server 2014
    - PostGreSQL
    - MySQL
    - Firebird SQL

  10. #10
    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Mar 2004

    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    I'm all web based now so I only have 3rd party stuff in back end web services. I didn't think you were interested in JS libraries - or are you??

    At any rate - back end:

    PdfSharp for creating PDF reports
    OpenXml for creating Excel spreadsheets (can do Word docs also - I just never used that functionality)

    And of course MS SQL Server

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  11. #11
    Karen Payne MVP kareninstructor's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    Back in the day when developing desktop applications I used Aspose PDF Kit which allow for parsing PDF files with no structure, split PDF files using complex logic. This library was used in five projects dating back to around 2006 and all but one (retired) has functioned well. At one point the library had a major stumbling block which I discussed with their dev team, within a week I was presented with a new build that resolved the issue.

    Also use RedGate's SQL Toolbelt, this is an excellent tool for beginner to advance knowledge of working with T-SQL. VS2017 has a slimmed down version of SQL-Prompt which lacks all of the paid version features yet well worth working with.

  12. #12
    Still learning kebo's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    I have used some third party tools in the past, and the general result was that most of them would do 70-80% of what I needed. The rest was up to me to "get creative" and find a work around. This usually ended the same way; creating the class or control from scratch. I get that it's economically better to buy a controls package for $500 than to pay an employee more than that to create them, but in the end, if there is a specific need for the tool, I've found it's often easier to just write the darn thing to do what I need.

    Having said that there is a great benefit to 3rd part stuff, the foremost being stability. It's assumed that 3rd party stuff is tested released and further tested by those who have purchased and used the code before me. Of course this is not always the case, but generally speaking I don't thinks it's that far off.

    Just about the only 3rd party tools I use now are from SoftwareToolBox and provide OPC Server and PLC connectivity. These tools are solid as a rock and are far too involved for me to write on my own.
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  13. #13
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  14. #14
    Frenzied Member pnish's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    ClosedXML is a wrapper for Microsoft's OpenXML library, specifically for creating Excel spreadsheets. I love it!

    No trees were harmed in the making of this post, however a large number of electrons were greatly inconvenienced.

  15. #15
    Frenzied Member jdc20181's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    I keep any 3rd party libraries at a minimum especially if they include paying for it, this is because all my work is open source, at least so far, I do not have a actual job with programming, still learning more and more everyday, the one thing I do use is Advance Installer, which you can get a professional license if you qualify under a few things any of them not all of them make you qualified.

    Here is the link to that page:

    MVPS, MCTS, Open source projects, and they even offer it if you have a blog and do a nice blog article on the product. This is so far the best solution to deployment I have found that is easier than whats offered in VS. I used installshield for years and never knew they offered this, until I got a new computer and couldn't use installshield anymore. It is also a seperate application from VS so, its really easy to use, no matter the version of VS you are using, which sold me even more due to the InstallShield thing.

    Licenses are lifetime as well, they gave me an extension on my maintaince plan for free, I was worried about it expiring, basically what that does is extends support, updates etc.

    The only other 3rd party dependency I use is GeckoFX, which will give you an error on VS 15, and 17, all you have to do to solve that is change xml. Its way better than the IE Control.

    Other than these really I don't use anything third party. Except maybe icons - all of which are opensource/public domain.
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  16. #16
    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: Input Wanted: 3rd Party Products

    DotNetZip for compression.

    I more often than not write my own things. Like 90% of ALL the code on my HD are libraries, controls etc.
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    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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