Introducing .NET Smart Components – AI-powered UI controls

Daniel Roth

New advances in AI promise to revolutionize how we interact with and use software. But adding AI features into existing software can be challenging. That’s why we built the new .NET Smart Components, a set of genuinely useful AI-powered UI components that you can quickly and easily add to .NET apps. You don’t have to spend weeks of dev time redesigning your UX or researching machine learning and prompt engineering. .NET Smart Components are prebuilt end-to-end AI features that you can drop into your existing app UIs to make your users more productive.

The .NET Smart Components are an experiment and are initially available for Blazor, MVC, and Razor Pages with .NET 6 and later. We expect to provide components for other .NET UI frameworks as well, like .NET MAUI, WPF, and Windows Forms, but first we’re interested in your feedback on how useful these components are and what additional capabilities you’d like to see added.

Watch Steve Sanderson demonstrate what the .NET Smart Components can do:

What’s included

The .NET Smart Components currently include the following smart features:

Smart Paste

Smart Paste fills out forms automatically using data from the user’s clipboard with the click of a button. You can use this with any existing form in your web app. This helps users add data from external sources without re-typing.

Screen capture of Smart Paste feature

Learn more: Smart Paste docs

Smart TextArea

An intelligent upgrade to the traditional textarea. You can configure how it should autocomplete whole sentences using your own preferred tone, policies, URLs, and so on. This helps users type faster and not have to remember URLs etc.

Screen capture of Smart TextArea feature

Learn more: Smart TextArea docs

Smart ComboBox

Upgrades the traditional combobox by making suggestions based on semantic matching. This helps users find what they’re looking for.

Screen capture of Smart ComboBox feature

Learn more: Smart ComboBox docs

Running the samples

You can try out the .NET Smart Components with Blazor or MVC/RazorPages using the .NET Smart Components sample apps on GitHub.

To get started with the .NET Smart Components sample apps:

  1. Download and install the .NET SDK if you don’t already have it installed.

  2. Clone or download the .NET Smart Components sample repo from GitHub: https://aka.ms/smartcomponents.

  3. Deploy an Azure OpenAI backend if you don’t already have one, and then edit the RepoSharedConfig.json file at the root of the solution to add your API key, deployment name, and endpoint URL.

    RepoSharedConfig.json

    "SmartComponents": {
      "ApiKey": "<API key>",
      "DeploymentName": "<deployment name>",
      "Endpoint": "https://YOUR_ACCOUNT.openai.azure.com/"
    }
  4. Run either ExampleBlazorApp or ExampleMvcRazorPagesApp to see the .NET Smart Components in action.

Add to an existing app

Once you’re ready, you can add .NET Smart Components to your existing Blazor, MVC, or Razor Pages apps by following these guides:

Feedback and support

The .NET Smart Components are currently experimental and not officially supported. We want to hear from you whether these components are useful and how we can improve them to best meet your app development needs. Please take a moment to share your thoughts and feedback with us by filling out our short .NET Smart Components survey. You can also report issues and suggest improvements by creating an issue on GitHub.

Thank you for trying out the .NET Smart Components!

24 comments

Leave a comment

  • Samuel Egger 0

    Looks promising. But without source code it isn’t of much use if you want to combine the smart features with third party UI libraries.

  • Rand Random 0

    I would question the AI part of this functionality, not every if statement is AI.
    and the smart paste makes me shudder in fear, because of privacy concern. that my paste content gets uploaded to server, and analyzed.

    • Daniel RothMicrosoft employee 4

      Thanks for sharing this feedback! Please note these components aren’t just doing simple if statements – they’re leveraging AI services to augment the user experience.

      As for privacy, these components are intended to be used as part of forms that would submit to your server anyway. The data also gets sent to Azure OpenAI, which has a strict privacy policy that you can read about here: https://learn.microsoft.com/legal/cognitive-services/openai/data-privacy.

      • Caio Campos 3

        Did you have to type all this answer, or did you use a smart component? 😉

  • dexi lin 0

    How can I run it on the WPF or WinUI framework?

    • Rand Random 1

      As was pointed out

      are initially available for Blazor, MVC, and Razor Pages with .NET 6 and later. We expect to provide components for other .NET UI frameworks as well, like .NET MAUI, WPF, and Windows Forms, but first we’re interested in your feedback on how useful these components are and what additional capabilities you’d like to see added.

  • Alex Lambert 1

    Does it also work with an API key from openai.com, at least for playing around with it?

  • Θοδωρής Τσιρπάνης 1

    Nice idea! I wonder if this could have been implemented as a browser extension that can work on any site.

  • MM 0

    Looks interesting but as the OpenAI backend is still by request only and only available to organisations (not individuals) with an Azure subscription it’s usefulness as something to even try out is rather limited

  • Carl Franklin 1

    Fantastic application of existing technology to solve real-world problems! Amazing.

  • Ken Kohler 0

    Why just web pages and blazor? How about with MAUI and WinUI?

  • Peter Vo 0

    That looks great. One question: I don’t want to keep the API Key in the appsettings.Development.json because the source code, including this json, is public on GitHub. So is there a way for me to get it from environment variable and register it in the Program.cs (I’m using Blazor Web Server)?

    Or am I overthinking, as there may be no threat model to require me to secure the API Key?

  • Karen Payne 0

    I keep getting errors when running either of the apps and I believe it points too when I put in my account in place of YOUR_ACCOUNT. And not recognizing my DeploymentName.

    "Endpoint": "https://YOUR_ACCOUNT.openai.azure.com/"
    • Daniel RothMicrosoft employee 1

      Hi Karen. If you’re using Azure OpenAI, you should be able to get the endpoint URL from the Azure portal when you browse to your Azure OpenAI resource. To get the deployment name, make sure you actually create a deployment using the Azure AI Studio and then use the name from that deployment. You can get to the Azure AI Studio from your Azure OpenAI resource in the Azure portal.

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