Thursday, May 31, 2012

Best Free Controls for .NET

What Free Controls are there for .NET (both Winforms and Webforms)?

Source: Tips4all


  1. Winforms Development:

    Masked Textbox Control.
    Krypton Control Kit by Component Factory
    DockPanel Suite
    "Ribbon" Style Controls
    Animation Loading Circle
    WinForms Google Earth Plugin Library
    SourceGrid grid control (formerly devAge)
    Object ListView, full featured Tree and Grid
    Advanced TreeView
    TreeView with GridView
    TreeView with Columns

    Webforms Development:

    AJAX DataGrid
    DevExpress Controls Suite
    Ajax Control Kit
    CKEditor (previously known as FckEditor)
    UserName Availability Control
    Webforms Security Kit
    Animation Loading Circle
    Various FileUpload Controls
    eXcentrics .NET Server Controls
    iTextSharp (Free PDF On-The-Fly generator)


    XCeed's WPF DataGrid

    Graphs and Reporting:

    Microsoft's new Charting Controls (ASP.NET)


    Silverlight Control Kit
    Vectorlight Free Silverlight Controls

  2. Check also the AjaxControlToolkit, they are very customizable ASP.NET AJAX extenders and controls.

  3. The new charting controls from MS.

  4. ZedGraph is an awesome graphing library a coworker of mine used on a project recently. They have a lot of examples and excellent documentation, too. It's free (LGPL).

  5. There are a lot of free controls available, but by long, hard experience I stay away from them (as well as commercial control libraries) as much as possible. First, there's the learning curve -- and then the almost inevitable bugs or inexplicable behaviors. Deployment can also be a pain.

    If I can't find the control I need in the .Net standard controls, I'll first think about building a user control (or searching the web for something similar that includes source code). If I focus on a user control or source-included control, I then try to evaluate the cost (time) of implementing it -- and compare that to the cost/time of a shareware or commercial control. And, finally, try to evaluate whether the app really needs this whiz-bang thingie or not.

    The answer is usually 'not'.

  6. DevExpress has 60 freely available controls, and a large set of commercially available controls.
    We use them in all our projects and I like them for they flexibility and beauty.

  7. Uploading large files with ASP.NET:

    NeatUpload - Looks like a pretty cool Open Source Component. The Progress Bar is in an IFrame and seems to do its job, but the update steps are not very fine grained. Also supports Mono!

    More at

  8. - The Krypton Toolkit is not only a very powerful and well built component library, it is free for use and well supported by the developer. If you try it and like it, there are options for purchasing the source code (for a very reasonable price) and for buying extended feature sets in additional libraries.

  9. These WinForm controls are discussed further on my open-source website here; I have published in-depth articles on several of them as well.

    ChameleonRichTextBox enhances a RichTextBox with language-specific syntax highlighting, keyword completion (a modest Intellisense), search-and-replace capability, macro support, plus some additional keyboard formatting controls.
    ExtendedDataGridView extends a DataGridView with filtering, searching, sizing, masking, formatting, and export capabilities.
    FileMask filters a directory by specifying one--or more--file masks displaying both the list of matching files and a count of matched files; it additionally allows customizing this generic control with additional arbitrary criteria.
    MultiConnectionStringManager lets you manipulate and test a set of database connection strings and associated details for SQL Server, Oracle, MySql, plus any ODBC data source. It provides interactive handling of database credentials, giving you everything you need to control how users input usernames and passwords, select servers, and choose connection types.
    QueryPicker builds meta-queries from templates, dynamically generating a set of input fields for the place holders within a meta-query template, then letting the user enter values in any or all fields, and finally returning a finished meta-query. Supports SQL Server, Oracle, and MySql.
    SqlEditor is an "editor in a box", composed of a ChameleonRichTextBox customized to recognize SQL dialects, an ExtendedDataGridView, a QueryPicker, a MultiConnectionStringManager, and more.

  10. I'm not sure why, but no one has mentioned Ext.NET nor ExtAspNet.

    Both of these wrap ExtJS for ASP.NET. Ext.NET has the most features. ExtAspNet is easier to get started with.

  11. There's a great Office 2007 style ribbon in CodeProject:

  12. There are some great free silverlight controls here.

  13. Rich text/html editor for websites:

  14. A couple of WPF datagrids

    Infragistics' xamDataGrid
    Xceed's DataGrid Express Edition

    I've been using the xamDataGrid mostly.

  15. Not a visual control, but if you need anything with PDFs, iText# is extremely powerful, and the accompanying book iText In Action is a pleasure to read (colleagues have used it without the book productively too though).

    (I used the PdfStamper to manage form inputting via FDF for forms scanned in Acrobat Pro)

  16. What about this one? This a loading animation which mimic pretty well the FireFox/IE animation.

  17. winforms-geplugin-control-library.

    Open source controls to work with the Google Earth Plug-in Api from managed code...mine

  18. I like the idea behind this control:

    Username Availability Validator

  19. Free Custom Web Controls, E-World UI, very useful :

  20. Great library to ensure https security for pages/folders of an website, configurable via the web.config file:

  21. There is also visual web gui. I used it in a previous workplace. A word of caution: there are some bugs, some hacks, rough edges, and corner cases. But these are pretty minor considering the breadth of the project - which is to provide as winforms programming.