ASP.NET Control Vendor Market

2 minute read

A little bit of a soapbox today…


On the ASP.NET Roadshow one of the common demos shows the creation of a graphic using an HttpHandler. Internally within the HttpHandler the System.Drawing APIs are used to paint onto a bitmap stored in memory and then the bytes are copied to the ASP.NET Response.OutputStream. It just so happens that this graphic is a bar chart whose graphs are changed using the values of querystring arguments.


It’s a great demo, and much easier to author than the first dynamically created images I remember (byte arrays with Perl to create odometer page counters!). Invariably a few people come up after the presentation asking for the source code, it’s freely available at, wanting to take this code and use it to create graphs for their applications. It always takes the wind out of their sails when I tell them they should really consider buying a component that does this vs. attempting to use our demo-ware.


What surprises me is how reticent some developers are to buying commercial components. Frankly, if I were building a reporting application and had to do even the simplest graphing I would spend the money on one of the many awesome server control packages already out there. Just look at the ASP.NET Control Gallery for a listing…


Sure you could write your own, but why? You might spend 3-6 weeks writing such a control only to find that later on you have to account for new requirements which you didn’t originally design for. In fact, you would likely save money by buying the component – if the component is $1,000 and your time is $100/hour if you spend more than 10 hours working on it your wasting money and more importantly your time. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely cases for writing your own controls, but for most scenarios it’s just much easier to buy 🙂


ASP.NET has an awesome market for rich server controls. Definitely check it out.

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