WinForms datagrids are critical to developing varied and sophisticated data insights. As a visual tool, datagrids can help users process and display massive quantities of information for simple comprehension and collaboration. It's important when designing datagrids for use in the enterprise to approach the project with an understanding of the ways that end users will utilize the tools, as a painstakingly-designed project that sees slow implementation in the enterprise is little more effective than a hasty one that doesn't work. From design and development to testing and preliminary run times, there are a lot of issues that can crop up. Many of these can be subtle, appearing only over time. It's fortunate for developers, however, that the tools currently at their disposal are better than ever, able to drive the programming and use of WinForms datagrids for optimal insights, experimentation and ROI.

WinForms datagrids: Visualizing is believing

Data visualization is likely the most effective way of displaying large sets of data. It helps users stay organized and can help drive the sorts of side-by-side comparisons and contrasts that make big data useful. InformationWeek contributor Noah Iliinsky recently wrote about the importance of the right approach to data visualization within the context and confines of big data, and argued that many organizations take the wrong approach. In many cases, data visualizations suffer from clutter. Identifying and eliminating information extraneous to the task at hand can be difficult, because the data may have been quite useful, even foundational, to another project. However, it could just be noise distracting users from the information that actually matters to the specific project.

For this reason, it's important for developers to design applications in which the user is able to exert some control over the data displayed and used in calculations, without requiring the user to have a deep background in app or report generation. In WinForms datagrids, this effort is manifested as controls such as InputPanel, which enables granular control over the appearance, behavior and layout of data entry components. Offering this level of customization can help mitigate many of the problems that can stop a data visualization project in its tracks. 

"Despite what you were told in school, most people don't care about seeing your work," Iliinsky wrote. "Customers and internal users want specific, relevant answers, and the sooner they can get those answers, the better. The closer you can come to giving them exactly what they want, the less effort they have to expend looking for answers. Any irrelevant data on the page makes finding the relevant information more difficult; irrelevant data (no matter how valid) is noise."

Storytelling with WinForms datagrids

The best WinForms datagrids function like storytelling agents. They take a random assortment of expository details and organize them until they represent a coherent narrative. Or better yet, a series of narratives - a "choose your own adventure" cornucopia of data-driven decision making. .NET controls such as C1ThemeDesigner and TileControl can be leveraged for dynamic, engaging user interfaces that allow employees to become the authors of their own data insight narratives. These tools also allow users to create stories that can be easily shared, which is a high priority in today's consumerized, social networking-driven landscape, wrote Forbes contributor Teresa Meek.

"[Data visualization] is simply representing numbers in pictures, charts or maps, so that viewers can see a trend at a glance," Meek wrote. "And if they change a variable, the picture also changes - at will."

The variety of controls included in the WinForms datagrids toolkit will enable programmers to create powerful applications for optimal storytelling potential. In an era of users drowning in big data, creating applications that can blend it, in real-time, into coherent narratives is no small achievement.