Now that Chart FX for .NET has
been released, what makes you the most proud about this product?
First, I have to say Chart
FX for .NET is one of our greatest achievements.
This product is the result of an organization
that has progressed substantially, in all fronts,
over the last couple of years. Im particularly
proud of our developers, designers and support
people, who came together to produce this great
piece of software.
In terms of features, I have to say we have made
great improvements in the Chart FX for .NET visualization
layer. We were able to exploit GDI+ and the .NET
framework to allow developers to quickly and easily
integrate impressive charts into their Windows
Forms or Web Forms applications. For example,
in Chart FX for .NET, the chart properties and
default values were carefully studied and selected
so developers need not spend a lot of time dealing
It is also important to note, the improvements made in
the visualization layer do not compromise performance
or the products deployment capabilities; we managed
to keep the Chart FX for .NET core at a very reasonable
Secondly, it is critical that developers be allowed to
exploit the capabilities of a product without spending
too much time on it. In essence, most developers dont
have time to dig around a complex product like Chart FX
for .NET. To overcome this, Chart FX for .NET provides
code generation tools like the Wizard and the Resource
Center that allow them to integrate, run and then inspect
the code behind the scenes, resulting in a short and accurate
Finally, it is difficult to pinpoint the single greatest
enhancement or feature, as there are too many
in Chart FX for .NET. Our marketing efforts are
geared to convince developers to download and
install a trial version. After a quick inspection,
I feel confident developers will give Chart FX
for .NET serious consideration.
But all charting vendors
seem to be pitching the same features for their
products, how do you differentiate yourselves in
what appears to be a highly competitive market?
We would like to position ourselves as a company that
understands and addresses the most crucial business problems
that developers face today, whether they are building
COM or .NET applications. This philosophy has allowed
us to concentrate on issues like performance, integration,
ease-of-use, stability and support of our charting products.
Chart FX for .NET not only presents an impressive set
of charting features but it was also developed with all
the above mentioned issues in mind. For example, the Chart
FX for .NET Wizard allows developers to dramatically reduce
the learning curve by using an intuitive and elegantly
designed interface. Similarly, with a core of just 700KB,
Chart FX for .NET boosts performance and reduces memory
requirements on both servers and client systems. Also,
Chart FX for .NET supports most industry standards and
provides one of the most comprehensive help and support
resources seen from a component vendor.
I think many vendors have been too feature-centric and
have ignored many of these crucial issues. In contrast,
Software FX has presented itself as a mature organization,
with great products, unparalleled support and a clear
business vision. This, I would say, is the main difference
between Software FX and other vendors.
You seem to have increased prices
dramatically for your .NET offerings, why?
Software FX slightly increased pricing because of the
high R&D and promotion costs associated with a product
like Chart FX for .NET. However, most changes regarding
pricing and licensing in Chart FX for .NET were geared
to simplify the purchasing process and accommodate the
new development paradigm Visual Studio .NET brings to
the table. Ill give you some examples:
Visual Studio .NET forces developers to test and debug
Web Forms applications locally, this changed dramatically
from the previous ASP developing mode of working against
a single test/development server. To accommodate this,
a Chart FX for .NET development seat (priced at $899)
includes what was previously sold for $759 as a test/development
server license, plus includes both design-time components
for Windows Forms and Web Forms.
Additionally, in Chart FX for .NET we eliminated the
additional CPU charge of $249. This was a major inconvenience
for corporate customers who were often forced to go through
purchasing twice to successfully install the product on
a production server with more than 1 CPU. Chart FX for
.NET has no CPU charges for additional microprocessors
on the same servers. Furthermore, if additional servers
are required; a single production server license is available
at $1,599 in comparison to $1,399 for its COM predecessor.
Our marketing folks came up with a comparison that clearly
illustrates that the price differences between our COM
and .NET products are based on packaging rather than unsubstantiated
increases. It can be viewed here.
Now that Chart FX for .NET has been
released, do you expect a slowdown in sales for your COM
Interestingly, while Chart FX for .NET initial sales
have been lively, our COM products have experienced a
significant increase in trial downloads and sales. We
expect this trend to continue as the market takes the
necessary time to shift to .NET. I attribute this to 2
Firstly, now that other vendors have moved to .NET, it
almost seems like they are no longer advancing, supporting
or promoting their COM based products, leaving potential
customers with less options to compare. In contrast, Software
FX believes COM will continue to play a critical role
in the overall computing strategy of small, mid and large
organizations. In the long run, IT departments, and more
specifically developers, will be faced with maintenance
and updates of legacy COM applications that will end up
requiring front-end analysis tools like Chart FX Internet
and Chart FX Client Server.
As a result, we are investing as much in our COM offerings
as we are in .NET. For example, we are in the process
of releasing a new Chart FX COM version that matches those
features available in our .NET offering. This will not
only bring the most exciting .NET features to our very
stable COM products, but will open new integration possibilities
among these two products.
Secondly, the release of Chart FX for .NET complements
and advances our product line in a way that no other vendor
can portray. This presents Software FX as a reliable and
mature company that provides a full and very stable range
of charting products for COM and .NET. I think customers
feel comfortable knowing that they can invest in COM today
and easily migrate to .NET when it makes sense to them.
Whats next for Software FX
(especially Chart FX)?
For quite some time, weve been talking about .NET
and how it represents a natural progression and complement
for our leading charting solutions. Nevertheless, Chart
FX for .NET is not the end of the line for Software FX.
On the contrary, our goal is to take advantage of the
features built into Chart FX for .NET and integrate them
with the rest of our product line. We believe this integration
will lead to an unprecedented charting technology that
will help developers integrate and deploy any chart, anywhere;
a goal that has always epitomized our mission as a company.
For the last few months we have been working through
the various technical aspects of bringing to market a
COM and a Java version of Chart FX with similar features
to Chart FX for .NET. The result will be a charting solution
that can support even the most intricate architectures
and work seamlessly across heterogeneous systems.
For example, developers are constantly stuck with the
problem that they must deploy the .NET framework (Approx.
15MB) to client systems before a .NET component can be
downloaded, installed and accessed on the browser. With
Chart FX Internet 6.0 COM, developers will still be able
to use a .NET server to produce a chart that will be displayed
with an ActiveX or a .NET control depending on the resources
available on the client. This obviously translates to
added convenience and ease-of-use for developers plus
easier integration with legacy systems available throughout
Also, because Chart FX for .NET and Chart FX Internet
6.0 COM use GDI+ capabilities, no visual degradation occurs
when a chart is loaded and displayed on the browser, whether
if its being displayed as an image, ActiveX or .NET
component. This translates into a seamless operation across
the different platforms Chart FX supports.
In the same way, no Java charting solution available
today is capable of producing native Windows output in
the form of ActiveX or .NET. With Chart FX for Java, developers
will be free to exploit the power and reliability of Java-based
servers while providing a gratifying and dynamic experience
to the greatly dominated Windows desktop environment.
Thats a combination no other vendor can promise
Our purpose in facilitating this integration is to better
meet the needs of our customers and leverage the investments
they have made in our company and our products.