Touch-friendly application development for Microsoft Windows developers is a central theme of upgraded tools being offered this week by DevExpress, which is launching its DXv2 tools series.

DX2 enables developers to build applications for Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight, and ASP.Net. "It's a library of tools that we make available covering all types of new capabilities," said Tammy Kaneshige, vice president of marketing at DevExpress. The first release in the DX2 series, DXperience 11.2, is being unveiled Tuesday and features accommodations for touch. "We're looking at enabling touch across all of the platforms," including Microsoft's upcoming Metro interface planned for Windows 8, she said. The tools also provide a bridge from ASP.Net to Apple's iPhone and iPad, enabling developers to build Web applications to run in the browser on those devices.

Touch-enabled grid control

For touch, the 11.2 release offers such capabilities as a tile control and a touch-enabled grid control. "All of our controls now have touch support, including grid," said Dave Mendlen, DevExpress chief marketing officer and a former Visual Studio official at Microsoft. DevExpress tools can complement Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE.

A beta user of DX2, Tim Huckaby, chairman of software development company Interknowlogy, sees DevExpress taking a lead in touch-based development. "I'm all about multi-touch and the natural user interface, and this is the first company of the major tools and frameworks and controls vendors to build tools to help developers build apps for touch, so this is pretty exciting stuff."

Better performance for AJAX-style apps

DX2 is intended to enable development of rich user experiences. Also featured in 11.2 is a duplicate code detection capability in the DevExpress CodeRush tool for code generation and refactoring. "The intent is to simplify the amount of code that people have to write themselves," Kaneshige said.

An updated release of DevExpress's XAF application framework, meanwhile, leverages Web and cloud capabilities by offering better performance for AJAX-style applications and offering preliminary support for running applications in the Windows Azure cloud. Subsequent DX2 releases will add more support for touch. DevExpress, for example, wants to expand its currently limited support for touch experiences on Google's Android mobile platform.