The WPF Charting package by DevExpress provides user controls for creating interactive and animated charts in .NET applications. DevExpress makes many controls for Windows Forms and WPF, and charting controls are just one part of their large collection of UI components offered. When their charting controls are put under a magnifying glass and examined in isolation, I don’t find them particularly impressive compared to similar controls designed by teams who only produce charting software.
According to the DevExpress pricing section in 2022 the controls cost:
- $899/year for WPF charting controls only
- $1,499/year for WPF and WinForms charting controls
- $2,199/year for all charting controls (including mobile) and source code
Examples and Documentation
The WPF Controls Documentation is an extensive collection of images and
code notes describing how to create every graph type. From what I gather this is another MVVC-style view system. You create some type of series object (model), pass it into a diagram type (view), then assign/modify the model’s data.
Unfortunately I’m struggling to find concise start-to-finish code examples that show complimentary XAML, CS, and an output figure. The GitHub projects that demonstrate primary plot types are almost useful, but since they have only source code and not an image of their output they’re not particularly helpful unless they’re downloaded, compiled, and executed.
|Bar Chart||Line Graph|
Flipping through the demos on the WPF Charting website I’m struck by how much movement these charts contain. I thought I’d know what a bar graph would look like, but when I click it to see the demo I see animated bars growing into position. When I click a scatter plot I see lines growing and markers popping into view.
I respect the effort that goes into coding animated graphs like that, but I can’t picture what type of application would actually benefit from animated scatter plots appearing in view. It’s hard to emphasize how off-putting I find this. A graph that takes 5 seconds to animate to achieve its final position means I have to sit there and wait for the animation to stop before I can even assess the data represented by the graph. Such an effect may fit in as a score history chart in a video game, or maybe some metric in a weather app, but is noting I’d want to see in a serious scientific application.
I was initially attracted to this project because the WPF Charting page looked so interesting. I tried for a very long time to run a meaningful demo to check out this charting library, but the only demos I could find weren’t very impressive the charting department.
Most demos on the DevExpress demo page require activating a trial subscription. Demo links direct to
dxdemo:// URLs which apparently requires the DevExpress trial program to be installed on your personal computer and configured in your browser. I find this absolutely revolting. Curiosity overcame my frustration though, and I threw in the towel and downloaded and installed the trial so I could view the demos. Props to DevExpress for letting me opt-out of phone-home notifications to their server during the installation process.
|Revenue Demo||Stock Demo|
This is interesting, but I’m not particularly impressed compared to some of the other options out there.
DevExpress has a demo program in the Microsoft Store. Maybe some of the charting controls will be prominently displayed in it…
|Windows Store Installer||Budgets Demo|
This demo app is crazy! I’m so confused right now. It scrolls horizontally instead of vertically, and I almost didn’t notice! The vertical content goes off the page too and there’s no way to access it. Maybe I need to buy a larger monitor? These are the only graphs in the app. I’m guessing this app isn’t intended to showcase the charting controls after all.
Due to the lack of a meaningful demo I wasn’t really able to assess the charting controls. The lack of such a demo is… perhaps an indication the charting controls are under-developed, or at least not the primary focus of the development team.