Essential Studio for Windows Forms: Choosing between the Data Grid and the Grid Grouping Control

We released a new data grid (SfDataGrid) control in 2018 Volume 1. It is an alternate for our Windows Forms grid grouping control. This new-generation data grid control offers several benefits over our existing grid grouping control like better performance, touch friendliness, light weight, and much more. This blog post analyzes the features of both controls and will help you make an informed decision about which control to choose in various situations. 

Our general recommendation is to continue using the grid grouping control if you are already using it in an existing project. The grid grouping control will be officially supported for several more years so there is no need to upgrade unless you need to use one of the exclusive features in the new data grid or need better performance. Please note that the new data grid is still in beta, but we believe that it is stable enough to be used in production environments. 

The new data grid control is based on and shares code with our market-leading data grid control available in other desktop platforms like WPF and UWP, so it already has a very mature feature set with features like grouping, filtering, summaries, stacked headers, and Excel export.

Feature comparison

The following table shows the currently supported features of the new data grid compared to the grid grouping control.

Feature

New DataGrid

Grid Grouping Control

Data binding

Yes

Yes

Real-time data update support for DataTable

Yes

No

Real-time data update support for collections

Yes

Yes

Virtual data processing

Yes

No

Auto-generating columns

Yes

No

Data annotation support (column generation, data validation, and column formatting)

Yes

No

Built-in column types (text, numeric, button, hyperlink, check box, date-time)

Yes

Yes

Drop-down column types

2018 Volume 2

Yes

Editing

Yes

Yes

Add new row

Yes

Yes

Keyboard row deletion

Yes

No

Built-in data validation based on data annotation and INotifyErrorInfo, IDataErrorInfo interfaces

Yes

No

Custom cell and row validation

Yes

Yes

Sorting and custom sorting

Yes

Yes

Grouping and custom grouping

Yes

Yes

Programmatic filtering

Yes

Yes

Excel-like filtering

Yes

Yes

Advanced UI filtering

Yes

No

Filter row

Yes

Yes

Master details view

2018 Volume 2

Yes

Frozen columns

Yes

Yes

Frozen rows

Yes

No

Footer rows and columns

Yes

No

Summaries (table, group, and group caption) and custom summaries

Yes

Yes

Row selection

Yes

Yes

Cell selection

2018 Volume 2

Yes

Cell merging

2018 Volume 2

Yes

Stacked headers

Yes

Yes

Column resizing

Yes

Yes

Column drag and drop

Yes

Yes

Auto-fitting columns

Yes

Yes

Auto-fitting rows

Yes

Yes

Unbound columns

Yes

Yes

Unbound rows

Yes

No

Row header

Yes

Yes

Clipboard support

Yes

Yes

Column chooser

2018 Volume 2

Yes

Built-in context menu

Yes

No

Searching

Yes

Yes

ToolTip

Yes

Yes

Right to left

Yes

Yes

Styling support for all data grid elements

Yes

Yes

Theming

2018 Volume 2

Yes

Touch

Yes

Yes

Localization

Yes

Yes

Printing

Supported using PDF viewer

Yes

Excel exporting

Yes

Yes

PDF exporting

Yes

Yes

XML serialization and deserialization

Yes

Yes

Accessibility

Yes

Yes

Coded UI

2018 Volume 2

Yes

QTP add-on

No

Yes


These are some of the exclusive features that are only available in the new data grid:

  • Virtual data processing: The data grid loads any number of records within milliseconds using its built-in data virtualization techniques that can be enabled by setting EnableDataVirtualization as true. 
  • Column generations based on data annotations: Generate and format columns using data annotations without writing any code. 
  • Data validation: Built-in support to handle data errors based on INotifyErrorInfo and IDataErrorInfo interfaces, and the data annotation attributes. Now there is no need to write any code to handle validations. The data grid also supports custom validations for cells and rows. ]Unbound row support: An additional row where data objects that are not bound to the underlying data source can be added at the top and bottom positions.
  • Row freezing: Any row in the view port can be frozen at the top or bottom of the data grid.

Performance comparison

Our main goal with this new data grid control is to make it the best-performing data grid on the market and we believe we have accomplished our goal. This new data grid control offers 2–3x improved performance in many scenarios, even when compared to our already high-performance grid grouping control. 

It is now possible to load millions of records within milliseconds. All data operation features like sorting, grouping, filtering, and summary calculations have also been optimized compared to the old grid. Also, the performance of features like auto-fit column widths, auto-fit row height, and Excel and PDF exporting have been improved greatly over the grid grouping control. In the following table, you can see the performance comparison of the new data grid over the grid grouping control.

Criteria: 100,000 records with 5 columns

Feature

New Data Grid

(Time duration in milliseconds)

Grid Grouping Control

(Time duration in milliseconds)

Data loading

203

1783

Sorting

215

2217

Grouping

1079

5077

Filtering

470

981


https://www.syncfusion.com/blogs/image.axd?picture=%2fblogpostimages%2fPerformance_Metrics_Chart_939245f6.png


The sample used for performance metric measurement can be downloaded from the following link: PerformanceMetricsSample.zip

What’s coming

We will continue to add new features and improvements in the new data grid control, and continue to provide bug fixes and support for the grid grouping control. The following are some major features that will be added to the data grid in upcoming releases:


  • Master-details view support: Hierarchical data can be represented in the form of nested tables.
  • Theme support: The visual style of the data grid can be changed using the built-in themes.
  • Busy indicator support: A busy indicator will be displayed when performing data operations on large data.
  • Excel-like UI filtering performance: The Excel-like UI filter performance will be increased.
  • Combo box column type: The combo box drop-down column type support will allow users to choose an item from a drop-down.
  • Filter row with combo box and multiselect combo box editor support: The combo box and multiselect combo box editors can be used to filter columns.

What’s next

If you’re already a Syncfusion user, you can download the product setup here. If you’re not yet a Syncfusion user, you can download a free, 30-day trial here. Refer to our documentation to get started with the new data grid control. Give us your feedback through the comments section below, our online forum, or a support ticket.

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