Microsoft is shipping a free Silverlight control that enables users to visualize data graphically to help them better perform such tasks as analyzing business intelligence (BI) data from an e-commerce website.
The control, called the Silverlight PivotViewer, was co-developed by Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Live Labs and the Silverlight development team.
The viewer was created to help website developers and designers build more compelling pages that let users interact with large amounts of data.
"Silverlight PivotViewer is a control that enables content owners to embed data visualization experiences directly on their websites," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.
"It lets the user visualize thousands of items at once and then organize and navigate them in richly visual ways. Using the Deep Zoom technology in Silverlight 4, you can seamlessly zoom into high resolution content and pan around to find what you're looking," the spokesperson added.
Version 4 of Microsoft's Silverlight cross-platform, cross-browser media streaming player shipped in April. The first version of Silverlight shipped two years ago.
A U.K.-based wedding planning site -- named Hitched -- was the first company to use PivotViewer in a commercial application.
The Hitched site shows hundreds of photos of wedding venues all over the U.K. As users sort through all the venues looking for ones that meet their criteria, the PivotViewer control displays the ones that do or don't fit using bar graphs to identify the best ones. Users can then click to zoom in on those venues to pick the best one.
"[It answers the question] How do I swim through a sea of data?" Brett Brewer, general manager of Microsoft's Live Labs, said on a video about the PivotViewer posted on Microsoft's Channel 9 developers' site.
"The control allows anyone to have this feature on their Web page," Brewer added.
Microsoft officials first demonstrated the PivotViewer control for Silverlight at the company's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles last fall.
Silverlight PivotViewer is available for download here.
Tags: Microsoft, Silverlight, PivotViewer, Live Labs