Redmond, Wash, February 22, 1999 — Growing numbers of third-party vendors are tapping into a new market by helping to simplify the creation of interactive, customizable dynamic Web sites.. Companies like Vertigo Software, Inc., Luxent Webworks and Elsinore Technologies are finding that it’s good business to hook into the “add-on” capabilities of Microsoft’s Web development tools by developing and marketing add-ons that make it easier to create and maintain Web-based applications.
Analysts predict growth of more than 275 percent in the development tool add-on market from 1998 to 2002. Add-ons are software components from Microsoft and independent vendors that extend the functionality of a developer tool. Web developmentadd-ons include wizards, templates, Web server components, and design-time controls (DTCs). DTCs are especially useful because they greatly simplify the development tasks that are the building blocks of sophisticated business and commerce Web sites — tasks such as displaying data retrieved from a database.
Today Microsoft made available a new Visual InterDev 6.0 Web Solutions Kit CD, which contains add-ons from Vertigo, Luxent, Elsinore, and others. The CD is available for free (nominal shipping and handling charges apply) via online order at http://msdn.microsoft.com/vinterdev .
Vertigo Software developed a new add-on called FontVelocity that automates a tedious, time-consuming development task while making Web site content more interactive and engaging for the consumer. FontVelocity is a Web server component that instantly generates text-based images as needed from plain text or information from a database.
“To set the look and feel of a Web site, Webmasters might hire a graphic designer or use a product like Adobe Photoshop to manually create the same images that are generated with FontVelocity,” said Scott Stanfield, President of Vertigo Software. “The average time it takes to create and update an image using Photoshop is about 30 minutes. With FontVelocity it takes about 10 seconds.”
“FontVelocity is designed to help developers easily manage Web sites by enabling them to make real-time updates in seconds,” Stanfield said. “Add-ons like FontVelocity have allowed us to complete projects in such a time-efficient manner, we’ve been able to increase the amount of new projects we take on. Add-on technologies are a significant element in our overall development strategy in building Web-based solutions for our clients and staying competitive,” Stanfield added.
You can see an online demonstration of FontVelocity at http://www.fontvelocity.com .
To help organizations migrate data-driven applications to the Web, Luxent Webworks created Visual WebGrid, an add-on that lets developers publish databases to the Web in minutes — without writing any code. The DTC interface provides a rich set of options that lets the developer customize the presentation of data for Web site visitors.
“Our Web developer customers are often surprised at how fast and easy it is to build a compelling data-driven Web application using Visual WebGrid,” said Jeff Jochum, President of Luxent Webworks. “We’re seeing an increase in demand for add-on software mostly because it makes the lives of developers so much better by simplifying Web programming,” Jochum said. “The DTCs and other add-on components we’ve created have significantly increased the quality of solutions we build for consulting.”
In an interesting “chicken-and-egg” twist on add-on software, Elsinore Technologies used Microsoft’s Visual InterDev development system to create Visual Intercept Web, a browser-based interface to their Visual Intercept system for managing “incidents” – bugs and feature requests that arise during software development. Visual Intercept then integrates with Visual InterDev to enhance developers’ ability to manage their Web application development. When a customer licenses Visual Intercept Web, they also receive the Visual InterDev project files, so they can customize the interface to suit their needs.
“Visual Intercept Web makes it easy for remote developers, beta testers, and clients to submit information and get updates on development issues,” said Mark Uland, Chief Architect for Visual Intercept. “Our customers count on the reliability and manageability Visual Intercept Web is providing. It’s been one of our hottest developmental resources in providing top-notch solutions and service to our customers.”