DevForce Beyond RIA Services

DevForce or RIA Services?

It's hard moving data across the web in Silverlight business applications. Microsoft has created an ecosystem around this specific challenge with its WCF RIA Services offering.

DevForce and Microsoft RIA Services share a common, high-level approach to building data-driven Silverlight applications. DevForce helps you build for any .NET client technology, not just Silverlight … but the differences don't stop there.

DevForce's architecture, features, and workflow differ from RIA services and those differences benefit you from the moment you choose to build your application with DevForce.

Multiple client technologies
Developer support


They're free, we're cheaper. DevForce is much cheaper when you consider the total cost of designing, building, maintaining, and supporting your application over a period of years.

What would RIA Services cost you in:

  • Hours updating, testing, and redeploying the unnecessary changes to server code.
  • Hours wading through thousands of lines of a DomainService to cope with a new database table or column.
  • Days waiting for a response from support or a critical fix that won’t arrive for months (if ever).
  • Days writing and testing a workaround in the interim.
  • Days writing a SOAP service to support a non-Silverlight client.
  • Days hunting elusive bugs because it was too hard to write automated tests.
  • Sales lost because you were late to market or couldn’t offer features that customers wanted.

Count them up and convert them to dollars. We think you’ll end up with a figure several times the cost of DevForce.

Multiple client technologies

DevForce and RIA Services are products with a .NET server side and a Silverlight side. They both provide components that deploy on the server and the Silverlight client.

Only DevForce supports alternative .NET clients such as ASP (web and MVC), Windows Forms, and WPF with the same components and capabilities as its Silverlight client. Additionally, DevForce OData is a full, read/write OData implementation, supporting filtering, ordering, paging (top and skip), expand (INCLUDE), and service operations.

DevForce also supports non-.NET clients that can use OData such as Excel, SharePoint, the iPhone, and the iPad.

RIA Services does not. RIA Services is a Silverlight-only story.


Every DevForce release has endured rigorous trials under real-world business conditions. Thousands of customers have trusted their business to IdeaBlade since 2002. They’ve been vocal with us about what works and what doesn’t under the most varied of circumstances.

Consider your alternatives and ask tough questions:

  • How long has the alternative been commercially available?
  • Are there production applications built with it?
  • How long have those applications been in production?
  • Have they had time to evolve over several maintenance and enhancement cycles?

Consider the product teams. Look at their resumes.

  • Which (if any) team members have built even one business application in their entire careers?
  • Have any of them built a business application with their own product?
  • Have any of them worked directly with customers to build a customer application … not just a prototype or proof-of-concept?

You may not know our business. But you know your business. Who would you hire to work for you: some smart people who have thought about it or some smart people who have already done it?

Developer support

Support should be more than a shoulder cry on. It should lead quickly, directly, to product improvement.

We are real people with a real desire to help you succeed. You aren’t just buying a product—you are buying a relationship.

We don’t outsource support. It’s all done in-house. We’re a small company staffed by smart people who know the product inside and out. We know you want more than answers; you want guidance. We have direct experience using DevForce in real world applications. We recognize pitfalls and opportunities. We won’t stop at "how it works ". We’ll discuss pros and cons, point you to examples and external references, and sometimes we’ll suggest a better way.

All software has bugs. What happens when the bug is critical to your application and we can’t find a viable workaround? We’ll get you a hot-fix in a pinch. Can Microsoft do that?

What if a hot-fix isn’t warranted? We issue a new DevForce release every seven weeks—like clockwork. 95% of defect repairs are delivered in the cycle following the report. We’ll tell you where your fix stands in the queue and you won’t be waiting long. We can even give you a preview as soon as we’ve got a stable build.

DevForce itself evolves at this same seven-week pace. Most of our features are inspired by you. Have an idea? Make your case directly to a DevForce product manager and we’ll set a priority and schedule together. You won’t be left wondering if something that might work will show up in a service pack or .NET release someday."