In this article, we will look at datagrids and understand how they have kept pace as development platforms and technologies have evolved over the years.
The first datagrids available from Microsoft and third-party component vendors were built for Windows Forms applications. They are built using the .NET framework and leverage the full power of the Windows platform. Due to the underlying architecture and the sheer longevity of the Windows .NET platform, WinForms datagrids are generally considered the most functional and interactive datagrid controls among all platforms.
The first WPF Grids were launched in the same year as the Silverlight datagrids. These datagrids made full use of the powerful presentation tier and data binding capabilities of WPF. This resulted in two immediate advantages - a dramatically easier in-place editing experience and more graphically appealing user interface with rich interactivity. Over the years, there has been a slow but steady shift by developers in terms of moving away from building WinForms applications to building WPF applications to take advantage of the platform's capabilities. Consequently, WPF datagrids have benefited from this shift in terms of adoption and the focusing of development resources by component vendors.
In 2008, Microsoft disseminated the first default Silverlight datagrid that made it possible to provide a more responsive user experience within web browsers, more flexible layouts for the datagrid cells and an easier programming model for web developers. Just like in the past, that was a cue for component vendors to launch more powerful, robust datagrids for Silverlight that could be used in real-world business applications. Over the years though, the momentum has been shifting from browser plug-in technology to HTML5 and related web frameworks that don't require any downloads but still support very rich internet applications.