Presentation Layer – Best Practices – Choose the UI Technology

After you have identified the UI type for your UI components, you must choose an appropriate technology. In general, your choices depend on the UI type you have chosen. Bow, I describe some appropriate technologies for each UI type:

Mobile client user interfaces can be implemented using the following presentation technologies:

Microsoft .NET Compact Framework. This is a subset of the Microsoft .NET Framework designed specifically for mobile devices. Use this technology for mobile applications that must run on the device without guaranteed network connectivity.

ASP.NET for Mobile. This is a subset of ASP.NET, designed specifically for mobile devices. ASP.NET for Mobile applications can be hosted on an Internet Information Services (IIS) server. Use this technology for mobile Web applications when you must support a wide range of mobile devices and browsers, and can rely on a permanent network connection.

Rich client user interfaces can be implemented using the following presentation technologies:

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). WPF applications support more advanced graphics capabilities, such as 2-D and 3-D graphics, display resolution independence, advanced document and typography support, animation with timelines, streaming audio and video, and vector-based graphics. WPF uses Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) to define the UI, data binding, and events. WPF also includes advanced data binding and templating capabilities. WPF applications support developer/designer interaction—allowing developers to focus on the business logic, while designers focus on the look and feel –by separating the visual aspects of the UI from the underlying control logic. Use this technology when you want to create rich media-based and interactive user interfaces.

Windows Forms. Windows Forms has been part of the .NET Framework since its release, and is ideally suited to line-of-business style applications. Even with the availability of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms is still a good choice for UI design if your team already has technical expertise with Windows Forms, or if the application does not have any specific rich media or interaction requirements.
Windows Forms with WPF User Controls. This approach allows you to take advantage of the more powerful UI capabilities provided by WPF controls. You can add WPF to an existing Windows Forms application, perhaps as a path for gradual adaption to a fully WPF implementation. Use this approach to add rich media and interactive capabilities to existing applications, but keep in mind that WPF controls tend to work best on higher powered client machines.

WPF with Windows Forms User Controls. This approach allows you to supplement WPF with Windows Forms controls that provide functionality not provided by WPF. You can use the WindowsFormsHost control provided in the WindowsFormsIntegration assembly to add Windows Forms controls to the UI. Use this approach if you must use Windows Forms controls in a WPF UI, but keep in mind that there are some restrictions and issues relating to overlapping controls, interface focus, and the rendering techniques used by the different technologies.

XAML Browser Application (XBAP) using WPF. This technology hosts a sandboxed WPF application in Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox on Windows. You can leverage the full WPF framework, but there are some limitations related to accessing system resources from the partial trust sandbox. XBAP requires Windows Vista, or both the .NET Framework 3.5 and the XBAP browser plug-in on the client desktop. XBAP is a good choice if you have an existing WPF application that you want to deploy to the Web, or you want to leverage the rich visualization and UI capabilities of WPF that are not available in Silverlight.

Web application user interfaces can be implemented using the following presentation technologies:

ASP.NET Web Forms. This is the fundamental UI design and implementation technology for .NET Web applications. An ASP.NET Web Forms application needs only to be installed on the Web server, with no components required on the client desktop. Use this technology for Web applications that do not require the additional features provided by AJAX, Silverlight, MVC, or Dynamic Data described in this section.
ASP.NET Web Forms with AJAX. Use AJAX with ASP.NET Web Forms to process requests between the server and client asynchronously to improve responsiveness, provide a richer user experience, and reduce the number of post backs to the server. AJAX is an integral part of ASP.NET in the .NET Framework version 3.5 and later.

ASP.NET MVC. This technology allows you to use ASP.NET to build applications based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern. Use this technology if you need to support test-driven development, and achieve a clear separation of concerns between UI processing and UI rendering. This approach also helps you to create clean HTML and avoids mixing presentation information with logic code.

ASP.NET Dynamic Data. This technology allows you to create data-driven ASP.NET applications that leverage a Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) to Entities data model. It is a good choice if you require a rapid development model for line-of-business (LOB) style data-driven applications based on simple scaffolding, while still supporting full customization.

Console-based user interfaces can be implemented using the following presentation technologies:

Console Applications are text only applications that can be run from Command shells and produce output to the standard output console and error console. These applications often are built to take all input at time of invocation and run unattended.

Power Shell Commandlets. Power Shell is a command-line shell and scripting environment to provide comprehensive control and automation of system and application administrative tasks. Commandlets are application-specific extensions to the Power Shell environment that provide a more deeply integrated experience into the Power Shell language.

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