PING, one of the best-known brands in golf equipment, was running out of time to deliver a prototype of its next generation custom club fitting, specifying and ordering system at the Professional Golfers’ Merchandise Show in 2008. Find out how Expression Blend enabled Ping to beat its deadlines and leap ahead of its competition.

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PING was founded by Karsten Solheim, a mechanical engineer who in the late 1950s took his experience in the aerospace and computer industries to build a brand credited with numerous innovations in the design and manufacturing of golf clubs. One innovation credited to PING is custom fitting of golf clubs based on factors such as a customer’s gender and size and how the person swings different types of clubs.

In 2007 PING realized many of its competitors had developed similar custom fitting systems and that to stay ahead in this competitive field it would need to take its custom golf club fitting system to the next level.

The new computer based application needed to be graphically rich so customers could better understand the custom-fitting process and the results they would see in the real world out on the golf course. In addition to this it would also need to be easy to use as it would make its way to hundreds of pro golf shops throughout the world.

The goal was to have the new application ready to show at the Professional Golfers’ Merchandise Show 2008. However, a year after starting the project the team realized they were not going to be able to meet their goal. To design and build a state of the art user interface was simply taking too long; it took the team several weeks to create and stylize each custom control with the tools they had available at the time.

Just as the PING team realized its deadline was slipping away from them they learned of a new software tool – Expression Blend TM.

Expression Blend in tandem with Windows Presentation Foundation and Visual Studio 2008 provided the mixture of design and development tools as well as the flexible platform the team needed to have a chance to meet its deadline.

Making such a fundamental change so late in the development cycle was a massive risk, but the deadline required thinking outside the box. The PING team went all in and decided to forgo all the previous work on the project.

Designers created the interface for the new prototype in Expression Blend and developers took the resulting XAML into Visual Studio to create the application without any loss of integrity. Utilizing Visual Studio, Expression Blend and XAML meant the developers and interface designers no longer needed to convert code bases thanks to tools sharing the same project format and structure.

PING reworked all its original work in less than three months and completed the functional prototype in time for the show. Two months later the production version was completed and by early 2009 the system was operational in over 400 PING dealerships worldwide.

Watch the PING video to find out more about the solution delivered and how PING went about solving its development issues.

You can read the full PING Case Study here:

http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?casestudyid=4000004187