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Please leave a comment, ask a question and consider subscribing to the latest posts via RSS or email. Thank you for visiting! Below is a list of entries related to the tag listed above.. My site contains more than just the information below and I'd encourage you to visit the home page to view current information as well as other items/categories that might be of interest.



Microsoft Ignite for .NET Developers

This was the first time in a long time (I think maybe 10+ years) that I didn’t go to TechEd…err, I mean Ignite :-).  Was I sad to miss seeing old friends and hearing about TwoWay binding woes?  Sure.  Did I miss Orlando in the summer…nope (I get, it’s an easy shot, but yeah no).  I watched from afar though and found some really great stuff for .NET developers on different spectrums.  Ignite is Microsoft’s opportunity to share what is happening in the tech now versus only focus on futures.  I think for .NET developers we long for the ‘vNext’...

Build 2017 UI Recap

Well that was fun!  It was really exciting to share with the world what our team has been working on in designing and developing over the past few years with regard to Windows UI platform advancements.  Build 2017 was a culmination of a lot of efforts across the company in various areas, but for UI it was the introduction of our evolution of design, the Fluent Design System.  This represents a wave of UI innovations over time, with Build 2017 showing the first views of Wave 1.  There was a lot of great buzz about Fluent, but for a great...

Implementing a type converter in UWP XAML

Verbose XAML, we all love it right?  What?!  You don’t like writing massive amounts of angle brackets to get to define certain properties?  I mean who doesn’t love something like this: <MapControl> <MapControl.Center> <Location> <Location.Latitude>47.669444</Location.Latitude> <Location.Longitude>-122.123889</Location.Longitude> </Location> </MapControl.Center> </MapControl> What’s not to love there?  Oh I suppose you prefer something like this? <MapControl Center="47.669444,-122.123889" /> In the XAML dialect this is what...

Write your Amazon Alexa Skill using C# on AWS Lambda services

After a sick day a few weeks ago and writing my first Alexa Skill I’ve been pretty engaged with understanding this voice UI world with Amazon Echo, Google Home and others.  It’s pretty fun to use and as ‘new tech’ it is pretty fun to play around with.  Almost immediately after my skill was certified, I saw this come across my Twitter stream: You can now write your AWS Lambda functions in C#! #reInvent https://t.co/LDOK0S1VwF pic.twitter.com/FpRUODgucv— Amazon Web Services (@awscloud) December 1, 2016 I had spent a few days getting up-to-speed on Node and the environment (I’ve been working in client technologies...

Making circular images in XAML

A long while back it seemed like the new cool app thing to do was to represent people/avatars in circles instead of the squares (or squares with rounded corners).  I made a snarky comment about this myself almost exactly 2 years ago when I noticed that some apps I was using at the time switched to this: Seeing a trend that the new avatar shape in apps is a circle and no longer square — Tim Heuer (@timheuer) March 23, 2013 Now since this seems to be a popular trend...

Build 2015 recap for XAML and native apps

Wow, what a week.  I have to say even as employees of Microsoft, we get surprised when we go to our conferences and see some of the bigger announcements.  There are things that are being worked on that are new or just in different divisions that we’re not focused on.  This past week at the Build 2015 conference was an example of that for me.  Lots of good stuff for developers from client to server! Universal Windows Platform At Build this year we introduced the Universal Windows Platform v10 with a set of new APIs and unified features...

Join me at various Build events across America

I can’t wait to talk XAML at Build 2015 with you all!!! Hey all!  Been really quiet here on the blog as I’ve been focusing on both new personal and work aspects of my life.  On the work front, the team I work on has been working hard on delivering on our promise of converged Windows app development using the native UI framework for the platform – XAML.  It has been a real journey of change, stress of new customers and some exciting changes to the platform that are just the beginning. My team (XAML) and...

Updated Flickr4Writer for new Flickr API restrictions

Before Windows Live Writer was even publically released, I was glad to have been an early beta user/tester of the product.  The team thought early about an extensible model and it has been my content authoring tool ever since.  It has allowed me to use *my* preferred content workflow with my cloud providers/formatters/tracking and other such plug-ins due to this extensibility. One of the first plugins available was one of mine I called Flickr4Writer.  It was pretty popular (as most ‘firsts’ are) and I got a lot of good feedback that changed the functionality and user interface.  Is it...

Determining Portable Class Library compatibility

Recently I embarked on porting the TagLib# library to a Portable Class Library (PCL).  In my efforts I noted some frustration I had of the “convert and compile” flow to find issues.  Well, turns out I didn’t have to do that much pain as pointed out by Daniel in the comments!  The .NET team has released a tool to help out us developers called the API Portability Analyzer (currently in Alpha).  This tool basically looks at any existing .NET assembly and gives you a report to help you see where the APIs used are supported in the various .NET profiles...

Working with Portable Class Libraries and porting TagLib#

A long while back I had written a quick sample when Silverlight introduced drag-and-drop into the framework.  Then I decided to show dragging MP3 files into a Silverlight app and reading the metadata and album art.  In order to accomplish this I had to read into the ID3 data from a Silverlight library.  I found a few libraries but settled on TagLib# to do the job.  I had to modify it a bit to get it working in Silverlight as the .NET profile wasn’t the same.  Recently a surge of people have been emailing me for the code.  I spent...

Using SDK/library references in Universal Windows Apps

I’m just coming back from Build 2014 and it was a great pleasure to talk to customers/developers.  It is one of the best parts of my job right now in seeing how customers use the technology our team represents.  If you are a XAML developer and didn’t have a chance to go to Build or haven’t watched all the sessions, here’s a quick short list of recommendations I’d have: Common XAML UI Platform overview (Tim Heuer) XAML UI Controls (Shawn Oster) Developing across multiple form factors (Peter Torr)...

Adding an Extension SDK dependency to your NuGet package

Recently I’ve been writing a few XAML Behaviors for Callisto and looking to take some contributions on this front as well.  One thing that I realized is that this will bring in a new dependency for my toolkit.  I’m still trying to figure out if I want to do that or not, but that’s not what this post is about.  My #1 consumers of Callisto are using the NuGet package.  I also distribute Callisto through the Visual Studio gallery as an Extension SDK.  What’s the difference you ask? Extension SDK vs. NuGet package While not an...

Add Twitter Cards to your content

I’m an avid user of Twitter (join me on Twitter @timheuer) for things social, family and technical.  I use it to keep in touch with friends, learn things from technical sources, get news and otherwise interact with names I’ve never met in person.  My use of Twitter has changed much over the years and I’ve found myself just using the web site more and more while on the desktop where a full browser is available.  On my mobile I use native clients but presently not one of the ‘official’ Twitter mobile apps (I find them less full-featured than the 3rd...

Using AppBarButton in Windows 8.1

In a previous post I talked about removing the dependency on StandardStyles.xaml from your Windows 8.1 projects.  One of those tips noted that a popular use of the styles in that helper file was the AppBarButton styles and the roughly 200 different glyphs used for AppBarButtons.  I thought I’d dig a little deeper quickly on the use of AppBarButton since I received a few pieces of email about it. Typical Scenario – Symbol Icons The AppBarButton class is new in Windows 8.1 and primarily intended for use the CommandBar scenario, providing the UI, behavior and accessibility needs to...

Getting rid of StandardStyles.xaml in Windows 8.1

If you’ve created a Windows 8 app using XAML then you’ve likely seen a file in the project called StandardStyles.xaml in the Common folder and merged in with your application.  As I’ve seen apps developed I’ve seen people pretty much treat this as a system component and not change it at all.  Sometimes that’s good, but mostly it has been bad.  There are a lot of apps that I’ve seen that don’t use a lot of the styles in that dictionary, but don’t do anything to trim the file or even remove it if not needed. The file was...

Callisto Migration Tip: Menus

I’m continuing in my series of helping to provide Callisto migration tips to use new Windows 8.1 features. In a recent post I talked about the Flyout control and provided the path to the platform-provided features. In Callisto, the Menu control was provided as sort of a prescribed content for the Flyout control. In fact you really couldn’t use Menu without Flyout. This guide will help you change to the platform-provided MenuFlyout now available in Windows 8.1. API Differences On the public surface area, there aren’t actually many changes here. Windows 8.1 MenuFlyout provides more...

Callisto Migration Tip: Flyouts

This is another post in my series of providing migration tips from certain Callisto controls to using Windows 8.1 features. I previously demonstrated probably the most popular Callisto control, the SettingsFlyout. Coming in a very close second in popularity is the Flyout control. The Flyout is a concept of a non-modal small dialog for information and commands. The primary use case for a lot of Flyouts was something from Button areas, namely the AppBar. Getting the experience right was not intuitively easy using a Popup primitive as you had to handle the right...

Callisto Migration Tip: Use PlaceholderText in Windows 8.1

Continuing on my tips in migrating from Callisto for platform-supported Windows 8.1 APIs, I’ll cover another simple, but helpful text control in this post: WatermarkTextBox. When writing an app that provides input from customers, providing some “hint” when there is no text is a valuable thing to add. Here’s how to change to the platform-supported APIs. Change back to TextBox When using Callisto, you had to use a specific control that derived from TextBox. Simple enough: <callisto:WatermarkTextBox Watermark="Enter some text..." /> In Windows 8.1 the concept of watermark text was added to controls for text input, including PasswordBox (one...

Callisto Migration Tip: Use CharacterEllipsis

Frankly I’m going to be honest and say I’m not sure why it took us so long to add this capability to TextBlock, especially given that the support in Callisto provided via DynamicTextBlock was originally done in Silverlight 2. O_O. Well, Robby can rest well now knowing that we no longer have to depend on his contributions to Callisto. Example of use DynamicTextBlock on bottom Here’s the quick migration tip. Change back to TextBlock The DynamicTextBlock served one purpose, to provide trimming at the character level rather than the word level. The implementation of DynamicTextBlock was done...

Callisto Migration Tip: Use Windows 8.1 SettingsFlyout

As a part of my promise from my previous post talking about migrating to new Windows 8.1 controls instead of some Callisto ones, I’ll talk about how to leverage the new SettingsFlyout control provided by the framework. Without a doubt one of the two most popular Callisto controls is the SettingsFlyout. This is a marquee experience for Windows Store apps to provide the “charm” area for managing settings for your application. This control provides the animations, near pixel-perfect UI and behavior for handling the software keyboard movement. Like everything in Callisto, it is simple...

Callisto Update for Windows 8.1

As I spent time last week updating my Callisto library for Windows 8.1 I realized it was a long time between the last release.  Well, I’ve finally updated it for Windows 8.1 release which is now available.  This is a major, yet minor release…allow me to explain. Windows 8 Support As of the Callisto 1.4.0 release, Windows 8 support ends.  Support in the non-commercial Open Source world is a bit of a funny term as the support has always been provided by myself and Morten.  I wrestled for a few days trying to keep a source code base,...

Getting Google Chrome browser to work with touch

I’ve seen some reports and received some emails on email groups that I’m a part of around Windows 8 and Google Chrome browser and how touch is not working.  In fact I was initially confused about this myself because it was working fine for me on my machine (Lenovo x230t) but other people were insistent that it wasn’t working.  Then I asked what machine they were on. Almost exclusively everyone was on a “high DPI” machine (or had high DPI settings in their display).  If you have a Surface Pro, for example, you are using a high DPI machine. ...

Creating XAML Code Snippets for Visual Studio 2013

A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of being in front of you, our developer customers (and friends) at the Microsoft BUILD conference. (I never know how to write “build” in a sentence and refuse to use the “//” in front of it.) These are things that I LOVE doing and wish I could do it more. I had the privilege of introducing an overview of what was new in the XAML UI framework for Windows 8.1. All the sessions are recorded so please go view mine and review it how you think so they...

Ensuring your Windows store app knows of a language change

In my working with Windows Store apps, I’ve become increasingly fond/aware of the advantages for app localization.  There are a lot of resources out there for you to localize your app using a good-better-best approach as well.  I’ve previously written about localizing a Windows Store app using some of these methods and what the WinRT platform supports to make this easier in most cases. Now that you’ve localized your app, you may be faced with the question of how you might want to respond to language choice changes by the user.  Remember that the Windows Store app model is...

Implement a ‘smart banner’ for your Windows Store app

As someone who uses a few iOS devices around the house, I’ve become fond of visiting sites and seeing a little banner that lets me know that a native app is available for the web app I’m using.  This concept was introduced in iOS 6 and called “Smart App Banners” in the developer documentation.  You may have seen them as well I wanted to provide the same affordance for Windows Store apps and recalled there are already two ways to integrate the web app browsing experience with the native app in the Windows Store: ...

Remote Debugging your Windows Store app on your Surface

So you got that shiny new Surface device today?  I’m sure you spent the first few hours just opening it up, setting your personal experiences to your desire, re-installing and discovering new apps. But you are a developer and now you want to see how your app looks on this great device…Here are some tips to get you quickly started. Setting up the tools One thing to keep in mind is that Surface is NOT a full ‘desktop’ machine and runs on an ARM processor.  This means to that you cannot install Visual Studio directly on the...

Using Azure Web Sites to market your Windows App

In some of our internal discussion lists there was some questions about how to host certain content for their application.  Most of the discussion came up from apps needing a privacy policy (Rule 4.1 from the Windows Store App Certification Requirements).  Some folks had apps they just developed, but no “site” or service they were using.  But they needed to host a privacy policy.  Lots of thoughts were floated around and I suggested Azure Free Web Sites as an option.  I originally suggested it as a simple way you could just have a URL to a privacy policy, but…duh, you...

Using vector data for AppBar icons in XAML

I was helping a friend today doing some over-the-shoulder code review and suggestions for his Windows app he’s writing for the store.  In doing this I asked a question about how to perform a certain action.  He indicated that he put those functions in the AppBar and was it not obvious I was supposed to use them.  I looked at the AppBar again and found out why I wasn’t drawn to them.  First, the labels he used weren’t descriptive to me and relied too much on me looking at the actual icon.  Second, however, is that when I hovered over...

New-DiffGist: a powershell cmdlet for posting diffs fast

In the late nights when I have time to work on Callisto (my Windows 8 XAML toolkit), I often am making changes that I really wish I could either pair with someone on or at a minimum solicit some feedback.  Primarily single-person open source projects are lonely :-). Last night was no different.  I had a user of Callisto having a problem with a specific code path.  While my testing of the fix was fine, I didn’t want to rush it without him understanding the simple fix.  I had no good way of showing him a combined diff to...

UPDATED HOWTO: SQLite with Windows 8 apps

I’ve previously posted a few things about SQLite including a HOWTO on how to build from their source code.  If you still want to build your own DLL from their source code that is totally fine, but not necessary in most every single case I’ve seen in app usage.  One of the challenges I noted is that since SQLite is a native component and if you are a managed (.NET) app you can’t be architecture neutral anymore (AnyCPU).  What this means is that you have to build your app for each architecture you want to support: x86, x64 and ARM. ...

Seeding your Metro style app with a SQLite database

It looks like people are really glad about being able to use SQLite within their Metro style apps.  I had written two previous posts (Using SQLite in your Metro style app and HOWTO: Build and include SQLite) about this topic.  I’m pleased to report that since those posts the SQLite team released a build (3.7.13 as of the datestamp on this post) which also provides the binary (32- and 64-bit versions) pre-compiled for you for inclusion in your Metro style app.  You can get them from the SQLite download page. I’ve received a few comments/questions that I thought I...

AutoHotkey–my new snippet tool

This week was TechEd North America, a conference from Microsoft for technical professionals covering the span of pretty much everything Microsoft produces to support IT professionals and software developers.  I was pleased to have been invited to speak on developing Metro style apps in XAML for .NET developers.  Like most developer presenters, I planned on showing a lot of demos, using different tools, editors, and varying code samples, URLs, etc.  When you are a presenter at a conference you usually don’t have the luxury of sitting in your office and doing things without distractions.  You want to get across your...

HOW TO: Use SQLite in C# Metro style app

I got a few questions and comments about how to actually include SQLite in a C# Metro style app.  Since perhaps it wasn’t clear in describing in my post, I thought a quick video might help demonstrate the steps to build and use SQLite in a C# Metro style app. The video walks through actually building SQLite from the source (Visual Studio 2012 required…express is fine) and adding it to a C# Metro style app, create a database, populate with some data based on a class and databind the query to a ListView.  The video references my OneNote notebook on the...

Callisto: A toolkit for XAML Metro style apps

With the announcement of the Windows 8 Release Preview and matching Visual Studio 2012 RC I’m pleased to share some work that has been a result of my own personal app building, collaborating with some friends during their app building as well as porting some helpful projects that I’ve found helpful in my development. Disclosure: At the time of this writing I do work for Microsoft, but this has been a personal effort from my own app development and during my own time (late nights and weekends).  I am not able to upload apps to the...

Using SQLite in a Metro style app

At the “Developing Windows 8 Metro style apps with C++” event that happened on 18-May-2012, we saw and heard some very interesting things.  If you were watching live then hopefully you didn’t see how I tried to work through my presentation while my disk was suspiciously guzzling every last byte until it eventually ran out of space!  But I digress… During the keynote presentation by Herb Sutter, we brought up several customers that are well-known in the native code world to talk about their experiences with Metro style apps and C++/Cx.  In particular hopefully this one caught your eye: That’s right, the...

Develop your app for everyone–localize your UI

Being more involved in the engineering process of a product I had the chance to participate in the design of various features instead of just the ones that I’m responsible for delivering.  One of those areas was the way we would enable developers to produce localized applications.  Before this process I have to be honest and as an app developer never really paid much attention to providing localized versions of any app that I wrote.  I had absolutely no good reason for coming to that decision, just never bothered.  In helping to design and understand localization a bit more I...

Metro app development hidden gem: anonymous type binding

Just a little post to point out a hidden gem if you are a .NET developer creating a Metro style app: you can bind to anonymous types.  This came up in a discussion with a customer today that I was having and, frankly, I never tried it until then because my mind was back in Silverlight where this isn’t possible.  There may not be a tone of cases where this is valuable for you, but knowing it is there may help. Let’s assume I have a basic class Person: ...

Stung by Azure Data Transfer fees

I should have known better honestly.  I’ve had one strike with cloud billing catching me by surprise and I’m not sure why I’m shocked it happened again.  This time, however, I thought I really did plan it out, pay attention to things and asked what I thought were the right questions.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the full answers.  This time I was stung by my shiny new SQL Azure service choice. UPDATE 12-APR-2012: Based on comments I've received I feel the need to clarify that I'm not bashing Azure or cloud services in general here.  I don't think anywhere I indicated...

Redesigning my blog for adaptive layout

My blog runs on Subtext which has a pretty good skinning model (albeit a tad outdated) and allows you to customize whatever you want.  I’ve had my own custom theme since 2009.  I figured I was due for an update.  I was further strengthened by a post from Jon Galloway last week. There wasn't a vote, but if there was: I don't like narrow, fixed width web designs. Use media queries, scale intelligently on widescreen. — Jon Galloway (@jongalloway) March 30, 2012 Now when I saw this I figured it was another nudge.  I did...

Using a ToggleButton in your XAML Metro style AppBar

If you’ve been playing around with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview then hopefully you’ve seen the hundreds of samples provided and downloaded some apps form the store.  In a lot of those applications you’ll notice the common theme of the use of an AppBar…the command bar that shows when you swipe from the top or bottom of the screen.  You can also invoke the AppBar by right-clicking or using the Windows 8 keyboard shortcut of Windows key + ‘z’ to bring it up as well. Picture of the AppBar in the Bing Maps application ...

Monetize your Metro style app with Microsoft AdCenter

Today, the Microsoft Advertising team announced an update to their AdCenter SDK to include support for monetizing your Metro style apps. In a blog post announcing the update, Ian notes that if you were using the previous SDK that there have been breaking changes and to use the updated SDK.  This update includes support for XAML applications and adding the ad units couldn’t be easier.  After installing their SDK (which was developed using the same distribution concepts in my post about creating a distributable custom control previous post), you will be able to use Add Reference in Visual Studio,...

Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps

At //build one of the surprising immediate things I heard about was folks wanting to build custom controls right away.  I knew that would happen, but not so quick on something so new (WinRT).  The XAML platform did not have good support for building custom controls in the Developer Preview but now that the Consumer Preview for Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 Beta are out, there is much better support.  There are two key things when thinking about custom controls: 1) building it and 2) making it consumable by developers (even if those developers are your own company).  I’ll...

Use Bing Maps in your Windows 8 XAML applications

Today the Bing team announced the release of their WinRT Bing Maps control (BETA) for XAML applications.  First the goods: Read their announcement here: Bing Maps for Metro style apps Download the bits: Bing Maps SDK for Metro style apps (VSIX) Read the reference API docs: Bing Maps SDK If you are familiar with the Silverlight control, it is similar in nature to how you would use it in your XAML Metro style app.  Here’s some helpful tips that are in the docs but just wanted to elevate...

Building a good app settings experience in XAML

So you’ve started to kick the tires of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and now you are building an app.  You’ve read all the UX design guidelines and started looking at some great apps on the store.   Perhaps you’ve also viewed the online documentation and some samples?  And you’ve likely read about the contract implementations and other charms items like custom settings.  UPDATE: Take a look at Callisto: a XAML toolkit which has a SettingsFlyout control What is Settings? When I refer to Settings here I’m referring to that consistent experience in Metro style apps when the user invokes the charms bar...

XAML AppBar Button Styles for Windows 8

An old colleague of mine and now HTML extraordinaire, Adam Kinney, just recently posted on his spelunking of some styling in both WinJS and XAML runtimes with regard to icons/buttons to use in a Metro style app and the AppBar. Adam has two posts: (WinJS) Windows 8 AppBarIcons enumerated and visualized (XAML) Windows 8 AppBarButtonStyles enumerated and visualized Basically what these do is define a set of styles, both in CSS and XAML, that map back to unicode values in the Segoe UI Symbol font.  This contains a...

Windows 8 for keyboard users

I hope that you had a chance to download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  One of the things that you will absolutely want to do is watch Jensen’s video as a video walk-through of Windows 8 features, focusing on working with the operating system as a user, introducing the gestures and things you want to know about.  It is a great, short video and you should definitely watch it: As an avid keyboard user (and one without a touch device currently) I rely on the ‘desktop’ use of my Windows installation.  In addition to those things that Jensen mentions in his...

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Available!!!

Today, Microsoft will reveal the Windows 8 Consumer Preview for download to everyone.  This builds on the momentum and feedback from the Developer Preview released in September.  I’m very excited to get the developer platform in front of you so you can see the changes and new features we’ve made available as well as fixes based on your feedback. Along with the release of the actual bits, we’ve updated many resources for you to take advantage of as a developer, so allow me to iterate my top resources for you now… First, download the Windows...

Shrinking your Subtext database

I run my site on Subtext which has been around for 6+ years in some form (Subtext is a fork of .Text from way back).  As a part of the framework, there was initially built-in capabilities for tracking referral traffic.  On each view of the application, it would tick a referral note and you could see this in the statistics view of the admin pages. As the standards (for lack of a better term) of tracking Page Views, Referrals, etc. moved to more proven/consistent reporting like Google Analytics (or other platforms) these type of platform tracking became worthless to...

Migrating a SQL Server database to SQL Azure

For the past 6 years I’ve run this blog on the Subtext project (an Open Source software project which is an ASP.NET blog framework).  It has served me very well with being flexible and allowing me to customize things that I want.  It is based on SQL Server and uses stored procedures and relational database “stuff” to accomplish the goals of the design.  Recently I saw the news from Scott Guthrie about the reduction in pricing on some Windows Azure products, introducing a 100MB pricing option for SQL Azure which you can read about here and here.  I...

Amazon Kindle Fire: Return to sender

I wanted to believe, I really did.  It has been over a month since my first impressions of the Amazon Kindle Fire.  Over the holidays, I processed a return for my Kindle Fire.  When the Fire was announced I was intrigued and excited as I thought that Amazon had the real potential to make a great product and the customer base to capitalize on that potential.  For me, it just didn’t live up to the hype.  I’ll stress that last sentence…this is my opinion based on my experiences/desires.  As with anything in life, your mileage may vary. So what...

Portable tools rock–my current favorites and a great tool

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of re-paving of machines and I never had my favorite tools on them, nor did I want to spend the time to re-install a set of tools that I knew I would blow away each day anyway.  Mostly my daily builds have been to do some scenario validation and is quite repetitive.  However there are times where a stable build combination comes along that I keep for a while to work on customer apps or sample development.  When these times happen I find myself needing my helpful little utilities more frequently. Recently I’ve...

Code signing for the independent developer

One of the features introduced with Silverlight 4 was the out-of-browser feature, enabling you to create an application that can be installed, run offline, automatically updated, etc.  As a part of that feature, some of the major code signing certificate vendors (for Authenticode certs) provided our team with test certificates so that we could go through the same process as a developer would to acquire the cert and apply it to an app…and, of course, validate it works. During that time some of those vendors had promotional codes for the first year for Silverlight developers, providing reduced-rate (but not...

Silverlight 5 Released with awesome samples in the Silverlight Toolkit

Silverlight 5 is finally released!  Congratulations to the team for getting through some of the toughest parts of finishing a product and validating with customers.  It’s been a pretty crazy year for the Silverlight team and this is a really good release for the product bringing some solid features to the platform for folks to leverage in building their apps. In addition to the platform having a release, I was really pleased to see an update to the Silverlight Toolkit, which has been one of the most popular things almost every Silverlight developer/application uses.  If you didn’t know where...

The joy of running daily builds

It seems like a daily question I’ve been answering lately when working on internal email discussion groups and folks report an issue, my initial response is: what build combination are you working on?  As a part of my job, I like to ensure the fastest resolution (or awareness depending on how you look at it) to issues that affect our product.  This involves staying on top of ‘latest bits’ as we call them.  Every morning I come in and install the latest Windows build as well as the latest Visual Studio build.  We have an automated Hyper-V environment...

Windows Store details announced and a contest

Today there was an event in San Francisco which introduced the Windows Store for Windows apps as well as some details on revenue sharing and policies.  As a part of that Antoine LeBland, Vice President for Windows Web Services, also opened up a new dialog about the store specifically in a new blog Windows Store for developers.  This blog will help developers learn about aspects of the store as well as serve as a place for dialog between the store teams and you, the app developer.  I think it is great that the store team is following in the footsteps...

Kindle Fire: my first impressions and a practical review

Well, today I received my Kindle Fire.  I pre-ordered this on Sep 28 when they were announced.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting to see if there is anything that can be a better-priced tablet-like consumption device like iPad.  I absolutely love my existing Kindle reading device.  Love it.  If you are looking for an e-reader device only, you should look no further than the Kindle reading-specific devices.  They are priced so good now that there is no excuse if you are an avid reader and have always wanted one. Before I get to my “review” I wanted to share a little bit...

Anatomy of a good bug report

I was searching my archives for sending something to my team this morning after looking at various bugs logged from customers, internal partner teams and ourselves.  I had an old post from 2005 but it unfortunately used a Shrinkster URL that appears not to be working.  So here’s the mail I sent to my team this morning.  This is purely my opinion but things that I think make a great bug report for fastest resolution: ------ As we triage and such I know that there are likely times that you are frustrated with not enough detail to even...

My initial impressions and experiences with Roku

My family and I do not have traditional television in our homes (see My move to free HDTV Part 1 and Part 2).  In our home for “live” TV (which of course we have none) we rely on services like Hulu (which has been working perfectly fine and we haven’t felt we’ve missed anything).  We get Hulu, Netflix and Amazon media through our XBOX.  It works for our needs for things that are mainstream. This weekend we wanted to watch a conference that wasn’t on any of these outlets and the stream provided wasn’t working on their website.  A...

XAML Sessions at BUILD

By now hopefully you’ve seen a lot of the revealing of what the next version of Windows has in store for developers.  Trust me there is a LOT to absorb as the week continues and you should absolutely keep your eye on the BUILD conference site where session information will likely start to appear. I know that a lot of readers here will be interested in the XAML-specific sessions so I thought I’d iterate them here real quick.  NOTE: Anything on the agenda with a “C” after the session number is a chalk talk...

Silverlight 5 RC available for developers

The Silverlight 5 Release Candidate (RC) is now available for developers to download.  As with previous preview releases, this is a developer-focused release, which means no production releases, no go-live license, etc.  This is made available for you to test your apps, upgrade to get latest features and to deal with the changes from beta to RC. The beta was a great release and preview of what the team had introduced as new features.  You can read back on my Silverlight 5 guide to new features post regarding if you haven’t understood the latest and greatest additions.  However there...

Life at the Mothership: an introspection

Are you one of those people who hate when people post to their blogs about how it has been so long since they’ve blogged and they apologize for the delay and cite all sorts of excuses?  Yeah, me too ;-) I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my move to the mothership this past year.  I’ve been journaling things all along the way about my feelings, frustrations, personal tribulations and great experiences I’ve had this past year.  I thought I’d share some of that with you all to provide some behind-the-scenes aspects of how some, not all,...

Smashing Magazine May 2011 Windows 7 Theme

May is here!…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The May themes seem to be pretty random to me…no clear theme from contributors…zombies at a picnic?  Ok, I guess.  Here is your May 2011 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 26 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine May 2011 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine May 2011 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: May 2011 (original post) Special thanks to TransferBigFiles.com...

Silverlight 5 Beta–A guide to the new features

At the MIX11 conference Scott Guthrie announced the availability of Silverlight 5 Beta.  I suppose this doesn’t come at a surprise to most as this is now a regular annual occurrence.  In fact it is almost exactly a year ago when Silverlight 4 was released. The team has been working very hard to deliver on the features we discussed at the Silverlight Firestarter event last December 2010.  That was a flurry of revealing that happened in December showing the world what the Silverlight team has been working on.  There was no rest for them of course and they continued to complete...

Smashing Magazine April 2011 Windows 7 Theme

April showers bring May flowers as they say…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The April themes follow the theme what you'd expect with some flowers and such...ad a few fun ones sprinkled in there.  Here is your April 2011 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 35 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine April 2011 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine April 2011 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: April 2011 (original post) Special thanks to TransferBigFiles.com for hosting...

Visual Studio Template Behavior Research

I’ve been working on some stuff around templates lately and had my own opinions of some of the value of certain features of the Visual Studio template functionality.  What I’m speaking of here is when you choose File…New Project or on an existing project Add Item.  Both of those show you a list of templates.  When you select one most typically you get new files in your project.  It is one area of Visual Studio that is the simplest to extend and provide specific templates for your developers. There is an option for template developers to specify what, if...

Smashing Magazine March 2011 Windows 7 Theme

March is here…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The March themes seem completely random to me.  I guess I expected some St. Patrick’s Day themes.  We need some more participation from inspired designers/photographers/artists!  Here is your March 2011 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 35 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine March 2011 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine March 2011 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: March 2011 (original post) ...

Silverlight 4 February 2011 Update Released Today

Today (at approximately 10:00 AM PST) our team released an update to the Silverlight 4 runtime.  This update, dubbed internally as “GDR3,” provides an update in the following key areas (KB2495644): Timestamp issues with media playback and VC-1 codec Visual Studio IDE crash when profiling a Silverlight application which has a pixel shader Enabling Silverlight to run as a 32-bit process in 64-bit Firefox on OSX DRM fixes for a “6207” error when playing protected content after upgrading to a version of Silverlight Memory leak...

Silverlight Toolkits now on NuGet

Last night after a quick e-mail exchange with Phil, David and Scott I revised my Silverlight Toolkit “NuPack” packages I had previously created when NuPack NuGet first came out.  At the time there were a couple of things still not supported and frankly, I got busy and never bothered to check back.  Scott had seen something on a forum inquiring why Silverlight stuff, namely our open source controls, aren’t deployable via NuGet.  There wasn’t any other reason other than resources not currently scheduled to add this to the build flows, etc.  So I spent a few minutes revising the packages...

Smashing Magazine February 2011 Windows 7 Theme

February is here…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The February themes range from love (Valentine's) to Chinese New Year.  So here is your February 2011 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 40 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine February 2011 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine February 2011 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: February 2011 (original post) Special thanks to TransferBigFiles.com for hosting these wallpaper themes through their great service! (Please note that these downloads are only...

Silverlight service release today - 4.0.51204

Today we are releasing an update to Silverlight 4.  This is an update to two areas where no workarounds could be provided for customers and we found it important to fix.  The two issues in today’s update (which brings Silverlight to version 4.0.51204.0) are: Diacritics Foreign diacritical marks (usually accent marks on non-US languages) do not display in a TextBox control or a RichTextBox control in an out-of-browser (OOB) application on the Mac platform. This update simply fixes what was a broken piece of functionality. Trusted and Signed Applications Before you apply this update, a Silverlight 4 OOB application can enable an update only when...

Silverlight 5 Plans Revealed

Today we had the SIlverlight Firestarter event and revealed to the world for the first time, not only the plans for the next version of Silverlight, but also a slew of demonstrations of some key features. If you weren’t able to attend live or online real-time, we have recorded the sessions which will be available later this week on Channel 9. There has been a lot of confusion on the future of Silverlight.  Microsoft wants to ensure we have a great developer platform portfolio that supports all great technologies like HTML5, Silverlight and WPF.  We’ll continue to invest in these technologies for...

Coded UI testing for Silverlight 4 now available

In the release of Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2 one feature that might be interesting to Silverlight developers is the introduction of support for the coded UI test framework and Silverlight 4 applications, specifically: Use Microsoft Test Manager to capture and playback action recordings for Silverlight 4 applications Create coded UI tests for Silverlight 4 applications with Visual Studio 2010 Premium or Ultimate There are more features in the feature pack (see link above for more details) but also some videos to help you understand these features.  Here’s a video of the...

Smashing Magazine November 2010 Windows 7 Theme

November is here…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The November themes mostly concentrate on a lot of fall themes.  I am particular fond of Movember and UX Cake (both shown above) as well as the Hendrix one with the lyrics – pretty cool.  So here is your November 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 50 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine November 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine November 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) ...

Silverlight is dead. Long live Silverlight!

Well PDC10 is over (note: head on over to the PDC site to view all the sessions).  There was a lot of talk about Internet Explorer 9 (and another preview update) as well as general web development.  There had been some reports on the 2nd day of PDC commenting about the shift in strategy about Silverlight. You may have read the initial story from Mary Jo Foley which led to the tsunami of information about Silverlight being done, over and killed except for the Windows Phone 7 platform.  Other popular news outlets picked up on the story,...

Deploying Silverlight assemblies via NuPack

Yesterday there was quite a buzz around something Microsoft just released called “NuPack” which is described as: NuPack is a free open source package manager that makes it easy for you to find, install, and use .NET libraries in your projects. It works with all .NET project types (including, but not limited to, both ASP.NET Web Forms and ASP.NET MVC). NuPack enables developers who maintain open source projects (for example, projects like Moq, NHibernate, Ninject, StructureMap, NUnit, Windsor, RhinoMocks, Elmah, etc) to package up their libraries and register them with an online gallery/catalog...

Welcome New Silverlight MVPs for October 2010

Just a quick shout-out to congratulate the latest Silverlight MVPs to the program.  The Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) program is a recognition program that is in place to recognize and reward those individuals who have been identified by individuals (peers, Microsoft staff, etc.) as experts in their technology field and global contributors to the technology.  As of today (01 OCT 2010) we welcome some new folks to the Silverlight group: Colin Melia (@colinizer) Kunal Chowdhury (@kunal2383) Tetsuji Kato (@iwiz_sophy) Kelps Leite...

Smashing Magazine October 2010 Windows 7 Theme

October is here…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The October themes mostly concentrate on a lot of fall and Halloween themes.  So here is your October 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 45 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine October 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine October 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: October 2010 (original post) For details on these and to see past ones, visit the Smashing Magazine Windows 7 Theme information for...

Understanding Silverlight releases (and the September 2010 2nd service update)

Recently our team released a service release for Silverlight on 1-Sep-2010.  We affectionately call these “GDR” releases (general distribution release). NOTE: Other teams have different names for different things.  I’m not sure why Microsoft doesn’t have a standard on these things and it’s funny to hear marketing teams argue the benefit of one name over the other.  For what it is worth, in my eyes, if it isn’t a major milestone release (or at least a ‘dot’ release [4.0->4.1 for example] then it is a service update.  Call it a GDR, Wave X, Service Pack, R2, blah blah. In the GDR1 release...

Windows Phone 7 Developer Training events

It looks like the MSDN team has arranged some deep dives into Windows Phone development across the country.  I am sure that for Microsoft developers Windows Phone 7 represents a new opportunity to get out in the marketplace with your XAML skills and get recognized (paid) for your work!  It has been exciting to see a lot of interest from Silverlight developers in Windows Phone 7. If you are one that hasn’t had the time to soak in the platform or simply haven’t been paying attention, you are in luck.  There are a series of launch events...

Handling picture orientation in CameraCaptureTask in Windows Phone 7

I was spelunking around playing with Silverlight in Windows Phone 7 and specifically the CameraCaptureTask.  The “tasks” are APIs that allow you to interact with phone-specific functionality like the camera, picture picker, phone dialer, etc.  A whole list of the available tasks in the Microsoft.Phone.Tasks namespace can be found in the developer documentation. I was basically creating a simple application that would allow you to choose (PhotoChooserTask) or take a picture (CameraCaptureTask) and then display the picture (and later post it online or something).  Here was my basic XAML structure: ...

Lt. Bennett returns and brings his Silverlight source code with him!

Three years ago I wrote about one of the first full-featured casual games built in Silverlight (at the time Silverlight 1.1) which we called Zero Gravity.  It was a game featuring Lt. Bennett a character who was lost in space and your job was to navigate him through simple puzzle boards back to his space ship.  It is a fun little game that can keep you busy for a while and even get you frustrated on some of the harder mazes.  The project was done in concert with Terralever, an agency who has great experience in building great online casual...

Windows Phone 7 Developer Tips and Tricks

On the heels of the Windows Phone Developer Tools and Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit releases I saw a lot of exhaling going on in the hallways today.  Apparently Jeff saved his largest one for an avalanche of knowledge on Twitter in the late afternoon.  Jeff Wilcox is a developer on the Silverlight team and has been working on the Silverlight for Windows Phone initiative as well as the toolkit released today.  He was headed out on vacation but decided to throw out some words of wisdom for Windows Phone developers working in Silverlight.  Here’s some of those nuggets –...

Silverlight Toolkit for Windows Phone 7

Well, the official Windows Phone Developer Tools are out!  Go get them. (warning likely some caching issues..direct installer here.) The awesome Silverlight toolkit team is at it again, this time for Windows Phone 7.  The team is releasing a series of controls/libraries to help WP7 developers fill some gaps and simply make things easier and more consistent.  The initial set includes the following: ContextMenu control DatePicker and TimePicker controls ToggleSwitch control GestureHelper library WrapPanel control These...

Writing plugins for Seesmic Desktop

Today, Seesmic more broadly launched Seesmic Desktop, a refreshed platform for interacting with various social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, etc.  Seesmic has been one of the leaders in this space providing client applications on various platforms across web, desktop and mobile and providing us with unified views of our interaction with others online. You may have remembered seeing Loic on stage at MIX last year demonstrating their first preview of this updated platform and inviting developers to be a part of extending the shell.  That’s right…their platform is extensible!  A great application that I can also...

Introducing JetPack–a new Silverlight 4 application theme

After a longer-than-should-have-been delay (you can blame me for that) allow me to introduce JetPack. I’m really excited about this theme and the work that our team put together here.  You may have see Tsitsi talk about theming in general and introduce this theme on Silverlight TV.  The challenge behind this theme was to take some of the excitement around other Silverlight themes and create a great looking overall theme that could be used for line-of-business applications, but also extended as desired by any other application. Working with the team at Pixel Lab, our small team...

Smashing Magazine September 2010 Windows 7 Theme

September is here (apologies for being late - in all honesty I wasn't inspired by this months' selections)…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The September themes seem to be continuing the focus on 'summer' things.  So here is your September 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 75 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine September 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine September 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: September 2010 (original post) For details on these...

Silverlight, HTML5 and the future

The Silverlight team today posted some information about what the future holds for rich Internet apps and where we have come with SIlverlight, where we see HTML5 playing a role and how Silverlight will be a part of the future of this next evolution of rich Internet apps. Brad Becker, Director of Product Management, provides some information behind the value of Silverlight in a world where HTML5 will also co-exist: Expect to see more from Silverlight in these areas especially in our focus scenarios of high-quality media experiences, consumer apps and games, and business apps....

Silverlight 4 service release (September 2010)

Today we released an update to Silverlight 4 (update build is 4.0.50826.0) along with an updated SDK.  We appreciate our customers’ patience on working with us to help identify and verify necessary updates to this service release.  You can find all the details in KB2164913.  Here are the relevant highlights: SDK feature to enable Add New Row capabilities in DataGrid control Improving startup performance of Silverlight applications Adding mouse wheel support for out-of-browser applications on the Mac platform Various media-related fixes around DRM content ...

My new Kindle 3 review–comparing against Kindle 2

When I first saw the Kindle 3 (is that even the new name?) was going to be offered with WiFi, I thought that was cool.  Then when I saw the price (USD $139) I figured it was a no-brainer to explore.  I had bought my wife a Kindle 2 a while back ($249 when I purchased it) as she is a reader and I thought she’d like it.  She does.  It turns out though, so do I!  I’ve found myself reading a LOT more lately and I really like the versatility this provides me in switching between books.  (If you...

Storing and playing media on Windows Phone 7

In talking with a friend about some Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight stuff recently.  He was giving me some great feedback about a few things (all of which I’ve passed along).  One of the things was what I felt was a common task that might exist in the mobile space but admittedly isn’t as clear if you are just coming to WP7 development.  The scenario is that of downloading media files and storing them for later playback. WP7 does not have a storage mechanism like SQLLite on the device, but since it is Silverlight, you do have Isolated Storage you can...

Debugging Silverlight with Visual Studio and Firefox

Suppose you use Firefox as your default web browser and you are a Silverlight developer using Visual Studio.  You may have been frustrated at times in being able to get the debugger to attach to your breakpoints.  You’ve triple-checked that you are in debug mode, that the Silverlight checkbox is marked in the hosting web application’s property pages and it still is not breaking for you.  You stare at the dreaded empty red circle in Visual Studio reading the tooltip of “No debug symbols have been loaded…” a thousand times. But it works in Internet Explorer. I’ve faced...

StringFormat and CurrentCulture in Silverlight

I recently got a note about a nagging issue in using StringFormat in XAML binding expressions and how it doesn’t honor the current user’s culture settings.  This is true that there is an issue in that it doesn’t in WPF or Silverlight.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Silverlight introduced the ability to use StringFormat in data binding expressions (WPF has had this since 3.5 SP1) so you could do some formatting in-line in your binding.  Like this: 1: <TextBlock Text="{Binding Path=CurrentDate, StringFormat=Current Timestamp is: \{0:G\}}"...

Smashing Magazine August 2010 Windows 7 Theme

August 1st is here (well okay, so I'm a little late)…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The August themes seem to be continuing the focus on 'summer' things.  So here is your August 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 35 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine August 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine August 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: August 2010 (original post) For details on these and to see past ones, visit the...

Quick Steps to displaying data using PivotViewer and Silverlight

Last week or so the PivotViewer control was released, which is from the Microsoft LiveLabs team.  It’s a Silverlight control that enables you to visualize data information in a DeepZoom type experience.  Be sure to check out the PivotViewer learning section for some initial information if you haven’t seen any demonstrations. I received an email a few days back hoping for a more quick “how to” on using this control.  After all, it is a control for Silverlight and requires some implementation.  Honestly, I hadn’t even used it myself until I got that note.  I thought I’d jot down...

Silverlight Media Framework 2 released–integrate with Live Writer

Yesterday (7-Jul-2010), the Silverlight Media Framework v2 was released on Codeplex (yeah, it’s Open Source).  If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a Silverlight framework encapsulating the best practices for media playback for Silverlight applications.  It is both a framework and, in v2, they also provided compiled simple player XAPs that you can just drop in HTML.  If you are building apps, you’ll want to take a look at the framework in more detail, but if you want a solid media player experience grab the players too. Since I use Windows Live Writer as my blogging tool, I...

Silverlight bookshelf from SilverlightShow

SilverlightShow.net is one of those great community sites providing information, tutorials and general developer information around Silverlight.  They’ve done a great job providing a spectrum of beginner to advanced topics on Silverlight development.  At MIX10 I was talking with one of the brains behind the site (and Silverlight MVP), Emil Stoychev, one one of the ways they had been displaying book recommendations on their site.  It was a bookshelf view that I thought was cool and I wanted to use it for my own book recommendation list on my blog.  NOTE: It was...

Smashing Magazine July 2010 Windows 7 Theme

July 1st is here…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The July themes seem to be focuses on more 'summer' things.  Not as many Independence Day things as I would have suspected, but shows a good international design contribution.  So here is your July 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 35 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine July 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine July 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper:...

On leaving the Arizona community…

As I write this in my hotel room now on the eve of me leaving the state of Arizona, I am left with mixed emotions.  Most of them frankly are deeply personal which I’ll spare you the details.  However, it is here – specifically in the Phoenix metro area – that I grew the most technically.  NOTE: Yes there are some Microsoft employees that live outside of the ivory towers of Redmond.  However, and to be frankly honest, when you work for a product team -- *currently* – it is fair to say that growth...

I want more shell applications, especially for mobile

I just got back from speaking/attending the Norwegian Developers Conference in Oslo, Norway.  It was a great time and a well run conference.  Like many other conferences I found myself looking for two things I wanted on my mobile: the schedule and a map/guide for the city (I’ve never been to Oslo).  You see every time I take a trip, here’s what I do: Search for an app that contains the schedule (or offline version).  Ideally allows me to build my schedule and gets updates for changes Find the metro/map/guide for the city...

Hosting cross-domain Silverlight applications (XAP)

In the Silverlight world, there are two types of “cross-domain” things that may leave some banging their head against a wall for a while.  The first involves making network-based calls (WebClient, HttpWebRequest, etc) to services hosted on a domain other than the one that is the site of origin for the XAP.  This is solved by ensuring the service provider enables a clientaccesspolicy.xml file for their service.  More information here: Cross Domain Policy Files with Silverlight. NOTE: “site of origin” is a term you might see a lot with regard to Silverlight.  This refers to the URI domain of the Silverlight...

Expression Studio 4 launch–Blend, Web, Encoder, Design

Today (7-Jun-2010) at Internet Week in New York, Microsoft announced the general availability of Expression Studio 4 which includes upgraded versions of Expression Blend (including Sketchflow), Encoder, Web (including SuperPreview) and Design. You can find out the details of each product and download a trial at http://www.microsoft.com/expression right now. With this release comes a free Upgrade for licensed version 3 (Studio or Web) users!  All you need to do is install the trial version of v4 on top of your licensed version of Expression Studio 3 or Expression Web 3 and the installer will find your license and upgrade it to the...

Silverlight 4 Theme refresh including RIA Services templates

The feedback from the Silverlight 4 application themes released and the latest in process have been overwhelmingly toward the positive.  We appreciate the feedback and hopefully you appreciate the transparency in the process.  As a developer I want my fellow brethren to appreciate good design and use it whenever possible … even as a default if you don’t have designers on board. In the initial release we had some issues getting the RIA Services ones out at the same time but we’ve got those finished now for Silverlight 4 Business Application Template.  Download the refreshed Silverlight 4...

Silverlight 4 minor update–June 2010

Today we released a service update for Silverlight 4.  This is a minor release that addresses some items found immediately after release that have now completed our test passes with those who reported them.  Most of the items found won’t affect all users, but media developers will want to get this update for their applications and encourage their users to upgrade. This update (4.0.50524.0) addresses a few media-related items found by some of our media customers.  A few items were serviced for DRM users as well as 2nd monitor usage for media on the Mac platform.  If you are...

SNEAK PEEK: Another Silverlight theme pack preview

Building on the positive feedback of the previous Silverlight application themes released last month (Cosmopolitan, Accent Color, and Windows) the design team is working on another theme targeting business application developers.  We don’t yet have an ‘official’ name for this one yet (and to mitigate the confusion of internal code names again, I’ll spare you the code name), but I wanted to put up a preview.  We’re turning this theme around FAST and I wanted to throw it out here in an initial iteration for preview and comment.  This is the ‘dark’ version of the theme and there will be...

Microsoft Translator client library for Silverlight

A while back immediately after MIX10 I started messing with Microsoft Translator APIs for Silverlight applications.  I also got some people asking about Windows Phone 7 stuff and messed around with that a bit.  Here’s some post for reference: Make your Silverlight applications speak to you Using XNA libraries in Silverlight for Windows Phone 7 (with Translator as an example) In talking with the Translator team following MIX (where they announced they were working on a Silverlight class library for the API.  It was good to interact with their...

Smashing Magazine June 2010 Windows 7 Theme

June 1st is here…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! The June themes seem to be focuses on 'summer' things.  So here is your June 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 55 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine June 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine June 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: June 2010 (original post) For details on these and to see past ones, visit the Smashing Magazine Windows 7 Theme information for the specifications I used for the theme...

Silverlight 4 Tools, WCF RIA Services and Themes Released

This morning we published the final release of the Silverlight 4 Tools for Visual Studio and WCF RIA Services.  In April, when Silverlight 4 was released, the tools were still in “RC” status.  Today, they are no longer and are officially released.  There is no new update to Silverlight itself, but these tools are the final bits of this version. Get the Tools If you have a clean machine you can get everything you need using the Web Platform Installer by clicking on the link at the Silverlight community site.  This will install Silverlight Tools, Silverlight, WCF RIA...

Running WordPress on Windows Server

A few days ago, I saw someone posted on Twitter a question about running WordPress on Windows Server.  Since I had done this for a few sites, I responded with my thoughts and tips.  Another suggested that I post those here, and so here I go. WordPress is a blogging/content-management platform that has been around for a while.  It has been gaining more in popularity for general purpose content sites over the past year I’d say, but is primarily seen as a blogging platform by most.  Even though I use Subtext for my platform, I have to admit that...

Silverlight XAP Signing Certificate promotion from Thawte

And the offers keep coming in!  Another one of our key partners for testing XAP signing for trusted applications was Thawte.  Their group helped provide us with valid certificates to verify their process and signing worked as expected (and verified) for Silverlight 4.  Today I just got an email from their marketing department that they would like to offer Silverlight developers a discount on Thawte code-signing certificates to $89 for a 1-year…about 70% off their current rate.  That’s pretty amazing of them to do. Here’s their terms and details on how to get it… Terms ...

Ways to give feedback on Silverlight

There are a few ways to give feedback on Silverlight.  I wanted to share my thoughts on them as some are obvious and some aren’t. Forums The product team and test team regularly monitor the Silverlight Forums.  It is a great place to get your questions answered by other experts, community members and perhaps the product team directly.  This is a good place to search for previous questions as well. Report a bug If you’ve scoured the forums, posted your question and didn’t get any answer and you think you’ve identified a bug, you can submit one.  I’ll admit here this is a cumbersome...

New Silverlight 4 Themes available–get the raw bits

NOW OFFICIALLY RELEASED: DOWNLOAD HERE A while back I posted a sneak peek preview of 3 new themes that we were working on for Silverlight 4 applications.  Our team wanted to do more than just the overall base theme and provide the themes for the core, SDK and some Silverlight Toolkit controls as well.  In addition, there was a lot of internal chatter about how cool these new themes were and a lot of teams wanting to adopt them as default, including WCF RIA Services. While we finalize a better distribution plan for these templates (and some may show up as defaults...

Creating Visual Studio Extension Files (VSIX) for Template Deployment

While working on some plugins for the new Seesmic Desktop Platform I got sick of copying and pasting some boiler plate code over and over.  I had created some helper templates for myself so that I could say File…New Seesmic Desktop Plugin and get everything I needed initially.  This weekend I had some time and formalized those templates into an easy-to-use installer for anyone to consume.  NOTE: It is likely that Seesmic themselves will create developer project/item templates…these were for my own use and I shared them on the Seesmic Desktop Platform developer forum for anyone...

Smashing Magazine May 2010 Windows 7 Theme

May 1st is around the corner…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! As you might expect with May the general theme is flowers and Mother’s day type things.  My favorites this time being the Thailand Kopipi (above) and the salt shore.  So here is your May 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 40 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine May 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine May 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine...

Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools April 2010 Refresh

As most of you know at MIX10, we released the first version of the Windows Phone 7 developer tools (which are free) targeting Silverlight and XNA development to the world.  This was a community technology preview (CTP) release and targeted Visual Studio 2010 RC at the time (which was the publically available version).  Since MIX10, Visual Studio 2010 has released in final form and the phone developer tools team has been working to get a working version finalized. Today is that day – we’ve just made available the Windows Phone Developer Tools CTP (April 2010 Refresh) (direct link download).  This is...

Silverlight 4 enables Authorization header modification

A little bit of hidden gem in the Silverlight 4 release is the ability to modify the Authorization header in network calls.  For most, the sheer ability to leverage network credentials in the networking stack will be enough.  But there are times when you may be working with an API that requires something other than basic authentication, but uses the Authorization HTTP header. The Details Basically you just set the header value.  How’s that for details :-).  Seriously though, here’s a snippet of code: ...

Get a Silverlight XAP signing certificate for cheap thanks to GoDaddy

One of the new features in Silverlight 4 is the ability to sign your XAP applications so that your out-of-browser trusted applications look more friendly (trusted) to your users, they come from a verified publisher, and they can take advantage of the auto-update APIs in Silverlight. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s some resources for some background: XAP Signing in Silverlight 4 HOWTO Video: Sign Silverlight 4 Applications Basically if you are writing a Silverlight 4 trusted application, you WANT to be signing your XAPs. ...

Seesmic and Silverlight Provide an Extensible Social Platform

This week, Seesmic announced a new Seesmic Desktop platform.  They finally revealed more details to the public and released developer previews of their shell, SDK and some sample plugins.  You can get them on the Seesmic Developer Wiki. The best part?  It’s built on Silverlight 4 and the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF)!  This is awesome news for those of us who have been using various clients that have been locked down to specific use scenarios.  There always is a few things I want/need/etc in software and it’s great now that (at least in this space) I can...

Silverlight Client for Facebook updated for Silverlight 4 release

Yet again, we’ve updated the Silverlight Client for Facebook for the Silverlight 4 release version.  In order to use the updated one, you must follow these instructions: First, uninstall the previous version you have.  This can be done in Add/Remove Programs on Windows or by just deleting the app on Mac. Ensure you have Silverlight 4 installed.  If you are using the development tools and have installed Silverlight 4 developer tools, that’s fine.  If you are not a developer, visit http://microsoft.com/getsilverlight to get the latest Silverlight 4 version (4.0.50401.0). ...

Silverlight 4 released. Availability of tools announcement

Today’s the day!  Tuesday at DevConnections in Las Vegas, Scott Guthrie just announced the ‘launch’ of Silverlight 4.  We wanted to take the opportunity at DevConnections to let a large audience of our customers online/offline know that we’re done and shipped Silverlight 4.  As of today it’s now available for you to download/use.  Here’s some helpful quick update information for you: Download the bits Understanding what is in the bits RIA Services Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools VS2008 and VS2010...

Using XNA libraries in your Silverlight Windows Phone 7 applications

I recently got an inquiry to my Microsoft Translator sample on if this would work with the Silverlight in the Windows Phone 7 SDK.  I hadn’t tried it before, so I created a sample Windows Phone 7 application and copied the code over.  I used a basic UI to mock up the similarities: And then clicked the button.  The text translated fine, but no audio.  I didn’t get any warnings that the WaveMSS code sample I was using wouldn’t work.  Then I remembered about XNA. NOTE: I actually think this is a bug...

Watch the Silverlight 4 Launch event and LIVE QA with ScottGu and others

Next week on 13-April at 8:00 AM PST Scott Guthrie will deliver a keynote address for the DevConnections conference being held in Las Vegas, NV.  Scott will provide updates on the progress made in Silverlight 4 and will provide the details of availability of the developer tools, runtime and other news. Mark your calendars and return to the Silverlight community site to tune into the LIVE event.  After the keynote, Channel 9 will be hosting interviews with Scott and other key members of the Silverlight and Expression teams.  I’ll be hosting one of those interviews as well...

Managing service references and endpoint configurations for Silverlight applications

You’ve written your service.  You’ve written your Silverlight application.  You Add Service Reference to your application and got the client proxy code.  Your app ‘works on your machine’ and you push it out.  FAIL. NotFound. Crap.  You forgot that your service reference had your local URI endpoint in there and when you moved it to staging and/or production it failed.  You start cursing Microsoft and the Silverlight team and add to the threads in the forums or perhaps initiate a new wishlist item for the team and throw it out on Twitter and encourage votes. ...

Congratulations to latest 2nd quarter Silverlight MVPs

Congratulations to all the new/returning MVPs from all competencies, but I wanted to call out the newly awarded Silverlight MVPs for this latest round.  Please join me in congratulating them: Xuan Qin (China) Mark Monster (The Netherlands) (@Mark_Monster) Rene Schulte (Germany) (@rschu) Seungmin Ha (Korea) Jaana Metsamaa (Estonia) And a specific call out also to Colin Blair (@SLColinBlair).  Colin’s work in the WCF RIA Services space gained him recognition from the connected systems division.  Since Colin...

Smashing Magazine April 2010 Windows 7 Theme

April 1st is around the corner…time for an updated Windows 7 Smashing Magazine theme pack! As you might expect with April the general theme is Easter and Earth day type things.  There are a couple of nuggest in there, my favorite being the Reservoir Dogs tribute.  So here is your April 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for wallpapers – unfiltered and uncensored – about 80 wallpapers in all. Smashing Magazine April 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine April 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: April...

New hard drive means re-install everything

I recently found a good deal on a 7200 RPM 500GB latpop drive and decided to upgrade myself to that.  I’ve been operating on a 150GB drive for a long time and hadn’t been cleaning up old projects, encodings, etc. so it was running thin on space.  This was a cheap upgrade (< $90) so I opted for it.  I finally got a moment last evening to pop it in and start the fresh installs of everything.  Doing so reminded me of how long this process takes for us geeky people.  Luckily I do a backup first using my Home...

What tools are the minimum to get started in Silverlight?

Help me out with a bit of some research here.  In your opinion…what tools (from Microsoft) are the MINIMUM needed to get started with Silverlight?  I’m not talking about full-blown MVVM, MEF loading, Live Smooth Streaming applications…I’m talking about if you were to tell someone who has a bare hard drive and wanted to start learning Silverlight, what tools would you tell them they simply cannot do Hello World++ without? Please respond to my survey: [embedded survey removed please vote here: http://twtpoll.com/em387c] Thanks! tags: silverlight, tools, riaservices, ria, xaml, expression, toolkit This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.

MSDN Radio follow-up answers: Prism for Silverlight, DomainServices and relationships

This morning I was on a weekly (new) radio show from MSDN, hosted by Mike Benkovich.  The show, MSDN Radio, features live call-in questions that you can ask.  It was a better format than the typical live meeting text-based QA I thought.  I think hearing questions gives you a better chance of articulating your inquiry more.  Thanks to all those who listened and asked questions.  I know it seemed short and there were a few more questions in the queue – feel free to send me questions you may have. UPDATE: The audio from the show was just posted here. There were...

Installing Silverlight applications without the browser involved

One of the features we are introducing in Silverlight 4 is a ‘silent install’ mechanism for out-of-browser applications.  Currently every out-of-browser application (trusted or not) starts from an in-browser mechanism.  In some instances where you want to deploy the app via managed desktop software or perhaps via CD-ROM, you don’t want to have to tell the user to start on an HTML page first. Now I’m not going to write here about the merits of why you might want to do this other than to point out what I believe to be the 2 prominent scenarios: managed desktop deployment and CD/DVD...

MIX10: Yet another way to view video content sessions using their OData feed

Well, MIX10 is over.  It was a great time to meet a lot of people and see friends from afar.  As anyone knows, the networking is a HUGE part of being in-person at any conference…that vibe, value and friendship cannot be matched online. But the sessions – there were a TON of them.  It is quite impossible to be in 3 places at one time.  Thankfully the MIX team record all regular sessions and make them available for viewing online or offline.  For you Silverlight developers here are my picks to ensure you watch: EX55: Building the eBay...

Silverlight Client for Facebook updated for Silverlight 4 RC

If you installed the Silverlight Client for Facebook, and also upgraded to the release candidate for Silverlight 4, you may have noticed it stopped working :-). NOTE: Applications compiled on Silverlight 4 beta will not work on machines with Silverlight RC runtime.  This is known/expected.  As with all pre-release software, this type of breaking can be expected. We’ve recently updated the Facebook application, and you will have to re-install.  Follow these steps: Uninstall the Silverlight Facebook client.  You can do this in a few ways.  First on Windows through the Add/Remove Programs or by...

Make your Silverlight applications Speak to you with Microsoft Translator

One of the announcements that happened during the MIX10 conference was the availability of the V2 of the Microsoft Translator API.  This is the engine that powers the translation behind http://www.bing.com/translate and some other Bing-related properties as well.  A lot of research has gone into the engine from Microsoft Research and others.  Language translation isn’t an easy task especially taking into consideration cultural significance of words, etc.  I have heard that the most challenging in machine translation is to Asian languages.  I will admit to not speaking any of them, so I don’t know how well we are performing here...

Simulate Geo Location in Silverlight Windows Phone 7 emulator

If you’ve been excited about Windows Phone 7 development and the platform being Silverlight for application development, you probably rushed and downloaded all the tools (which are free by the way).  You may have even got the samples from the SDK and noticed the Location services example…but wondered why it doesn’t work. If you are just getting started, I created some quickstart videos to help you through some of the basics.  You can view them here. In case you haven’t figured it out: Location services (aka, GPS) is not emulated in the developer tools CTP.  As you might expect, this makes it...

Getting Started with Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development

So the news is out!  Silverlight IS the platform for Windows Phone 7 Series development! Sweet.  We also made available an update to Silverlight 4 that you might be interested in too! You may be wondering how you get started.  If you are new to Silverlight, I recommend getting familiar with Silverlight first.  You can find all the tools you will need at the Silverlight community site.  In addition to the core tools you’ll want to get the Windows Phone Developer Tools CTP.  This will add to your Visual Studio 2010 installation (or install Visual Studio Express) to enable Windows Phone...

A guide to what has changed in the Silverlight 4 RC

UPDATE: Silverlight 4 is RELEASED!  READ HERE! At MIX10, Silverlight 4 released an update, the Silverlight 4 RC (release candidate).  A few things have changed since the beta which was released in November.  If you haven’t read my guide to Silverlight 4 you may want to check that out.  The features still exist, but there are some changes to the implementations of some of the features as well as some new ones.  Please go read the previous post to familiarize yourself with the features.  This post will be complimentary to that and identify new/changed. First let’s get you going with the tools: ...

SNEAK PEEK: New Silverlight application themes

‘Twas the week before MIX, when all through the tubes Not a developer was sleeping, not even the noobs. The laptops were paved removed of their glitz In hopes that they soon will get some new bits. A developer was coding, building an app Trying to build the next greatest XAP Battleship gray?! Now that’s obscene Check our designers’ latest theme Okay, so I’m not going to win any poetry awards.  Our UX design team for Silverlight has been thinking about app building a lot this past year,...

Learning the M-V-VM pattern for XAML development

Quick, what’s the most popular thing in XAML development?  Yeah, thought so…MVVM or Model-View-ViewModel. It’s one of the most popular subjects I hear about when people talk about developing applications with WPF and Silverlight.  However, as much as it is talked about and as much as frameworks are born every day, there isn’t a ton of just simplified ‘here’s how you do it’ information in one place.  I mean, sure there *is* information, but I have to admit I think it is a bit scattered all over. One of the pioneers of promoting this pattern for WPF development,...

Smashing Magazine March 2010 Windows 7 Theme

It’s that time again…beginning of a new month!  That means that Smashing Magazine has released their monthly wallpaper pictures again. Not as many St. Patrick’s themed ones as I would have expected.  Here are your March 2010 Windows 7 Theme Packs for the wallpapers though…including all images (note: some ‘without calendar’ images are not provided by the authors) unfiltered. Smashing Magazine March 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) Smashing Magazine March 2010 Windows 7 Theme (no calendar) Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: March 2010 (original post) For details on these and to see...

Using Silverlight Media Framework for simple playback

If you aren’t aware of the Silverlight Media Framework, you should take a look.  This is a media playback framework for Silverlight that is based off of a lot of best practices from such implementations as the NBC Olympics, Sunday Night Football and others.  It has a lot of features built-in to the framework such as: Logging DVR-style features Fast forward Slow motion Media Markers etc Basic stuff plus some great included features and extensibility points. Missing Features...

Quick FAQ on Visual Studio 2010 RC release (February 2010) and Silverlight development

Yesterday Microsoft announced that Visual Studio 2010 Release Candidate was available for MSDN subscribers and would be generally available on 10 February 2010 for the public.  This release represents a significant improvement in the overall Visual Studio product and a lot was based on beta tester feedback. Of course, as a Silverlight developer you will be wondering: Can I still develop Silverlight 4 applications with the VS2010 RC? Here’s the simplest form of a FAQ I could provide for you: Q: What was released this week for Visual Studio 2010? A: The Visual Studio...

When Blobs attack – understanding cloud storage bursts and viewing logs

Here’s how it started… Lisa (my wife) [shouting from office into the kitchen]: Tim, what’s this Amazon charge for $193? Me [thinking what I may have purchased and not remembered]: Um, don’t know…let me look. I then logged into my Amazon account to see what order I may have forgotten.  Surely I didn’t order $200 worth of MP3…that’s ridiculous.  Sure enough nothing was there.  Immediately I’m thinking fraud.  I start freaking out, getting mad, figuring out my revenge scheme on the scammer, etc. Then it hit me: Amazon Web Services account. The Culprit...

Silverlight DataGrid quick styling tip: keep selected row focus state

A developer asked me this question and while a simple answer, I thought it would be a good quick tip to share for those who may be in similar situations. The scenario is the classic master-details scenario where perhaps you have a grid of data and when a user selects the row, the details are enabled in a form (or perhaps the child of the element) for editing.  Maybe something like this: See you can see the row clearly selected (note: this is using the default DataGrid styling).  But watch what happens when you go to the form to edit: Notice the focus...

Smashing Magazine February 2010 Windows 7 Theme

it’s that time again…beginning of a new month!  That means that Smashing Magazine has released their monthly wallpaper pictures again. As you could expect, February entries are full of a lot of Valentine type stuff.  Here are your February Windows 7 Theme Packs for the wallpapers though…including all images (note: some ‘without calendar’ images are not provided by the authors) unfiltered. Smashing Magazine February 2010 Windows 7 Theme (calendar) [58.2 MB] Smashing Magazine February 2010 Windows 7 Theme (without calendar) [51.8 MB] Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper: February 2010 (original post)...

Reading MP3 metadata with Silverlight and drag-drop

I’m working on a little sample application for music management in Silverlight using WCF RIA Services and some other new Silverlight 4 features.  One thing that I wanted to add to the application was the ability to drag an audio file and either lookup the data and/or add a new album/artist/song to the library automatically. Audio formats have a ‘tag’ format known as ID3.  It’s a format used for audio file metadata that is used in Windows Media Player, iTunes, and various hardware devices as well.  Over the years there has been an evolution of this format, with the...

Temporary fix for Foxit Previewer for Outlook 2010 64-bit

As noted in a previous update post on my Foxit PDF Previewer for Outlook and Vista/Windows 7, there is an issue in the Office 2010 64-bit Beta (specifically Outlook) for executing 32-bit preview handlers on 64-bit Outlook.  I’ve got an update for those temporarily. First, I can confirm that the issue is fixed in the later builds of Outlook 2010, so this fix is indeed only temporary. Thanks to some assistance that Leo Davidson provided, I was able to provide a work around for my previewer that I’ve been able to confirm “works for me” on my installation...

Silverlight Client for Facebook available

Remember the final moments of the Scott Guthrie keynote presentation at PDC09?  Where Brian Goldfarb came on stage and demonstrated a completed application using a lot of the features of Silverlight 4?  Yeah, that Facebook application.  Well, it’s here now! The Microsoft Silverlight 4 Beta Client for Facebook has been released as a developer preview sample.  In order to use it you must have Silverlight 4 developer builds installed. NOTE: When you run this application you’ll be installing the developer builds of Silverlight.  When Silverlight 4 releases, unless you are a...

RIA Services and relational data

As we’ve all been guilty, when you see demonstrations of technologies most of the time the data samples show single table solutions.  When was the last time you’ve developed a single-table system? :-)  Thought so. In RIA Services demonstrations, most of them have been single-table samples as well.  So how do you go about retrieving relational data (master/details type) with RIA Services?  Here’s an option.  I’m using VS2010, Silverlight 4 and the WCF RIA Services preview using the below sample.  I’m also using the Chinook sample database which has become one of my favorite simpler relational data samples to...

January 2010 Silverlight MVPs

Happy new year to all!  I hope you enjoyed a safe celebration whether that be playing a board game with friends, toasting the new year with some bubbly, throwing things at Ryan Seacrest on TV, or whatever. Each quarter, new MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) candidates are awarded.  January 2010 is the first awards of the year and so I present the new/moved/re-awarded Silverlight specific MVPs: Jeff Prosise – If you aren’t subscribed to Jeff’s blog, stop and do so now.  It’s filled with some great nuggest that are usually on the advanced ‘how’d he do that’ side...

My iTunes Rant

I’ve never been so frustrated with a piece of software as I have been with iTunes lately. NOTE: Yes, I work for Microsoft.  Yes I’m aware they make the Zune.  I’ve got years invested in hardware with iPods, and until someone makes an OEM integration kit as good as what I have, I can’t switch.  Truth be told, from a portable device player, I *do* think the Zune is better.  But let’s just leave that out of this argument for now. In my home there are roughly 4 iPods floating around.  We have a...

Smashing Magazine January 2010 Windows 7 Theme

One of the cool features of Windows 7 is the theme packs that are available.  I’ve been rotating between Bing’s Best, United States, Italy and Russia themes.  Great photography (and some have cool sound packs too). Each month Smashing Magazine, one of my favorite online subscriptions, puts together a set of desktop wallpaper for the month with calendars on it.  These images are from various worldwide contributors.  Smashing Magazine is primarily a site for design (and does focus a lot on web design, etc.) and is a great resource for any one who appreciates design aspects.  They also provide...

My move to free HDTV – Part 3 – Progress Report

It has been six months since installing my initial infrastructure to move away from paid television and toward a goal of free, digital/HDTV broadcast in my home.  On my last post - My move to free HDTV Part 2 -- it was about HD HomeRun to the rescue for a tuner solution to broadcast to my chosen infrastructure. To recap, my goals: To get free network channels in HDTV quality To broadcast to my two primary rooms To enable DVR capabilities My setup includes the following: ...

Deploying your Silverlight and WCF RIA Services application

UPDATE: Please read the updated information on RIA Services deployment and troubleshooting on MSDN.. So you’ve been playing around with Silverlight and WCF RIA Services (the artist formerly known as .NET RIA Services) and you are ready to deploy.  You’ve been living in your happy Visual Studio environment, perhaps even relying on the built-in web server (a.k.a. Cassini) to serve up your pages/XAP to test.  All has been well, you’ve done your testing and you are ready to publish to your server.  You compile one last time and then right-click in Visual Studio on the web project and click Publish.  You...

Using Azure as a Silverlight Streaming replacement

Many have inquired if Silverlight Live Streaming had a replacement since the announcement of it being deprecated.  The SLS team blog pointed to Azure as a possible solution.  Since it doesn’t seem like anyone except James has really tried this, I decided to dust off my Azure account information and give it a try. First, a note about SLS.  As I’ve said before I don’t think the offering was named very well from the start.  “Streaming” implies a specific technical connotation to most folks.  In fact, the media (or other files) hosted on SLS were never streamed as you...

Building extensible Silverlight applications with MEF

At PDC09, Glenn Block delivered a great presentation on building extensible RIAs using the Managed Extensibility Framework (FT24 from the PDC09 sessions).  Glenn is one of the PMs and face-man for MEF.  He’s been traveling all around singing the praises of MEF for .NET developers and gathering feedback along the way.  You may remember Glenn from his work with the Prism framework as well.  I snagged Glenn at the end of PDC to grab a sound-byte: Glenn has already started a series on MEF in Silverlight starting with the basics and then continuing along deeper. ...

Silverlight 4 NotificationWindow and Queuing multiple notifications

One of the cool features for Silverlight 4 Out-of-browser applications that was announced as a part of the Silverlight 4 beta release is the NotificationWindow class.  Most commonly referred to as “toast” these are the little notifications that popup in the system areas of your operating system to provide helpful (and sometimes annoying) information.  Any user of Microsoft Outlook no doubt has seen them.  They look something like this (Windows system tray area shown here): After reading Corey’s post showing a quick FAQ on customizing the experience of the NotificationWindow, I was drawn to the comment he...

Fixing Visual Studio 2010 and Blend Preview for .NET 4 integration

If you’ve been working with Visual Studio 2008, Expression Blend 3 and Silverlight (or WPF) development, you’ve likely used the Open in Expression Blend feature in Visual Studio.  This occurs when you right-click on a XAML file in your project/solution and you’ll see that option as long as you have Expression Blend 3 installed. Well…if you are an eager developer and have installed VS2010 and the Blend Preview for .NET 4, you may have noticed that integration broken. Problem 1: VS2010 and Blend Preview for .NET 4 on a clean box – NO LINK You’ve just fired up a new virtual PC or...

RIA Services templates not showing in Visual Studio 2010?

Last week, the Silverlight 4 beta release included the Silverlight 4 Tools for Visual Studio 2010.  This single installer would perform the following (assuming you had either Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Web Developer Express 2010 already installed: Install a Visual Studio 2010 service pack (KB976272) Install Silverlight 4 Windows developer runtime (4.0.1108.0) Install Silverlight 4 SDK Install WCF RIA Services (November 2009) That is all you really needed.  But some may have had an experience afterwards of launching VS2010 and...

Microsoft PDC09 and Silverlight Round-up

Well, PDC09 is over and it was a blast.  What a relief it is to finally be able to show the world what the Silverlight team has been working on since Silverlight 3.  Based on the feedback at the conference, people are excited to dig into the new bits and start building solutions.  As a round-up of resources from PDC, I’m putting some of my favorites here. Video Content For some of the PDC09 key Silverlight sessions, these are what I recommend: CL01 – Microsoft Silverlight 4 Overview (Karen Corby) ...

Silverlight 4 Beta – A guide to the new features

At the Microsoft Professional Developer (PDC) conference, Scott Guthrie announced the availability of Silverlight 4 Beta. UPDATE (March 2010): Silverlight 4 RC made available!  Go read my updated post on what has changed after you read below about the core features. WHAT?! That’s right, we’ve released an early beta of the next version of Silverlight.  It’s really amazing to think what the team is accomplishing at the pace they are accomplishing it!  Silverlight 3 released just over 3 months ago and here we are with yet another release full of features that our community has been asking for.  This beta release...

Two Silverlight SDKs released – Bing and Facebook

Two SDK libraries have released this week, helping developers integrate Silverlight experiences into their applications. Bing Maps Silverlight Control At TechEd Europe, the Bing Maps team released version 1.0 of the official Bing Maps Silverlight Control!  This is a replacement for the previous Virtual Earth Javascript control and provides a great DeepZoom experience for using the mapping platform.  Here’s some of the great features for Silverlight developers: Built on Silverlight 3! Designer support for Expression Blend Support for out-of-browser Vector in Pushpin...

Design feedback for Silverlight needed

The user experience team for Silverlight is looking to get some feedback on some of their latest designs for Silverlight application templates and perhaps more.  Instead of getting this feedback only internally, I thought it would be good to help them get external feedback as well from people using our platforms. You don’t have to go anywhere and don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home.  They’d like about 30-45 minutes of your time online to talk and take a look at things.  You’ll be an early previewer of these designs and can help shape how developers and designers...

The Underground at PDC

PDC is coming…it’s only a few weeks away.  Are you going?  I am and I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m coming in Sunday and helping with a workshop on Monday.  Then the rest of the week will likely be a blur. If you are going (and even if you aren’t), there is one party you will not want to miss.  Last year "The Underground @ PDC” was a great party and gathering of geeks.  The Gu, Scott Guthrie, was there.  As was Don Box and Scott Hanselman dishing out the geek humor and flames toward one another.  It was great.  And...

Grouping data in a Silverlight DataGrid

I previously wrote about DataGrid grouping using the declarative model of adding GroupDescriptors.  Unfortunately that feature (the declarative part) never made it to the release of Silverlight 3.  It was pointed out to me that I should update that post and it has been on my //TODO list for a while.  Here’s an update… First, I’m still using a sample data class of Person as my test data: 1: using System.Collections.Generic; 2:  3: namespace...

Microsoft Store – engaging with consumers directly

Standard caveats apply: I’m a Microsoft employee and fanboy.  I’m not ashamed.  I will say though when the announcements of the Microsoft retail brick-and-mortar stores opening, I was skeptical…no doubtful.  I kept (and still do a bit) thinking to myself how are they going to compete with the likes of Best Buy and others?!  Nonetheless, I waited patiently to see the plans. I wouldn’t have to wait long as the first store opened up in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.  Scottsdale is a neighboring town in the sprawl we call “Phoenix” (it’s about 40 mins from me in the QC).  When opening day...

Silverlight Audio Player for WordPress

As a follow-up to my Silverlight For WordPress plugin, I have just deployed Mark Heath’s Silverlight Audio Player as a WordPress plugin.  Thanks to Mark for changing his license to Ms-PL so that I could make this happen.  If you are a WordPress user and want to use Silverlight for audio playback, you use some WordPress macro language (in this case slaudio) and put it in.  The rendered output is like this: And when you click the play button it expands: Again, most of the actual Silverlight work is Mark’s, so be sure to...

Using Visual Studio 2010 for Silverlight development

Previously I made note of things about the release of Visual Studio 2010 beta 2 with regard to Silverlight development.  I’ve gotten a few questions about if people should start using it for Silverlight development.  Perhaps I can help provide you with the best information I can to make that decision…so here it goes. Go-live support Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 both have “go-live” support as indicated in the license terms (which are available on the VS2010 download).  If you have never bothered yourself with previous go-live products at Microsoft you may not understand what that...

Silverlight Toolkit adds DragDrop targets!

One of the cool things I came across the in the October 2009 Silverlight Toolkit release was the addition of drag-n-drop targets for some of the core controls.  Now I know you are thinking great, another drag-n-drop useless control?!? and you’d be wrong.  I’m talking about things that make it easy to do do things like moving items from one list box to another, without writing code, but with it actually doing what you expect. Let’s take the simplest example here: ListBox and moving items from one to another.  Using Expression Blend I’ve set up my XAML to be like this: ...

A plea to my developer brethren about designer/designers

Since we appear to be in another revolution on user interface (UI) design and user experience (UX), I’ve seen a lot of people, companies, sites refer to the designer-developer workflow, including Microsoft.  Heck we’re building tools around it for Silverlight and WPF development!  One thing I see too often though is the conversation being diminished to UI only.  I’ve heard conversations between developers saying things like yeah, now we just need a designer to make things look pretty or we take what the designer made pretty and put functionality behind it. I have a plea for my developer brethren: please stop...

Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 and Silverlight updates

Today (19 Oct 2009) the Visual Studio team released the second beta for Visual Studio 2010 to the public.  This is a significant milestone for the team and a huge improvement over the previous beta in my opinion as a user.  As a developer, you can find out how/when you can download Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 beta 2 from here. After installing the tools, one thing you may notice right away is a different look of branding of Visual Studio going forward for now.  Gone is the beloved multi-colored infinity looking thing (that’s what I call...

Silverlight Live Streaming service update

Yesterday, the Silverlight Live Streaming team (SLS) posted an update on their blog regarding the future of the Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live service. SLS was a beta service to users to have a place to host and deliver their Silverlight-based applications or media to be delivered by Silverlight players.  It was launched at the time of Silverlight 2 as a free beta service to users under the Windows Live brand and offered 10GB of free storage to beta users. In summary, the SLS service is being discontinued.  Effective immediately no new account...

Updated Silverlight getting started for beginners

If you’re a pro Silverlight developer, this post isn’t for you.  Just a brief update that I’ve updated some of our getting started material for beginners – those who really haven’t done anything.  These will be showing up on the Silverlight Community Site soon, but I wanted to post a link to it here first. Getting Started with Silverlight Development is a 7-part series where I aim to do my best in trying to stuff as much as possible about Silverlight development in a simple application we develop at different steps.  It uses: Navigation ...

Changing DatePicker in Silverlight to show current date

This past weekend during a conversation about Silverlight controls at the San Diego Silverlight Education Day, someone asked about the DatePicker control and why the “15” is there and how come they can’t change it.  Here’s the control that was being referred to: The calendar displays an icon to the right of the text box area which, when clicked, displays a drop-down calendar picker.  The icon always says “15” and is intended to look like a little calendar date sheet (you know, like those desk calendars). The question was how to change that icon.  Well, easily. ...

Congratulations to Q3 NEW Silverlight MVPs

Just a quick shout-out to congratulate the latest Silverlight MVPs to the program.  The Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) program is a recognition program that is in place to recognize and reward those individuals who have been identified by individuals (peers, Microsoft staff, etc.) as experts in their technology field and global contributors to the technology.  As of today (01 OCT 2009) we welcome some new folks to the Silverlight group: Rick Barraza (@rickbarraza)– wicked interactive design/developer with kung-fu XAML skillz Bryant Likes (@bryantlikes)– great contributor to the...

Windows 7 DVD Audio playback problem for old laptops

Last night I decided to mess around with some older laptops.  I had an HP Pavillion ze2000 CTO laptop (not sure why they call it “CTO” – I guess the Altec Lansing speakers included makes it an executive ;-)). I installed Windows 7 (32-bit) from my home Windows Deployment Server with no problem.  This one took longer than the less-than-20-minute installs I’d been experience.  I’m not sure why.  It wasn’t terribly longer, but about 30-40 minutes I think.  I ran Windows Update and it got all the latest drivers.  A quick check in Device Manager showed no device problems. ...

Visual Studio – A documentary

Most of you who are Microsoft developers probably are aware of Channel 9 and have benefited both from the deep technical screencasts to the behind-the-scenes interviews that the team has provided with such luminaries as Anders Hejlsberg, Scott Guthrie, Bill Gates, etc.  Tina Summerford and the C9 crew produced what I feel is one of (dare I say number one?) the best Channel 9 pieces of content yet (besides the ScottGu intro video for MIX09).  Today they present to you The Visual Studio Documentary in two parts (with full detailed interviews to be posted later).  You can view...

Silverlight Firestarter Seattle videos online

Mithun just posted that the videos are now available online from the Silverlight Firestarter Seattle event.  You can view the videos here in WMV form, but I also took a quick stab at putting them together in a playlist using the Silverlight Expression Encoder templates.  Here they are: You can click the little icon in the upper right to see the playlist option and to navigate.  NOTE: The offline mode doesn’t seem to work and likely because I didn’t populate the playlist option with the sizes of the videos, sorry about that,...

It’s Silverlight week in Seattle

I’m a little late to the game posting information about it, but there is a plethora of Silverlight stuff to do this week in the Seattle/Redmond area this week.  Sleepless in Seattle…definitely not – Silverlight in Seattle baby! Allow me to interpret Adam’s vector goods… 14 Sep (tonight!): Jesse Liberty is presenting at the .NET DA user group meeting on .NET RIA Services. 15 Sep: Nerd Dinner!!!  Just a casual gathering of people who speak in acronyms and like food.  Bellevue Crossroads food court (awesome choices for anyone). ...

Army of One…and Silverlight

Just doing some getting caught up from my holiday recently and I was reminded of a “line of business” application that was completed in Silverlight for the United States Army.  It is a bit of a supply chain management application…where the supply is soldiers! This is a pretty cool application that was taken from a full client (Windows Forms) application and brought to Silverlight by ProModel.  They specialize in supply and demand issues.  Take a look at the interview/demo that Adam Kinney did with Dan Hickman of ProModel.  Sure, it would have been cool to have a drill sergeant...

Silverlight feature suggestions

I’ve been doing a lot of asking and listening lately…to you, the Silverlight developers!  I’ve received a lot of positive feedback and “thank you for asking” comments and it has been real encouraging.  If you haven’t seen some of them, here’s some of my recent inquiries: Do you have a need to convert Flash applications (not just assets, but ActionScript)? How do you prefer to learn Silverlight (and how do you decide on choosing Silverlight)? Are you using the provided Silverlight Toolkit themes in your applications? If you...

Foxit PDF Previewer update

For those that may use my Foxit PDF Previewer (for use with Outlook 2007 or Windows Vista and Windows 7), I wanted to provide a few updates. Blank white screen previews I’ve been getting quite a few reports lately about white screen previews while the PDF file renders fine in other readers.  After some research and patient testing with some of you that reported it, it’s been determined that the consistent piece is that the PDFs were documents that were scanned.  These documents in the PDF format contained a different format of encoded images.  The current incarnation of...

How you chose and learned Silverlight

A few of us in the Silverlight team have been talking about various things and speculating on how we think the universe works.  We’ve been wondering how people best learn at different levels and how they come to decisions on what tools of their trade to use, etc.  I had a novel idea – let’s ask them.  I’m curious if you might help us stop speculating and get a broad picture of these ideas.  If you would, that would be great and help us understand better where we need to fight for prioritization of certain resources.  Please forward this along...

Compiling pixel shaders for Silverlight

I saw a note on Twitter come through yesterday about building pixel shaders for Silverlight in Visual Studio.  The question, from @blamborn was: Does anyone know if there is a Shader Effects BuildTask like the #WPF one here http://bit.ly/gCkNT only for #Silverlight? I replied that you can use the same build task and thought I had written my work around on how to do that, but apparently I never clicked published somewhere along the line.  I recall doing some work for this for a presentation a while back on VSLive and started to write...

Silverlight minor update released today

Small public service announcement here for Silverlight developers…we released a minor update to the runtime and SDK today.  You may see this referred to as Silverlight 3 GDR2.  Formally it is version 3.0.40818.0.  Usually when a release pops up people are curious about what is in it and why there wasn’t some major announcement. NOTE: “GDR” is Microsoft-speak for general distribution release. If you are interested in the full release history for Silverlight it is always available online (click the deployment section).  This latest minor release really had several updates for improving some media and network scenarios, but namely the main driver...

Help drive VS/Silverlight user experience

One of my colleagues, Corrina, pointed me today to some research her team is conducting on user experience with Visual Studio and Silverlight.  From her post today, …that my co-workers on the Visual Studio User Experience Team are doing focused on professional and non-professional web/application developers. The research involves… A short survey A telephone interview to discuss your development experiences A gratuity will be offered to individuals selected to participate in the telephone interview,...

Silverlight community samples – what do you want?

I normally hate short posts – but my friend John Papa put a poll up that I wanted to make sure gets some attention…please provide your opinion on this poll: What kinds of samples would you most like to see in a community Silverlight code sharing site? Help John out shape something useful! tags: silverlight, riaservices, ria, xaml, communityThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.

Silverlight and localizing string data

While I was at the Silverlight Atlanta Firestarter event I had a chance to meet some great people.  One of them was Sergey Barskiy.  Sergey was doing a session on deployment and while in the speaker area we were chatting about overall feedback on Silverlight.  One of the things he mentioned was what he thought was a bug in Visual Studio Tools for Silverlight.  It was around RESX files and the modifier setting (Internal, Public, etc.).  More on that later.  Sergey was using RESX files for localization.  While investigating the bug for him, I realized how many people might not...

Silverlight misconceptions, bad reviews, bad comparisons

UPDATE: Michael has posted a comment here and offered himself up to the gauntlet and apologized for his article.  He writes below: Tim did me a favor with this article, and his comments on Connected Internet. I have left the article up on Connected, because frankly, I deserve the lumps I get over it. Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes talking with me, reading this blog, or listening to me on podcasts (Herding Code, Thirsty Developer, Misfit Geek) will know that I LOVE Microsoft.  I’m not ashamed to admit it and I’m not ashamed about my passion for the company...

More Silverlight application themes and fixes

When Silverlight 3 launched, we also published several additional application themes for the navigation and business application (for .NET RIA Services) templates.  I just uploaded two more themes from one of our designers, Corrina, to the Expression Gallery.  There are versions for both navigation application template as well as the .NET RIA Services business application template. Mediterranean Sun (RIA Services): Seeing Sound (RIA Services): Additionally, several fixes were made to the existing templates that some users reported.  I also added .NET RIA Services templates for those that were missing based on requests (Retro,...

Upcoming Silverlight events

I have the pleasure of being invited to participate in two Silverlight events coming up soon (one very soon).  These are a part of a “firestarter” event that is intended to get you familiar with certain technologies, in this case Silverlight, rather quickly and gain a better understanding for the overall platform offerings.  I’m excited to have been invited to participate in both the Atlanta and Seattle events. Silverlight Firestarter Atlanta The first one will be in Atlanta, Georgia on 22-August!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve been to Atlanta and I’m very happy to be going...

An out-of-browser install pattern for Silverlight

One of the features that a lot of developers seem to enjoy is the out-of-browser feature in Silverlight.  This is the feature that allows you to take your Silverlight application and run it like a desktop application (without some of the trust levels right now).  If you aren’t familiar with the feature, take a moment and familiarize yourself with it…here’s some info: Silverlight 3 Out of Browser developer APIs Sample Application Feature overview (from the PM that owns the feature) Now that you have some...

Silverlight 3 “toast” notifications

I was messing around with a new internal application the other day and made a wise crack about some of the features out in the open.  And by wise-crack, I mean ‘feedback in the nicest way possible’ of course.  On one of my suggestions someone pointed out a RTFM moment that the feature was actually in there but had a dependency.  The feature I was requesting was “toast” notifications. What is “toast”?  Aside from a delicious breakfast treat, it’s a term that most people refer to those little notification windows that popup from applications in the Windows system tray. ...

Silverlight DataForm and confirming deleting an item

I was talking with a good friend the other day about some feedback about DataForm.  It’s great to get raw and honest feedback…that’s where you improve more than ‘it sucks’ type feedback.  One of the use cases he felt would be common with the Silverlight DataForm control (available in the Silverlight Toolkit) was the concept of confirming the delete action.  I agreed as well that confirming permanent delete actions is a common line-of-business application pattern.  It got me thinking about some things… The Problem DataForm is a great control.  I love it.  It will benefit many developers in...

Silverlight at Microsoft PDC09 – we will be there!

It’s getting to be that time of year again…PDC!!!  For those who may not know, “PDC” is the beloved TLA for Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference.  This is it.  The geeks conference.  If you are a bit twiddler, this is for you.  PDC is where most of the forward-looking stuff is revealed.  It is also where certain executives come out for their semi-annual keynote ;-). PDC is in their 14th year!  Amazing.  The conference, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from 17-19 NOV (with pre-cons happening on 16-NOV), will be awesome.  Learn about new stuff, see things...

TabStudio add-in for Visual Studio

I came across this add-in for Visual Studio the other day that is subtle but added some productivity features to Visual Studio for me.  It’s called Tabs Studio. NOTE: I’m not getting a complimentary license for this add-in and have already purchased my own license with my own money.  This is an unsolicited opinion. For me Tabs Studio does two things: organize my open content better and enables me to more quickly close/manage the open tabs.  Take a look at the before after of the same content open in VS: In...

Silverlight 3 Multi-touch: The Basics

One of the new features to Silverlight 3 is the ability to add multi-touch capabilities to your application.  When I posed the question on Twitter, I got some responses of ideas people would use this for.  Honestly most of them could be accomplished with mouse events today and X/Y calculations.  These would be the touch applications that are pretty singular.  But I did get some multi-touch ideas that I think I’ll try to explore.  First though, let’s look at the basics of what Silverlight provides for multi-touch application development. Hardware Hopefully I’m stating the obvious here, but your...

FloatableWindow source on CodePlex

I got enough feedback and suggestions that I figured it would be better just to put the code up on CodePlex rather than package zips on my blog :-).  Here it is: FloatableWindow project.  The latest build I have is up there which incorporates some feedback that I’ve received. UPDATE: If you like this idea VOTE FOR IT in the Silverlight Toolkit! Basically the ShowDialog() API operates the same way that ChildWindow.Show() does today.  No changes there, popup is used.  But when you just want some simple MDI type windows, use Show() which will not use Popup but rather add the elements...

Silverlight 3 Bouncing plane gratuitous demo

I’ve received a few emails about updated code for the Scott Guthrie MIX09 keynote demo referred to as “bouncing plane” Silverlight demo.  A screenshot of this demo is seen here to refresh your memory: There really isn’t anything ‘new’ about this demo code for SL3, other than being recompiled.  Perhaps the only real change is to accommodate the new requirement that pixel shaders are resources of the project.  You’ll see the Effect1.cs code file where the constructor code for the shaders uses: 1: pixelShader = new PixelShader(); 2: pixelShader.UriSource = new Uri("/BouncingPlane;component/ShaderBytecode/Ripple.fx.ps", UriKind.Relative); If you are writing shaders,...

Building Silverlight 2 and 3 applications with Visual Studio 2008

As we’ve noted before, Visual Studio 2008 doesn’t have multi-targeting support for Silverlight development.  Generally speaking what this means is that if you install the Silverlight 3 tools, you have a Silverlight 3 development environment with VS2008.  True multi-targeting for Silverlight in the IDE will come in Visual Studio 2010 (you can see how that works in this post). NOTE: Visual Studio 2010 beta 1 (current version available at the time of this writing) does not fully support Silverlight 3 *release version* (also referred to ‘RTM’ or ‘RTW’) development.  There are a few things missing in VS10 beta 1 for full...

Silverlight 3: Cached Assemblies and you can to!

One of the new features I mentioned in my What’s new/changed post on Silverlight 3 is the fact that any application developer can take advantage of the cached assembly functionality provided by Silverlight.  Let me show you how and start with the current situation. Current Situation with Silverlight assembly references If you are building a Silverlight application, chances are you are referencing assemblies either from the SDK, Silverlight Toolkit or other great Silverlight third party controls/frameworks.  When you Add Reference to these controls/frameworks, their assembly is copied to your application and packaged up in your XAP.  For some situations this is fine...

Silverlight 3 Released! What is new/changed?

At last, Silverlight 3 is released!  It has been a long road…wait a minute, actually it’s only been 8 months since the last release!  Whoa, that’s some wicked supersonic Microsoft time there!  Anyhow, we are finally released.  A while back I wrote a post on What’s New in Silverlight 3 and it still all applies.  I’d encourage you to read that post as well.  There are, of course, some subtle changes in a few things from an implementation side of things, but those are all documented in the release. Here’s where you go to get the exhaustive goods.  First...

Silverlight 3: 7 additional application themes!

With the Silverlight 3 Tools for Visual Studio, developers get access to the Silverlight Navigation Application template.  By default the styles (which are located in the project’s Assets/Styles.xaml file) are really good and neutral for the application layout.  Now, keep in mind this is an overall application layout style and not control styles/templates. In addition to the default look provided by the tools out of the box with Silverlight 3, we’re providing 7 additional application template themes for you to enjoy, extend, whatever.  Corrina and team had developed these for the community to consume and we’ve put them up on the...

Silverlight FloatableWindow update: start position and resizable

UPDATE: FloatableWindow is now on CodePlex for easier community contributions and management of latest source and builds.  FloatableWindow CodePlex Project. If you like this idea VOTE FOR IT in the Silverlight Toolkit! A while back I wrote a post where I refactored the Silverlight ChildWindow to create a non-modal window and I called it FloatableWindow (you can see why I’m not a good marketer…hey I could have called it Microsoft Silverlight ChildWindow Refactored Edition Express).  A few folks found it useful, for which I’m appreciative of the comments. My buddy Karl Shifflett decided to use it in Glimpse as the diagnostic window –...

Silverlight Coding Competition – win USD $10,000!

I was honored to be asked by ComponentArt to participate in a judging panel for their just now released 2009 Summer Silverlight Coding Competition.  The grand prize is USD $10,000.  Yes, that’s right: USD $10,000! ComponentArt is even kicking in 2 runner-up prizes of licensing to their products, which is also a sweet deal!  The contest is simple, and you are not required to use ComponentArt controls…in their words: Applicants are not required to use ComponentArt's products to enter the competition (or as the legal jargon requires us to say: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY). We'll obviously let you use our products...

.NET RIA Services roadmap update

Today, we posted on the .NET RIA Services forum an updated roadmap for the timing and thoughts around the product offering.  What is .NET RIA Services? Microsoft .NET RIA Services simplifies the traditional n-tier application pattern by bringing together the ASP.NET and Silverlight platforms. The RIA Services provides a pattern to write application logic that runs on the mid-tier and controls access to data for queries, changes and custom operations. It also provides end-to-end support for common tasks such as data validation, authentication and roles by integrating with Silverlight components on the...

My move to free HDTV – over the air HD

About twice a year my wife freaks out (well, my terms not hers) about money, material things, life, etc.  It’s a good freak out actually…and it is what has kept me grounded more in life than my past habits (you know, when you felt you *had* to have everything).  I’ve learned to not care about things that aren’t worth the trouble.  Her balance in my life really has made a good impact in things worldly. Back to the freak out :-) … We’re constantly looking for ways to save money.  At times it is because we have to...

Check your Silverlight 2 apps for compatibility with Silverlight 3

One of the goals of new versions of Silverlight is to be be backward compatible with previous versions.  We make this a priority goal so that people can keep their previous applications deployed while not worrying that people with newer Silverlight will have a broken experience. Silverlight 3 has been out in beta form since March 2009 and hopefully if you are a Silverlight developer you’ve had a chance to work with the new features and tools.  If you have existing Silverlight 2 applications that are deployed, I wanted to draw your attention to some action items if you...

Google Wave: the sky is falling and Flash/Silverlight are dead

At the Google I/O conference this past week, they announced Google Wave.  Almost immediately, I started seeing Twitter replies, blog posts and various articles talking about how Google Wave is going to kill Flash/Silverlight/JavaFX.  None of these made sense to me…and at that point I’d yet to see anything about Wave anyway.  I posed a few questions on Twitter as to why people felt Wave was an RIA platform killer (that’s what I was reading into a lot of the buzz against things like Silverlight).  I got more confused with all the replies :-).  So I had a moment this...

Silverlight DataForm helpers

If you looked at the updated RIA Services Business Application template which had the authentication built-in, you may have seen the login screen with a little icon next to the password field: When you hover over this some helpful information displays in tool tip form: So how did that get there?  The power of the data annotations.  If you look at your model definition, you can add a DisplayAttribute and provide some additional information.  Let’s take a look at a simple example.  Here’s the simple model: ...

Clearing some air in Silverlight, Blend and Visual Studio Beta land

In a previous post I wanted to call attention to the multi-targeting and design surface improvements for Silverlight developers with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1.  There has been some comments on that post and a few emails and Twitter replies as well with some great follow-up questions.  I thought I’d post a sort of what works with what information to help you navigate Betaville as a Silverlight developer. NOTE: We’re talking about Beta technologies here.  That means things may not work, that you shouldn’t count on them for production releases at this time, etc.  In the ‘release...

Silverlight and Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1

Well today was the public release of Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1.  It is the first time developers will have the chance to take it for a spin and kick the tires.  I wanted to share some information specific for Silverlight developers with regard to Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1. Visual Studio 2010 is the first IDE that will support two key features for Silverlight developers: multi-targeted Silverlight development and editable design surface for Silverlight.  The second point also comes with things you might expect (like data binding wizards and dialogs as well – I’m lumping all of that...

Silverlight powers Netflix in Media Center

I’ve not hidden my love affair for Netflix both as a consumer and as a Silverlight developer and how they’ve implemented the technology.  Long before the instant watch came to the desktop and the XBOX, there were a lot of folks wanting the Netflix experience on their Windows Media Center boxes and extenders.  One such person was Anthony Park (who is now with Netflix as of this writing), who picked up a the MyNetflix media center plugin a while back. Well, today Netflix officially has a Media Center solution for their customers.  I just got done firing my media...

.NET RIA Services Update with new Silverlight project template

We’ve update the .NET RIA Services build for May 2009.  The updated May preview can be downloaded here: .NET RIA Services May 2009.  You may have to uninstall your previous version before installing this one.  What is .NET RIA Services? Microsoft .NET RIA Services simplifies the traditional n-tier application pattern by bringing together the ASP.NET and Silverlight platforms. The RIA Services provides a pattern to write application logic that runs on the mid-tier and controls access to data for queries, changes and custom operations. It also provides end-to-end support...

Silverlight Best of MIX in Phoenix

I’ll be joining Dan Wahlin and Rob Bagby on 18 May in Phoenix for a Best of MIX event.  I’ll be presenting Silverlight 3 and building data-driven line-of-business applications.  All demo, all tech, all Visual Studio as my presentation tool :-). Come out and join us for the event! Best of MIX Agenda Monday, May 18, 2009 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM Wells Fargo Conference Center 100 West Washington Street, MAC S4101-017 Phoenix Arizona 85003 What’s New in Silverlight 3? ...

Silverlight Enterprise Deployment Guidance

We’ve just released an update to our Silverlight Enterprise Deployment guidance/whitepaper.  While a lot of the information from the first version of the guidance (targeted at Silverlight 1.0), we made some minor adjustments outlining the specifics for the updated Silverlight installer and documented some of the command-switches and their behaviors.  The guidance covers: Using Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) Group policy Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Manual install options Maintaining and detecting version It’s a great guidance document to...

Refactoring Silverlight ChildWindow for a non-modal use

UPDATE: FloatableWindow is now on CodePlex for easier community contributions and management of latest source and builds.  FloatableWindow CodePlex Project.  If you like this idea VOTE FOR IT in the Silverlight Toolkit! I’ve seen a few comments/requests incoming lately that people like the ChildWindow control in the Silverlight 3 SDK.  This is a great control that creates a modal dialog for you.  When you use it, it disables your root layout application and shows the dialog you provide: This is great for those true modal needs.  It responds to normal windows DialogResult type responses if you have buttons, etc. – great...

Silverlight Contest app updated with new RadialPanel

Isn’t RSS great!?  Today I saw something wonderful pop in the feed from Jeff Prosise.  One of the problems with the ‘contest wheel’ app that Arturo and I did, was the CircularPanel we were using really at the time was only built for demo purposes.  There were issues in the spacing when different data items were bound to it. This morning, Jeff released some code for a RadialPanel (same concept).  It’s wonderful.  I just swapped it out for the contest app quickly and got it working.  I’ve updated the code: Replaced panel with Jeff’s code...

Windows 7 and Foxit PDF Previewer

Public service announcement – if you don’t use my Foxit PDF Previewer, please move along…there is nothing to see here :-). When Windows 7 Beta came out (build 7000), there was indeed a confirmed issue where the Foxit PDF Previewer would not work at all on 64-bit versions.  There were no install warnings, it just wouldn’t work.  It turns out this was a Windows 7 beta bug for 64-bit (some COM registering stuff if you care to know).  This was found immediately and was fixed in later Windows 7 builds (I confirmed internally with the team and had been...

Expression for Art’s Sake – Silverlight and Blend in Wellington, New Zealand

What do you get when you invite 14 companies for 3 1/2 days and throw a bunch of new stuff in their face and ask them to use it?  Well, in Wellington, it was called Expression for Art’s Sake.  This was a bit of an ‘artist in residency’ program where Microsoft invited some companies to bring their developer and designer staff to this event to learn a little bit about Expression Blend and Silverlight.  Coming after WEB09 and ending our Auckland trip with a proper visit to a rugby game (here’s a scrum meeting for you agile developers),...

WEB09 – Silverlight and Blend in Auckland, New Zealand

I’ve just returned this past week from a trip to New Zealand with Arturo Toledo.  We were invited to come by Nigel Parker, who if you live in New Zealand and don’t know him…take a moment and subscribe to his site for information about what’s happening in that area. Our first stop in New Zealand was the WEB09 conference, which was organized by John Ballinger.  Prior to the actual conference, John managed to get all the speakers together for a reception and then a dinner afterwards.  Within those 4 or so hours of time, I’ve met more...

Paste your REST API definition as strong types

If your a developer that spends any time with web services, you’ll basically probably end up working in one of two camps: REST- or SOAP-based services.  Now with SOAP services you’re likely used to having a WSDL document describing the service, providing type definitions, etc. – something you can use developer tools like Visual Studio to Add Service Reference and get a strongly-typed object model to work with. If you’ve been doing Silverlight or ASP.NET (or any other technology really) development with mashup services, you probably have been working with REST-based services.  These are services that don’t self-describe themselves in...

Adding jQuery to your site with Glimmer

Last week I was wanting to do something on my site sort of a ‘breaking news’ style banner that would span the entire site width but only when I wanted it too – based on a cookie or something else.  And I didn’t want to do something server side, because I was sick of doing stuff like that. Not having played with jQuery, I thought I’d take a dive.  Prior to MIX09, I’d been testing something that the MIXOnline team had been toying with, which has just been released: Glimmer.  Glimmer is described as a jQuery Interactive Design Tool. ...

Arizona: Silverlight, MVC, MEF, WPF

It’s that time of year my friends in Arizona.  No, I’m not talking about when the air conditioners start get turned on, nor how the golf green fee rates are reduced or the snowbirds fly away…although those are good things as well. I’m talking geek fest time.  Mark your calendars: 26 May 2009 – 8:00 AM The community leaders in the area have organized another big event for your benefit.  So who is coming?  Here’s the rundown: Glenn Block – come see why you should get addicted to MEF.  Don’t know what it is?  That’s...

Learning WPF at the WPF LOB tour and XAMLFest events

There seems to be a lot of buzz around Silverlight lately and I admit, I like it :-).  But I also think that there is a huge misconception about Silverlight “replacing” WPF.  I get emails a lot about people asking me questions about Silverlight and after a bit of prodding, I see that their target platform for their application is Windows.  I then begin my rant on why it should be WPF if that is the target platform.  I’m usually met with some weird looks being that I do a lot of Silverlight, but I state my case accordingly. The...

Silverlight installation experience guidance posted

I’ve been promising this for a while and I’ve ranted about creating good installation experiences for Silverlight applications before as well here and here.  Well, our team rallied and created some new guidance and sample code to provide for you to implement the best possible experience.  The guidance whitepaper can be found on the Silverlight Community Site in the whitepapers section and includes: Documentation for defining a good user experience Sample code for media applications Sample code for non-media applications Sample code for implementing various states: not...

Grouping data in Silverlight DataGrid

UPDATED: If you found this post via a search, the below information was for Silverlight 3 beta and no longer works in Silverlight 3 release.  Click here for an updated tutorial on grouping in the Silverlight DataGrid for Silverlight 3. I got this question on how do you add grouping to the DataGrid in Silverlight without using the RIA Services ObjectDataSource.  Frankly I didn’t know off the top of my head either and I’ve since learned it isn’t obvious.  Allow me to explain the steps. In my simple app I have a static class that supplies some hard-coded data: 1:...

Startups welcome here – get a jumpstart with software you need

Are you a startup organization?  Perhaps your the next greatest Silverlight control vendor or have a great app?  I want to help.  If you’re a Silverlight startup (or any startup really for that matter), reach out to me.  If you haven’t heard of BizSpark yet, you’re potentially missing out. If you meet the following criteria: privately held company in business less than 3 years generate less than USD $1 million in revenue you may qualify to get access to production licenses for development tools,...

Managing Silverlight 3 navigation behavior

I’ve been playing around with the Silverlight 3 navigation framework some more (thanks for the comments/thoughts on the last post about sharing data).  I got a few emails about understanding how the navigation works and people coming up with interesting uses.  Let’s take a moment to explore two of these concepts: out-of-browser navigation and controlling your navigation in your app. Navigation Basics If you are using Visual Studio 2008 and the Silverlight 3 tools, you’ll notice that when you choose to create a new project (or perhaps you didn’t notice and this will be new to you) that...

Share DataContext among navigation pages in Silverlight 3

I got an email the other day about if there was a way to pass an object between the navigation pages in Silverlight 3.  The scenario was that the developer wanted to use the same data, but represent it visually in different ways. Silverlight 3 introduces a new navigation framework in the runtime making it easier to navigate to different areas of an application and assist in ‘deep linking’ concepts for applications.  More resources: Silverlight 3 Navigation Overview Silverlight 3 Navigation URI...

WEB09: Silverlight coming to Auckland!

In a few weeks I’ll be making the journey with Corrina and Arturo from ‘the states’ to Auckland, New Zealand for the WEB09 conference.  I’m honored to be joining some great folks like Ryan Stewart, Dan Rubin, Jarred Bishop and more.  I’m looking forward to learning a lot from this conference and having discussions about user experience and RIA development. The team at WEB09 released an introductory video for the conference and I must say, someone put a lot of effort into this video: WEB09 Intro Video I’m very much looking forward to my time at WEB09 and the time in New...

Silverlight for WordPress

I’ve made no hiding the fact that my blog is build on Subtext and that I’m very happy with it right now.  Lately though my wife has been blogging more (that’s another story) and she also started her own business.  Being curious about all the WordPress love, I decided to start checking it out. Thankfully, the Web Platform Installer helped me get started on WordPress without any troubles at all and I was up and running on my Windows server (I didn’t want to start another hosting account anywhere).  I have to say, I really like what WordPress has done, especially...

Silverlight 3 Beta install experience for users

If you are like any other developer, including me, you probably disregard most warnings and are usually the same type that keeps clicking next when installing things without paying attention to detail.  That’s okay I do it too. In the release of Silverlight 3 Beta, we noted that this is a developer release and that no “Go Live” licensing was going to be available for this release.  What this means is that we don’t recommend putting things in production as we’ve not exposed or wired up the end-user runtime for Silverlight 3.  The only way people can view Silverlight 3 content...

Silverlight 3: Navigation URI Routing

One of the new features in Silverlight 3 is providing an application navigation framework via the Frame and Page controls in the APIs.  If you saw my guide to Silverlight 3, you may have seen the section on navigation which describes the functionality and as well has a link to a video tutorial about it. I wanted to augment that tutorial with some additional information about URI routing, which I think is one of the great features of the framework.  You see typically your UriMapper might have a 1:1 mapping and look something like this (note in my sample here I’m...

Silverlight 3 Sample Application: Slidentity

One of the great things about the Silverlight team is that usually in the home stretch most of the feature samples of numerous ‘hello world’ type examples start shaping into creative ideas to demonstrate various features.  One such example is a full Silverlight 3 application that Mike Harsh created to actually demonstrate various features and it is what he used to present his session talk as well.  He currently calls it Slidentity and it demonstrates: Various skinned control usage Perspective 3D (when you view the slide show) Open/Save...

Silverlight 3 Out-of-browser Update Model

PLEASE READ UPDATE: While the API for checking for updates has changed, the update model *after* that method call to CheckAndDownloadUpdateAsync is the same as described below.  See this note for updates since this article to the Out-of-browser experiences. Wednesday at MIX09 was a great day.  I was exhausted, but after the keynote I was so high on excitement it was great.  Throughout the day Twitter was buzzing (or is it fizzing?) about all the news around Silverlight 3.  In one conversation around the out-of-browser experiences with Silverlight, I caught a conversation on Twitter about it with questions about the update...

A guide to Silverlight 3 new features

Well, by now the interwebs are getting busy with the news about Silverlight 3 details announced at MIX09.  The team has been hard at work (and still aren’t resting) pushing out this beta release.  Over the next week you’ll see lots of blog posts by team members and Silverlight MVPs who have been enthusiastically waiting to share what we’ve been working on and show you some sample applications they’ve been working on.  Quite frankly, so will I :-). But in the meantime, allow me to share my thoughts and perhaps some deeper details with you if you can’t discern them in...

Silverlight Smooth Streaming: UX Simulator

I’m sure you’ve heard of the IIS7 Smooth Streaming information and perhaps even experienced it if you watched some of the NBC Olympics streams last year or the Presidential Inauguration this past January.  It’s a great experience for online media being able to seamlessly deliver quality media online without constant buffering when latency occurs in networks you don’t control, such as your customers’ ISP accounts. You may have wanted to try out this experience yourself to see exactly what it does and how it works…as well as to simulate bad/good bandwidth.  Well, you can.  Here’s what you do: ...

Follow Silverlight updates on Twitter

I was just thinking the other day that I have some decent subscriber numbers here, but the same volume isn’t matched on my Twitter account.  For those who don’t know about Twitter, it’s a great short message service that kind of works like a global messaging system.  The best description I’ve heard has been: Twitter is like an ongoing conversation at a party.  Come in and listen/participate whenever you want with whomever you want.  Leave at your leisure.  Come back often if you’d like. I use Twitter to communicate along with friends, family and...

Silverlight Business Application Development faster with IdeaBlade

Okay, about a month ago I was shown this demonstration by my new favorite friend Ward Bell of IdeaBlade.  Why is he my new favorite friend?  Well besides being a great guy, wait till you see what he has to show you.  I briefly alluded to my excitement via Twitter as a teaser.  I previously mentioned that we saw some sneak peeks of Silverlight 3 added features for line-of-business application development with Brad Abrams.  Today, check out what Ward has to show you: I am...

Silverlight Sneak Peek: Building line-of-business with Silverlight

Want some sneak peeks at Silverlight enhancements for line-of-business applications?  Check out the video with Robert Hess and Brad Abrams where Brad shows some some sneak preview of some feature enhancements. If you want to download the episode above, visit the Channel 9 page here.  Be sure to stay tuned for MIX09 for more announcements and updates! tags: silverlight, lob, xaml, wpf, navigation, deep link, deep linkingThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.

Silverlight Guidance: Whitepapers on SEO, Security, Media

Did you know that there are some whitepapers on Silverlight development?  Just recently released is one on security in Silverlight development and deployment.  You can view some others (some older, but there are still some gems): Security Guidance for Silverlight Applications Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Silverlight Applications Silverlight and Web Analytics Content Protection Silverlight Migration Guide – Upgrading Online Media These can all be found on the Silverlight community site in the whitepapers section.  We’ll be...

Using Silverlight for workflow creation

The other day I was given a peek at a company who implemented a full-frame Silverlight application that when I saw it it was one of those “wow” moments.  A lot of the public-facing Silverlight examples are very different from one another and sometimes you see some that are full Silverlight applications that really give you a glimpse of how people are thinking about using the platform and how creative you can get.  Colaab is one such example that I saw at PDC last year (check it out if you haven’t). Another example is a recent one called SnapFlow. ...

New Silverlight media experience for WindowsClient.net

Our team is working on a new design for the Silverlight Community Site and one of those aspects includes a new media experience for the online media/video portions of the Silverlight, Windows Client, and ASP.NET sites.  Today we rolled out the new experience first on the Windows Client community site.  It’s a subtle update but hopefully a welcome one. The older experience was a basic playback experience and was a Silverlight 1.0 application.  This update brings a few new things, but primarily is a Silverlight 2 player with some fun features to engage the viewer.  We’ve added some new...

Get yourself a Windows Home Server

After reading James’ story just now, I’m so glad that a Windows Home Server is a new addition to my home.  It’s funny…about 4 years ago I think I had 6 active machines in my house.  Now we’re down to my work laptop, my MacBook, my wife’s laptop and a new desktop for my wife’s photography and graphics stuff.  Okay, I guess that’s not down much, but they all aren’t “active” that much anymore. Back then I had no backup strategy.  In fact, I’ve still got a laptop drive that clicks that I’m destined to get the data off...

Get inspired for web, photography, anything – SmashingMagazine.com

If you’re like me then you probably are more geekier than you are artistic.  I don’t think of myself AT ALL as a designer, but rather one who appreciates both good design and good user centric design.  You may look at this site here and say it doesn’t, and that is okay…I’m trying my best :-). But often I find that I need some tweaks, icons, templates, application design inspiration for a Silverlight application, whatever and just want to do it myself.  I’ve found the one place now where I start to look and be inspired: SmashingMagazine.com.  If you’ve...

Get a free ticket to MIX09 for having fun with Silverlight

Did I mention I’m going to MIX?  Will I see you there?  I could imagine that some have tight travel budgets, training budgets shrunk, yada, yada.  I’m telling you…if you are a Microsoft developer in the web and WPF space, you need to be at MIX09.  In an effort to help there are a bunch of ways to reduce some costs…here’s some: Register before 27 Feb 2009 with RSVP code: MIXLastChance and get $300 off the registration fee Share a creative picture about Internet Explorer (details and post yours here) and get...

POLL: Silverlight developer patterns

My friend Joel Neubeck is doing a survey on his site about what patterns people prefer for Silverlight development.  I’m very interested in these results as well, so if you have 2 seconds, please post your vote: Link: Poll: What separation pattern do you prefer in Silverlight development? tags: silverlight, mvvm, mvc, mvp, xaml, wpf, patterns, m-v-vm, viewmodelThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.

Integrating Silverlight and ASP.NET MVC

[previously named "Silverlight as the V in ASP.NET MVC" but changed per comments] One thing that I’m excited about is learning new technologies.  Moving to the Silverlight team, I’ve moved away from a breadth of technology knowledge to something a bit more narrow.  Now I feel like all other developers trying to keep up with the technologies we are releasing.  As such, I’m a beginner for most.  One such technology is ASP.NET MVC, which was just released to release candidate stability. I thought I’d play around with it in the context of Silverlight and use Silverlight as the “view” in the model-view-controller...

My Blogging Toolbox

From time to time I’ve gotten a few inquiries as to what platform my blog is, what tools do I use, etc.  After a recent trip to Redmond and visiting with the Live Writer team, I got another inquiry while talking with a customer.  I thought I’d just spit out my thoughts. First, my platform.  Yes there are many platforms out there for blogging.  Probably the most popular are Wordpress and Blogspot.  I think those are popular because you can get up and running for free and have it hosted.  My wife and her friends mostly use Blogspot for...

Presto – a great device for less technically inclined

I’m sure I’m not unlike most people who have more “experienced in years” relatives.  Sadly it seems that generation has been slow(er) to adopt current technology advancements.  I think this issue is exasperated, for me at least, when those relatives are not in close proximity so that you can force help them move into that age of technology.  Just recently my father asked me how easy it was to set up a webcam so that he could talk/see my nephew and sister who live in Denver, Colorado.  This is a good step in the right direction for family who is...

A comprehensive list to Silverlight Controls for developers

I’ve written a few times about some of the controls that have been provided by organizations like Telerik and ComponentOne.  I figured it would be a good idea to do a larger dump of those that I’m aware of (and hope you add comments to point me to others so I can amend this list) and help make you aware of them as well.  There are a ton of great resources out there for Silverlight developers and I’m always impressed how our developer partners are extending our platforms to make tools for developers (and most of the time better than...

Customize your Garmin Nuvi with photo radar warnings and more

I love my Garmin Nuvi.  As I’ve mentioned before it’s one of the best pieces of technology I own for use, form factor, fun, and coolness factor.  I’ve got the 260 which suits me fine, but if I had to buy a new one, I’d get the 760 now. One of the weird things is that I keep it on all the time when I’m driving, even if I know where I’m going.  The points of interest (POI) feature is awesome and has helped me discover new places to eat every once in a while.  There are other customizations you can...

FeedBurner move to Google, MyBrand and 404 errors hooray!

Well the move was inevitable.  Which move?  Well if you are a FeedBurner user and haven’t been paying attention for the past year, you may not have known that Google bought them and are transitioning the service to their infrastructure.  What does this mean to you?  It depends. If you use the core FeedBurner service and use the “feeds.feedburner.com” URI for your subscription links, then generally speaking you should be fine.  Google has planned to redirect that URI to their updated one once you move your feeds (or you could also use “feeds2.feedburner.com” afterwards as well.  Users that fall...

Silverlight Docking and Ribbon controls

A company called divelements has had Windows Forms products for a while that produced, among other things, the “docking” effect that you see with some applications, including Visual Studio.  This is the ability to drag a window to another area and have it automatically dock to that particular position of the parent window: This product is also available for WPF and for Silverlight.  So if you need to add this type of dynamic window moving to your applications, you can check out the SandDock for Silverlight controls. What is great is that in looking at what else...

Visual Studio tricks in video form

Over the past year Sara Ford had created a Visual Studio tip-of-the-day feature of her blog that eventually was aggregated pretty much everywhere and also in the Visual Studio community page displayed within the product itself!  The tips were plenty and great…a ton of gems that you may not have known before and a subtle reminder that there is so much more to learn. This year Scott Cate has decided to take this one step further.  He’s begun taking this tips concept and providing actual walk-through and visual demonstrations of these tricks.  One thing that I really like about...

I’m going to MIX09, will I see you there?

I have to admit, when the first MIX was happening it confused me.  Yet another conference?  In my usual pessimistic self I tried to convince people that it was wrong, blah, blah.  But I was wrong.  MIX has become of of my favorite conferences to attend.  Not only for the announcements that likely happen, but for the networking with industry folks in an area I’m most passionate about. Enough gushing though.  I’m going to MIX09.  Will you be there?  If you register before 13 Feb 2009, you’ll be able to get $400 off the registration fees!  Register on the MIX09...

Updated SLS Plugin for Encoder Available

The Encoder team has updated their Silverlight Streaming (SLS) plugin for Expression Encoder 2.  On the surface pretty much nothing has changed, but it essentially updates the ability to use the plugin to publish Silverlight 2 templates to SLS automatically without getting the random error that you’ve probably seen if you tried. Since the new Silverlight 2 player templates are completely parameter-driven, which is awesome, it did present a small challenge for the plugin.  When you use the new plugin with a Silverlight 2 player template, you’ll notice that the resulting application uses a bootstrapping method to launch with...

Amazon S3 Publishing Plugin for Expression Encoder

One of the great things I like about some of our platform products is that they are building in extensibility more and more.  Take Windows Live Writer as an example.  It’s no secret on this blog that I’ve got a geek affair with that tool.  I use it daily and have customized it (via plugins) and my blogging platform (Subtext) to make it even more of a best experience for me for web authoring. Writing plugins for Writer has been a lot of fun and a great way to get the functionality I want/need into a workflow without having...

InitParams in Silverlight Live Streaming services

One of my favorite implementations is to leverage the initParams feature for the Silverlight plug-in.  This enables you to send parameters to your application prior to it starting up.  These parameters are in plain text and can be seen in the HTML source of your page, so obviously you wouldn’t want to include any sensitive information there like passwords, connection strings, etc., etc.  But it can be very helpful for re-using application logic while providing an configurable experience.  You can view a video demonstration of this and other methods of using initialization parameters on the Silverlight Community site here: Using...

Give feedback on Windows 7 Beta

Now that Windows 7 beta has been released, there are quite a few people using it and I’ve seen pretty positive feedback about it.  I’ve been running it for about a month now and am impressed with the performance over Vista mostly.  All my programs continue to run fine (only exception is MagicDisc ISO mounter, but found another option – why isn’t ISO mounting a part of Windows – vote here?!?!?!) and I was able to set up a perfect Windows Deployment Server image to quickly image my laptops with the latest build, a slipstreamed version of Office, etc. NOTE ON...

Using Encoder 2 templates for existing media

In an email dialog today I saw someone asking how he could use an existing Encoder 2 template for existing media or streaming URIs when you don’t have something to encode.  After a few explanations, he replied that someone should blog this – and I agree :-). So what did he mean?  Well, when you use Expression Encoder, you are typically going to be encoding media to a format to consume.  Encoder also gives you an additional option in the output settings to generate a media player for that encoded content.  These are all based on templates that I’ve...

Source code for Silverlight controls published

The source code for the Silverlight 2 controls was just published!  This is the source for the controls as shipped in the runtime and the SDK.  When you download the project you’ll see the structure: The source, released under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL), includes the source for the following controls in the runtime: ButtonBase Button HyperlinkButton CheckBox RadioButton ToggleButton ...

Why won’t iTunes behave?

In a recent Twitter conversation I was having with Peter Laudati, it reminded me of another problem I’ve been having with iTunes and wondering why it isn’t working this way.  First, here’s my setup (and logic): I have one server (Windows Server 2008) at my house that manages my backup, music, photos, etc. (no it is not a Windows Home Server (yet)). I have a public share there with Everyone read/write priveleges called “music” and it is shared out an accessible. ...

Screencast of Silverlight installation on Linux

If you haven’t been aware, there has been a team at Novell working hard to make a version of Silverlight for Linux.  This version, called Moonlight, has been in development since WPF/e it was first shown at the MIX conference (which by the way is happening in March with some really exciting stuff, so be sure to register for MIX09!).  Moonlight hit beta this past December 2008 and the team has already been working on Moonlight 2 which is the Silverlight 2 compatible version. Right now, Moonlight 1.0 serves as a functional equivalent to the Silverlight 1.0 runtime, which...

Hosting Silverlight content on a CDN

Over the holiday this past week I got a ping from Scott Cate about some Silverlight media questions, namely a player and Silverlight Streaming.  The gist of the conversation was that the Encoder 2 SP1 templates and the SLS Plugin don’t play nice together (yet).  I know that the team has been testing some updates to the plugin for uploading Silverlight 2 templates to SLS, but for now if you tried to do that you’ll get a random error message that won’t make sense to you (something along the lines of template not found). After talking with Scott and...

My favorite tech stuff for the holidays

Having a hard time finding that gift for your techno dweep friend/husband/relative/co-worker?  Probably not if you are subscribed here :-).  But I thought that I’d highlight my favorite tech things this year that I think will make the perfect gift.  Arranged in my order of preference. Garmin Nuvi (model 260 or 760) My first pick is the best technology gift I’ve been given in years.  I received it as a father’s day gift this year and wrote how much I love my Garmin Nuvi 260.  The funny thing is that I have GPS in my car, but...

Deep Zoom style on iPhone – Seadragon for Mobile

Who, didn’t think I’d see “Microsoft Corporation” listed in the Apple AppStore for iPhone this quick.  Want to view gigapixel images on your iPhone?  The team at Live Labs just announced their approved iPhone App – Seadragon Mobile. So what is Seadragon?  it was the original Microsoft Research project that many products are now based on.  Most popular probably is the Deep Zoom technology brought first to Silverlight 2.  This is the process of taking gigapixel image and providing a smooth viewing experience viewing that image over even lower bandwidth speeds.  One of the most popular Deep...

Event (analytics) tracking in Silverlight

A few days ago Google announced “event tracking” for their Google Analytics platform.  My account was invited to participate in this initial wave so I decided to take a look.  The main reason of course is because of a keyword in their email they sent to me (emphasis mine): “Event Tracking allows you to track interactions with Web 2.0 style content such as Flash, AJAX, Silverlight, social networking apps, etc.” I have the script already running on my site for general analytics so I figured I’d whip up a quick sample to see how...

The Silverlight Application Corner

One of the things that we have heard in feedback is the need to surface more end-to-end samples.  While the atomic learning videos/samples are great as are more in-depth tutorials, there is still a desire to see how to package all these things up into a single application.  Seeing from start to finish helps absorb the learning process and see how these atomic things fit together and interoperate. Today we added the “application corner” to the Silverlight community site.  Yes, I know the name is less than exciting, but hey I’m not a super cool marketing person with unlimited...

Silverlight install experience best practices

First a word on the “continuum” I keep hearing about for applications.  I’d like to apply it to my digital lifestyle.  You know that vision where you only have one place to keep your music, but can access it anywhere, etc., etc.  I still haven’t hit nirvana like that yet, but for movie watching it’s getting close. I used to be a customer of Netflix when they first launched.  To be honest, at that time their pricing was singular and I just wasn’t watching enough movies at home to warrant the cost, so I ended my relationship.  Now I...

New Silverlight Showcases and Feeds

If you want some great Silverlight information, be sure to subscribe to at least two feeds: Microsoft Silverlight Bloggers and Silverlight community feeds.  I’ve recently just added a bunch of great feeds to both of these including all the members of the Silverlight Toolkit team and some Silverlight MVPs such as John Papa. There are also a bunch of resources being added to the Silverlight community site over the next month.  We also added 27 new showcase entries to the Silverlight Showcase on the site.  One in particular that I think is interesting is a project Gantt representation done...

Øredev 2008 Summary

Sharing Knowledge.  That was the theme of the Øredev conference held this past week in Malmö, Sweden.  I was invited this year to participate in this conference in the Scandanavian area to speak on Silverlight technologies.  I am very humbled to have been invited.  This was truly a great conference and let me tell you my impressions. I’ve attended Microsoft’s PDC, TechEd, VSLive, DevConnections, etc.  I’ve got most of them all under my belt (as an attendee).  They are all good in their own regard.  The ones that are most interesting, however, are those that have an intensity about...

WPF Toolkit and Silverlight compatibility

At PDC the WPF Tookit was made available which provides several new controls to WPF to help bring even more compatibility to the WPF and Silverlight story.  The new controls were the DatePicker, Calendar, DataGrid and the VisualStateManager concept to WPF.  Ribbon controls were also provided to the WPF Toolkit, but are not covered here. With the introduction of this toolkit, developers now have a way to get some even more common XAML code-base between projects. Let’s take a look at a very simple example of both UI and code sharing with WPF and Silverlight.  Here’s the simple...

Flickr4Writer Service Pack update

This is a public service announcement for my Flickr4Writer project.  It was recently brought to my attention that Flickr has some privacy settings that users can opt-in for in their account to protect their images.  Some users felt that my plug-in for Writer was not honoring these settings.  Truly, I didn’t know about them.  You can read the thread on the discussion lists here if you are so inclined.  For me it came down to a couple of items: Flickr enables users to set a flag to prevent “blogging” of their...

Use Styles for an editable Silverlight ComboBox

Sometimes I think reading materials get overlooked in SDKs and we miss some hidden gems.  One such gem I’d like to bring to your attention is the ability to add some subtle styling to an AutoCompleteBox from the Silverlight Toolkit to provide you with a cheap version of an editable ComboBox. Sure Silverlight 2 has a ComboBox as part of the core controls now, but as I’ve previously noted, the ComboBox in current form exhibits only DropDownList behaviors.  I’m sure this will likely change with future versions, but if you have a need for an editable ComboBox feel, here’s...

Hey Startups – get some BizSpark

Remember DreamSpark, the program for students in higher education to get access to the developer tools and platforms from Microsoft at no charge?  How about some love for individuals in startup organizations trying to create the next great innovation in technology as a service, an application, some Silverlight love perhaps :-)? Done. A new program has just launched for startups.  From the site it is described as: Microsoft® BizSpark™ is a global program designed to help accelerate the success of early stage startups by providing key resources when they need it...

Silverlight 2 Launch Party in Portland

PDX baby.  That’s where I’m headed next week.  The Portland area user experience group (a SIG formed out of the Portland .NET user group) is hosting a Silverlight 2 launch party next week (11 NOV 2008).  They’ve invited me to attend and share some fun stuff about Silverlight 2.  I’m very excited to be going there because Portland is one of my favorite towns.  It has some of the best public transportation there and I think that makes for a great downtown experience and a lot of personality in the city. Aside from the city itself, there are some...

Using Encoder Templates in your Silverlight Application

I received a comment regarding the new Expression Encoder SP1 Silverlight player templates and how they can be used within your own application.  Right now the templates appear to stand on their own.  That’s only because the output of an Encoder action will be an encoded file, the template you chose (XAP) and an HTML page to host the Silverlight player application. But what if you already have an application and are trying to integrate media playback within it?  How can you take advantage of the Encoder templates, but just drop them in your existing application?  Let’s take a...

Using Silverlight AutoCompleteBox on custom types

The other day I wrote a simple little Silverlight application using a DataGrid to help navigate the TechEd DVD contents.  My code was admittedly quick and dirty.  I loaded up some data, and based on some events re-filtered and re-bound that data.  After thinking about it I am not sure why I didn’t just use some existing controls to help me do that work.  I found that AutoCompleteBox from the new Silverlight Toolkit would do this for me. One thing that the AutoCompleteBox does quickly is provide filtering for simple string data.  But what about custom types?  My data in the...

TechEd 2008 North America DVD Update

Thanks for all the feedback on the TechEd North America DVD issues with viewing the content once Silverlight 2 released.  In trying to do a good job providing a good user experience to viewing the content easily, the TechEd team created a Silverlight 2 Beta 2 player for the TechEd Online site as well as the offline DVD content. Obviously, when Silverlight 2 released and people installed the final version on their machines, the DVD Silverlight player stopped working and presented you with an “Install Silverlight” badge.  This was, of course, due to the use of Beta 2.  This doesn’t render...

Aggiorno, XHTML, your site and added value

My friend Gilbert Corrales has been working for a company called ArtinSoft who has a product Aggiorno.  They describe Aggiorno as: Aggiorno is an automated HTML, XHTML, ASP.NET, PHP… expert that transforms Web site code into fully accessible, Web standards compliant, fast-loading dynamos. A few clicks will analyze your pages and perform any number of time-saving code Transformations that will improve the quality and reach of your Web sites. The best part? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use it. (source: http://aggiorno.com) I’ve been messing around with it for a...

Expression Encoder SP1 now available

Apparently “soon” means “the next day” to the Encoder team :-).  On 28 OCT James Clarke told us all about the goodness that is coming to Encoder SP1 and noted it would be available “real soon.” Little did we know he had already clicked the publish process to the download servers.  What are you waiting for, go start the download for Encoder SP1 and I’ll share my thoughts on some things here. What’s in it?  I’ll pick my favorites: New Silverlight output templates, H.264/AAC support and IIS7 smooth streaming support. H.264/AAC Device Encoding Support SP1...

Silverlight Toolkit Released – More controls!

Today at Microsoft PDC, Scott Guthrie demonstrated some of the new controls that have been provided as a part of the Silverlight Toolkit.  The Silverlight Toolkit was what was previously named the Silverlight Control Pack in the press release when the runtime was released.  This toolkit provides a set of controls and themes for Silverlight 2.  In this initial release, they are: AutoCompleteBox Chart DockPanel ...

Windows on Amazon EC2

Amazon just released into public beta their EC2 features of enabling Windows instances.  I’m a fan of Amazon’s services and the route they’ve been taking.  I use S3 a lot, even only if as a file storage for now.  I’ve written a plugin for Live Writer so that S3 is basically my repository for everything non-text on this site and others.  Of course, if S3 goes down (like it did hard a while back) I’m screwed.  Maybe something like Reserve Chute will help me in the future. I’ve not messed with the EC2 side of their offering only because...

Silverlight 2 Watermarked TextBox Control

In the early days of Silverlight 2, one of the included controls was the WatermarkedTextBox.  In Beta 2 the control was removed from the runtime for among other things, WPF compatibility.  The control source code was made available for people to look at as it was referenced in a few projects, namely ScottGu’s Digg sample application.  There was hinting about future plans but nothing concrete.  Now that Silverlight 2 is released, the control is not there :-).  I’ve gotten enough requests about it that I wanted to provide some action for you.  First, let me say that there...

SilverlightContrib releases Silverlight 2 Controls

Last week I had the pleasure of talking with the crew from the Herding Code podcast.  Among the questions was one about the open source community and Silverlight.  There was mention about MVCContrib and how that community sprouted almost instantly with the ASP.NET MVC initial releases.  I let the Herding Code crew know that I believe there already is a vibrant open source community around Silverlight and pointed to things like DevExpress’ AgDataGrid control which is free and provides source.  I also mentioned a project that did start right away around Silverlight 2 initial releases: SilverlightContrib.  The project, started by...

Silverlight.net updated code samples

With the release of Silverlight 2 many people faced the task of ensuring their applications/code written targeting Beta 2 was upgraded to release.  The team at the Silverlight community site was no different.  We’ve updated almost all the content so far, but I wanted to draw your attention to a few things. Get Started – http://silverlight.net/GetStarted As noted on this page for those getting started, there are links to Scott Guthrie’s 8 part example of building a Digg client in Silverlight (and then using that code for a WPF desktop application).  Scott has updated his code, so that...

Honoring your user’s culture settings with Silverlight

One thing that I’m just as guilty as probably most of some of my peers is creating US-centric applications.  Forgetting to think globally for your users is something that I think happens too often.  We operate in our US-centric worlds and forget that sometimes even the simplest things can make a difference. Take for instance, honoring your user’s culture settings (region/locale/whatever you want to call it).  Even if you have a US-based application for a US-company, how do you know that a user might not be of French origin and still perhaps like to view their operating system information...

Silverlight and ADO.NET Data Service proxy generation

One of the nice little additions to the data client services in Silverlight 2 is the removal of the need to drop out of Visual Studio to do some proxy code generation.  Prior to Silverlight 2 release, if you wanted to consume an ADO.NET Data Service (the artist formerly known as Astoria), you had to drop into a command line and execute something like: 1: datasvcutil.exe /out:"MyDataService.cs" /uri:"http://foo.com/MyDataServiceEndpoint.svc" While that isn’t difficult, it just wasn’t convenient as a developer productivity workflow.  I mean who wants to have...

Calling secure (SSL) services from Silverlight 2

Now that Silverlight 2 has been released, one of the features (or should I say fixes) that is included is the ability for non-secure applications to call secure services.  Previously this was not allowed and we referred to it as “cross-scheme violation.”  That means that a particular protocol scheme (file, http, https) could not access another.  Prior to release this meant that a XAP hosted in an HTTP context could not call a secure service.  Now we no longer have that restriction with the release.  There are some things you have to do, so let me take a brief moment...

Silverlight 2 Released: New controls, tools, announcements!

Whew, we made it!  Silverlight 2 is now released (and available for download)!  (Official press release here.)  I know we’ve always said “by the end of the year” but the team has worked really hard to get Silverlight 2 released well before then so you can start building and deploying your applications.  A lot of people don’t realize that “Silverlight” is actually a team of many that make up the runtime, media, tools, controls, etc. teams.  Hats off to all those involved who pushed hard to get Silverlight 2 out the door (and are already working on the next version)!...

Hey, who took my Chiron?

If you’ve been playing around with Silverlight 2 for a bit now, you may have heard about/used the tool chiron.exe.  It was a tool in the SDK that shipped in Beta 2 that was responsible (for among other things) at that time for packaging the XAP.  Fast forward to release builds for Silverlight 2.  No Chiron.  Hey, what’s up? Chiron is still available for you if you want it.  It is a part of the Silverlight Dynamic Languages SDK which is available on Codeplex.  So if you need/want it, there you go.  Some people were using Chiron...

Silverlight in SharePoint web parts

Are you using SharePoint and want to know how to leverage Silverlight?  Have you seen the Blueprints project on Codeplex?  But what if those particular implementations don’t meet your needs and you want to create your own contained web part with your Silverlight 2 application? Kirk Evans writes about a method of doing this in a recent post: Hosting Silverlight in SharePoint.  Take a look at Kirk’s post with a step-by-step guide of getting started with his method.  In looking at the method he describes, it is conceivable that you actually could make a more generic web part that...

Update your Silverlight Gallery Samples!

Did you know that the Silverlight community site has over 150 Silverlight 2 Beta 2 samples submitted by the community?!  These range from short samples of specific functionality to full-fledged applications that people can use.  I recently spoke of 2 of the multi-file uploader controls that were features in the gallery.  There is a lot of good information being shared by our community. WE NEED YOUR HELP – UPDATE YOUR SAMPLES! Today I sent around a note to those who I could identify who had submissions in the gallery with some information pointing them to Silverlight RC0 information...

Writing text on a Path in Silverlight

One of the things that I’ve wanted to do since Silverlight released was two things with text, enable a Stroke and layout text on a Path.  Both of which in Silverlight 2 aren’t readily available.  Luckily we have a great ecosystem of developers and MVPs who love to extend our frameworks and create new capabilities for developers. Bill Reiss has done just that.  You may recognize Bill from some XNA and Silverlight gaming fame.  His game of Dr. Popper still remains my daughter’s favorite computer game!  Bill has created a new Silverlight user control he calls PathTextBlock control.  Bill...

XAML Power Toys for Silverlight

If you live in the WPF world, you may know the name of Karl Shifflett.  If you’ve heard the name, but just not have met the man…next time you’re at a developer conference, look for the guy in the Hawaiin shirt, shorts, some ink on the arms and is probably passionately talking to some other geeks about the innards of data binding in XAML. Recently, Karl has joined Microsoft to work on the “Cider” team.  The Cider project is a key part of the developer story for WPF and Silveright.  It is the XAML designer/editor/etc for Visual Studio.  Some...

Software Mockups using Balsamiq

Lately I’ve been putting more design thoughts onto paper.  I used to try to prototype in HTML a lot, but it just got too easy to draw it out.  I liked the feel of being ‘less tech’ when it came to mockups, etc.  I was turned on to this program recently called Balsamiq Mockups.  It is a software program that basically allows you to quickly mock up web/software designs using wire-frame elements.  I know there are other methods (please post your favorites in the comments), but there is something about this product that makes me like it...

Silverlight and Web Service Errors

When working with data and Silverlight there has often been the questions of wondering why when a service call fails that Silverlight returns the HTTP 404 status code.  In fact I’ve written about troubleshooting those types of issues in the past and tools you can use to help investigate some problems. Still people mostly ask "if there is an exception, why is Silverlight telling me ‘not found’ instead of sending me the exception?'”  Eugene Osovetsky from the connected systems team aims to answer those questions in a recent post with a little more detail than has been provided in...

MediaStreamSource sample for Silverlight

You may be reading the title and wondering what is MediaStreamSource?  MediaStreamSource is a piece of the Silverlight runtime that removes a the influence of a media file's container, giving developers direct access to APIs for manipulating encoded elementary audio and video streams. Huh? Basically it can enable you as the developer to implement file parsers/etc. in managed code instead of Silverlight, enabling support beyond the native built-in formats for media.  There hasn’t been much information about these types of topics, and I’d agree that for the mainstream, they may be a bit more advanced media scenarios for when...

Installing Silverlight Offline

I’ve gotten a few questions (including a great comment) about needing to install Silverlight under offline or administrative-restricted environments.  There are two ways you can install this. First, you’ll still need the Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio installer.  Next, make sure you download the Silverlight Developer Runtime (Windows).  There is a Mac runtime for developers as well, but if you are wanting to install the developer tools for Visual Studio offline, I’m guessing you are on Windows :-). Okay, here’s the two options.  These really should only be done if you need an offline install experience.  If you don’t, let the installer...

Silverlight multi-file upload controls and patterns

One area where Silverlight can plat an interesting role for your web applications is wherever file uploading to your server needs to be done.  This may sound odd to think of it that way, but if you’ve ever done file upload in web apps (for larger sizes, chunking, etc.) sometimes it is no fun and involves a lot of Javascript.  There is a video demonstrating on how you can do file upload with Silverlight 2 and also helps demonstrate the OpenFileDialog API within the runtime. I remember seeing a multi-file uploader that Jose Farado had started back in Silverlight 1.1 days. ...

Silverlight 2 RC0 Released for Developers

Today we released Silverlight 2 RC0.  This release is for a very specific purpose and although the information will likely be repeated, I wanted to try to help answer a few questions. What is this release? RC0 is a developer release only!  The intent of providing these bits is to provide developers with ample time to have access to the release candidate runtime/controls for Silverlight with the primary goal of making sure that developers with Silverlight 2 Beta 2 applications that are live today prepare for the release of Silverlight 2. What should a developer do? ...

IsolatedStorage as a Silverlight object cache

Someone posed this question (“Can you use IsolatedStorage in Silverlight as a more reliable browser caching technique?”) to me and I answered with my usual optimistic “in theory, yes” answer.  Of course I had never tried it which is horrible to answer that to someone without trying it.  In working on creating some Silverlight business application samples, I figured I should probably look at this scenario to see if a) it would work and b) it makes sense.  I’ll at least try to answer “a” here. The Setup Let’s look at the setup.  The goal here is to...

Podcamp, iJustine and Startup Weekend

Two great events are happening here in the Valley of the Sun (yes, it’s still 105°F outside here folks) are coming up soon that you should consider taking part in. Startup Weekend Phoenix Startup Weekend is a weekend long event (starting on Friday at about 6pm and ending on Sunday at 6pm) where local techies, entrepreneurs, project managers, or interested people of all types gather in teams to actually create companies that could be viable in today’s marketplace.  This isn’t just vapor, past Startup Weekends have actually gotten to the point of initial prototypes, branding, marketing strategies within...

Expression Encoder 2 SP1 Announced

The Expression Encoder team has announced the plans for SP1 of their product (announced, not released).  You can read all the details on their team blog for more information, but two things caught my attention that are probably of most interest: H.264 encoding and a Silverlight 2 template in the box. The H.264/AAC encoding support is a result of customer feedback (as well as preparing for future Silverlight support).  While the profiles in this service pack will be limited and may not meet the needs of everyone immediately, it is a great step and will probably meet the needs...

Add mouse wheel support to ScrollViewer

As you may know, most wheel support is detected at the browser level.  In Silverlight, this makes adding mouse wheel support an interop action with the HTML host.  While people have implemented it, it has mostly been for the use of DeepZoom applications.  In fact, the latest DeepZoom Composer tool actually adds this support now if you choose to have a Silverlight project as a part of the output of the collection. But what about other controls, namely ScrollViewer?  Having content in ScrollViewer enables ScrollBar functionality but doesn’t automatically respond to mouse wheel actions.  Adam Cooper has solved this...

Photo Tech is getting really amazing

A few weeks ago my wife and I traded “up” to a Canon EOS 40D digital SLR camera.  We also invested pretty heavily (for non-professional, borderline rookies) in lenses that we knew we’d use most often.  When the Canon Digital Rebel (EOS300D) first came out, I bought it…what can I say, I’m a geek!  I paid over USD $1K for the kit and it was/is a good camera.  Still, it was the first and probably not even considered ‘prosumer’ grade.  Advance about 3 years (maybe 4?), for the same price (actually a little less), I’m in a 40D...

Silverlight Casual Game Series

Silverlight MVP and friend, Joel Neubeck, has started a series in the Expression Newsletter.  The first article is available now and is part of a 6-part series in building a casual game in Silverlight: Getting Started – Architecture / framework Movement and collision detection Design – Sprites, boards and dialogs Animations and sound Initialization and Deployment Advanced concepts (Physics, Multiplayer, Optimization)...

Apple’s AppStore Restricts User Choice

Ok, this is getting ridiculous.  First the removal of the ‘I Am Rich’ application (which whatever your thoughts on the app itself, it didn’t violate any rules, just that the powers that be at Apple didn’t like the pricing scheme), and now others are being prevented from joining the AppStore.  Here’s the latest two I’m aware of: Podcaster Podcaster is a native iPhone app developed by someone in the Apple developer program and not using anything that isn’t permitted in the terms and conditions of the SDK.  It provides the ability to search/add/download podcasts from your iPhone without...

Some Silverlight effects libraries

While you can do a lot within Silverlight with effects, as demonstrated by techniques used like seen in Shine Draw, you may also want some helping hands to implement these.  It’s not always fun to write some code for when you just want to be able to drop in an effect on your application.  You want to concentrate on your application logic and get assistance in creating some of the visual effects. If you didn’t know, there are some libraries out there that can help.  I’ll highlight two of them here (if you know of more, please post in...

Some cool Surface examples

Saw some posts today over at Don’s site about Surface.  The Surface SDK is starting to get more visible whereas before it seemed a little black-boxish to me.  Turns out (as we all knew) it really is just WPF with some unique Surface-like behaviors in the SDK.  Take this quick demonstration from a program manager on the SDK.  With using the same concepts that we use in WPF and Silverlight for data binding, etc. you can come up with a quick application using the inherent gesture support from a Surface device: Pretty cool huh?  Same XAML concepts...

H.264 and AAC support coming to Silverlight

So you want H.264 support in Silverlight?  So do we.  In fact we will be showing a preview of H.264 and AAC support in Silverlight at the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC) this week in Amsterdam.  Scott Guthrie comments on this saying: “At IBC 2008 we will be demonstrating a technology preview of H.264 video and Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) audio playback support in Silverlight, and H.264 authoring using Microsoft Expression Encoder and Windows Server 2008 for delivery. Until now, Silverlight has supported the SMPTE VC-1 and Windows Media formats, as well as MP3 for audio, enabling customers to take advantage of...

Silverlight install experience too hard?

Man, I feel like I’m constantly on this soapbox about creating a good non-installed experience.  I’m recently sparked again by reading a recent post from Pascal Leloup entitled “Silverlight – It’s too damn complicated to setup.”  These are the times that I wish I could sit next to every developer at the moment they experience this frustration. Part of the time it can be dealing with beta software (as is the case in one of Pascal’s scenarios here), and others I think just take some time to understand the why behind certain things.  Let me take a stab at...

Silverlight Slider and Absolute values

If you use the Slider object in Silverlight (or WPF for that matter) you may have experienced some similar frustration that I have recently.  Let’s take a look at what the Slider is first. The Slider is a simple control on the surface providing a track and a “thumb” (if you aren’t familiar with that term) that enables value changing.  Some of the key properties are: Minimum – the number that represents the lowest (left or bottom) value Maximum – the number...

Some Silverlight events coming up

I’m pretty excited about the upcoming Fall travels I have.  Fresh on the heels of a 3-day session with the entire Silverlight team this past week, I’m rejuvenated and ready to rock.  I’ve also got some travels coming up and hope to see some of you at them as well… Troubleshooting Data Services in Silverlight (09 SEP) Tomorrow I’ll be presenting a webcast with the goal of trying to help surface some of the more common ‘gotchas’ in dealing with accessing data in Silverlight.  Some of it may not be new to some, but there has been enough...

Silverlight resources for Flash developers

Two new resources came to my attention recently that could be helpful resources for Flash developers wanting to learn Silverlight.  The first has been out there for a bit actually, but the other is new.  Let’s start with the new one, Project Rosetta (video).  As Adam Kinney said this week while in meetings in Redmond, “because we need another web site.” Project Rosetta describes itself as: Project Rosetta is a site dedicated to helping designers and developers build applications in Silverlight while taking advantage of skills they already know. There are two articles...

Further evidence of Android’s possible failure

Earlier this year I wrote my thoughts on the current mobile scene and what troubles certain players more than others.  I made the assertion that Android will face the same troubles that Windows Mobile is challenged with.  That being that Google/Android are providing a platform and not a physical device.  I think it would be hard to argue that owning the complete platform and hardware is not a good idea.  Apple’s complete control of every aspect of the channel provides them with the ability to deliver in a somewhat more reliable fashion (except for the fact that Contacts suck and...

IE8 Beta 2 release – my TinyURL Accelerator

I first saw the accelerators (the artists formerly known as activities) during The Code Trip, when Woody created an IE8 activity for Wikipedia.  It was a convenient tool to have in your right-click toolbox on IE and I loved it (and still do). Well, now that IE8 Beta 2 is out, I decided (well, my selfishness decided) that I should create an activity accelerator for something that I use often so I introduce you to: IE8 Accelerator for TinyURL.  So with a little XML, it was done.  Seriously, like < 5 minutes.  I ran into one problem...

Startup Weekend – A great idea

A new (and great) idea has been making its way across the country.  It’s called Startup Weekend.  What is it?  From their site: Have you ever wondered what a group of highly talented and motivated people could accomplish in a weekend? Could they start a company from concept to completion? Startup Weekend answers that question and more. A unique three-day experience, Startup Weekend brings the best and brightest people together in a local office space to select the concept, break into teams, and develop the product, marketing and revenue model.  ...

Silverlight and MS CRM Services

Had enough media players, games, and animated shapes with Silverlight?  How about integrating into some line of business applications?  Microsoft produces an application called Microsoft CRM, now in it’s 4th release (those closer to the CRM information can correct me if I’m wrong…I’m actually not too familiar with the roadmap/releases of CRM).  What is CRM?  What you’d expect, a customer relationship management system…define your use of those systems as you wish.  There are many CRM systems out there, but what struck me as interesting about MS CRM is based on a demonstration I saw about a year ago when v4...

Troubleshooting data/service access in Silverlight

A while back I pondered doing a “live” debug session with people who were/are working with Silverlight 2 and data access via services, etc.  I really like a live concept because it allows people to ask real questions and feels more conversational than a one-way presentation.  After some consideration, I’m not sure I could quite guarantee the environment I was looking for to accomplish this type of style. So as a second best, I’ve set up a webcast: Troubleshooting Silverlight Data Access.  I hope to keep the question channel open during the webcast though and answer as many questions as possible. ...

4 new Silverlight hands-on labs

We just put up 4 new hands-on labs for Silverlight 2.  These labs are based around some of the training that partners and early adopters had received over the past few months.  A guided lab document and source code (before/after) is provided. The 4 labs include building a web application based around a travel site. Building the UI: using different layout with Grids, StackPanels, etc. Styling the UI: use styles, templates and VisualStateManager…work with default templates in Expression Blend Binding...

Photosynth Gone Wild

Remember Photosynth?  Remember when you first saw it and your initial smile came across you in that ‘this is cool’ kind of feeling? Multiply that. A team at the University of Washington in conjunction with Microsoft Research presented “Finding Paths Through the World’s Photos” at SIGGRAPH2008.  I haven’t read the paper yet, but the video speaks for itself in the advancements of photo recognition and path interpolation to me: There is some really similar Photosynth and DeepZoom stuff happening here, but a lot more as well.  You can visit their site to read more and also download some code from some of the...

Behind the Scenes of NBCOlympics.com

How does 2000+ machines sound?  Transforming a Saturday Night Live recording area into a live commentator section full of workstations and bloggers?  Scoble had a chance to sit down with Eric Schmidt from Microsoft to talk about some of the behind-the-scenes information about the NBCOlympics.com Silverlight experience.  Despite the video quality not being great, the information is very good.  I recently saw a few other partners involved in the NBCOlympics.com project talk about things and kept feeling like they were really missing a great opportunity to talk about one of the key aspects in the implementation.  Eric covers the basics...

Visual Studio SP1 and Silverlight tools

Today Visual Studio 2008 has released SP1 which not only brings some fixes, but also is an added value service pack, bringing some new functionality to WPF as well as enabling a “client” deployment pack of the .NET framework so that those deploying .NET framework with your client applications can have a much smaller footprint (by about 80+%). With the release of SP1 for Visual Studio 2008 today, the Silverlight team has also updated their tools for Silverlight 2 Beta 2.  Read again: a tools update for Silverlight 2 Beta 2 is needed and available for you.  If you install Visual...

ReMIX UK – 18 SEPT

Well, I wish I was going to this event: ReMIX UK!  For one, it would be starting the day of my birthday and would be a great birthday treat!  Secondly, I would be able to meet up with my fellow escamoles chaps and maybe take in some local cuisine instead. If you are in the UK, or for some reason really wanted to see the current value of the US dollar, make sure you head to ReMIX UK!  The lineup is pretty incredible when you look at it…here’s some Microsoft favorites: ...

Woohoo! Subtext 2.0 released!

I’ve just completed my upgrade to my site of the official 2.0 release of Subtext, the Open Source blogging engine that I use to manage content on this site.  You can read the full announcement from grand poohba Haack himself here. I’m loving this release because of the improvements made but also a little selfishly because the modifications I’ve made to my own fork I’ve been using have made it into this release!  These modifications really make this the best platform for me when using Live Writer.  This may not make a difference to a lot of you,...

Some Silverlight ecosystem updates

I’ve had a couple things sitting in my inbox for a week or so and rather than call them out individually and take up your precious aggregation space, I’ll summarize them here. 3rd Party Silverlight Controls Got a note from Valentin about the roadmap for the Telerik Silverlight controls.  As they’ve previously noted, they are planning a set of controls: Window, Menu, TreeView, TabControl, PanelBar, Cube, ComboBox, Upload, Calendar, DatePicker, NumericUpDown, MediaPlayer, Range Slider, ProgressBar, WrapPanel, DockPanel, UniformGridPanel.  Right now it looks like they are incorporating the feedback provided and doing some polish work like adding Blend tool support for skinning, etc. ...

Play Olympic Games in Silverlight

With the Olympic ceremony only days away and being able to enjoy the Olympic experience online via Silverlight, why not get a little excited and play some casual games, Olympic style.  All of these were build using Silverlight and the Popfly game creator: Torch Lighting Soccer Track and Field Archery Long Jump ...

Compare on Kelley Blue Book with Silverlight and DeepZoom

Have you seen those television commercials about used car markets and someone standing in a white background and as they vocalize their automobile preferences the selections fly in and around them.  That’s what I was reminded of when I came upon the new feature on Kelley Blue Book’s comparison feature on their site.  I had previously written about some innovative uses of DeepZoom with Jose’s samples and I like what KBB has done here as well. They’ve leveraged Silverlight with DeepZoom in a way that provides some good user functionality but at the same time provides a line-of-business application...

My Garmin Nuvi

If you are a constant reader of this blog, I suspect you’re a geek as well.  And with most geeks it is generally pretty hard to buy gifts.  We usually buy gadgets when they come out and don’t give much room for ‘wish lists’ for our significant others to shop for us.  As such my house around holidays is usually no gifts for me of substantial surprise…that’s fine by me. This father’s day was different.  My family got me a portable GPS device.  Specifically the Garmin Nuvi 260.  To be most accurate, my family actually got me a Magellan...

IronNails = Silverlight + IronRuby + Patterns

If you already pay attention to the IronRuby dev group and are on the distribution list, apologies for the dupe.  I’ve just got back from a camping trip and rifling through all my emails now.  I checked in on the IronRuby group and noticed a new project emerging from someone. It’s from Ivan Porto Carrero and he calls it IronNails.  It was previously called something else (quite frankly I liked the other name better myself) but there was already a project named after his chosen name.  So alas, IronNails it is!  Ivan describes this as: ...

Silverlight tip: shortcut simple properties

I’ve seen the rumbling a few times now about property setting in Silverlight.  The rumblings are along the lines of “why do I have to use SetValue for setting simple properties like the x/y positioning?”  To those points, I agree from a fundamental standpoint.  From a technical standpoint SetValue is there and serves a great purpose for providing a common way of setting properties on XAML elements regardless of the element.  As a developer, I like it actually.  I do, however, see the point about wanting to set simple properties and it just looks a little verbose.  Take for instance...

iPhone AppStore and Apps disappearing

Well, it seems that in addition to problems with MobileMe, Apple is getting into some gray area with AppStore.  Applications are appearing, disappearing without explanation to the authors.  The one that got more attention was NetShare, an app that purports to enable tethering of your iPhone 3G.  However despite it being available (actually for me clicking on the link it wasn’t even available then) it seems to be performing one of Criss Angel’s greatest feats in appearing/disappearing at will (or at Steve Jobs’ request). The latest app to fall to this scenario and be removed from the AppStore without explanation is...

Honoring your NDA and terms of use and the iPhone SDK

NDA.  Non-disclosure.  Hush documents. Not many people like them.  In the technology world they are a necessary evil.  Personally I don’t think that way.  I think NDA’s are generally a good thing.  It’s enabling legalese to let two parties participate in information exchange when they don’t want the rest of the world to know about them.  NDA is a general term, of course, and the wording in any non-disclosure agreement is subject to the two parties involved.  Heck it could say “We’re going to show you everything and you agree only to not talk about feature X…everything else is fair game.” ...

Silverlight data binding and value converters

If you are working with Silverlight and data you most likely are going to leverage data binding at some point and run into some needs to format the data in the XAML.  Luckily this can be done using value converters, which have been available for WPF since it’s inception as well.  Let’s explore what I’m talking about using a common formatting need: dates. Consider this list box output binding: 1: <ListBox x:Name="FeedList"> 2: <ListBox.ItemTemplate> ...

Powerline equipping my dungeon

I’ve been working a lot more from my home office lately and it was getting increasingly challenging during this summer with both kids at home.  Okay, let’s be honest, my wife was probably more the distraction :-).  When we built our home 4 years ago we were both working from home and built an office specifically for the both of us.  3 dedicated power circuits to the room, hard-wired ethernet to that room x 4, wireless printing, split desks, tile floor, etc., etc. – everything I wanted in my office for convenience. Fast-forward 4 years.  Add 2 kids.  Add...

Silverlight at Gamefest

This week I had the privilege of attending and helping with some Silverlight in casual games presentations at the XNA Gamefest conference happening in Seattle.  I say helping because the real game experts were there. Two Silverlight presentations were given.  One by Bill Reiss/Joel Neubeck and the other by Mike Snow.  Between the two sessions we covered concepts in Silverlight game development as well as a walk-through of starting out to create a simple game.  I consider these guys to be the foremost experts on the topic given their experience in creating games like Dr. Popper, Stack Attack, Zero...

Providing startup parameters for Silverlight

One of the things that makes Silverlight 2 great is the ability to create a very flexible framework application that others can use and can be embeddable with some dynamic properties.  This is the method used in the SL2 Video Player to provide a completely dynamic player that is portable. How?  Using the initParams property of the plugin.  There are a few ways you can do this.  I’ve just uploaded a video demonstrating three of them: Creating App Resources Passing into the root visual constructor...

Low-cost SSL Providers

In IIS7 you can do very simple testing for SSL related site hosting.  It literally is like a 2 click process: Enter a name for the cert and done, you now have SSL on your box.  Of course this is a self-issued/signed certificate so it will do you know good in the real world, but for most of the developer world it will work fine.  There may be those times, however, where things may not be quite working right and you want to eliminate the self-signed cert form the equation to make sure it isn’t the issue....

Making SL2 Video Player an Encoder Template

Now that the Silverlight 2 Video Player is available from Codeplex, I wanted to make it a template for Expression Encoder.  I’ll attempt to articulate the steps below.  It’s actually pretty trivial.  In fact in the current incarnation, you have to throw some extra stuff in there you may not need :-). Step 1 – Creating the template folder While I’ve covered this in previous posts and this is also well documented in the Encoder SDK documentation. First you’ll navigate to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Encoder 2\Templates\en and you’ll see the existing template folders.  The folders do not represent...

Updates to Amazon S3 and Silverlight

After posting my sample implementation of accessing Amazon Simple Storage Solution (S3) via Silverlight, I reflected quickly and also chatted with some AWS engineers. Cross-domain Policy One thing that you should never do is just deploy a global clientaccesspolicy.xml file blindly.  Often times in samples, we (I) do this.  I need to be better about this guidance to be honest, so I’ll start here.  As an example, for the S3 cross domain policy file, we really should add some additional attributes to it to make it more secure.  Since we know it is a SOAP service, we can...

iPhone not quite ready for ‘Enterprise’

Well now that the iPhone 3G (and actually more specifically the 2.0 software) are out, I promised myself I’d take another look, especially given that the claims of “for the Enterprise” were there (which really meant ‘we added ActiveSync’).  I had been holding on to some gift cards to subsidize this gadget investigation and so alas, I am testing the iPhone 3G for my use. Now because the device itself isn’t really much different (physically the changes are subtle) I’m not really commenting on the “iPhone” itself but rather on the claims of what 2.0 software brought to the device.  The...

Embedding Fonts and File Upload in Silverlight 2

Two new videos were just posted on the Silverlight learning section. Embedding Custom Fonts in Silverlight 2 This video demonstrates the supported method for embedding your custom font files into your Silverlight applications and how you might use them in your application as well as how to provide fallback fonts for your application. OpenFileDialog and File Upload in Silverlight 2 Two for one.  Check out the OpenFileDialog control and how you might even use it with UI-less Silverlight applications.  Also, look at OpenFileDialog in conjunction with uploading files via Silverlight 2 applications. Make sure to...

How about some LIVE Silverlight service debugging?

I’ve got a thought lately and curious if I’m thinking crazy.  You see, probably the most asked questions I get are around working with services within Silverlight.  Although I’ve got some helpful (at least I think they’re helpful) posts on the subject: Silverlight, 404 and some tool help Updates for Beta 2 Working with Syndicated Data Calling WCF/ASMX Services Calling REST Services Cross-domain policy files ...

iPhone 3G: Exchange for the rest of us…because AT&T sucks?

I had been a customer of T-Mobile for 10 years (through a few company changes) and only recently changed to AT&T about a year ago.  As a general assertion, I’ve been happy.  I like the 3G speeds and the coverage in my house is far better than T-Mobile, which was the ultimate driver as someone who works primarily from a home office. That being said, I think I’m agreeing with what a friend said when the first iPhone launched.  He said (paraphrasing of course) If the iPhone has any shortcomings it won’t be because of the device or Apple, it will...

Accessing Amazon S3 with Silverlight

I ran into an interesting situation last week…the desire to access some of my Amazon S3 services from within a Silverlight application. Amazon Simple Storage Solution (S3) is a pay service provided Amazon for object storage ‘in the cloud.’  Although there is no UI tool provided by Amazon to navigate your account in S3, a SOAP and REST API are available for developers to integrate S3 information into their applications or other uses.  You can view more information about Amazon S3 on their site. What is S3? Since S3 is a pretty flexible service, it can be used for many different things including...

Updating Silverlight.js and Firefox 3

I’m hoping this post will help explain a few things with regard to Silverlight detection scripts that some sites may be using.  This is related to the silverlight.js Javascript file that was deployed with a lot of Silverlight 1.0 applications/sites and is also available as a part of the Silverlight 2 SDK tools. What the heck is this Silverlight.js you speak of? Simply put, Silverlight.js is a helper file which enables Web sites to create advanced Silverlight installation and instantiation experiences.  It was a resource file that was initially shipped along side several templates and helper projects to aid in the detection...

Line Rider rides on Silverlight 2

One of probably the coolest casual ‘games’ I’ve ever seen is Line Rider.  It’s a fun game, but really gets exciting when you have an artist behind it.  Basically it’s a blank canvas for you to draw a route for the main character to hop on his sled and ride.  Sound lame?  Not when you see what some have come up with.  For example, here’s a very popular ‘ride’ on YouTube. Well, the Line Rider team has recently modified their beta version and implemented in Silverlight 2!  They’ve also added some social networking integration using Live Messenger and the ability to...

Silverlight community controls contest

I suspect we’ll be seeing more of these efforts for Silverlight and I love it.  In fact, INETA will be sponsoring the 2008 INETA Silverlight Challenge soon, so you should sign up for more information about that as well.  But until then… But until then, check out what some of the community MVPs and leaders are doing on their own!  They’ve started the Silverlight Control Builder Contest ‘08.  Two main organizers (Page Brooks and Dave Campbell) have put some time and thought into how they can get the community excited about developing solutions for the community and alas...

Learning ASP.NET MVC?

Are you poking around with the latest ASP.NET MVC (Model-View-Controller) bits?  If so, hopefully you are already aware of the resources available to you and the fact that Phil Haack is one of the program manager’s leading those efforts, and Scott Hanselman has been providing the community with some resources to jump start your learning. Well, another member has just joined the ranks on the team I work for.  Stephen Walther, pictured here in his best book-cover pose ;-), has joined the team.  He actually joined earlier this month, but I’m just now getting around to welcoming him to...

Android, iPhone and Windows oh my!

I suspect Apple will have a good day on 11 July.  I’m pretty sue Apple could release the iGumWrapper and people will camp out 2 days before to be the first to purchase a gum wrapper made out of napkin and far less superior in functionality than what exists today.  It’s the lure of Apple, the marketing engine behind them and the fact that despite that napkin material, it would likely be so beautiful and make you forget some things that you’ve depended on for so long. But I digress :-).  In all seriousness, Apple excels at the hype and the...

FeedReader web part 3.0.0.2

For those of you who use my RSS FeedReader Web Part for SharePoint, it has been updated into an ‘official’ release for the project.  Version 3.0.0.2 is now the latest release.  It incorporates all the changes from our team’s contributor, Ryan – thanks Ryan!!!  You can read the checkin on the Codeplex site or review this previous post for Ryan’s checkin notes. As always, the source code is included on the site, licensed under the Ms-Pl. There has been some emails/work items/debate over the installer.  The installation is two parts: ...

Some new Silverlight videos

Some new videos just got posted to the Silverlight community site.  Topics included: IsolatedStorage usage HTML DOM Integration Dynamic Assembly/XAP loading Working with Syndicated Data As always, feedback and ideas are welcome.  Ben’s been leaving some great comments here on suggested topics and I’d love to see more.  I’ll be starting a new ‘series’ soon…more to come on that in a week’s time. As a reminder, these videos are meant...

svn commit my_contribution_to_OSS

As I patiently awaited, here’s what was presented to my browser: I’ve made my first official “commit” to an open source project that I didn’t start.  I feel good.  I feel like cracking open a Mt. Dew and going crazy.  Honestly though it does feel good (and fun).  My blog engine I use is Subtext.  It’s the blog engine I’ve used almost exclusively (I actually started with .Text before scottw sold out went to Telligent to make Community Server.  I kid of course, Scott is a great guy, and very smart.  But when .Text was seemingly going to get stale, others...

Silverlight Streaming upgraded to Beta 2

The Silverlight Streaming service has been upgraded to support Silverlight 2 beta 2 applications. As a note to customers who were previously hosting Beta 1 applications for test purposes, as beta 1 is no longer a supported test platform for SLS.  Authors should update/upload their applications using the latest Silverlight 2 bits.  These are available (with the tools) from the Silverlight community site. Silverlight 1 applications hosted on SLS are not affected by this upgrade and still supported of course. Remember that you can also now directly upload a XAP file to SLS using the Manage...

Silverlight 2 Media Player project now open source

Over the past few months Joel and I have been back-and-forthing modifications to his original great idea and goal “build a re-sizable video player using no custom user controls, but instead leveraging controls styles and templates.”  Joel started in Silverlight 2 Beta 1 and implemented using the style method (aka ‘the MIX model’) available at that time.  I took it and added some functionality of scaling and startup parameters.  After the VisualStateManager model for styling was released, this project made perfect sense to demonstrate those abilities and thus I transformed the great styling work that Joel did into the VSM...

Firefox 3 and Silverlight

Well today (17 JUN 2008) will be the release of Firefox 3, a seemingly much anticipated browser update.  I checked out an earlier build (I think beta 2) and it was a nice browser.  I’m not a browser zealot, I use what works for me and IE works for me, has some tools that I like, etc.  Firefox is a fine browser as well and I do use some plugins from time to time in my Firefox install. Today, I assume a lot of people will be downloading FF3 whether by explicit choice or by a prompt from their FF2 browser...

Free Silverlight 2 training CD

The team att AppDev is providing a free learning CD-ROM for Silverlight 2.  They are providing it as a CD-ROM or download and said it represents a $115 value for their training…but are providing it now for free! If you are familiar with MSDN Magazine, ASPNETPro, and other online/offline publications, the name Dino Esposito might sound familiar.  Dino is the one providing the training walkthroughs for you in this offering.  It includes roughly 3 hours of training on Silverlight 2 content.  Get it now!  Thanks AppDev! UPDATE (30 JUN 2008): The team at AppDev has heard some feedback and has altered their offer. ...

Updated Silverlight media player using VisualStateManager

I’ve just finished updating my modification of Joel’s original concept.  Joel had a really great base for me to build off of and used styling and templates to create simple controls for a standard Silverlight media player that could be embedded.  I took his sample and made some minor adjustments to accommodate automatic sizing as well as make it a bit more parameter-driven.  The end result was (what I think at least) a fairly nice player that could be flexible if needed: Joel made great use of styling primitive controls to be able to leverage core...

Telerik drops some Silverlight control goodies

One of the things I love about the Microsoft developer ecosystem is the partner channels that are enabled to create great add-ons to our platforms and frameworks.  Our partners in this space usually get to the better implementations before we do, taking on the task of filling some gaps in unique implementations while our teams can focus on providing the best framework for enabling that construction. In December of last year, Telerik showed their intentions of making a control suite for Silverlight (then v1.1).  Well now that beta 2 is released for Silverlight 2, they’ve updated their RadControls for...

Silverlight cross domain services and a helpful tool

I’ve been getting a few notes on issues relating to people trying Silverlight beta 2 and WCF or other services.  The most common issue I’m seeing reported is “my exception is showing a 404-not found error message, but the service is there and works!” Okay, there could be several things happening here, but let’s tackle the “make sure it is plugged in” type situations.  I don’t mean to make light of the error, because at first I, too, was banging my head against a wall.  Sometimes it helps to have a second set of eyes or a deeper understanding...

Getting started with Silverlight 2

Now that beta 2 is out and some of the features or more solid, and a majority of the breaking changes have been announced, there is no excuse to hold back anymore.  Oh yeah, and there is a commercial go-live license available now, so no more excuses :-). So where to get started?  Well you should first head over to the Silverlight community site and visit the Get Started section.  There you will find a rather simple formula to get started: Download/install the tools ...

Important change to Sockets in Silverlight 2

An important note for those using Sockets in Silverlight 2.  In beta 1, Sockets were limited to site-of-origin (meaning you could only connect back to the same host that served up the Silverlight application).  This has changed in beta 2 to allow your Silverlight application to connect to any server exposing some Socket connections. One important note, however, is that a policy implementation has been added.  This policy implementation affects not only cross-domain Socket calls, but site-of-origin ones as well.  So if you are using Sockets, you must have a policy implementation in place. The policy implementation is done via a similar file...

Silverlight 2 Beta 2 updates for web services

We were all jumping for joy when Silverlight 2 beta 1 was released and the ability to connect to services was more readily/easily available to us.  For discoverable services that provided a WSDL we were quickly able to implement them using the Add Service Reference capability in Visual Studio 2008.  Beta 2 brings a few changes to the world of services that you should know about.  I’ll do my best to recap some of them here. Generating a WCF Service In beta 1 when we created a WCF service for use in Silverlight, we used the “WCF Service” template...

MIX Essentials Mexico and unique cuisine

Well, I have about 3 hours until I leave this little city called Mexico City.  Sarcasm of course, did you know there are roughly 25 million people in Mexico City.  I didn’t.  It is amazing.  Traffic, however, is something to be desired.  I’m told that a 3 mile trip at times could take 1hr, 30 minutes.  Maybe I should stop complaining about my commute when I do it?  No, it still sucks. Anyway, on to business.  Yesterday I attended and spoke at the MIX Essentials Mexico conference.  These events are happening worldwide and if there is one coming up...

Free Silverlight DataGrid with source code!

Um.  Whoa. Okay, DevExpress rocks.  I think this will be very well received by the community and you’ll have to watch their page for when it is available and to get your license. From their site: As the release of Silverlight draws near, DevExpress has invested the engineering resources needed to deliver a feature-rich grid control for Silverlight. Not just a "preview" of what is possible with Silverlight, the AgDataGrid Suite was developed to fully exploit the power and flexibility of the platform… It looks like it will support pretty much everything you’d expect in a DataGrid and more…wicked cool.  Congratulations and thank you...

A new Silverlight control - TabControl

Silverlight 2 brings a suite of controls for designers and developers to leverage within their applications.  With the Expression tools helping us to be able to skin these controls, also comes some new controls you may not have used yet as well as a new one introduced with the latest release of Silverlight 2. Introducing TabControl. UPDATE: Video walk-through is now live. The TabControl is implemented in the System.Windows.Controls.Extended class library and not in the Silverlight core.  To use it make a reference to the Extended assembly and it will be available to you.  In Expression Blend you’ll see TabControl in the Custom...

Silverlight and the VisualStateManager

If you’ve heard the news about Silverlight 2 Beta 2 and Expression Blend 2.5 (June 2008 preview), you will notice something else in addition to being able to skin your controls easier.  Remember how you may have had to create different states for your element using “MouseOver State" and then create storyboards to transition to states?  There’s now a better way. Enter VisualStateManager. Let’s take a look and see if we can simplify this down a bit a basic understanding.  Let’s use something that most everyone should be able to relate to with states: Button.  A button has...

Skinning Silverlight controls just got easier

This has been one of the features that I’ve been excited about for a while since I heard we were changing it.  With the release of Silverlight 2 Beta 2 and the updated preview of Expression Blend 2.5 (June 2008), skinning and styling controls within Silverlight gets a bunch easier. When Silverlight 2 Beta 1 was released there was the possibility of styling/skinning controls.  It wasn’t impossible, but perhaps a bit obfuscated to the eye for people with short attention spans like myself.  You can read more about those methods here and here.  WPF designers were...

Reading data and RSS with Silverlight and no cross-domain policy

So you want to read an RSS/Atom feed on the interwebs and saw the SyndicationFeed class you could use in Silverlight to give a nice RIA display of the syndicated data.  Great, no problem right, just wire up an WebClient, point it to the RSS feed on something like http://silverlight.net or something and boom, done.  Wait, what’s this 404 Not Found error?  In most cases this is going to be a result of a cross-domain issue.  If you haven’t started working with services yet, Silverlight requires a cross-domain policy file to be in place to access remote data not on...

Silverlight Streaming won’t upload my video!

I’ve seen this issue a few times with people using the Manage Videos portion of Silverlight Streaming to directly upload a video file to be hosted.  Now with direct endpoints to the WMV files I’m seeing it a bit more.  Let me see if I can shed some light on this situation. First, there is a distinction between uploading an application to Silverlight Streaming versus just a video.  What I’m going to discuss here is working with video only uploads.  If you didn’t know, you can directly upload just a video and Silverlight Streaming will...

Download Windows Live Writer June 2008 Preview

Hot off the press, a new drop of Windows Live Writer was just released.  Get it here.  This is one of my favorite tools from Microsoft and the update brings a few new changes. First, I’m happy to report that Flickr4Writer and S3Browser still work fine and require no adjustments.  The other thing announced today from the Writer team is an updated SDK.  This new SDK includes a new type of plugin which enable plug-in activity for pre- and post-publish events.  Some of you following me on Twitter may have noticed something every so often that said...

MIX Essentials Mexico!

This week I’ll be traveling to Mexico City to meet developers and designers at the local MIX Essentials (English translation here – funny that RIA gets translated to LAUGHS) event.  I’ll be presenting two sessions there this week.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to kick-off the conference talking about building RIAs with Silverlight 2.  I’m particularly excited about this as I have some things to show that haven’t really been shown broadly yet.  I will also be speaking on working with data in Silverlight 2 later in the day.  This session will cover working with services, servers,...

SnagIt and PNGOut

I searched and didn’t immediately find anything, so I’m partly doing this for my own mental archive but also for others who might want this feature. First, I use two tools for snapshot capturing.  When I want a quick snapshot with no annotation, I use WinSnap, which rocks the hizzouse.  For when I need annotation (arrows, highlighting, etc.) I use SnagIt from the makers of Camtasia (Betsy Weber rocks).  Both of these tools are incredible and I’ve purchases full licenses for both and haven’t regretted it at all. In WinSnap, there is a feature that allows you to...

RIApalooza wrap-up

I just finished up a day attending the Chicago RIApalooza event in, well, Chicago.  First, I must say that I love cities with great mass transit systems.  I’ve said this before and I keep threatening myself to move to one. For this event I paired up with a super designer Corrina Barber.  Corrina works as a user experience designer at Microsoft, is wicked smart and was a perfect compliment to this event.  Most of the attendees at RIApalooza I believed to be interactive developers, so most having a knack for design.  I figured rather than a developer...

Innovative use of Silverlight and DeepZoom

Take a few minutes and look at this video of Jose Fajardo re-demonstrating one of his ReMIX features shown using Silverlight and DeepZoom.  Are you kidding me?!  Seriously, Jose has a great imagination and an incredible sense for effectively demonstrating things. In this video he answers questions posed to himself like “what if all web images were DeepZoom-able?” and “what if all the documents on the web were DeepZoom-able?”  Then he gets crazy and suggests that people could collaborate with a DeepZoom image and demonstrates this using a Silverlight chat experience built using network sockets.  I love his context...

Silverlight Flickr Badge

Taking another cue from some great stuff Joel is doing, I liked his implementation of the ‘Leopard Screen Saver’ but wanted to make it more ‘real’ for me.  So I wired it up to my Flickr account.  Result here (using Silverlight Streaming): I only had to change a few things. First, in the Page_Loaded event, I removed the timer start function.  This was because with interacting with Flickr it was going to be async.  I didn’t want the timer to start until I knew the image collection was built. My BuildCollection function now looks like this: private void BuildCollection() { // get...

RIApalooza – I’ll be there!

I’m very excited to have the opportunity to attend the RIApalooza event in Chicago in a few weeks (31 MAY).  What is RIApalooza? RIApalooza promises a platform agnostic and "PowerPoint-Free" zone, which means we are going to forgo the boring marketing pitches in favor of talking technology. RIApalooza is about creating Rich Internet Applications; how to go about building them and what is being built.  source: riapalooza.com I love the PPT-free zone aspect of it.  I loving having the maximum time to show some real working code, answer questions and see what...

Streaming media in Windows Server for Silverlight

When using media with Silverlight there are a few things that you should be aware of.  First, ensure that the media you are planning on using conforms to the VC-1 specification.  Your media files just need to then be accessible via streaming or http-based access for progressive downloads. The media files for progressive downloads can be anywhere: any web server, Amazon S3 storage, some HttpHandler, whatever – as long as they can be served. Streaming media is supported via Windows Media Services.  If you haven’t set this up before, there are a few things to note with regard...

Making use of your JSON data in Silverlight

Wait! Don’t throw out your JSON services! The Situation You’ve made an investment in exposing some services for client script consumption.  Most likely if you did it in the past 2 years, that involved exposing your data as JSON formatted objects. What is JSON? It is a text-based, human-readable format for representing simple data structures and associative arrays (called objects) Perhaps a search service returns a list of people formatted using your custom “Person” object and you’ve been using this in your AJAX applications for a while now.  Maybe your JSON data looks something like this: [{"City":"Queen Creek","FirstName":"Tim","LastName":"Heuer", "Website":"http:\/\/timheuer.com\/blog\/"}, {"City":"Portland","FirstName":"Scott","LastName":"Hanselman", "Website":"http:\/\/hanselman.com\/blog\/"}, {"City":"Redmond","FirstName":"Scott","LastName":"Guthrie", "Website":"http:\/\/weblogs.asp.net\/scottgu"}, {"City":"New Hampshire","FirstName":"Joe","LastName":"Stagner", "Website":"http:\/\/joestagner.net"}, {"City":"Boston","FirstName":"Jesse","LastName":"Liberty", "Website":"http:\/\/silverlight.net\/blogs\/jesseliberty"}] If you squint long enough you can...

Skinning an embeddable Silverlight 2 media player

While Silverlight 2 brings us great capabilities as .NET developers and opens many opportunities for creating rich clients in the browser, it still supports strong media features that have been available since the initial release of Silverlight.  The ability to deliver efficient, high quality media in the browser is an increasing need in a lot of sites producing content for their members.  Traditional ‘podcasts’ which were historically audio-only, are moving increasingly faster to richer media.  This is nothing new of course, but being able to quickly distribute the media on your sites efficiently and provide methods for your users to...

Silverlight and Media Encoding

While you may not personally work with a lot of media solutions in your Silverlight application, it is nice to know the quality is there when you need it.  Silverlight supports the VC-1 codec for media which provides a standards implementation for high quality media.  I would imagine that most developers probably don’t know/care what all that means.  But if you are deploying a high-touch media solution (i.e., online TV, etc.) you want that high quality. Our resident media expert, Ben Waggoner, just put up a great (and detailed) post about some ‘high-touch encoding’ techniques he uses and does some comparisons...

Rich Text Editor for Silverlight 2

For Silverlight 2, we finally have some native controls to leverage.  Most of them are to aid in input scenarios.  The text input, however, is currently scoped to be plain text input.  Some have desired a richer input control.  You knew it wouldn’t be long before someone in the community stepped up to the challenge.  Christopher Husse has done just that. Enter: Silverlight rich text editor. He posts a detailed description of all the capabilities on Michael Syncs blog.  The effort is also posted on Codeplex for you to peruse. Here is what he calls the ‘incomplete feature list’: ...

Some minor Subtext enhancements

This blog runs on SubText.  I heart SubText.  I know there are others out there but for me SubText has met most of my needs.  And when it hasn’t I modify it.  Which brings me to this post.  There was a thread on an email list I belong to about Windows Live Writer (I heart Live Writer too :-)) and categories (adding new categories on the fly).  This got me to crack open the source and hunt.  Alas, there was no support for this.  I’ve been ranting about WordPress API support for SubText on the developer list and I think...

New Silverlight videos posted

The first of my Silverlight videos have posted which cover some networking stuff that I’ve been blogging about already.  If you want to see a walk through of things you might have already read, please take a look at them: Cross domain policy files with Silverlight 2 Using WCF and ASP.NET Web Services with Silverlight 2 There are more coming and I’m interested in hearing your comments so please give them.  If you have suggestions for things that...

An awesome Silverlight Digg mashup

I know ScottGu already did a good sample showing integration with Digg and Silverlight, but check out what Jose did! Jose does a great job explaining each of the components here and what he is doing to develop this application.  A good experience demonstration with a lot going on there with Silverlight.  I really encourage you to check out this read and subscribe to Jose’s feed – he’s what I’d call ‘wicked good.’ tags: silverlight, jose fajardo, cynergy, digg, wpf, xaml, ria

My Silverlight application cannot access my service!

I’ve started a dialog with a few of you about getting Silverlight and service integration working, specifically with ASP.NET web services (and even WCF ones).  A few have downloaded some of my samples, but others have started from scratch.  A few have reported getting some interesting errors, ASYNC_blahblah and NotFound errors specifically.  While this was boggling my mind (as I wasn’t getting them), a reader’s comments pointed me along the lines of something…he mentioned “maybe it is because my web service is ASP.NET 2.0 and not 3.5” – of which that shouldn’t be the case, so I went to test...

Cross domain in Silverlight Streaming

In my previous post about cross-domain policy files I received some comments about whether or not cross-domain access is allowed on Silverlight Streaming.  I think really this is two questions that I'll try to clarify here. What is Silverlight Streaming? For those who don't know, Microsoft provides anyone with an account to "stream" Silverlight applications for free.  We'll give you 10GB of space to put your Silverlight applications.  There are some limitations, which you can read about in the service.  The "streaming" name has confused some.  It isn't only a "where can I put media files" location, but is a service to...

Ik kom naar België voor MIX Essentials!

Je viens en Belgique pour MIX! In one of my previous posts I made reference to the MIX Essentials event happening in Belgium later this month (24 APR).  Well, it turns out that I will be there!  I'll be speaking on Silverlight 2 and creating rich applications and am joining the company of Gil Cleeren and Catherine Heller...oh yeah and Ballmer (I tried to catch a ride with him, but couldn't cash in my frequent flyer miles).  My session will provide an overview of everything new in Silverlight 2 and how you can start building your applications using it...

Anaheim Silverlight presentation

Firs, thank you for all that came to the presentation in Anaheim.  The room was full, and hopefully you learned something while there (and hopefully it was along the lines that video in text boxes might not be good design, but is doable :-)). I got a bunch of really great questions and concerns and hopefully answered all of them that were asked.  I saw many more hands lifted than we could get to, so if you have more questions, feel free to send them to me, or join the forum discussions as well!  The Silverlight community site is a great...

Silverlight cross domain policy file helpers

If you are starting to get into integrating web services with Silverlight, you'll notice that you have to have a cross domain policy file in place on the target server, that is to say, the server hosting the service you want to implement.  There are some public web services (Flickr, YouTube, Digg, etc.) that already have these files in place for Flash, but implement in a slightly different way. When calling a cross-domain service, Silverlight will check for the existence of clientaccesspolicy.xml first.  This is the format defined by Silverlight and provides a pretty flexible way to define who can access...

My new role on the Silverlight team

I've been with Microsoft now for over 3 years and have loved every minute of my time here.  For the time leading up to being hired at Microsoft, it was a professional goal of mine to work for the company.  Fanboy?  Sure, call me whatever you want.  I prefer to just call it passion.  I joined as a developer evangelist for my community (an area we call desert mountain which spans Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana).  This was an easy thing to say yes to because everything I learned I learned from being a part of...

Foxit Preview Handler for XP

Ever since I released my version of the Foxit PDF Preview Handler, I've been flooded with comments about building a version that works for Windows XP.  You see XP doesn't have the preview host that Vista has built into the operating system. Well, I finally had some time to hunt down some code and get it working, thanks to the help of Ryan Gregg from the Outlook team.  I released the sample code I used as a base for this as a part of our Code Trip project.  You can view my short screencast explaining one of the core pieces here...

Providing a great Silverlight deployment experience

If you are doing Silverlight development, you are no doubt slapping in the <object> tag or using the <asp:silverlight> control (if in ASP.NET) to host your Silverlight content/application.  This is all great, but don't forget about deployment! When I talk about Silverlight I like to relay a story I heard from one of the Silverlight program managers (PM) a while back.  The PM was pretty excited about a feature just completed in Silverlight and one of the samples that had been created.  He went home to show his wife and told her to 'go to 'dub-dub-dub-dot-something-dot-com' (yelling from the other room...

Write code for a chance at an XBOX

One of The Code Trip sponsors, InnerWorkings, has teamed up to have a coding challenge for developers.  This is open to everyone to participate.  The winner gets an annual subscription to InnerWorkings as well as an XBOX 360 game console. If you aren't familiar with InnerWorkings, consider this a shameless plug.  I really do believe in their product as it is a unique learning experience from what we traditionally have (i.e., lab manuals with step-by-step instructions).  They have a wide catalog of topics including ASP.NET, WCF, WPF, Silverlight, CSS, etc. for organizations to choose from.  You really need to check them...

Calling services from Silverlight 2 part 2

In a previous post, I wrote about some samples of calling various types of services from Silverlight 2.  In the code, I was using constructors in my ASMX and WCF services with specifying a binding type and endpoint address. It was called out to me that in other demonstrations, people did not use this construct.  While the method I demonstrated works (explicitly specifying the binding and endpoint), in some cases it may not be necessary.  One such case would be if you only have one endpoint and it is basicHttpBinding. The error in my code/instructions was about changing the binding information in...

Shared project templates and ASP.NET Empty Web Site

If you are like me, you probably create a lot of projects in Visual Studio that end up getting thrown away and are intended just to test out a theory you have, double-check yourself when you are going mad because you can't find a bug, testing out something you read on a blog post, whatever. Most of the projects I create are web projects.  I've started to adopt the "_Delete" mechanism to help me identify what I can truly delete in my folders later.  But is not the point here.  One thing that I do when creating web projects is...

IM UPPIN YR RUBY

The MountainWest RubyConf 2008 is upon us just 2 weeks away in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to be there given my travel with The Code Trip.  IronRuby, however, was able to be a sponsor of this year's conference as a Gold Sponsor.  This sponsorship is one part that enables video production of the conference for afterwards as well as a few other things.  The organizers have done a great job getting great sponsors to make this happen, and IronRuby is grateful to be a part of that. One thing that was recently released was...

Get a slice of MIX with Quark and me.dium in Boulder, Colorado

Our current route on The Code Trip takes us to Boulder, Colorado on March 18 to the Boulder .NET User Group!  I'm really excited about this stop in Boulder, CO as we've managed to get some help from great partners to demonstrate some very cool developer stuff they are working on. Specifically, Quark and me.dium will be there to talk to the group.  Quark will be showing us some stuff they've been working on for WPF and Silverlight.  me.dium is a company that I met at MIX08 last week that were showing off some great stuff they've done with Internet Explorer...

Calling web services with Silverlight 2

UPDATE: Source code posted here. Now that Silverlight 2 is out to the masses (even in beta form), there are likely a lot of developers looking to wire-up web services with their applications in .NET rather than the Silverlight 1.0 method of Javascript.  I thought I'd give you some quick examples of how to do this using some different methods: ASP.NET Web Services (ASMX), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), REST service, and talk about cross-domain calls.  These are meant to be examples using very much 'hello world' style services, but demonstrating at least how to execute the call. If you are an ASP.NET...

Awesome Silverlight Samples

I just saw two links that I simply have to promote as they are very helpful to people doing Silverlight development and one specifically with ASP.NET. The first is a site on silverlight.net (you should bookmark this site as a resource and subscribe to all the feeds), there is now a Silverlight 2 Beta 1 control sample page, which hosts all the new Silverlight controls on the site.  It shows some different usage of all the controls: Very cool to see all the controls implemented in one section, play around with them and see different styles in some as well. The second link...

Embedding fonts in Silverlight 2

UPDATE: The supported method for Silverlight 2 release is shown here: http://silverlight.net/learn/learnvideo.aspx?video=69800.  You basically have to make it an assembly resource. Since the beginning of Silverlight you've been able to embed fonts within a Silverlight application.  The challenge in version 1.0 was that you essentially had to use a downloader and some SetFontSource methods on a TextBlock (for example) to do it.  I wrote about this a while back when using my own handwriting as a font within Silverlight.  It looked something like this: this.downloader = control.createObject("downloader"); this.downloader.addEventListener("completed", Silverlight.createDelegate(this, this.handleFontDownloaded)); this.downloader.open("GET", "timheuer.ttf"); this.downloader.send();handleFontDownloaded: function(sender,...

Amazon S3 Browser for Live Writer

For about a year now I've been using Amazon S3 services.  Mostly I'm using it for image storage for my blog and web site.  I decided to stop using Flickr for screenshot stuff and keep it to 'photographs' when I can.  I signed up for an S3 account and have been using it for screenshot type stuff since then.  If you don't know, S3 is a service that basically enables 'object' storage in the cloud.  An object can be anything really, but I'm treating it like a remote host for images. The one thing Amazon doesn't provide themselves is a tool...

Calling Javascript functions from Silverlight 2

When working with Silverlight 2, most will be working with managed code (c#, vb, etc.).  But likely people are working with Silverlight as an additive value to their web application, providing some enhanced user experience to an application.  there may be times where you will still need to call back into the hosting html context.  For then, you'll want to be familiar with two objects HtmlDocument and HtmlPage.  Both of these objects provide access to the page context hosting your silverlight control.  If you need to seek things in the HTML DOM, you could use the HtmlDocument class.  For example,...

The Code Trip has left the building...

We're off!  Just minutes ago The Code Trip left the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas en route to our first stop in Salt Lake City.  It's going to be a late night of coding and editing of some video.  Now that we've officially left, I'll share the actual pictures of our bus so you can be on the lookout for us: Tomorrow (late tonight) we roll in to Salt Lake for the combined .NET community user group meeting at the Franklin Covey building.  We're going to spend 2 hours talking about what we saw at MIX08.  We've got a...

Terralever featured in Silverlight case study

The group that brought you one of the first Silverlight end-to-end games (Zero Gravity) is now featured for some of the work they've done with Silverlight 1.0 and Silverlight 2 for Miniclip.com, the largest online gaming site in the world. You can view the Terralever case study online here.  The Terralever crew is interviewed in four different segments talking about the project from a designer, developer, business and technical perspective. The team built two casual games for Miniclip.com on both versions of Silverlight.  The first, a Silverlight 1.0 game called 'Zombomatic 3000' has been on Miniclip's site for a few weeks now. ...

The Code Trip begins...Silverlight Tour redux

Wow, it's been a few months now since I thought about doing a road trip talking about the next wave of technologies.  I originally thought it would be the "Silvertour" but we've now actually made it happen.  I can tell you that the behind the scenes of this has been a long process.  It seems so simple and I can hear the people now saying 'why was it so hard, c'mon you are Microsoft and have zillions of dollars.'  Sure, maybe that is true about a big company, but that's also the point.  We are a company of companies and...

Silverlight for Sharepoint

I've gotten a few requests from internal local sales teams, Sharepoint professionals and developers about how to implement Silverlight in Sharepoint.  I usually try to explain that since Sharepoint is essentially an ASP.NET application it is relatively simple to implement.  Of course, that usually doesn't help :-).  What helps is some documentation and samples that show how you would use Silverlight to enhance a Sharepoint experience. As a part of the Software+Services Blueprints series, a new bundle has been made available to download to provide guidance and source code to help provide some information.  In the blueprint you'll get: ...

Silverlight 2 with Expression Blend

From the 'does the guy ever sleep' category, ScottGu enlightens us all again with a very great tutorial on using Expression Blend 2.5 (March preview coming soon) to work with Silverlight 2 content. Scott walks through a tutorial on using the design-time features of Expression Blend 2.5 and some tips along the way to produce a chat-like application using Silverlight: Definitely worth a look to study before MIX.  Someone might want to pull Scott aside about the font choice though... tags: silverlight, mix, mix08, scottgu, expression, expression blend, silverlight 2, comic sans

Media Center Plugin: MyNetflix

Are you a Netflix customer and have a Media Center PC?  Check out what one of our Media Center MVPs re-birthed.  Anthony Park, a Media Center MVP, has regenerated a project from back in 2004 (originally developed by Ryan Hurst) and released MyNetflix v2.1. I'm not a Media Center nor Netflix user but the user interface is impressive and done very well to look like a part of the overall Media Center experience.  Here's a view of your Netflix queue: You can see other screenshots of browsing 'top' categories, movie details and he's also now incorporated 'watch now' information as well. Great work...

Intellisense for Virtual Earth API

When developing Virtual Earth applications I find myself always having the SDK documents open in the background for reference.  While this isn't a bad practice, I've historically only used them for parameter reference, etc.  I longed for the time that I could get cheater help intellisense for the Virtual Earth API.  When Visual Studio 2008 came out with Javascript intellisense, I figured the day has come.  But unfortunately, the Javascript intellisense isn't enabled for external (external==not-the-same-app-domain) files.  The thing about the implementation of the Javascript intellisense in VS2008 is that you can just make a reference to a file for...

MSDN improves search, breaks my gadget

Ah, the joys of using non-API APIs :-).  I say that in jest because essentially my first stab at the MSDN search gadget wasn't using any *real* API, but rather just formatting queries correctly and hoping that the format would stay the same. Well, when you do this you run the risk of things changing.  For MSDN (and TechNet) search, things have changed 3 times now.  Mike Ormond points out that another change breaks the default MSDN gadget that I had created.  He's posted a fix that works for him (until the next change) and should for others. Thanks Mike for posting...

New power tools for Office development

If you develop Office applications, then hopefully you've seen some of the great improvements for developing Office applications using Visual Studio 2008.  I recently spoke about these at an event in Denver and demonstrated some of the capabilities. Of the many new features in streamlining the process for creating Office applications, there are two that required some extra hoops.  Now granted they are minor, but if you are doing a lot of Open Office XML and Ribbon customization, it was a bit of a snare to always refer back to other applications and documents for reference. Well, the Office team has released...

Silverlight 2 kimono opened

Very cool think popped in my RSS reader this morning.  Scott Guthrie (now a corp VP, congrats Scott) put up a first look post at Silverlight 2.  Not just a 'here's what is coming' but an 8-part tutorial as well as he built a sample application trying to leverage and demonstrate various parts of Silverlight 2. These tutorials should be extremely helpful for those wanting to understand some of the newer concepts brought to Silverlight.  If you haven't done a lot (or any) WPF coding before, some of this should jumpstart your knowledge a bit. take a look at 'First Look at...

lang.net talks online

if you are a language nut, you'll like this.  the Lang.NET symposium just posted all the talks from the recent gathering.  they are available online and you can view them here (presented in silverlight).  it's quite a line up of people...here's a sampling: anders hejlsberg paul vick wez furlong tomas petricek peli de halleux ...

students can get developer and designer tools for free

bill gates announces on channel8 a program called 'DreamSpark' which is enabling students of higher education to obtain microsoft developer and designer tools for no charge! over at the channel8 downloads page you'll see what is available: visual studio professional, expression studio, windows server 2003 standard, and xna game studio.  wow.  for now this is available in United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Germany, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium.  the program looks to bring more countries on in the future so check back. there is a student verification process that you have to go through and some of the...

easy mapping directions with live maps

just found out about a great feature on windows live maps.  how many times have you needed to provide directions to someone (or a group of people) that you may not know where they are coming from?  you could give them the address and have them map it out themselves, which is usually what most people do. on your web site you might even enable them to see a map and enter an address for specific location directions, after all, that person might know better shortcuts than the mapping services right?  well, windows live maps has a feature which can give...

phoenix silverlight user group

i was able to make it to the phoenix silverlight user group last night (2 separate trips downtown, yikes) and had a good time chatting with everyone there.  i understand that there will NOT be a separate march meeting because it essentially falls very close to when scott guthrie and others will be coming to town.  the group is recommending that people attend that to learn the latest and greatest about silverlight 2 right out of MIX!  we had a good discussion about various things.  mike palermo showed a couple of things he'd been working on including a simple game...

free silverlight workshop in dallas

looks like the silverlight tour is giving a free ride for a half-day session on silverlight in dallas.  i've sat in on one of the early silverlight tour stops before silverlight even was officially released.  i can only imagine that it has gotten more exciting as time goes by. the dallas event is limited to 32 attendees, so register asap if you can make it.  this free session looks to discuss: Why should I care about Silverlight What is Silverlight? ...

silverlight 1.0 game on miniclip.com

miniclip.com now has a silverlight 1.0 puzzle game to their catalog.  this is pretty good to see among the massive catalog of casual games they offer.  this game is built using silverlight 1.0 and is a good use of a lot of the capabilities (and in some cases maxing them out) for the 1.0 platform. Zombomatic ...

add free online web chat to your asp.net site

i've spoken a few times about axosoft.  they are a local ISV that does some great work.  their ceo, hamid, does a great thing every year for his employees (maybe more often) in encouraging and icubating new projects.  they have a core product, but also have incubated some great ideas.  some haven't lasted, but some live strong!  either way it is great to see what kind of ideas their group comes up with. PureChat is one of those new ideas.  this is an idea that was just released.  it is for asp.net sites and is built using c# and asp.net ajax...

automating an encoding pipeline

while preparing for the code trip, we have several 'on-board' needs.  one of which is a quick method to get our content encoded for consumption by devices and frameworks (i.e., silverlight).  we want a smooth method so that we aren't boggled down with multiple tools opening and changing settings, cutting and pasting, etc. so, inspired by my colleagues post about using workflow to automate, i set about the task.  we're going to be making several assumptions along our production, one of which is we know we'll have multiple video/audio sources and that there *will* be some post-edit being done.  but once...

calling services with ajax

recently i've been getting a few notes/questions about working with web services and asp.net ajax.  my colleague, rob bagby completed a series of great web casts last year covering the topic of the ajax libraries in detail, one of which deals with web services.  there are also two webcasts that deal with calling WCF services using the ajax libraries.  i highly recommend checking them out! tags: ajax, asp.net, asp.net ajax, atlas, aspnet, wcf, services, web services, bagby, silverlight

intersoft now has beta of silverlight controls

intersoft just sent me an email that the beta versions of their WebUIStudio.NET 2008 R1 is available, which includes a few new silverlight controls: WebAqua and WebCoverFlow. i'm curious how soon the apple attorneys might prepare a cease-and-desist on the naming of both of these controls, but that's for them to figure our.  I'm more interested in getting my hands on them and playing around.  you can read their press release here on where to get them.  it's very exciting to see so many controls popping up.  i hope that when silverlight 2.0 releases that these will all be ready for...

redesign the mix web site and win

got mad design and css skillz?  take a stab at redesigning the mix web site for a contest.  i saw through twitter that adam kinney noted only one person entered yet.  and there are three prizes!!! should make winning pretty simple right now ;-). of course i'm ineligible (that's my way of getting off, because i have no mad design skillz), but might i suggest a few themes to try out: halo 3 rockband/guitar hero - have you seen this and this...

visual rails workbench preview

the guys at sapphire, whom i'd previously written about their ruby in steel developer tools, just posted a preview of 'visual rails workbench,' which is a visual designer for ruby on rails.  here's one of their preview shots: this design mode with ERb is just one of the elements of the workbench it looks like.  get the full details (as well as some comments on IronRuby support in their other tools that they've been working on) by reading the update on the sapphire site. tags: ruby, rails, ruby on rails, ror, rails ide, saphhire, sapphire in steel, visual rails workbench, rails...

silverlight 2.0 for games, arrrr!!!

got an email today about something i hadn't seen yet, another silverlight 2.0 game, Pirates!  cameron emailed me about a cool prototype he's working on with the farseer engine.  here's a shot: as cameron puts it: "The goal of the game will be to attain the buried fortune of a long dead pirate named Rough Hand James. He created a map to his treasure and scattered the pieces all across the globe. It will be your adventure to find those map pieces and locate the treasure. You will start out on your ship with the first clue to the treasure and...

web deployment tool available for iis

today, the iis team released a preview of the 'web deployment tool' for internet information services (iis).  the tool has features that a lot of server admins would want such as deployment assistance, sync/migration of sites across servers (which includes config, content, certs, etc.). the core features are: synchronization and snapshot of IIS 6/7 migration from iis 6 analysis of iis 6 installed features troubleshooting and...

blackjack 1 gets windows mobile 6 update...finally

gizmodo reports (and i confirm the link...although everyone is downloading it now so it is sloooowww) that the samsung sgh-i607 aka blackjack now has a windows mobile 6 update available. one disappointment (for me at least) is that the updater doesn't work on vista.  argh.  gotta find me an XP box now. tags: windows mobile, winmobile, blackjack, blackjack ii, blackjack 2, samsung, sgh-i607, i607, att, wm6

scott guthrie to visit phoenix

the leaders of the arizona .net user group have convinced scott guthrie that phoenix is nice in march (and it is...spring training baby!) and he should visit.  they've organized a super user group meeting and you can find information on when/where here.  it will be hosted at scottsdale center for the arts, which is a pretty killer facility.  i'd recommend carpooling and not messing with the no parking signs (those scottsdale folks like to watch those meters). having ScottGu come to phoenix immediately after MIX08 is a great thing for the community.  if you couldn't make it to MIX, you'll be...

respect the permalink

recently i came across a feed entitled '.aspx considered harmful' and natural i paused.  for those who don't know .aspx is a known file extension for web pages generally using asp.net technology.  i think the title was a little misleading but it did the job -- got me to read it :-) john had made a suggestion in conversation that a blog engine (must have been the topic of conversation) shouldn't produce urls that end in .aspx.  basically, in a nutshell john is pointing out that technology changes and while you might be .aspx one day you might be .php the...

feedreader gets a contribution

feedreader, my sharepoint web part originally built for sharepoint 2003, has been consumed by quite a few people (which i think is cool -- it is a rare moment when a lowly d00d like me can fill a gap).  while sharepoint 2007 has better built-in support for syndicated feeds (actually 2003 did already with the xml web part), i still think feedreader has some advantages that can be leveraged. a while back i put feedreader on codeplex, an open source sharing ground.  i used the microsoft public license so anyone can download, alter, and profit from the code.  i did this...

.net framework reference source now available

finally want to try out that feature to debug your apps and step into System.Web.dll?  it has arrived. shawn burke has all the blow-by-blow details on setting it up. tags: visual studio 2008,.net framework,shared source,open source,.net source,.net,orcas,vs2008,debug

jumbling the encoder silverlight template files

i recently got an email from a rails developer who was using silverlight on a site to display high-quality media.  what?! you though silverlight was a windows-only technology? blasphemy!  you see, silverlight is a client-technology, which means as long as it can be served up to the browser (and the user has the plugin), the server can be your own custom version of l337hax0r web edition or whatever.  now, there are advantages of using internet information services on windows and some integration with asp.net, but that's not what this post is about.  on to the issue at hand will you... so...

wishing the macbook air would have been 13" mbp

i was peripherally listening to the macworld keynote today waiting for something that would interest me.  i read all the rumors about a sub-compact laptop and was hoping for the best.  i am not a lover of widescreen laptops.  i love my 14" lenovo and all other standard sizes before that.  i've always felt that when you get into the widescreens, it no longer becomes a notebook, but a portable...i want the lightweight but powerful notebook.  to that end i use a lenovo thinkpad and a macbook pro (15").  i like them both...a lot.  for my daily typing i find...

arizona sharepoint user group starting

over the past 6 months i've received numerous questions whether or not a user group for sharepoint existed in arizona.  it didn't (there was one but it drizzled away), but i'm happy to announce that some volunteers rallied to start another one.  they have set a date for their first meeting or the arizona sharepoint professionals group. here's the information i have: Date:  Thursday, 31 JAN 2008 Time: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM Locations: University of Advancing Technology, 2625 W Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ they are asking people to register (not sure why) so if you plan on attending, please do register for them.  you...

ruby on rails and visual studio 2008

the guys over at sapphiresteel software released ruby in steel text edition, a full-featured ruby on rails IDE built on the visual studio 2008 shell. as a microsoft developer interested in looking at ruby on rails early on, i loved when the sapphire project was first released.  i had played with earlier version and after re-paving my machine need to take a look at the updated versions. if you don't own a copy of visual studio 2008, when you get the ruby in steel text edition, you get visual studio 2008 (ruby language support only) -- so this isn't an add-on...

silverlight streaming news - please read

there is an important announcement from the silverlight streaming team.  looks like they are moving to some newer/better hardware infrastructure.  please see the full announcement. here's the gist as well: Tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 8th) we’ll move the Microsoft Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live service from its current hardware in Sandbox to a more permanent home on new hardware in the Production environment. Note that this doesn’t change anything to the fact that it is still provided as an Alpha version with no associated SLA. At 9:00 pm PST the admin site front door (Silverlight.live.com) will be set to read-only. This means that...

join us for a big dev event

miss the days of devdays?  me too.  my team is trying to bring a little of that spark back!  joe shirey on my team has organized a full-day of developer and architect goodness.  we'll be hosting two events, one in the phoenix, arizona metro area and one in the denver, colorado metro area.  here's the gist: keynote: microsoft patterns and practices is being shipped in to talk about what they've produced and the logic behind it! developer track: exposing and consuming data using the microsoft stack (rob bagby): take a look...

silverlight firestarter (seattle) online

at the end of november i had a chance to visit seattle to attend the silverlight firestarter event.  the entire day was captured on video.  those videos are now available at the visitmix.com site.  you can stream them directly on the site or download them for offline viewing.  the sessions include content from jesse liberty, arturo toledo, laurence moroney, adam kinney, ernie booth and adam nathan. all good stuff.  enjoy. tags: silverlight,firestarter,silverlight firestarter,visitmix,mix08

phoenix installfest wrap-up

well, it's been a while since the phoenix installfest and i've been behind on a few things.  on 20 dec 2007, the arizona user group communities hosted the phoenix installfest in tempe, arizona.  special thanks to a lot of people, but namely scott cate, spike xavier, lorin thwaits (cameraman), steele price and my comrades rob bagby, eric strait and dan willis.  tempe center for the arts was our host venue for the night.  i personally thought it was a kick arse venue even if the food was not the greatest (blame me for that, but you shouldn't complain, it was...

on10.net gets overhaul and some good content

in searching for a past post on10.net i noticed they got an overhaul on the user interface.  i also noticed some great new content just this week.  today i was able to learn about: new battery rules for travel problems with xbox live from major nelson over the holidays (maybe that was my problem) how to use a windows mobile device as a wireless router (although i'm not sure why, it is interesting)...

more silverlight controls emerge

this time from telerik.  telerik has just announced their RAD Controls for Silverlight 1.1(2.0).  they have a site up with some demonstrations, etc. (obviously requiring silverlight 1.1 to render).  they have controls like: upload button combobox listbox menus progress bar tab...

create silverlight 1.0 project in vs 2008

i've got a few messages about 'hey, where did the silverlight project template go in visual studio 2008?  what the heck, doesn't microsoft want us to create projects?' trouble is that it is there, but different...you know same, but different. if you have visual studio 2008 installed, make sure you install the silverlight tools for visual studio 2008.  yeah, i know it says 'tools for alpha' -- just install it would ya.  after you install it, you'll have the project templates for silverlight 1.1 2.0 as well as for 1.0.  but where is it? File...New Web Site... then you should see this: that's what...

silverlight search app goes shared source

remember the tafiti site?  want to know how they did that tree visualization in silverlight?  now you can. the tafiti search site is now a windows live quick app -- and uploaded to codeplex.  you can download, view source, mess around and learn.  from the lie team: Today we are releasing the Tafiti Search Visualization source code to CodePlex, which means any developer can download, modify, and resell the code (see MS-PL License for all the details). very, very cool.  go to the codeplex site and check it out and check out the overview on LiveSide! tags: silverlight,tafiti,windows live,life platform services,open source,oss,codeplex

creating silverlight player templates part 2

i had previously written about creating custom expression encoder templates and integrating them into the encoder workflow (if you haven't read that, check it out, very simple process).  my process was simple and followed the "CASE" methodology*. Copy Always Steal Everything basically i would encode a video file to get the output of the encoder template, then blast away all the xaml in player.xaml, and create your own silverlight media player skin.  really the only thing you need to know is the 'well known names' for certain controls (the most common of which i outline in my blog post.  i've received comments...

linq cheat sheet

just saw in my feed reader...a cheat sheet by keith rull for LINQ.  keith purports that this isn't a definitive list by any means but says: "It consist of a few snippets that you might commonly do when doing LINQ processing." he uses this for his most common tasks.  when i first start learning anything new, i do the same thing keeping snippets around to help me remember certain things.  as an example, can't remember how to do the paging?  use keith's cheat: //take three records var takeThree = listOfPerson.Take(3); //go to the 10th record and then take 3 records from there var skipTenTakeThree = listOfPerson.Skip(10).Take(3); thanks...

installfests to benefit charity

one of the great things about being a part of a community is being able to affect other communities.  during these installfests that are happening around the country, some have remembered the time of year and thinking of ways to give back to other communities. my counterpart in chicago, dave bost, set up accepting donations for toys for tots at some of his installfests.  when i read that i thought that was such a great idea.  we (the royal we as in the technical communities) often only think of our bits/bytes and i think this was a great inspiration to help...

phoenix installfest announced

of course if you are already a part of the broader .net user group community, you've seen this already.  but if you aren't (shame on you), you should head on over to azgroups.com and look at the event on the 20th of December.  be sure to sign up to the AZGroups mailing list as well for updates and future events. at the phoenix (tempe) installfest, people who are registered and attend will receive a special trial DVD of visual studio that will enable them to get a visual studio 2008 professional licensed copy sent to them as participating in this event...pretty...

pdc2008 announced

pdc for 2008 has been announced so you can save the date. the professional developer conference 2008 will be 27-30 OCTOBER at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  if you want the details (minimal now other than what i just said), you can visit the pdc2008 site. tags: pdc , pdc2008 , devdays , developer , professional developer conference , silverlight , visual studio , linq , asp.net , orcas , vb10 , vb , xml , xaml

licensing changes in team foundation server 2008

wow, some great news from the tfs group... i'm not sure how this slipped my feeds, but must have been while i was out...at any rate, if you want to hear some good news on the team foundation server front.  i love it when companies listen. from bharry's blog (emphasis mine): We made one significant licensing change for TFS with the release of TFS 2008.  We've gotten a lot of feedback over the past 2 years that there are classes of users who make very light use of TFS and for those users a $500 CAL (list price) is just too...

silverlight firestarter heads to philly

looks like the flame is making its way to the other side of the coast...the east coast.  looks like in a week (15 DEC) the silverlight firestarter will be happening in the philly area (malvern to be specific).  you can find the agenda here at dani's blog. it looks like a great line-up of speakers as well.  although i've not met pete brown in person, i've 'conversed' with him via e-mail and he's a sharp dude.  peter laudati -- well, if you are in the northeast, a microsoft developer, and don't know peter...what's wrong with you? ;-).  and then there is...

flash releases update, changes prices, and the update process

"Competition is dropping prices, increasing quality and making everyone’s internet a better place." (ryan stewart) flash just did an update to the flash player.  i believe (according to their site) this takes it to v9.0.115.0 (at least for IE on windows).  what's included in this update?  primarily H.264 encoding support in the player.  this has been in beta for a while, but now 'official' from adobe.  the second announcement involves their (adobe) pricing/licensing changes around flash media server products, something that has been somewhat criticized for a while as cost-prohibitive.  the new pricing looks like a real aggressive price drop based...

what is a web stack?

one of my colleagues and super-star-wizard-man david chou posted recently on platforms. he previously was chatting about popfly as a platform and then thought it a bit more to back up from a larger view to help us ponder what exactly a 'web platform stack' means.  i think for people who haven't really distilled it down into any consumable thought areas, it does a good job defining where some web platforms fall in to the greater scheme of the overall goals of a web strategy. maybe i'm not saying it well :-) -- but you should go check out david's post about...

silverlight webcast series launched

brad abrams kicked off some webcasts regarding silverlight over on msdn.  you should check out the on-demand as well as the upcoming webcast series... Kickoff Webcast: MSDN Webcast: An Introduction to Silverlight (Level 100) designers: MSDN Webcast: Designer Series (Part 1 of 5): Getting Started with Silverlight for Designers MSDN Webcast: Designer Series (Part 2 of 5): Working with Expression Design to Create Visual Assets ...

headed to the city of angels

"Go back to Jersey, Sonny. This is the City of the Angels and you haven't got any wings." (from LA Confidential) i'm headed to los angeles, ca tomorrow for a week of the phizzpop design challenge.  while last week already yielded some training in some of the expression tools and silverlight, i'm headed out to do my best to mentor those that are taking advantage of the microsoft working areas. what is the phizzpop design challenge? The PhizzPop Design Challenge pits top interactive, Web, and design agencies against one another to push the limits of technology and creativity in a battle royale. Think...

this one time at...er..um...firestarter

i hopped on a plane at 4am this morning to head back to phoenix from seattle.  oddly enough i landed in rain.  what gives phoenix?  actually it is a welcome refresh for me. i was in seattle for the silverlight fire starter event with my comrade mithun.  this was basically a one-day silverlight lovefest.  and the lineup of people was awesome: jesse liberty adam kinney laurence moroney ...

microsoft download preview site built on silveright

check out the beta of the microsoft download site.  it is built on silverlight...some media streaming happening as well as some of the subtle interactions done in silverlight. if you click on the browse downloads link you can see some of it as well as other new navigation areas... good to see microsoft starting to implement it in broader sites. tags: silverlight , microsoft , microsoft downloads , beta

twittering silverlight firestarter

i'm twittering some of my thoughts on the silverlight firestarter event.  also as people are answering questions i'm trying to provide direct pointers...so if you are interested, follow me on twitter. also the event is being filmed so subscribe to my blog for updates on when that information is available. tags: silverlight , twitter , firestarter

microsoft certified architect...distilled

ever wonder what the heck a microsoft certified architect was?  think it is a test you can take at prometric and add MCA to your business card?  think again.  i've often wondered the process, what it is and how it works.  i've heard stories, but never bothered to investigate. well, here it is, distilled for you in some reading.  my colleague, joe shirey, has just posted some very good information on what is a certified architect and what the process is.  if you are interested, these are must read information. he's organized it for us non-architects to better read it ;-) ...

.net web platform roadmap for asp.net and silverlight

this morning, scottgu posted details on the roadmap for the .net web platform.  it is an exciting roadmap to me, so let me hit some of the highlights: ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions - this will include the MVC framework, AJAX improvements, dynamic data support, asp.net and silverlight support, and ado.net data services (entity framework).  this release is expected to be available for download on the web next week in the first preview mode. silverlight: because of the significant effort being made and...

busy month -- upcoming stuff

i'm surprised how much is going on in the month of december...usually it is pretty idle...but this is my largest travel month. after just visiting the tucson .net user group and the denver visual studio user group (thanks to both for hosting), i'm off tomorrow to redmond for the silverlight firestarter event.  i come home just in time for our annual festivus party which i'm super excited for.  i've been storing some prizes that i've gotten throughout the year and am stoked for this weekend.  i'm pissed at myself for not getting t-shirts made this year...argh...oh well, i hope everyone enjoys...

discountasp.net enables .net 3.5 hosting and cardspace support

the team over at discountasp.net have just launched .net 3.5 hosting platforms in their offerings!  that's right, you can host your .net 3.5 web apps with them!  if you need a space just head on over there and they'll give you 3 free months as well. in addition, they've enabled cardspace integration so you can login to your control panel using one of your personal information cards.  pretty cool, i'm going to have to check that out.  thanks to discountasp.net for continued support to user group communities as well as being an early adopter hoster so that early adopter developers can...

get visual studio 2008 pro for free

[UPDATE: I added other US cities I am aware of, any not listed here, I'm not aware of them.  Reminder that these are being hosted by user group communities in partnership with Microsoft.  If you don't attend the user groups sponsoring these events, you have them to thank and you should start attending and getting involved!!!! These events are made possible by the commitment of user groups.  You should absolutely participate in them, show your support, be an active member and get to know your local developer contact at Microsoft :-).] want the latest IDE toolset and start developing solutions in .net...

silverlight tools for vs2008 (orcas) rtm

sure enough as i told the denver visual studio user group last night that the only reason i was still running visual studio 2008 beta 2 was because the silverlight tools had not been updated yet.  check my email later...they are updated :-). the silverlight tools for alpha have been updated to work with visual studio 2008 release version (now available).  you can download the updated bits here.  i'm headed up to redmond for the silverlight firestarter event on thursday and maybe to heckle jesse a bit :-).  if you are going to be in town, drop me a line (my...

the value of user communities

i just saw this pop in my inbox as a note (not to me) to one of the local user groups i belong to: I have been a member of this group now for some time, and while I am not yet at the level of many in here, I have greatly benefited from the help I have received. I just wanted to say, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, thanks to all those who have answered my numerous questions, and made my programming experiences all the better. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! this is great, this is exactly the type of feedback...

introducing: the code trip

this week at devconnections a few of my comrades were there and started to spread the word about our planning on something we are doing in the western united states.  we're calling it 'the code trip' and the plan is simple, get us (the developer evangelists who interact with our community groups) out hitting the streets and talking code.  we're in planning stages right now for sure, and brewing up some things for our stops.  we want our communities to participate in that planning.  have a good idea?  let us know.  want to ride on the RV for a leg? ...

thirsty developer

my comrade in the midwest, dave bost, started a new podcast: the thirsty developer.  dave's a super cool guy and although i think this is an excuse to drink beer on the job, i'm subscribed to check it out. check it out: thirstydeveloper.com tags: thirstydeveloper , podcasting

my technology vacation

i'm writing this on the plane but i've just returned from 10 days in italy.  we visited venice, florence and rome.  i'm exhausted.  my feet are cursing me beyond belief and i felt like i walked 800 miles even though it was probably about 60.  i won't bore you with my slideshow, but share my thoughts on traveling abroad as an american used to certain technical amenities. i will caveat with: first trip to europe at all (fiji was my only other out of country experience) ...

coming soon: no more click to activate in ie

you may remember the result of EOLAS litigation a while back.  yes, the one resulting in what some feel is the annoying 'click to activate' functionality/feature/whatever that resulted when web authors chose to directly use <embed> or <object> tags in content, usually flash. this, of course, is mitigated when script creates the content, such as what silverlight does by default as well as the SWFObject script that many flash developers use (and if not, they should be).  well, while i still think a good practice in some instances, we may be looking at a solution. pete lepage of the internet explorer teams...

embed messenger in your html

the ability to embed messenger 'stuff' into your web applications, now you can!  just announced the ability to provide your status as well as have people interact with you directly on your web applications/sites. how do you do it?  visit http://settings.messenger.live.com/applications/CreateHtml.aspx to create the html for your specific presence/messenger account.  you first have to enable the ability to do it (i.e., you'd be allowing anonymous visibility into your messenger status), but once you do, you'll be able to cut and paste. on my blog (if you are reading this through a reader) i've added my presence indicator as well on my contact...

expression design sp1 improves xaml export

yo, check it.  expression design has released a service pack.  what!?  i know how can that be?  a service pack < 8 months after its release?  i say awesome.  i've been wanting microsoft teams to continue to become more and more agile especially with regards to very helpful features or great improvements of existing features based on user feedback. one such point of feedback that is implemented in expression design is that of xaml generation of the layers and/or complete surface.  you didn't know design can generate xaml?  shame on you.  i did a podcast (you should really subscribe to the...

virtual earth 3d tour

contest alert, contest alert!  i wrote a while back about creating your own virtual earth 3d tour using collections and the live platform.  by doing this you can create your own windows media video file of your locations using virtual earth 3d rendering. well, now you can benefit.  the virtual earth team is hosting a contest.  what do they want you to do?  they want you to build up some interesting collections and create the virtual tour.  after you've done that, post it on soapbox or youtube (or both) and submit your entry.    this should be a fun few minutes for...

this one time at podcamp...

so maybe my dream of getting exciting people in the silicon desert really starting to think different is coming to fruition? this past weekend was PodCampAZ, an event organized by some community members, sponsored by a few organizations and attended by many.  the primary face of the event seemed to be brent of iboughtamac.com.  let me tell you, if anything else brent seems to have solid skills as an organizer, designer, and marketer (i'm amazed at how he's marketed the iboughtamac brand -- how do i get a shirt?).  the site for podcampaz was very cleanly designed and wasn't thrown together...

componentone releases alpha of silverlight controls

codenamed 'sapphire,' componentone was one of the first to the market with their plans of silverlight user controls.  initially they put a bunch out there on their lab site to play with, but now you can sign up for their alpha version.  that's right, get your hands on some silverlight controls from componentone! now named Studio Enterprise Silverlight Toolset, they are taking alpha sign-ups.  to me, this is definitely a product you want to look early at.  they've got: buttons containers ...

north america daylight savings time changes 4 NOV

later tonight, daylight savings time in north america will end, one week later than usual.  you can see some more details on the new DST start/end times on http://www.microsoft.com/time (this is a new URL reference for future references to DST/time zone changes/issues beyond 2007). for a list of microsoft products that might be impacted, see the Product Impact Support page as well as the DST/TZ hot topics page.  make sure your windows mobile devices have the correct information as well or if older, have had the windows mobile patch applied. for developers, visual studio specific information can be found here: ...

petzold visits graceland

well, kinda.  i just found out that if you live anywhere near memphis, tn that you might want to head over to the memphis day of .net.  charles petzold, the master, will be delivering the keynote.  he aims to "explore the continuing love/hate relationship that both users and programmers have with graphics, and how WPF and Silverlight may change that relationship..." aside from the keynote, petzold has indicated that he'll be hanging out for the rest of the day to chat about WPF 3D, animation, or whatever.  if you are in the area, this sounds like a must-be-at event.  it is...

silverlight streaming for media apps made simpler

use expression encoder for creating silverlight media applications?  want to put them on silveright streaming?  frustrated perhaps that you have to create a zip file with manifests and such?  look no further! james clarke writes about a feature just added to expression encoder (via a download) where you can now add 'publish to silverlight streaming' after your encoding job is completed.  w00t! you'll need to get the encoder plugin (assuming you have encoder first) and just install that.  the post on james' site walks you through the steps, but it is a no brainer.  i'd previously written about customizing your own encoder...

cutting edge hosters provide .net 3.5 and iis7

in a world of changing technology, when we look for places to put our apps, we're probably looking for people who are on the cutting edge of the frameworks as well.  i want to draw your attention to discountasp.net.  why?  well, for one their feature set rocks. free iis7/.net 3.5 hosting during the beta (one of the early adopter hosters) real-time data backup tools great sql support with tooling as well ...

iphone and itunes only sync a certain type of appointment

i'm very frustrated now.  the title says it all.  let me explain my scenario, tell you how i found out the problem and give you the suggested workaround from apple. the setup i have a few phones laying around, and being the gadget geek i am, i do have an iphone that i've been using lately.  my setup consists of syncing my iphone to my pc laptop for contacts/calendering and to my macbook for music/photos/movies/podcasts.  it is a simple setup really, and allows me to keep my work machine for work (i don't have music or anything on my work machine) and...

mixing silverlight and aol truveo content

my colleague kirk has been writing some articles for the AOL developer network.  his first articles are up and he talks about integrating with the truveo, aol's developer api for video.  kirk does some integration with truveo's ajax api and displays information back in silverlight. the first two parts are up, and the third is underway, planning on using wcf and managed code with REST services. go check it out on kirk's site. tags: aol , truveo , silverlight , kirk evans , ajax , wcf , rest , api

silverlight installer guidance posted

one of the things interactive developers sometimes (especially with new technologies like silverlight, flex, etc.) have to worry about is 'what if the end user doesn't have XYZ installed?' -- something that is likely going to be a question when implementing something so new like silverlight. in silverlight, if the user doesn't have the plugin installed, they are presented with a 'get silverlight' badge.  it really doesn't explain much about *what* silverlight is, or what they'd be missing (i.e., interactive, rich content) if they don't install it.  to me, the default badge doesn't pass the mother-in-law factor test.  i first wrote...

virtual earth and 3d tours of your locations

with the latest release of the maps.live.com site and virtual earth v6, there are some cool end-user features that you can take advantage of as well.  one of them is the ability to create a virtual tour of your collections (a collection is a group of waypoints you've saved in your profile. perhaps you have a collection of your favorite vacation spots, or your locations of your organization's offices, or your an individual speaker and want a virtual tour of your stops for some odd reason.  well now you can and there are a few ways to do it.  first, head...

technology in the bay area

last week i was at a team meeting in a town called bodega bay (near the area where scenes from the birds were filmed).  it is about an hour or so north of san francisco.  a nice little town, but my most enjoyable moment were the louisiana hot oysters i had on the last night...mmm...tasty.  ok, back on track. i had not thought ahead and accidentally (well at the time purposefully) made my return flight reservations for 06:00 AM from SFO international.  yeah, do the math.  that means i would have had to leave bodega bay, oh at 03:30-ish in the...

osx leopard increases security more like vista

when vista came out, clearly one of the biggest pain points to end users was user account control (UAC).  this is the feature that requires authorization to run certain applications which would require elevated privileges...most notable being installations.  osx, of course, has had this feature for a while.  osx requires the user to authorize elevated changes like changing account information or other system settings, as well as installations.  osx differs slightly in that once you authorize in certain areas (like sys prefs) it remains 'unlocked' until you lock it again explicitly or other actions do. another thing that vista (and actually...

leopard upgrades see blue screen of death

well, it's been over 12 hours since leopard was available to the masses and the early reviews seem to be in. yawn. i just got my discs and will be updating my machines soon to see (i'm going to try to update one and clean install the other).  but i'm reading the reviews and they aren't promising. dave winer says the upgrade process went fine, but he seems left with wondering what did he upgrade too? he says: Net-net, my first impression of Leopard is that it isn't a big deal one way or the other. interesting.  i thought this was supposed to be...

silverlight and right-to-left (rtl) languages

okay, if you don't know justin-josef angel, that is a shame, the dude is smart.  he's an mvp for microsoft and has been active in the silverlight community now, trying to really start the community thinking different on extending silverlight.  lately he's done just that. anyone who has ever had to develop a global application knows the challenges of ensuring localization.  it is perhaps one of my weakest spots as a developer and i'm sure a lot of others as well.  since justin-josef speaks arabic and hebrew he wanted to tackle this problem...rtl language display in silverlight.  thus enter the Silverlight...

integrating data with silverlight and media

a video screencast that jesse and i collaborated on was just posted.  in the screencast jesse demonstrates the code we did to demonstrate a concept he calls "hypervideo" which is basically leveraging media metadata, and simulating retrieving related data information to display in the experience. this concept is very similar to the experience at HSN.tv of showing "related products" using the metadata being streamed in their experience.  i hope you find it useful and if you have any questions, please let me know! again, my goal is to try to help provide you with relevant information about microsoft web platform technologies like...

osi approves microsoft licenses

the osi today announced the approval of two microsoft open source licenses, the Ms-PL (Microsoft Public License) and the Ms-RL (Microsoft Reciprocal License).  the osi process is one that is in the open and allowed microsoft and open source communities to discuss the nature of the licenses in an open forum.  as a result of that process, the licenses (after being renamed to the above) were approved.  the licenses were submitted to the osi on 10 aug 2007. this means that ironruby is officially an open source project :-) UPDATE: you may have noticed the "public license" -- no that isn't a...

facebook developer garage in tempe

the facebook developer garage is coming to tempe, az!  are you developing on the facebook platform?  are you curious about it?  come join the crowd. see the facebook event/group for details. facebook, garage, devgarage, fbl, fql, terralever

utah code camp

live in the utah area?  join in the code camp fun.  the community there is planning a code camp.  see http://utcodecamp.com for details and information on location/speaking/etc.  It will be at Neumont University in South Jordan, UT! code camps are a great way to learn and participate in community.  it is always free to attend and you will undoubtedly learn something that day.  and if you have something to share, register to present.  the code camps are for everyone...you don't need to be a professional circuit technical presenter to participate...in fact, the best presentations are from "in the trenches" experiences. join the...

arizona silverlight user group

mike palermo has decided to start a special interest user group around silverlight!  the first meeting in the arizona area will be at interface technical training on 07-NOV at 6:00 PM.  attendance and participation are both free! please feel free to invite your friends, colleagues, etc and spread the word.  for the first meeting it will be a bit ad-hoc, but i know i'll be there and have volunteered to talk about creating controls, etc.  what do you want to hear about? you can view the other user group schedules as well as get the address for this meeting by visiting the...

some interesting news in php land

while i'm off galavanting in the aspen trees, some of my counterparts are up in san francisco attending zendcon, a php conference. some updates on some news that microsoft is announcing at zendcon... FastCGI for PHP -- this was a collaborative project between zend and microsoft to build a better fastcgi implementation for windows.  announced today will be that zend will be redistributing FastCGI in Zend Core.  additionally, zend will make sure that FastCGI is supported in the server core installation option for windows server 2008! ...

two worst pieces of technology in years

i recently wrote about my birthday binge purchases, one of which included an airport extreme.  in addition to the airport, i acquired a matching (in size so it fit right under it) lacie mini hard drive.  the reason for this (and the initial airport purchase) was i'm trying to consolidate some storage without having to have a running "machine" (OS) anywhere.  the airport touted the ability to plugin an external hard drive and share it with everyone. well, i'm happy to report that my other birthday purchases are doing me proud.  the airport and lacie, on the other hand, are quite...

integrating html and silverlight

in part 1 of my baseball example concept, i discussed how i was able to re-use some SVG vector art in XAML.  in that screencast i used an SVG file and a PDF file.  it set the stage for the remaining part of my samples here.  to recap, my goal is to show: using vector files for XAML (done), integrating that XAML and html functionality (here) and then to show a "game play" view of the vector art, extracting just the field information. in this part 2 of that goal, i set out to recreate a different user experience for the...

.net framework source code released

yeah, me too.  the news of the day is that microsoft's developer group is releasing portions of the .net framework base class libraries (bcl) under the microsoft reference license (ms-rl).  in a nutshell the license enables the viewing of the source code, but no modification.  even so a step in the right direction in my opinion.  while it isn't an open source license, this is a part of microsoft's broader shared source initiatives to aid developers in the understanding of the innerworkings of the .net framework. we'll also be introducing capabilities in visual studio 2008 to allow .net developers debugging their...

new zunes announced

well, even though i haven't seen them, i'm impressed with the announcement.  maybe i switched too soon, but i still stand by my decision based on my personal needs (car aftermarket oem integration).  regardless, here's what the new zunes will bring... 80GB and 4/8GB flash versions new Zunes will have new UI and features..."old" Zune users will get those features as well! native codecs for h.264 and MPEG-4 -- no need for only...

physics game engine for silverlight

UPDATE/correction: jeff weber authored the farseer engine, bill ported for silverlight...both did good work!  thanks for the clarification! bill reiss of dr. popper fame (my daughter loves the "bubble game" she calls it), just released the farseer physics engine, which has support for silverlight (1.1) as well. the engine is an easy to use 2D physics engine for XNA and silverlight platforms.  it contains logic for collision, joints, controllers, etc...everything you would need to start a base casual game at least. bill put it out on codeplex as an open source project as well released under the Ms-Pl.  check out some of the...

halo 3 launch in phoenix

thanks to those who were able to make it to the pre-launch event for halo 3 in phoenix!  i hope everyone had a great time being the first in the valley (of the sun) to play the halo 3 game and rock out to some guitar hero.  we had about 55 people for the event plus some staffers.  i know the building access was a pain in the arse, so i appreciated your patience getting in the building. we gave away 5 xbox 360 elites, 3 copies of halo 3, guitar hero set, halo 3 watches, flash drives, etc.  everyone was...

get a web invite in 5 minutes or less

remember the gmail style of invites and the days you were trying to find an invite?  you had to wait for someone who knew someone, etc.  maybe those days are over. how about a web 2.0 invite co-op?  that's what my friend scott mcandrew found.  he told me about inviteshare.com and in < 1 minute i registered and instantly got an email with an invite to yahoo! mash, one of the sought after invites (although i'm not sure why) right now.  interesting approach to broker invites among an anonymous network of friends. tags: inviteshare.com , inviteshare , yahoo mash , mash ,...

code camps happening all over again!

in phoenix we just enjoyed an awesome code camp.  there was a ton of people that cycled throughout the two days amidst a flurry of technology acronyms, frameworks, etc.  it was a melting pot of bytes for sure.  i had a blast the day i went (didn't go to the second day where they also introduced refactor phoenix). as with most conference, the sessions are great, but perhaps the conversations are better.  i had a great lunch conversation and a great conversation with some linux folks afterwards (or at least i though both conversations were great).  it is fun to meet...

sIFR and silverlight = sistr

i saw over in the township of adam kinney that someone came up with a silverlight version of the sIFR concept. for those who don't know, sIFR (scalable inman flash replacement) in simplest forms is a method for using css to annotate elements of text that you might want replaced with higher-quality/different/pick-your-word-of-choice typography.  it provided a method on sites to essentially say "hey if javascript is enabled and flash is installed, replace this plain text header with some whiz-bang custom font to make the user say ooooooooohhhh yea" or something like that. filipe fortes, who apparently used to work on the wpf...

using expression for manipulating paths and points

while perusing the silverlight.net forums i found a question of "creating half circle in blend" and posted my answer (actually posted the xaml of my answer). rather than try to articulate it in text, which i started out doing and was failing in my own mind, i decided to do a quick screencast demonstrating what i did.  keep in mind i'm not a vector guy but did it the way i knew how.  i hope that someone can correct me with a super easier way of doing it, but until then i'm fine with my method :-).  essentially i used expression...

expression blend 2 september preview

the expression team has made another drop of their blend tool.  the september preview of 'blend 2' is available on the site.  i installed it yesterday and it has some nice improvements for both client and silverlight development.  some better control over keyspline animations if you need them, more properties exposed on things you would have liked not to edit xaml on :-), etc. have fun and get it!  you have to uninstall the august preview if you have it.  blend 1 (rtm) and blend 2 preview can run side-by-side (that's how i run them) fyi. tags: blend2 , expression , expression...

using silverlight, expression encoder and asp.net ajax

in my previous sample i talked about creating custom expression encoder templates.  good times.  also jesse alluded to a something him and i have been working on with regard to what he calls "hyper video" and what i've previously referred to as 'timed overlays' in an example. in going through both of these i found an issue that i forgot to write about (but a helpful commenter reminded me: thanks ernie!) with regard to using the expression encoder templates and asp.net ajax. the problem expression encoder uses a model of encapsulating silverlight and the media elements within an asp.net ajax control.  because they...

get a steal on office 2007 ultimate for students

are you a student attending a US college?  here is the deal for you.  for a limited time you can get a copy of office 2007 ultimate for $60!  i don't normally post blog commercials this blatant but this is an amazing deal for college students in the US.  check out http://theultimatesteal.com for more details!

expression encoder and custom templates

i've been asked recently why i use the expression encoder template code in my samples for media playback in silverlight.  simple: free code :-).  the templates in expression encoder provide very interesting stub code handling the simple and advanced media playback capabilities already for you.  if all you need is a simple mediaelement in your silverlight application, then sure, it's a bit heavy.  but if you are developing a media playback integration with end-user controls, you may want to consider it.  it provides all the simple play/pause/etc functionality, but also the glitz of volume slider handlers, time thumb handlers, fullscreen...

more silverlight learning opportunities

in addition to the silverlight devcamps in san francisco and chicago that i mentioned before, my friends from overseas let me know of some other silverlight madness happening. martha rotter is going to be attending the "Silverlight sparks ignite RIA" conference in dublin on 27 SEP.  yes, dublin, ireland, not dublin, ohio, usa.  apparently this is going to happen at a large cineplex as well (i've never been to dublin, but would like to!) so it is silverlight on the silver screen! you can find out details by going to the event information site here. tags: silverlight , silverlightdevcamp , silverlightdevcampsf , silverlightdevcampchicago...

silverlight and handwriting recognition

wicked cool demonstration of silverlight, ajax and handwriting recognition by lorin over at incremental blogger.  he's a tablet pc wizard and demonstrates how he modified an older activex demonstration he had a while back to use silverlight instead. very cool! tags: silverlight , tablet , tablet pc , handwriting , handwriting recognition , inkwell

windows live writer beta 3

the windows live team released an update to live writer.  get it now.  new insert video feature, upload to picassaweb when publishing to blogger, better image handling (i didn't know there was any bad because i use www.flickr4writer.com :-)). keep the good stuff coming! tags: flickr4writer , windows live writer , windows live , writer , live writer

cheating at creating a silverlight media player

i just put up another podcast video of how to "cheat" at creating a media player for silverlight.  have you been looking at some of these media experiences with all their fancy buttons and dvd player-type overlays, etc. but didn't want to take the time to code your own?  well, you don't have to :-) (man that sounds like an infomercial) in this podcast i demonstrate using expression media encoder as a tool that will essentially generate stub code for you.  now keep in mind that expression media encoder itself generates some pretty kick arse templates that may perfectly suit you. ...

voted off on visual studio survivor island

i had my first full fledged second life experience today.  i had signed up a while back out of sheer curiosity, didn't get it really, and just fell by the wayside.  today i saw that brad abrams was presenting a silverlight session "in second life" i figured i'd check out what this experience is going to be.  after all, he was presenting on visual studio island and i figured, cool. to be fair, i'm not a gamer, or alternate world-ist at all, so i absolutely entered this with preconceived notions.  but nonetheless i entered...as a noob. so off i went to the...

font embedding and rss data in silverlight

in my previous post i talked about converting rss data to json using the asp.net ajax javascriptserializer class.  i wanted to use this because i wanted an easier way of interacting with some simple data for a sample i was messing with.  i didn't really see the need to wrap it in a web service call, etc. and in the end i wanted json data.  period. so why did i want the json data?  to mess with it in silverlight of course! what i wanted to do was display my rss feed data in a different way, just out of curiosity. ...

rss and json format

i was working on a little sample and wanted to make it a bit easier on myself to work with my rss data.  my thought was to use the JSON format for the data and that way i could get at the data in super-cool-ajaxy-type ways.  what was cool was what i found as i began searching. ASP.NET Ajax provides a class library to javascript!  in System.Web.Script.Serialization.JavascriptSerializer is where you will find your magic.  the JavascriptSerializer can be used on anything that uses XmlSerialization.  sweet. so now all i had to do was take my RSS data (already in good xml format)...

silverlight on some free hosters

well, in my previous examples, i was using a free linux hoster.  i found another one that was much more reliable from a responsiveness standpoint, but found a snag and wanted to share. you see on some free hosters, in order to be free they'll add banner adds to your pages.  for my purposes, who cares.  i signed up with this particular one and none of my samples were working.  huh, weird i thought.  until you look at the error message of 'unknown namespace' from silverlight.  ahh... you see what the free host was doing was injecting their banner ad code into...

silverlight and php

i saw a post over in russell myers' land seemingly acknowledging the confusion that might be out there of hosting silverlight.  he noted my previous post about the topic.  in his note though, russell mentions: ...it seems entirely possible to take a Silverlight application and integrate it on an existing Apache server to create a Silverlight experience within PHP or any other language that can embed the XAML content. he's right on here, in fact, i'm not sure even samples will do it justice, but i tried anyway :-).  take for example another quick...

silverlight hosting and linux hosting

UPDATE: visit rob relyea's post on more mime types for all xaml supported apps including xaml browser apps as well. i've been seeing some discussion lately about hosting silverlight.  maybe i can take a moment here to help clarify some things and show some options. there are hosters out there that are promoting as silverlight hosters.  while i think that is great, i think some of the messaging has confused others.  for example, if you go to a hoster that doesn't list silverlight support, are they incapable of hosting silverlight?  no. in fact, a windows server isn't even required for straight-up silverlight hosting. ...

creating custom callouts in camtasia

as i've found myself doing more editing these days for podcasts, screencasts, whatever, i've been using a mix of tools.  i've been really liking camtasia lately for most as it has provided me with what i've needed...after all i'm no professional. one thing that it wasn't doing for me was allowing me to put overlays on top of video frames.  actually it does, but i was just an idiot looking for it in the wrong place.  camtasia calls these "custom callouts" and are hidden underneath the add callout features.  i wouldn't have thought to look there as all the callouts i've...

implementing user controls in silverlight 1.1

following up in part 2, we build upon part 1 of our demonstration of using user controls in our silverlight applications.  in part 1, we created our user control in xaml using expression blend and then wired it up in our silverlight 1.0 application using javascript as the code. in part 2, we take the same xaml, but this time compile it into a managed assembly for consumption in a silverlight 1.1 application.  the result is that we now have a modular approach to reusable components in silverlight and the user control in managed code also affords us familiar implementation style...

foo theory: some great stuff

i've been subscribed to a blog called 'foo theory' for a bit now and their content keeps getting better and better.  bennie is now on part 5 of a series on new language features in c# 3.  his recent part 5 talks about lambda expressions but does a good job of walking through some history and defining delegates, anonymous methods, etc. for us minions. you should check out the foo theory guys...good stuff.  main feed here. tags: foo theory , c# , lambda , delegates , anonymous methods , visual studio

updated blend 2 august preview

there were some issues with the blend 2 august preview tool when used with the silverlight 1.1 alpha refresh-refresh :-).  you could probably see some issues on the forum or if you launched blend 2 and didn't have the .net project types, you were probably frustrated to. in case you haven't heard, i thought it was valid to repeat the echo here on my blog.  the blend guys have refreshed their build to help alleviate this.  i guess it should be called blend 2 august preview refresh edition?  anyway, you can download the update here. tags: silverlight , blend , expression blend...

the silvertour

in my previous post about a road-trip television show i've been watching, i mentioned that i have been noddling on an idea that i've wanted to do for a while.  i've wanted to get out and meet as many developers as i can and it just seems that the same user group meetings aren't attracting new blood...why is that?  so i thought how can my peers get out there and really reach some people in a different way...and more importantly in different places.  i want to see first-hand the great things people are developing with microsoft. so my thought is road-trip. ...

feasting on food, asphalt and silverlight

i'm a food nut.  i pride myself on my ability to eat everything in sight.  seriously, i will.  i'll at least try something once.  there hasn't been anything presented in front of me that i haven't tried.  i'd probably draw the line at coagulated blood pizza or anything else presented on fear factor. one of the only reasons i have cable television is for the food network.  when i first got married my new wife (she's still my wife, btw so i'm not sure why i'm classifying here here as new) was annoyed at my infatuation by a (then unknown) chef...

holy regex batman

last week i was getting real frustrated with some regex madness.  i had a string here: >Status Updates</b><br /><form action="home.aspx" method="post"><input type="hidden" name="post_form_id" value="blah" />Tim is testing.... and was needing to get the value attribute out.  i was using the regex pattern of: \"post_form_id\"\svalue=\"(?<formId>(.*))\" and it was giving me the starting point but also the rest of the string at the end.  argh!  i am not an advanced regex guru and was getting pretty frustrated about the solution.  luckily some other people with mad skillz came to my rescue (thanks dino and zain). taking the modified pattern to: "\"post_form_id\"\\svalue=\"(?<formId>(?:[^\"]*))\"" gave me the specific outcome i expected...

silverlight controls start to emerge

as i've been traveling and talking about silverlight, there have been two main things people have been complaining discussing about silverlight, and one of them is the control set (or perhaps lack thereof).  i've had conversations with a lot of people trying to explain that you have the full HTML control set at your disposal, and that seems to work in most situations.  there may be, however, times when you want ultimate silverlight goodness.  i've been saying that i personally think that 3rd parties will beat us to the market with controls...and they are starting to emerge. take a look at...

oscon follow-up: microsoft licenses submitted to osi

about two weeks after it was mentioned at oscon, microsoft has submitted 2 licenses to the OSI for approval.  you can read more about it here. i've previously mentioned i think this is a good thing and the OSI process of license approvals is a public one, allowing for comments and seeing the process vetted in the community, not just behind closed doors.  this will be interesting to follow. tags: oscon07 , oscon , oscon2007 , osi , ms-pl , ms-cl , microsoft open source , codeplex

updated silverlight tools release

there has been an updated release of the silverlight tools for visual studio beta 2.  it's being pushed to the download servers now, so propogation might take some time. this update resolves some issues people have been reporting about broken references and certain anomalies with visual studio 2008.  you should uninstall the old silverlight tools release before installing to ensure you get the updates.  there is no need to uninstall the silverlight alpha refresh runtime. get the update here: updated silverlight tools for visual studio. tags: silverlight , visual studio , silverlight tools

silverlight: return of the clean and my toolbox

you can tell when a new fiscal year has started (or at least the month after a new fiscal year).  people are back from vacations, meetings are more frequent, last-minute trips are planned, you get the picture.  all of this has been counterproductive to me being able to really sit down and do some fun things with silverlight.  not to feat though, some great things have been going on. after i had helped "bcl man" :-) upload some videos of ironruby, i decided it did not do him justice to use one of the vanilla templates and altered it a bit...

guide to team development and team foundation server

the patterns and practices team released the final version of the TFS Guide, a guide to using team foundation server effectively in development environments. it includes: fundamentals source control builds large project considerations project management process templates reporting setting up/maintenance vs2008 tfs pretty cool, check...

ironruby: rubydoes.net

found a new site a while back and forgot to share.  all you ruby-ists or bi-curious .net developers (technical bi-curious that is) should head on over to rubydoes.net and subscribe.  they promise to keep an eye on all things ironruby for us :-).  from their site: We think Ruby is great, but we also think .net is great. Together, IronRuby could prove to be quite a compelling offering that geeks all over the world will love. nice.  subscribed. tags: ironruby , ruby , ruby on rails , rubydoes.net , ironpython

silverlight: eula's and expirations

ahh, eula's -- you know the thing you click 'next' on to get your software installed? :-)  well, for silverlight, one little note may bite some tomorrow (or today for some of you) -- well, whatever, 01 AUG 2007.  that is when silverlight beta expires (and thus the initial alpha as well).  so even if you have the plugin and working apps, it won't work. now is the time...update to the silverlight release candidate.  the release candidate also has an expiration, but now includes self-updating technology within the plugin.  check out this post to ensure you get the latest sdk's and...

silverlight: jelly overload

richardz found a place for his awesome silverlight 'jelly' samples...and added another one -- overload. check out the jelly overload! tags: silverlight , jelly graph , jelly overload , jelly pie , jelly bar , expression , xaml

silverlight: update your silverlight streaming apps

as you might suspect, if you are hosting silverlight applications via silverlight streaming, you may have to make some modifications there as well to support the release candidate.  when hosting the python cube for mark, i had to make a few updates and thought i'd give some quick pointers to information that already exists as well as walk through a simple example. if you have a streaming sample, you might be seeing it running and showing the "Get Silverlight" banner: this, of course, assumes that the user has the updated silverlight plugin installed (either 1.0 RC or 1.1 alpha...

silverlight: get your rc on and samples updated

i've been at OSCON all week (more day 3 posts coming up soon).  while i was out, if you are a microsoft dev, you no doubt saw the flurry of announcements of visual studio 2008 beta 2 (with golive), .net 3.5, and silverlight rc1 releases. for the silverlight goodness, you can check out all the new stuff: Silverlight 1.0 RC1 / Windows (direct link) Silverlight 1.0 RC1 / Mac (direct link) Silverlight 1.1 Alpha...

vs2008 beta 2 released and install notes

yeah, i know, news flash.  there will be about 8 billion other blog posts about it so i have nothing more to add...but wanted to be sure you read scottgu's post on the subject which includes a special installation note. tags: vs2008, visual studio, orcas

oscon: day 2 - windmill - automated ui tests for ajax apps

what is windmill?  it is described as: Project Windmill was created with the intention of reaching 100% automated testing of heavy Ajax web applications after trying desperately to make existing solutions work. i'm eager to listen to this one.  i've used selenium as a web testing UI platform in the past and like a lot of what it offers...i'm expecting to see what windmill provides better/different and if it is more simplistic...here we go. the guys behind this are mikeal rogers and adam christian of the cosmos web project(?) which is now the...

oscon: day 2 - morning general session

forget it, i'm not calling it a keynote ;-) the morning session (which started out being a very, very thin crowd -- parties must have been good) started with a data visualization talk by ben fry.  honestly, i wish you could have been here for that.  the demonstrations were awesome.  the visualizations weren't pie charts, etc.  they weren't mashups.  think data meets industrial light and magic, pixar, or your favorite animation/special effect/interactive big-dog.  ben showed a cool visualisation of apache log files that looked like a flower blooming and you could create new 'stems' on it (best i can...

oscon: day 2 - microsoft and open source announcements

at oscon this morning, microsoft unveiled a new web site outlining positions on open source strategy.  the goal is to provide transparency into microsoft's perspective on OSS and a place where evidence and information can be shared. you can visit the new site here: Open Source at Microsoft. you might ask, 'what about port25, isn't that what it was supposed to be?' and you'd have a valid question.  port25 is the site for the open source software lab at microsoft.  it will continue to be a source for technical information with the oss technical community versus anything outlining...

oscon: day 1 - generating gorgeous word docs an pdfs

what?! a session at oscon about generating microsoft office document formats?  has he gone mad?  that is what i wanted to know so i sat in on michael koziarski's session on this topic. recognize the name?  you should if you are a rails developer...koz is part of the rails core team.  great guy, smart dude.  fun to listen to -- very dynamic. anyhow, i went to this session as the description read that microsoft developers had been able to generate well formatted office documents for a long time, so why not bring some love to the open...

oscon: day 1 - eliminating rails envy with php5

okay, now in a session for php developers -- or maybe rails developers...don't know yet. this session is from simon minnee from silverstripe, a cms solution provider.  simon quickly adds this disclaimer: this presentation is not intended to be a language war.  he admits that he is a novice with regard to Rails versus what he's presenting, etc.  de admits, in fact, that his understanding is naive.  he says "i just thought the title would be edgy.  forgive me." hmm...clever simon, clever -- got me in the door. he talks about their choice using PHP over...

oscon: day 1 - is there a user in the house

i'm now sitting in a session entitled "hello? is there a user in the house?" with amy hoy.  amy is a user interface designer and has been around the block with regard to user centric design...something that is lacking in probably most software development processes. here's some of my raw notes/thoughts.  if you've done user-centric design before, most of this will not be new. creators == consumers (understand who they are building for because they are building for themselves) -- this is what makes some projects successful in the geek world -- we develop for what we want...

oscon: day 1 - who decides what open source means

well the next session block had some to choose from.  i decided one of these was going to be my choice: who gets to decide what open source means open design, not by committee cross platform .net with mono open source voting i saw the .net/mono one was in the product/services track, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but usually means that it has a product twist on it.  frank w/novell...

oscon: day 1 - rich internet applications in php

i'm sitting in andi gutman's presentation at oscon about building rich internet applications in php.  my expectations will be that this will be talking about ajax and flex (given the nature of the conference). andi's first talking about the nature of ajax for rich applications in php.  what is cool is that he mentioned the micorosft ajax client library and the codeplex php kit in the talk so far.  he said he likes talking about it because it demonstrates the nature of ajax standards.  he also talked initially about simplexml as a mechanism for communicating with ajax...

oscon: day 1 keynote

this year, microsoft is a premier sponsor for oscon alongside intel and zimki.  i'm grateful that microsoft is a sponsor and excited about some of the things we'll be talking about this week.  open source conferences certainly are a different beast compared to microsoft big-dog conferences like PDC/TechEd/etc.  sure there are the little things like the halls being constantly filled with sugar and caffeine...not here at oscon (which is not necessarily a bad thing). sigh, here's my biggest beef with o'reilly conferences...abusing the keynote.  on two levels.  on the first level is a little bit of obessiveness of accuracy...

silverlight: preparing for rc demonstration and my contact info

after a few inquiries i thought i'd just put together a very simple, very quick demonstration of preparing an existing silverlight 1.0 application for release candidate.  i've posted previously about the preview sdk and breaking changes and this screencast walks through taking two simple samples from the silverlight.net site and prepping them for the release candidate.  you can view the screencast here. now, i know that every person's silverlight application may vary, but there will be common things you have to do.  this first screencast shows those very common things that likely everyone will have to change.  i'll post...

ironruby source code released

yesterday i just posted about excitement around the ironruby discussion at oscon.  well, more excitement today! john lam just announced the first drop of the ironruby sourcecode!  the source is licensed under the microsoft permissive license (BSD-style).  also the team has announced that they will be accepting source code contributions for the ironruby libraries!  this is phenomenal.  there will be a lot of work to make that happen and the intention is to get ironruby on to rubyforge by end of august. john also announced that in some some micro-benchmark tests, ironruby is testing significantly faster than ruby 1.8.6 in...

oscon: open source and microsoft

UPDATE: ironruby sourcecode released! this week i'm heading to one of my favorite cities, portland.  it is the week the open source geeks descend upon the oregon convention center for a week of open source-ness for OSCON. so why am i going?  i went last year and had a blast...and learned a lot.  this year i'm going to lurk a little bit more, try to get some candid thoughts of attendees and hopefully learn some more! microsoft will have a good showing this year, and i'm most excited about john lam's session on ironruby.  if you are headed to oscon,...

hanselman == blue badge

news flash: scott hanselman has joined microsoft...working in the developer division with scottgu. read about it here from his own words. tags: hanselman, blue badge, microsoft, devdiv, scottgu

facebook and silverlight

after playing around with some facebook toolkits, i wanted to ensure that facebook could enable silverlight applications within their context.  you see facebook and silverlight already live in harmony in popfly where you can create oh, i don't know, whack-a-mole with your facebook friend profiles? (sidenote: popfly was just updated again...read more here.) i figured i'd whip up a quick and dirty proof using the python cube example (thus also testing to see if silverlight streaming in a facebook app would work). lo and behold, no problems: using my newfound friend jing, you can see a quick screencast of...

silverlight: breaking changes

i know i posted earlier with a pointer to the preview sdk over in sneathville, but i walked through the docs this morning and just wanted to re-iterate the need to look at the breaking changes document included in the preview sdk.  why? because when i look at the numerous samples i see that some are likely to be affected.  wouldn't you want your sample to run when the release candidate is put in the wild?  i would. breaking changes...ugh...they suck.  but bear in mind this is beta and we knew there could be some.  in looking through the docs,...

more facebook .net

i recently posted about working with facebook and using the facebook toolkit that microsoft apparently partnered with to create.  i just noticed that nikhil has created another facebook toolkit for .net, which he calls Facebook.NET.  i'm not sure if nikhil knew about the existing toolkit, but he did do some interesting things that i'll have to take a look at that will also enable writing facebook applications (i.e., *in* facebook). this will enable you to create FBML applications more easily through the use of ASP.NET controls and .NET wrappers of the REST calls he made...pretty cool, check it out. tags:...

jing: your new snapshot tool?

just came across this little project from the makers of camtasia, techsmith.  they call their project jing.  it's essentially a 'let me take a video/snapshot of what i'm doing and instantly share it with you' tool.  sure we have us nerdos who know how to do these things already with alt+prtsc, winsnap, snagit, camtasia, etc.  but could this be a tool for the rest of us (or even for the alphas).  it's simple, fast and does exactly what it says it does.  check out the screencast on their blog for a quick demonstration (love the background music). pretty cool...

silverlight: prepare for the release candidate

in a few weeks microsoft will be releasing the release candidate for silverlight 1.0.  on joe stegman's blog, he posted about breaking changes, etc.  moving forward once the RC is released, the api will be stable and should have no further breaking changes between RC and final release.  however, there will be breaking changes in the RC from beta.  if you have a silverlight application, now is the time to start preparing for what you may have to change. microsoft has prepared a preview SDK release containing: new silverlight.js detection/installation file for both beta and RC breaking changes...

missing manuals -- new 'for dummies'?

lately i've been watching this show -- i don't even know what channel it is on, my tivo decided i might like it and started recording it...i love you tivo -- with the host david pogue.  it's basically a consumer-friendly geek gadget show.  he talks about different issues like do megapixels really matter in cameras (does a great field test on that one), what laptops are the best to travel with, etc.  his shows are well thought out and balanced in my opinion -- and he does good research.  the three shows i watched i never felt myself saying 'yeah,...

yet another iphone opinion

if you absolutely have been sick of iphone coverage, then go ahead and delete.  i simply couldn't resist the urge to pollute the interweb more with iphone opinions...so i've finally gathered some of my thoughts and decided to vent here...and i don't even have one (yet)... let me first say that the urge has been hard to resist to get one.  anyone who knows me knows that when new tech comes out and if i can't get it, i'm usually in a fetal position soaking in my own vomit with withdrawls.  there have been very few tech things that have...

windows live quickapps

want to know how to use some of the windows live services?  announced at the partner conference this week, some beta windows live quickapps have been released.  these provide out-of-box implementations for certain scenarios and take advantage of live services like expo, spaces, silverlight streaming, virtual earth, etc.  and all source code is provided!  there are two of them available now, but more to come according to the site.  i downloaded the bike one, unzipped it and ran it right away...it was simple to set up. check them out here and download them at codeplex (with the source)....

amazon unbox and tivo -- nice

man i wish microsoft would buy tivo.  when tivo came out, i was skeptical.  it took some friends to really convince me that i was missing out, that i'd actually watch less tv, yada, yada.  after years of being a tivo user, i still love it.  i have two of them, they share recordings, i use the tivo desktop app...it is just a great experience (other than their customer service). they've nailed the simplicity in the user interface, the 'season pass' concept rocks, online scheduling...it all is just bliss for tv viewing.  high def?  well, okay, every company screws up...

desert code camp announced

the date for the next desert code camp is announced...September 15, 2007.  the site is open for submissions and registration.  this is a FREE event for anyone.  this is not a microsoft event -- open to the technical community...everyone!  submit a session about your favorite technology, give everyone an hour of your knowledge. visit http://desertcodecamp.com for details, current session submissions and to submit your own session!  get your travel plans set, block the date...come join us in the desert!  september in phoenix...very nice. tags: desert code camp, code camp, phoenix, azgroups, community

new swf to xaml converter

as seen on the silverlight.net forums (you should visit sometime)... over at theconverted.ca there is a new SWF to XAML converter in the market...according to the site: This program converts Flash animations to the Xaml format. It accepts files up to Flash version 8. It handles animation, sound and fonts. You drag files in, it generates the results. You can use the command line for automation. check out some of the demonstration conversions -- pretty impressive! tags: silverlight, xaml, swf, flash, swf converter, swf to xaml

silverlight: python cube

while reading the silverlight.net forums, i came across a post by mark easton where he posted some python code with a cube and photos.  he referenced an article regarding manipulating transform matrix concepts and although it is for flash, it equally applied to silverlight.  i thought it was interesting and got the code and ran it.  pretty cool to see python code driving silverlight applications! i offered to put the sample up somewhere for mark, so here it is below.  i actually used the silverlight streaming services to post it since it was a simple enough sample.  great work mark!  the...

silverlight: who needs inertia, introducing lt. bennett

UPDATE: for international users, the team is aware of this limited functionality...and the current build works with US English keyboard layout and US English regional settings.  sorry about that, but it's a lab project that will evolve. for the past few weeks i've had the pleasure of really seeing this whole designer-developer continuum really work.  the team over at Terralever have been working on a little lab project using silverlight.  first let me tell you about the Terralever team...they rock.  i figured there would be a ton of questions, etc., but from our first initial meeting, their team was already spouting...

silverlight: base class changes coming

over at the bcl team blog, the posted a great post everyone using silverlight 1.1 should read.  it's about the removal of some non-generic collection from silverlight.  take a moment and read it...they've been marked obsolete, but will be completely removed from Silverlight so make sure you are taking a look at these removals.  there is also a link to a post on details of how and why to convert your non-generic collections. tags: silverlight, bcl, base classes, collections

silverlight: get 40 controls for free

UPDATE: okay, so i dug a little deeper, it looks like these are implementing on a windows form host, so your mileage may vary.  getting interaction with other silverlight DOM/canvas objects might be tricky... well, i have to admit that i only spent about the last 2 minutes looking at these, so this might be an irresponsible post :-), but what i saw was impressive. netikatech just announced on their site that they are releasing 40 controls for silverlight for free!  the product, called "GOA Winforms" describes itself as an implementation of the standard System.Windows.Form class library for rich internet...

silverlight: creating video with timed overlays

just yesterday tim sneath posted a video on creating video with overlays.  as i saw that come in my reader, i was just finishing testing my code for a screencast i was recording on creating video with timed overlays.  i figured, what the heck, you can never have enough tutorials, and mine was demonstrating a different method for accomplishing the same thing. the scenario i was thinking of came to mind when i was lazy and watching television.  i saw a commercial where the person in the commercial said "if you call the number that is at the bottom of your...

silverlight: snack on some tutorials

the master of design, celso gomes, has done it again.  i got an email today about his new site, built completely in silverlight for silverlight tutorials.  check it out: http://www.nibblestutorials.net/.  it really was a good demonstration to me of something entirely built in silverlight.  well done, celso. tags: celso, celso gomes, silverlight, nibbles

virtual earth and population growth

want to see something interesting?  how about the growth of the area where you live.  or las vegas. or anywhere. take a look at trulia hindsight, which shows growth over time using presumably census data or something.  the map is virtual earth presented in a flash application (rumor has it they are working on a silverlight port). fun stuff: http://hindsight.trulia.com tags: virtual earth, trulia, hindsight

safari on windows, developers and choice

well, apparently there is a new browser in town for windows ;-).  if you haven't heard (then shame on you if this is your only source of information!), apple released a beta of safari for the windows platform. my initial reaction was..."hmmm" like any card-carrying geek member, i downloaded and installed.  yep, looks like safari.  so what.  on my mac i don't even use safari.  i'm not a fan of it.  people don't extend it very often.  (extend means different things to different people, what does it mean in the context of your situation tim? -- good point, i'm talking...

scottgu roadshow: coming to phoenix

scottgu recently posted about his june travels.  if he's anything like me, he's sick of bischoff cookies.  at any rate, one of those stops is in my 'hood, in phoenix, arizona.  we call it "the valley" but not like "the valley" of mountain view/san jose in california...ours is the "valley of the sun" and when i came home yesterday my thermometer was reading 111 degrees farenheit.  blech. where was i, oh yeah, ScottGu is coming.  it's a free event.  stefan schackow is coming too.  it's the same event.  it should be fun.  when? june 27th.  want more details?  go to...

sharepoint and firefox

a while back i wrote a post about sharepoint and firefox...i saw a trackback to this in a forum indicating a lot of rant for microsoft not including this support.  in my original post i made reference to a partner that was enabling this for firefox users.  the link is in the post but i'll make it here again. telerik and cross-browser editor for sharepoint 2007 done.  get it (free btw) and install it.  they have a doc to help you configure/install. there, so no more complaining :-) tags: sharepoint, telerik, radeditor, moss, moss 2007, firefox, rich editor

msdn search gadget updated

thanks to mike ormond for prodding me about updating the msdn search sidebar gadget.  i had found this issue as well myself when i realized it wasn't working anymore.  well, it was because msdn went through a redesign and their urls changed...so much for scraping :-) well, i updated mine and i'm sure nikhil is swamped and may not have a chance to update his (and i didn't want to redist his code, but here's what i did). on mine you can just download the new one here: MSDN Search Sidebar Gadget when i say "mine" it is just a...

eulas, express, and lawyers oh my

a friend of mine send me a note today asking my thoughts on the whole testdriven.net situation.  i was surprised in anyone asking me about it (not because i'm a snob or anything, just that it had been all over the place).  i then realized that the register and /. picked it up finally and that's were it is getting some rebuzz. if you don't know what i'm talking about, basically the author (jamie) of TestDriven.NET (a great tool btw) had been enabled for visual studio express. The Express Editions are an expansion of the Visual Studio and SQL...

winning an xbox couldn't be easier

one of my homies just posted a note about winning an xbox through blogging.  what?! surely you couldn't be serious...ah but he is. now you might consider it shameless promotion of events, and you'd be right, but there is a purpose here.  often times when we (as those field geeks with funny position titles) organize events there is certain targets that we are trying to meet (read: the people who pay for the events want to make sure they can direct some things).  if it were up to us, we'd always make everything free and always invite everyone.  but utopia...

enter the touch

loke pointed to a new device from htc being announced today for the uk market.  it's called the "touch" and is a new windows mobile 6 device.  probably my only huh moment is looking at the specs and not seeing support fro HSPDA/UTMS (3G) for the networks...odd i thought. but it is going to come in a wasabi green color :-)  they have a new UI they call TouchFLO that you can see on the main product site at http://www.htctouch.com -- their advertisement on the main page of htc.com right now is a pretty good one i thought -- hits...

new windows live writer avail

beta 2 of windows live writer was released today.  go get it.  improved user interface, improved blog support, some new functions...you know all the good stuff you want in an update.  oh yeah and continued extensibility. i took a quick second (after doing a little RTFM'ing [thanks charles]) and uploaded a custom manifest to my blog.  why?  because when in writer sometimes i want quick access to things about my blog (stats and such).  so i took a minute to "subtext"-ize a sidebar extension to writer...see: i've got the nice little transparent subtext icon in the back and two...

media center for mac?

hey mac users, educate me...what's a media center equivalent for osx?  i'm not talking apple tv -- i'm talking to receive television signal on my mac...

onramp: follow-up from silicon valley

first, thanks to all who came out to the microsoft silicon valley campus on thursday to listen to me babble about microsoft and web developer technologies.  as promised, i said i'd make a post with answers to unanswered questions and/or concerns... so here we go! logistics: expression web product: i learned some clarification on the fulfillment of the expression web product (note: if you didn't hear, those that registered and attended will receive a not-for-resale copy of expression web, one of the products we discussed and showed in the morning for developing/authoring standards-based web sites/pages/applications.  there was confusion (mostly on...

silverlight: breaking changes planned

felt this was necessary for a re-post (as i'm sure it will be all over the place).  joe stegman has announced some breaking changes and provides an updated silverlight.js file for us all to use. see his post: Some v1.0 breaking changes tags: silverlight

portland code camp wrap-up

i had a great time at the day i attended at the portland code camp!  i'm sorry for those who couldn't make it, you missed out!  we also had a great time at the kennedy school afterwards on saturday (an old elementary school transformed into a bar, restaurant, movie theater, hotel, etc. -- very cool, all the insides of the school left in tact). i delivered 3 presentations at the saturday session of code camp: virtual earth, sidebar gadgets and popfly.  first and foremost, thank you for those that attended my sessions (i apologize for the room changes again), i...

railsconf: dead phones and no excitement

my phone officially died today.  it's been ill for the past 3 days...it was in intensive care today...but didn't make it.  it's a brick (thin, small one).  anyhow, a trip to the store and i'm going to try to survive the weekend with a "normal" phone (text messaging is the most advanced it has. anyhow, back to railsconf after a jaunt... some of the sessions here have been PACKED.  i wasn't able to get in to some...shame on me for being late...namely "clean code" and "doing REST right" were packed to the gills -- to the point apparently that the...

railsconf: apollo session

sitting in the "product and services" track for apollo.  this really has nothing to do with rails, but hey, adobe is a sponsor, so throw them a bone and give them a few sessions. the html engine in an apollo app is webkit...interesting -- didn't know that.  the reason was that it is an open project and they wanted something to contribute to... yawn...these guys don't have enough energy...their jokes aren't working...this is 100 level stuff...walking out now. ooh, just heard one of them talk about using design mode in flex builder: don't be afraid of it, it works well,...

railsconf: day one (actually 2) keynote

i chose not to attend technically the first day of railsconf which was some pre-con tutorials.  why?  well, last year i did, and didn't find them a particular valuable use of 8 hours of my time...probably because in conference mode i'm not in a mindset of sitting for 4 hours on one topic. but i'm here back in portland, this time for railsconf (my last trip was oscon...man was it really that long ago?) as well as the portland code camp (where i have a few sessions).  there are a few of us softie-types here at railsconf, so if you...

silverlight: layouts and control framework

one of the things that developers ask me about silverlight is regarding the control set...more specifically...where is it.  well, i don't have a timeline for you, but there are a bunch of other people working on some samples and frameworks for silverlight. dave relyea just posted a layout and control framework for the silverlight 1.1 alpha.  check it out. tags: silverlight plugin, silverlight, layout controls, wpfe, blend, relyea

truemors: another site i don't get

people are saying guy kawasaki is behind this latest truemors.com site.  while i'm starting to see less value in twitter, when i opened up truemors i shook my head.  it certainly looks/acts/feels like a twitter-ish type application...and the content surely has parity with twitter posts...here's a sample of some of the "rumors" posted: "Jello wrestling for Charity?  Yes, it happens." "the iphone gives you herpes" "hey mark, give me a call later and we'll get dinner" "the truemors homepage is easy to spam." "Guy Kawasaki started this up? must be losing touch with reality." "I heard that this...

silverlight: watch a ladybug poo

or at least that is what i think is happening ;-) check out silverlight from a flash developer perspective and some early findings...no IDE/tools used outside of a text editor and a very simple "game" is born... http://seeing-is-believing.blogspot.com/2007/05/sileverlight-demo-with-source-code.html tags: silverlight, flash, silverlight plugin

silverlight: in a dashboard widget

someone asked if silverlight would work in an osx dashboard widget...interesting thought i felt.  after all, the dashboard widget concept is similar to the sidebar gadget feature in vista in that it is essentially a packaged file with html, javascript, images, etc.  so i went to task and tried it out. i first started with a media player that i had been working on and it didn't go so well...more on that at a later time (startup javascripts, etc.).  after that i just dumbed it down to a simple sample that had some animation and stuff. packaged it up, deploy...

silverlight: app streaming versus media streaming

one of the most asked questions i've been getting lately has to do with the silverlight streaming service provided by the windows live services.  i think microsoft may have done ourselves a naming disservice with including "streaming" in the title.  i think to most in the tech world, the "streaming" term implies a media file streaming like .asx files or streaming audio files, etc. that are consumed by some type of player. well, silverlight streaming is a bit different in my opinion.  first, the services hosts silverlight applications.  the whole thing...xaml, media, etc.  so it isn't streaming your media directly,...

post mix expression training

okay, are you coming off of a high of MIX (or the information surrounding it)?  i know i am, heck i've seen a lot of the stuff and i was still amazed at things that i saw.  there are some great designers and developers building fantastic user experiences with windows presentation foundation (wpf) and silverlight...i was impressed. if you are like me and searching for the best way to get a leg up on this technology and the tools, you're probably hunting around for the opportunity to learn some more.  there is currently an expression blend tour that is coming...

bad ux: disable your pop-up blockers

attention site builders: if your site copy has any words that are similar to "disable your pop-up blockers" please change now.  i've been seeing this a lot lately and it really bothers me.  i haven't seen it on any microsoft site yet, but if someone has, please let me know so i can pester the site owners as well (you know, trustworthy computing and all).  here's an example of one from samsung: If you selected the "Software" link from the SGH-i607 (BlackJack) page and reached article regarding the Update for your BlackJack but were not taken to the End...

silverlight: not working on ie7?

a few users have reported some issues with silverlight plugins not working correctly on ie7 on windows...but working fine within firefox on windows, etc. this is due to a previous ctp build of silverlight not being fully uninstalled (hey, it's ctp isn't it) and residual registry grout hanging around... the silverlight community is live and well though over at www.silverlight.net where there are forums and an answer was posted: http://silverlight.net/forums/t/437.aspx.  hope this helps! tags: silverlight, silverlight.net, silverlight forums, wpf/e, silverlight plugin

silverlight: center text on a rect

wooclan member and game-coder extraordinaire jason just posted about some hacking he did to provide some basic layout capabilities of textblocks, yeah, like basic as in centering. check it out yo. tags: silverlight, jason mauer, mauer, xaml, wpf

silverlight: what you need, when you need it...compressed

one really great feature about silverlight is the packaging aspect of it.  what do i mean by this?  well, you can essentially put a ton of assets into a compressed file and pull them out as needed.  this would provide you the ability to have a single asset package that is compressed, and thus saving on some download time.  of course there would be tradeoffs that you'd have to consider, but for sample sake, let's assume they are good. so how would you do that?  well let's say you have a bunch of images in a file name 'assets.zip' (here...

silverlight: embedding the plugin part 2

in a previous post i wrote about embedding the silverlight applications in your site using the silverlight streaming service.  i wrote about my troubles in getting output from more complex types working in the service.  here's the skinny.  i was using expression media encoder (eme for the cool kids) and the output templates for media players.  turns out the version of eme i was using was missing a few things.  the version on microsoft.com/expression is correct and is working fine. if you are using eme outputs and want to put them in silverlight streaming, do not use the <source> node...

mix07: dynamic language superfreaks

sitting in a session watching john lam/jim hugunin: getting input from an html input element... write a ruby block... responding to a c# event... calling a visual basic function to get JSON serialized information... then doing some other stuff in python... executing animation with javascript... ...all in a single app, powered by the dynamic language runtime in Silverlight. i think i just peed my pants. tags: dlr, dynamic language runtime, john lam, jim huginin, silverlight, wpf/e, ruby, vbx, json, mix, mix07

mix07: ruby for .net and an interview with john lam

scottgu just announced microsoft is providing a ruby implementation for .net...nice. before mix i had a chance to sit down with john lam, a program manager at microsoft working on the dynamic language runtime that was announced at mix07.  i went to seattle and carved off a moment to talk with him as they prepared for mix07.  i've put the recording up on my *cast site for you to view/listen to.  some interesting things he talks about and how happy he is to finally break his silence.  in the middle, the small edit you'll see is when his office-mate, tomas...

mix07: key announcements today

well, some pretty good news coming out of mix07 today...here's a quick recap... release of Silverlight 1.0 beta supporting ajax/javascript release of Silverlight 1.1 alpha supporting .net programming model announcing cross-platform (windows/mac) .net as a part of Silverlight 1.1 alpha announcing support for dynamic languages (ruby, python out of the gate) as a part of Silverlight 1.1 alpha rtm of expression studio preview of expression blend v2 (supporting richer Silverlight development) expression media encoder preview for Silverlight Silverlight streaming by Windows Live whew, that is a lot to swallow.  i'm most excited...

mix07: from the bloggerzone

the first night of mix yielded a few pre-parties.  i first went to the regional director dinner event, where we were able to chat with a few microsoft regional directors who happen to be at mix this year.  of particular note is scott stanfield from vertigo.  they are demonstrating (and you can see it/download the source) a really slick wpf application called Family.Show which is essentially a visualization tool for family history information...very cool, check it out. after that (and actually a little bit before) i went to the mashup day area (which will be going on as well monday night...

bootcamp makes sharing confused

i've loaded up bootcamp v1.2 on my mac and loaded vista on a second partition.  the process was painless really and i haven't seen any performance lag.  i decided against parallels and coherence mode, etc. as i was reading an article (in macworld) that showed the bootcamp option being the best performing option. anyhow, my mac is "mac-fu" and my vista partition machine name is "mac-fu-vista."  when i went into do some sharing on the mac side, i noticed that my machine name was correct: but when i enabled windows sharing, it said that items could be referenced using:...

some new feeds for timheuer

hey all, quick update here.  i've been starting to record some media (audio/video interviews) and have set up some feeds for your podcasting delight.  next week especially i'll be uploading a few from MIX07 with some great updates that microsoft will be announcing. so, here's an explanation of them (they are on the left and as well as alternate links in the site meta data): All *casts: this is all WMV and MP3 files so you'll get video and audio MP3 Casts: um yeah, mp3 files only WMV Casts: um yeah, wmv files only right now...

powershell and counting lines of code

i know some people are super excited about powershell...to be frank, i simply haven't looked at enough to make any judgement.  i've sat through a few very high level overview sessions but not enough to get dirty with it.  well, while waiting to present a session with kirk at CA World this past weekend in vegas, i sat in on david's session about powershell. immediately upon sitting down i couldn't startup notepad fast enough to start taking notes.  even some of the simple things were very cool to see...here's some of the things i learned in the first 5...

web dev helper vista fix for non UAC

if you are a web developer, you most likely want all possible tools available to you.  and there are some great ones out there like firebug, ie development toolbar, etc.  if you are an asp.net developer, you most likely know about the best helper tool by nikhil called the 'web development helper' which is implemented as a browser helper object for internet explorer. nikhilk has evolved his tool over time and in the latest version has awesome support for reading JSON encoded information and visual representing them in a helper way so that you can see what is going on. ...

greasemonkey and gmail

man, i'm really impressed with what people are doing to create their own unique experiences.  since i'm mostly in internet explorer (and to be quite honest, it serves me well, i've found no reason (yet) not to keep using it) i've not been privy to some of the utility plugins for firefox.  firefox has an amazing plugin ecosystem that i wish would exist for ie.  the other day i posted about the stylish plugin and a custom interface for google reader.  well today, i've found two other gems with firefox.  the first is a greasemonkey script that adds a new...

s3: my possible new storage location

so at tech lunch wednesday here in phoenix, after lunch i sat with hamid and scott for a bit and we were brainstorming about a few things.  one of which was storage, then we got on the topic of amazon's s3 solution.  i had started to look at it before, but then never got the time to go back.  essentially amazon provides storage via a web service (there are no tools provided by them, just an api).  i said that i mainly use flickr for the storage and that i'd only use it if i could get a direct url...

wpf/e: zune miniplayer

i've been trying to learn more and more about wpf/e and the current functionality in the february ctp, so i decided to jump on the create-a-video-player-skin bandwagon and mock something up. i thought it would be quite the incredible thing (read: couldn't think of a better idea) to show a zune player...so whoala: and when you click 'start player' (yes i know it would be cool to show the player as a playlist and use the normal zune buttons, but c'mon, v.0.0.3 here...work with me people) it rotates to show you the video (if you don't own a zune,...

new subtext skins

after recently finding out about open source design sites, i wanted to cut my teeth a bit more and learn some css by just reading them...so i figure i would adapt a few designs for subtext (my blog engine).  i've created three subtext skins based on designs...you can see the screenshots of them at this flickr photostream. i adapted three designs: minty, greenway, and metic.  the only requirement to using them is that the footer credits stay in place.  these designs use the creative commons attribution licenses, so please give the original authors credit and honor that license.  i've zipped...

the summit recap

last week i was a part of something that has become a bit of an annual event -- the 'microsoft technology summit' as we call it...it originated from the group that i am a part of 3 years ago, and has continued since then (with some bumps admittedly).  the goal of the summit is quite simple really (from the organizers' perspective) -- gather the not-so-typical-if-any-microsoft crowd (read: not the i hate microsoft crowd, but those that don't frequent our diner so to speak), bring them to redmond, and attempt to gather the brains of microsoft that they may want to...

utah code camp

the utah code camp is just around the corner.  unfortunately i won't be there due to some previous travel, but if you are in the area, it would be great to participate in! When: April 14 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Where: Neumont University Registration link: http://utahcodecamp.eventbrite.com you can visit www.msutahevents.com for session schedule, speaker profiles, etc.  check it out and attend! tags: code camp, community, utah code camp

channel 9 is wired

a colleague recently showed me the latest edition of wired magazine (something i used to subscribe to but don't anymore just because i'm more "online").  after getting past the cover, peter showed me the article where channel 9 was featured and jeff sandquist interviewed. first, i think that is pretty rewarding for the channel 9 team [for the record i'm not on that team...i wonder if they have an opening for field reporters :-)].  i know that jeff and others team members work hard on channel 9 and reaching out to the community, bringing transparency to microsoft, etc. SIDEBAR:...

open source web templates

open source in the design world...i love it.  i'm sitting at the microsoft technology summit and joe stagner just mentioned open source web designs...holy crap how did i not know about this. update: here's another: opendesigns.org -- this one looks more moderated hey joe (using my best borat impression): high five! tags: open source web designs, oswd, css, templates, stagner, joe stagner, opendesigns.org

team foundation server web edition...

...or microsoft acquires devBiz and TeamPlain. read about it here. download it free here. tags: visual studio, visual studio team system, team foundation server, tfs, devbiz, teamplain, vsts, team system

microsoft technology summit 07

i'm on my way to the microsoft technology summit for this year.  what is the summit?  basically it's a small group of invited guests traveling to the microsoft campus for some conversations.  another microsoft lovefest you say?  hardly...these invited guests aren't the typical microsoft flag wavers -- in fact i'd venture to guess some may not even have a msft flag :-) it's a chance to gather some influential people from varying technologies (PHP, Java, Ruby) and areas (academia, community, large enterprise) from around the world (united states, japan, malaysia, china, england).  it should be an interesting few days that...

wpfe samples and walkthrough

what i love best about new technologies is when developers start figuring things out for themselves and providing knowledge sharing to their peers.  in the case of "wpf/e" that is exactly what dave campbell has been doing lately...and he's updated his site with some latest samples of rectangle animation, etc.  if you haven't seen some of his stuff it is a great place to learn about some of the fundamentals of some things and dave provides some walkthrough as well as tutorial type content. clipping "wpf/e" animated rectangles other code samples (click on the blue circle to start...

social hacking: no computer needed

i've always seen stories of identity theft and virtual identity theft.  and i've not been a victim thankfully.  but in those stories (the ones that make the "big" news) there always seems to be a technical hacking going on to get more information, etc.  nothing really exposes as it should the social side of hacking. the hp scandal really started to do this and added "pretexting" became the latest favorite word of journalists.  kevin mitnick has said that this type of social hacking is the best weapon that everyone seems to forget about. well, the other day i was looking...

lifetime service != lifetime hardware

when tivo first came out, i thought it was the bomb (and it was really).  sure windows media center was out there but they didn't really have good component boxes like they do now. so, when i got my series 2 tivo, i figured...lifetime service...sign me up.  well, my literal box died last week and i've been staring a "Welcome, powering up" screen thinking that if i stare long enough, it will finally go back to the home screen.  well, been staring too long and nothing is happening.  sigh.  quick search on the tivo community yields a likely bad drive. ...

vista dev: updated sidebar gadget templates

i did a quick refresh on my windows vista sidebar gadget templates for visual studio.  it is a simple refresh that accomplishes the following: puts both the VB and C# web project templates in the same visual studio content installer moves the structure around to demonstrate how to use locale folders within gadgets (see image below) i get questions on the first one (VB/C# templates) a lot.  really there is no difference between the templates, the only reason i created two is so that when you choose "new web site" it will show up under both language options.  that's...

php interop with .net

thanks to those who joined us for my learn2asp.net session on interoperability with php and windows.  i apologize for the rescheduling (if you even knew about it) that had occurred, but glad you could make it to the session.  in the session i stated that i'd post the information and sample code i referred to on to my blog so here it is :-). in the session i mentioned a few things, so i'll dump them to you here: VS.php - the editor i was using that integrated into Visual Studio 2005 from JCX.Software ADO.NET provider for MySQL...

PHP mash-up sample code

thanks to all who attended my learn2asp.net session on creating mash-ups with php on windows and using microsoft web api's.  whew, that was a mouthful.  anyway, i said i'd post the sample code i used, so here it is (at the end of this post).  in the zip file there is an index.php file describing the APIs used.  I stripped out my personal application id's from some of the services, so you'll have to obtain your own. there are plenty of other sessions going on the learn2asp.net site so i'd encourage you to take a look at them and register. ...

ajax: interface training dvd

i was just sitting on a plane with simon back from redmond where i was doing some mobility developer "stuff" and simon was at some top secret, could-tell-you-but-i'd-have-to-kill-you type things.  we were chatting about, well, you know geek stuff.  i was droning on about some vista stuff and he was talking about the smart stuff he works on. it reminded me about their (them being interface, who simon is one of the 'fellows' -- well if he isn't they should institute some plan) ajax training.  he put together some great content on asp.net ajax in a self-paced DVD format and...

using c# and vb in the same web project

every once in a while i get asked if you can have both c# and visual basic in the same web site project.  my gut response is always to ask "why would you want to" as i always assume it is a new project, etc.  to me, it simply wouldn't make sense from a new project standpoint, code reviews, coding standards, continuity, project maintenance, etc. however, people still ask.  to-date i never really tried (and that's been my answer).  i was presented with a usable scenario of why you may need (not want, need) to do this, so i finally...

windows mobile: mobile data dump

this week i'm at some windows mobile developer events and it is always fun to be around people who have searched out things you haven't found yet...did that make sense? anyway, here's some dump of some cool windows mobile things i've learned about today... phone sharpmt - this is a windows mobile smartphone blogging client tool.  not the greatest UI, but it worked for my blog earlier newsbreak - solid rss reader for windows mobile...moreso than some of the others. quickmark - take a picture of a UPC symbol with your smartphone and get product information smart2go - gps navigation system...

smartpart + ajaxbasepart = yummy

eric schoonover pointed me to what jan completed late last night -- implementing ajax support in the smartpart...yippee... check out the smartpart for sharepoint now with asp.net ajax support! tags: sharepoint, moss 2007, sharepoint 2007, windows sharepoint services, ajax control toolkit, ajax, asp.net, asp.net ajax, microsoft ajax, ajaxbasepart, web part, smartpart, smart part, jan tielens

virtual earth: drawing a radius

as i continue to build on top of my virtual earth example that uses proximity searching, i found myself wanting to add more visualization to the mix.  i wanted the radius being searched to actually show a radius ring for the area...so the user could see the proximity being searched where the results are plotted. so, i started digging -- how do you draw a circle using the polyline api?  hmmm...rounded corners with straight lines...seemed like a challenge. well after a prod to some people i was pointed to a solution already doing this! and thus the ViaVE Wiki had...

ajax and sharepoint sittin' in a tree

have you been looking at sharepoint (yeah, yeah, okay "moss")?  wanted to add some ajaxified love to those new interfaces?  or perhaps some of your own web parts. take a look at some comments from mike ammerlaan on the topic.  in a recent post, mike talks about integrating asp.net ajax with sharepoint (see he doesn't even use moss).  there are some tips on extending the sharepoing web.config with the appropriate elements, yada yada. in addition to that, eric schoonover writes about the AjaxBasePart and provides examples and code for you to use. with these two resources it should be enough...

virtual pc 2007 now available

virtual pc 2007 is now available -- go get it note: if you have a vpc saved state file in an older version of vpc, i have seen oddities where it may not work, so heads up. tags: virtual pc, vpc, virtualization

daylight savings: mobile patch and OSX

the patch for windows mobile and united states daylight savings time is now available.  see the article and downloads here. i also noticed that there was finally a daylight savings update on my OSX machine at home.  what struck me was the size.  on windows xp sp2 for example, the patch is 504KB.  on OSX the patch was 9.2MB.  wow, quite a difference...i'm curious why. tags: daylight, daylight savings, windows mobile, windows mobile 5, smartphone, pocketpc, pocket pc, dst, dst2007

asp.net ajax: using scripts without server controls part 2

in my first attempt i used fake targets to create server controls to wire up the animation extender, then during execution, changed the target and executed the animation.  a little kluge i thought, but it worked -- and under the cover essentially that's what happens anyway on a server control. well today, ajax wizard and poker maven steve marx pointed me to a post where it talked about using the client libraries directly.  basically when you add an animation extender control it tells the runtime what client-side script references it will need.  so the first step is for us to...

vista dev: msdn search gadget in script#

a while back i posted a gadget i wrote to demonstrate writing vista sidebar gadgets.  this was my msdn search gadget. well, i am giddy that nikhil decided to use that model to improve it and leverage script#, which is something i'm deeply interested in.  check out nikhil's much improved msdn search gadget...installed.  it demonstrates some really cool features and brings script# as a model to develop sidebar gadgets...very very cool. tags: vista, gadget, sidebar gadget, sidebar, windows vista, script#, nikhilk, nikhil kothari, msdn gadget, msdn

go beyond vista

i was in my local mac store (or is it apple store, i keep forgetting what the appropriate term is, i guess it is apple)...i was in my local apple store today and saw something funny. first, i wasn't buying a mac, not that there is anything wrong with that.  i was getting a slim case for my laptop for short trips (my bag has become cumbersome).  i like that the apple store stocks a lot of options, something other stores don't. anywhoo...upon checkout i noticed the current t-shirt for the store employees...i like how their ad campaigns blend into...

sample: wcf, wf, wpf and free code

trying to wrap your head around .net 3.0 technologies?  well, here's a free sample to help you see several different aspects of it.   DinnerNow is a sample application that leverages all aspects of .net 3.0 -- and the source is provided!  workflow -- it's there, communication foundation? -- yep.  sprinkle in some cardspace and some wpf and there is a full application with different aspects demonstrated. this sample is a pretty good starting guide (with some advanced features) to learn these technologies. check it out at www.dinnernow.net and download the code! tags: dinnernow, wcf, wpf, workflow, .net, asp.net, asp.net...

implementing a proximity search in sql server

or "find stuff near me" and how i did it. (long read sorry) after my last post about using the proximity search article for sql server 2000, i received some requests for a simple walkthrough on how i implemented my app.  well, here's an attempt at a very simple sample. first, so we are clear, my scenario was as follows: given a known single point, search a database of other known points and return a result set of those points that are known to be within a certain mile radius of the single known point.  better put "find locations near...

proximity searching in zip codes

recently i was working on a proof of concept for virtual earth, etc.  i wanted to do better "find stuff near my address" but have never worked with geospacial proximity before.  so on the quest i went for more information.  i wanted something better than my "select * where zipcode = @zip" query :-).  i was looking for "select * where proximity is within 5 miles of @zip" to show some true calculation. a friend of mine turned me on to this article regarding implementing proximity searching on sql server 2000.  i read it and it was intriguing (and works...

visual studio keyboard shortcuts

we've been handing out these keyboard shortcut pamphlets at various conferences around the world.  now i'm glad to say you can download them online now rather than wait for your lazy busy developer evangelist to bring them to you! download links: visual c# keyboard shortcuts visual basic keyboard shortcuts have fun! tags: visual studio, keyboard shortcuts

ajax security: upcoming webcasts look promising

looks like joe has partnered with spidynamics to deliver some great webcasts on ajax security, a much needed topic as we continue to see more ajax-developed web sites. here's the titles he's offering: AJAX Security Basics- The Building Blocks to Protecting Your Applications Built with ASP.NET AJAX How Hackers Reverse Engineer and Exploit an ASP.NET AJAX Application The Brave New World of AJAX Hacking (and prevention using ASP.NET) The Next Generation of AJAX Attacks – A New Generation of Attack Theories Best Practices: A Look at Developer ASP.NET AJAX Security Mistakes tags: asp.net ajax, atlas, ajax,...

apple xPhone reality news

well it looks like the <possiblyrenamed>Phone from Apple might hit some snags.  first there is the lawsuite filed by cisco (good commentary from cisco general counsel here) about the trademark violation, and then the news is starting to trickle out. first, the "OS X" maybe isn't so OS X as promised.  according to a VP Q&A session it is similar to how iPod uses OS X...a psuedo subset with no open APIs.  this likely may mean that no user-installable applications will be allowed...snag for Apple in my opinion. the screen also uses the same polycarb as the ipod -- and...

can anyone say newton?

well, it has happened...the rumors are true.  (picture of engadget.com) seriously, the pictures say a lot from the engadget post.  i am really amazed/impressed.  a few things that are interesting about it is that it doesn't support 3G and the touch screen.  I've had a few full touch-screen devices before and didn't like them.  my greasy face 'yucked' the screen up during calls, etc. but c'mon...OSX on a device with iPod, with full browser, etc., etc.  this seems to be a well done v1 product.  this is what makes them win in these types of areas.  they took the free...

web dev: mix07 open for business

Microsoft MIX 07 event is open for registrations. Geared toward Web developers, designers, online advertising professionals and a broad set of partners and customers, MIX will continue to explore how to build more interactive and responsive experiences that take full advantage of the capabilities of the Web. MIX will also be an opportunity to dive deeper into Microsoft’s Web technology offerings and discover ways to create more dynamic customer connections that take user experience to the next level. Again this year, the event will be held in Las Vegas from April 30th to May 2nd, at the Venetian Hotel. More...

gadget: jawbone

ever been searching for the ultimate bluetooth headset so you can look like the other cyborgs walking around with something in their ear?  me too.  i never was happy with any of the headsets i used and mainly needed it for the car, so i settled on a motorola re-chargeable speakerphone for my car.  it works fine, but i still feel like i'm yelling when i talk and i'm sure the ambient noise is being picked up. my hommie jason led me on to the jawbone which he saw in a cingular store.  if you take a look...

video services: aol and service announcements

i'm sure you've been seeing these television advertisements all over for aol's new video service.  they really have been pushing it a lot.  the ad features ed bundy (c'mon let's be real you don't know his name either) in a public service like announcement...talking about how all this video on the internet goes unwatched each year.  personally i think the approach is a bit tacky (a bit of a mockery for the charity foundations), but maybe that's because i first saw it while watching 'United 93' which was commercial free sponsored by AOL -- i just thought they might have...

rss: google reader

a few weeks ago, my favorite rss service, squeet was having a holiday itself.  ordinarily i'd be okay with that but i felt lost on the information super-highway and have to have my feeds.  i thought about using the ie7 and outlook rss model, but i just still haven't adopted to that paradigm...i honestly don't know why, but i just haven't succombed yet. so someone was telling me about google reader and i thought i'd check it out.  yes, another beta product from google.  i imported my opml and it took me a bit to understand the features of what...

vista and office dev: creating preview handlers

(long, informative post with images -- apologies aggregates...click on the link :-)) in outlook 2007, when you have an attachement in a mail message and click on the attachment file, you are presented with an option to preview this attachment directly in outlook...just like the preview pane for a normal message: likewise in vista's file explorers, you can enable a preview pane and get the same functionality for highlighting a file in explorer as seen here: for productivity, namely in outlook 2007 for me, this is a great advancement to the platform.  i now don't have to double-click...

game dev: xna game studio express released

today over at the xna team blog, michael klucher announced the release of the xna game studio express.  this is a free tool to aid in the development of pc and xbox360 game development. yes, xbox360.  .net + xbox360. how you say?  well, although the xna game studio express tools are free, the ability to deploy them to the xbo360 will require membership in the xna creator's club.  oh sure, wha'ts that a million dollar fee? actually no.  it's $99 US a year.  pretty reasonable i would say.  this helps you get it on the xbox and in the creator's...

sharepoint and firefox: no rich editor for you

okay, not entirely true.  i recently got a comment on how sharepoint might not make it in a company because one of the features, a rich editor for html that is used in rich edit areas, wiki, blog, etc., does not support firefox as a browser.  basically you can still edit, but you don't get the WYSIWYG environment. well, there are a couple of options.  first, the hack (i haven't even tried this to be honest so i shouldn't even be announcing it :-)).  in web.config (since sharepoint 2007 is an asp.net app) you can add <browserCaps> elements to the...

wpf/e: plugins and firefox 2

since the ctp of wpf/e became available, there have been some interesting discussions and demos happening in the world.  again, if you haven't seen theWPFBlog.com check it out...one of the latest samples (Microbe) shows what appears to be a single animation, but is actually half WPF/e and Flash.  it is so visually clean, it is hard to tell the difference -- i had to put a mouse over each half to even notice a difference.  very interesting. two other questions have popped up to me.  first, the installation.  yeah, you have to go to a site and download an exe/msi...

wpfe stuff

for some cool things wpf-related, i highly recommend looking at theWPFblog.com.  some interesting examples being posted there. right now there is a side-by-side wpf/e and flash control: and also there is a cool demonstration of a SWF->XAML converter tool showing the resulting output side-by-side as well. tags: xaml, wpfe, wpf, windows presentation foundation everywhere, windows presentation foundation, winfx, flash

express yourself with avalon in the browser: wpf/e

today, microsoft announced the first preview of the windows presentation foundation (formerly codename "avalon") everywhere framework (aka wpf/e).  so what is it? essentially wpf/e is a strategy of bringing that rich windows presentation foundation (wpf) experience to the web.  oh yeah, but only internet explorer right? wrong.  ie, firefox, safari, opera.  bring it.  the december ctp of wpf/e includes support for windows media technologies, 2d animation, vector graphics, etc.  it is an interesting technology -- check it out. okay, so the other cheesy part of my post title was alluding to the other part of the announcement today...the expression...

thanksgiving, carnivores and my weekend with zune

this past weekend was the american 'thanksgiving' holiday.  as is tradition with most, i too ate turkey for the holiday.  this one was different for us.  we decided to escape the normal family gatherings and stress of making food, cleaning, and having kids in non-kid friendly homes.  we took off for san diego, california on a whim.  i hate driving.  anything > 3 hrs sucks.  but i had my wife with me and we were able to finally talk about a lot of things -- something our normal daily lives don't seem to allow us to do.  it was great...

is the grid dead

while reading my december issue of msdn magazine, i came across an advertisement that certainly caught my attention.  it simply had a picture of a toe-tag and the url was: www.is-the-grid-dead.com. looks like a component vendor about to announce something.  i honestly have no idea what it is, but they used good advertising to catch my eye among the other technical ads. tags: is-the-grid-dead, is the grid dead, datagrid

zune: podcast listening and viewing

i'm trying to hold off installing itunes just for podcatching.  i tried pwop catcher, but it looks like the project has gone dark for a bit and didn't have what i needed. my friend turned me on to primetime podcast receiver.  so far it is okay.  it still isn't itunes, but i'm going to give it a whirl.  i've configured it to dump the podcasts/videoblogs into my Music\Zune folder so it will sync when i tell it to. that's all for now on zune for a bit (maybe :-) ).  i think i'll work on doing some development for some...

office dev: creating an outlook add-in part 1

okay, so if you haven't downloaded it yet, why not?  visual studio tools for office 2005 second edition, aka visual studio tools for office 2007, aka vsto SE was released at devconnections earlier this month.  if you have a license to visual studio 2005 professional or a license to vsto 2005, then this is a free tool for you. how do you get it? go here: vsto se what is it?  it enables easy office development using visual studio.but hasn't this been around? yes, kinda.  vsto 2005 has been there and really did make things easy.  vsto se adds support...

zune: video encoding and the colors

okay, i forgot in my last post to correct something that i've been misinformed about: colors.  i was under the impression that each color had a personality.  well now that i participated in a social yesterday, i know that not to be true.  the black zune in the social was preloaded with the same videos, music, pictures as our brown ones.  i stand corrected and apologies for any misleading. okay, on to my video encoding.  i've been trying to find a good solution to getting dvd content onto the zune.  i was recommended to try three solutions: handbrake (now ported...

zune: one week later

okay, so i've been beating up on the zune a bit, but i still like it.  i have to say there are definitely areas where it doesn't win over ipod (i.e., size for recreational usage, etc.), but there are definitely bigger ways (and potential) that it does. today i finally had a chance to play with the community features, when a colleage came over and asked if i wanted to 'join the social' (we had fun with that one when people asked what we were doing.  we were close to each other and while we didn't test the range, i...

zune: my first problem

it locked up.  well, i'm not sure lock up is an accurate term as i still saw something going on, but maybe i was jaded by an animated gif :-0. here's what happened...i'm trying to test out the video feature a bit more, specifically movies, etc.  my goal was to put a new release movie on the zune.  my wife and i just watched the da vinci code (no i didn't read the book, but i really enjoyed the movie -- good suspense, good subtle action).  so i seeked out some dvd rip software to get a dvd to wmv...

zune: my first impressions (long post)

8:00am: local Target opens (target had the best 'deal' in my opinion -- $249 w/$25 gift card, but Costco will likely have the best overall retail cost) 8:45am: i arrive at target to see how things are going.  shelves are empty, speaker accessories were empty...only thing there was the display for Zune (which was pretty decent).  wow, i thought, i can't believe they sold out. as i walked out of the store i made a comment to the person working the area: sold out pretty fast?...to my surprise (or actually my expected result when i walked in the store) he...

developing on vista: sidebar gadgets part 1

i've been experimenting developing windows vista sidebar gadgets lately.  one thing that is lacking is a core template for all things sidebar gadget (or at least i've not found one). i'll save my thoughts on developing a sidebar gadget for a 'part 2' post once i finish the simple one i'm working on (well, not 'simple' but simple enough with some different features). in the meantime, i've cooked up some sidebar gadget templates for visual studio 2005.  now keep in mind that sidebar gadgets don't themselves run c# or vb code, but they are HTML, Javascript, etc. files that interact.  so...

develop an internet explorer addon

microsoft is hosting a contest for ie7 addon development.  all you have to do is create an interesting addon to submit and you could win: $2500 plus some tickets to MIX07 $2000, $1000, $500, Zune to learn how extensible ie7 is and some starting points, check out the ieblog article from ericlaw. here's more information from pete on the contest as well. tags: ie7, internet explorer, addons, contest, mix, mix07

devconnections day 2: who's line is it anyway?

so i've decided that i'm likely not going to see any sessions at devconnections.  i'm doing some major booth duty :-) -- but that's okay, the conferences are for the attendees to hammer on the microsoft guys anyway...i enjoy listening to the questions. today we have Greg Proops (who at least i know from the show who's line is it anyway? running around the conference and harrassing people.  okay, he's not doing much of that, but this guy is funny.  we had a chance to talk with him as well...he was pretty funny and asked us some great questions about...

news flash: windows vista released

it's true...windows vista released to manufacturing! read from the windowsvistablog.com: windows vista releases to manufacturing tags: vista, windows vista

devconnections day 1: big dev announcements

following the rtm announcement of office 2007 (if you hadn't heard), the evening keynote at devconnections had ScottGu give the following announcements: ASP.NET AJAX Beta 2 Visual Studio Tools for Office 2007 note: this is being made as a free download to licensed VS2005 Pro users as well as VSTO2005 licensed users Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET 3.0 (Workflow) Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET 3.0 (WCF/WPF) .NET 3.0 Visual Studio 2005 extensions: SharePoint Services 3.0 lots of great stuff and i'm sure more to come this week! tags: visual studio, vsto, office, vista, .net, asp.net, ajax,...

defining your area of experience

i was mocking up a simple vista sidebar gadget to show a colleague of what a gadget is and he complained that it was "too wide" -- after i inquired further, he called me over to show me.  you see in vista, when you have Aero (aka "glass" effects) enabled, the sidebar is really seamless into the desktop (apart from a shadow on the right).  when you hover over the sidebar, it 'defines' itself and makes itself a little more visible...thus a small border/line appears.  see below: ...

ontime 2007 in beta

my friends over at axosoft have just launched their beta of ontime 2007.  i'll let the video speak for itself, go check it out: ontime 2007 beta screenshots from a web app?  are you kidding me? tags: axosoft, ontime, clickonce, asp.net, ajax, asp.net ajax, atlas

bug if firefox 2 as default browser?

so i saw that firefox released v2.  i always have firefox on my machine as i think it is good to check pages i'm working on in multiple browsers (or at least multiple browsers that make up the market share).  i think it wouldn't surprise anyone that i use ie7 primarily (not because i bleed microsoft blue -- i do though -- but i think it is a great browserserves my needs completely), but i had to use firefox when ie7 was released because my online bank put up the big 'you aren't using a supported browser' wallpaper when i...

hey scoble: why i don't like MOV

i'm on a few conference calls today and planned on doing some peripheral learning.  there were a few interesting things over at scobleshow.com lately that i found intriguing and wanted to watch.  i went to the site and was disappointed.  why...well let me phrase this appropriately :-) i have a brand new windows vista machine.  loaded (fill-in-your-favorite-browser) on it.  visited scobleshow and clicked on a "watch now" link.  this is what it looked like: why did i get this?  because scobleshow only enables MOV format (arguably the intended viewer is Quicktime format -- which i hate).  so as a...

john lam joins microsoft

okay, now that john let the cat out of the bag himself, i'm glad to say that john lam of rubyclr fame has joined microsoft and will begin january 2007. see john's post: dynamic languages, microsoft and me for his story. i think this is a great hire for microsoft and the clr team.  will this mean ruby will instantly be a part of the .net framework and take on the roadmap of an ironpython-ish project?  let's wait and see.  i, for one, hope so and welcome john to the organization -- a great move for the clr guys. tags:...

ie7 released

well, it's out in the wild now -- ie7 has been released.  you can read dean's (gm for IE) note on the IEBlog regarding the release. now that it is out -- and likely windows update people will start downloading it, there may be some adjustments that sites may want to consider.  why?  because even in ie7 we are more standards compliant to the point that ie7 may break some of the hacks you had to do in ie6 browsers, etc. to understand more about ie7 development here are some resources: IE7 Readiness Toolkit IE Developer Center two great...

AJAX500 - accelerate your web development

                     Interface Technical Training and Microsoft have partnered to present AJAX500, a one-day intense seminar designed to accelerate your web development with ASP.NET AJAX technologies.  In this one-day session you will learn: The simplest, most scalable ways to add AJAX support to your applications When using an AJAX library beats hand-coded JavaScript The reality of cross-browser support (it may surprise you!) Technical concerns of file size, testing and debugging Common AJAX design patterns How and when to extend the ASP.NET AJAX libraries this is a great opportunity to hear from local experts. ...

hey feedburner, don't make me work so hard

i've been looking at options on feedburner and saw something called a 'photo splicer' that you can add to your feed.  basically your provide them your user name of a photo service and they'll add that feed into your current feedburner feed -- a feed merge if you will. cool, i thought i'd try it out (i immediately took it down because for me it just didn't make sense).  the first thing i noticed was something akin to seth godin's new site www.thisisbroken.com.  here was one of the configuration options: note the text box label: "Flickr ID or Screen...

my vista upgrade test and experience

after hosting a developer installfest in phoenix and watching people go through the upgrade process (some easier than others...some very painful), i decided to give it a whirl.  I'm a bit of an operating system snob, that is to say that i'd never upgrade...i just don't believe in that -- operating systems represent the slate to me, and it should be clean. so here i go...here's the specs: Dell Dimension 4400 Pentium 4, 1.7 GHz 1GB RAM 40GB HDD Start time: 21:00 could not get the dvd to work...but i couldn't get any dvd to work...argh..something...

gmail sucks part 2 and why mobile search engines need to get a clue

a while back i posted about my feelings about gmail and the report spam feature.  well, i decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.  rather than complain i thought i'd submit a support ticket about the issue and see what they say. here is what i submitted: Problem: i consistently get russian spam and despite EVERY time i click report spam on them, they keep coming in...isn't gmail intelligent enough to recognize a pattern and see that my russian email should be flagged as spam?  can't i put a setting to say 'anything non-english is spam for me' here was...

windows deployment services rocks

last friday, we hosted a vista/office installfest in phoenix.  people were invited to bring their machines and upgrade to the latest build of windows vista.  it was an experiment to say the least.  i have to admit, the upgrade experience left me with some questions.  there are many factors involved and as dumb as it sounds, just today i started thinking that it could have been partly the dvd media.  a lot of the issues were due to the time it took to upgrade.  i wonder if better media would have helped. but i digress... the one cool thing we...

antivirus and bloatware

i'm not a fan of bloatware...i don't think anyone is.  when you install something, you expect it to be exactly what you want.  aol recently got nailed for having their latest software install a bunch of other software without the user's knowledge. two chronic violators i think for bloatware: acrobat reader and quicktime.  acrobat reader: to me that means a reader.  so why is it 20MB?  compare to foxit reader which is 3.7MB (which is about 2MB more than the previous version even) and does the same thing (reads PDFs, search, etc.).  yeah, yeah, acrobat reader can do a few...

linux is dead

i don't know what happened...i was reading an article about how the cost of linux and windows are roughly the same and the next thing i know i see this photo on the internet... there may have been some huge riot or something, but the penguin has bought it. tags: linux, penguin, humor

msn soapbox scores high, live id scores low

i just had a chance to play around with msn soapbox.  youtube copy? whatever, i've decided not to try to care much anymore about the "you're copying us" mentality after i saw iMediaCenter...er...i mean iTV. i didn't want to use soapbox mainly because i'm not a fan of the usability experience of windows live id and/or passport.  why?  take a look...here's msn's home page: notice the branding and look and feel...now let's click 'sign in': does this look the same?  other than the msn butterfly logo, i'm clearly jumped to another place...and by the way, if i signup...

.net guidance explorer

back in june, there was a release from the patterns and practices team of their .NET and ASP.NET Guidance Explorer.  it is a tool that provides some analysis and resulting suggestions (with reasons/instructions on how to implement) for ASP.NET projects. well, the team has just placed the guidance explorer on codeplex.  what is cool about this is not only can you look at how the explorer works, you also get source to the user interface to see how they may have done some cool things.  go check it out. codeplex is growing to be quite an interesting microsoft community.  my...

windows live writer updated

well, one reason i haven't updated tag4writer (which i now consider to be an archived project -- at least i won't be touching it) is that tagging support is now added into the latest refresh of windows live writer: the tagging support now included was exactly the direction tag4writer was heading with exposing the templates for configuration, etc.  you'll notice the tagging support in writer has some cool memory-sense (intellisense-ish). along with tagging support, here are some other updates: blogger beta categories changes improved startup improved style detection and some others... learn about all the updates and...

ouch, i had to use google over live

well, i've been telling my friends and family (secretly replacing their search defaults :-)) that live.com is the bomb and it has been producing more relevant searches for me for the past few months since i told myself i'd start using it.  that's a claim i stand by -- so flame away. until today.  i was responding to a blog post where someone referred to "Fuslogvwr" and i had no idea what that was.  so i searched on live...no results.  put quotes around it, no results.  and not "no results" in the sense of no relevant results, there were literally...

web dev summit summary

well, i'm a little late to the game on the summaries -- drewby and hollywood were blogging fiends this time around... you can read the summary from their sides here (drew) and here (dave). a few of the attendees were blogging it as well: John C. Bland II: start here and work your way current -- some good note taking/insight.  John also quite possibly got the "youtube" moment of the 3 days and actually did capture it on camera.  apparently the event bus got in a bit of a fender-bender (and that being a ratio of a charter bus...

msft web developer summit

i'm in redmond the rest of this week for the 'microsoft web dev technology' summit.  similar in nature to mts, however much more web developer specific (hence the name).  there are about 25 people here from various non-msft technology worlds, mostly php (with a hint of java/rails/css). john bland is here and had this first comment regarding some of the microsoft people he's met: All of them were cool. I honestly thought they’d be ultra techie or something but, well…some are techie but none ultra, most of them are very open to other worlds, etc. So far, it is a...

acrobat collaboration?

i just got done watching podtech's video of the acrobat 8 demonstration from rick brown.  <tangent> i was frustrated that the only video format was quicktime...a far cry from scoble's days at channel9 offering various formats.  i have to ask myself if he wasn't editing/producing on a mac these days if he'd be disgruntled about a singular format as well -- i always pegged him for a crusader of options -- podtech gives me only one experience...and it just so happens to be the one i hate.  i don't have podtech though -- just quicktime.  in order to...

voice command recognition

i've been playing around with some voice recognition stuff and decided as a test i'd leave my phone on voice announce for a few days to see what it does.  this has helped me learn a bit more about windows mobile 5.0 features, laugh a lot, and learn how voice command/text-to-speech determines certain things. i'm reminded of the onion's hilarous radio bit about "voice-activated gps system takes top gun soundtrack fan into the danger zone." here it is: powered by ODEO pretty funny (at least to me). here's just some dump of what my experience has been so far with...

a tool for your gullable family and friends

well, i decided to play around a bit with the new visual studio tools for office second edition that was released today.  a while back (actually at codeslam before the microsoft mvp summit), i was talking with richard Hundhausen about some ideas to code about -- he needed a good one.  he came up with the idea of an outlook add-in for those people who keep thinking that bill gates will send you $5 if you forward the email to 11 of your friends. an add-in that would simply scour snopes.com to see if it is a hoax.  i decided...

vsto 2005 second edition beta released

sweet...the update to visual studio tools for office (vsto) has been updated and released!  just updated on the office developer center, vsto 2005 second edition is released in beta form. this represents an opportunity for visual studio 2005 developers to do some development on the office 2007 platform now much easier.  what is great is the vsto team also created a tutorial to walk through some examples.  granted the examples are very simple, but it gives you an idea of how to leverage things like add-ins, task panes, integrating with the ribbon UI.  it's 58 pages of goodness to get...

foxit reader 2.0 released!

my favorite pdf reader had a new release a few days ago, get foxit reader 2.0! (with an installer finally).  for those that don't know anything about this reader, it will make you wonder what the heck adobe acrobat reader actually does with all that space -- foxit is lean and mean...and free. tags: foxit reader, foxit, pdf

live local updated!

windows live local has been updated along with live.com release! i just saw some announcements that live.com is 'released' as well as live local is updated.  i've been using live.com for a while and while the 'infinite scroll' is no longer there, it isn't much new to me as i've been dogfooding the service for a long while now -- and i like it -- i haven't had to go back to google all but 5 times in the past 4 months...and yes, i reported the reasons why. for live local, i was curious if updated imagery was available as...

tivo finally gets hdtv

<sarcasm>whew, that didn't take long </sarcasm>.  TiVo finally got their hdtv dvr in the market...i saw the ad, clicked the link and -- what!?  $800!?  holy crap.  maybe it's me, but that's priced out of the park for me (in a bad way, not the homerun way). sure, i'm still 'renting' my dvr from my cable provider, but for a nominal fee that gives me 16 years of rental (and i can upgrade whenever to their newest stuff) relative to plopping down $800 for a fixed-technology device. wow, i think they missed the boat on pricing.  too bad, as a...

vista has hit RC1 milestone

nick pointed it our here that vista hit the rc1 milestone!  right now it is available for beta and early adopter program customers.  hopefully there will be information in a few weeks (or less) for a broader availability. for developers, be on the lookout in your local area for installfests that may occur and get you running on the latest and greatest! Technorati tags: vista, windows vista, rc1, installfest

msi for simple deployments

in writing some plugins for windows live writer i started out creating a deployment package.  first, i suck at writing installers.  i rely on tools to do it for me.  for writer plugins, it really is a simple process to ensure the plugin is installed in the right directory, that's it. so using the visual studio 2005 package project, i went about creating my msi.  add file, put destination directory, build.  when i run the msi, it takes FOREVER.  what gives?  why does a simple operation take so long. it frustrated me, so i gave up and went to inno...

calling all plugin developers!

the windows live writer team has just announced that they will be supporting a new section in the windows live gallery for writer plugins.  this is a great opportunity to get your plugins ready for primetime and ensure that you are listed in the directory.  jeff has been doing a good job keeping track, but now he won't have to worry about it :-). submissions aren't automatic, so be sure to review the criteria.  namely, you need to ensure that you are putting them in an installer package (apparently the preferred is an MSI - more on my opinion here)...

giving dsl a try

a while back i ranted about my woes with high speed internet companies and choices.  when is a monopoly not a monopoly?  apparently when it is a utility. argh, i get frustrated thinking that i have 1 choice for electricity, 1 choice for telephone, 1 choice for gas, etc. -- argh. anyhow, because of the cox acquisition of cableamerica and my concerns about cox services and customer service, i figured i'd jump on the opportunities presented to my by qwest dsl (higher speeds).  anyhow after some bumpy starts (i placed the order 45 days ago and it is just getting...

microsoft and open source

there's been a lot of coverage lately about open source and microsoft projects, namely sparked by the 'death of ndoc' postings all over the internet.  this has caused me some pause to reflect on why...and i'm not sure i have the answer, but it is just interesting to see the surroundings discussions on this. here's one comment i found interesting (speaking on ndoc, etc. -- tools ported from java tools)... The big difference is that the ports are usually maintained by a single person or a very small team whereas the Java tools have a thriving community supporting them...

enter windows live writer

it's official! for the past few weeks i've been able to use a new tool just released, called windows live writer.  at it's core, writer is a blogging client (i'm sure there will be other uses for it in the future, but for now, this is what i use it for).  after seeing the announcement of the tool, i was skeptic.  YABC is what i thought (yet another blogging client, for those not familiar with the YA* acronyms). but i bleed windows blue, so i installed it.  i should point out at this point that i amwas a blogjet...

growing pains of an open source community

well, amidst the scurry and comments of yesterday's rails security issue and resulting patch debacle, today, yet another new version is released and patches for the previous versions. the *MUST UPGRADE* patch of yesterday didn't even appear to fix the issue.  sure, this happens, but maybe if some subtlty was exhibited and some of the feedback (unfortunately after the fact) was leveraged, it could have been avoided and a correct patch along with the full disclosure could have been implemented. with today's new release, it caused me pause of the growing pains of this rails community.  several things happened today:...

rails hits major security flaw

...and nobody knows what it is.  warning: this is a long post, but sit back and read it -- it is quite telling IMO. while reading some of my email list posts this evening, i came across a post on the ruby on rails forum: This is a MANDATORY upgrade for anyone not running on a very recent edge (which isn't affected by this). If you have a public Rails site, you MUST upgrade to Rails 1.1.5. The security issue is severe and you do not want to be caught unpatched. The issue is in fact of such a...

visual studio eye for the dba guy

okay, i'm slightly ashamed to admit it, but today i finally saw the visual studio team edition for database professionals in action.  vsts expert rich Hundhausen was demoing to a customer and i wanted to tag along to see this new feature set available to the team system family. after 40 minutes of seeing some of the simple features all i could say was: cool. seriously.  it was so simplistic, yet so necessary and needed for the db developer world.  here's a run-down of some of the features i saw today: creating db schemas by reverse engineering diff'ing schemas...

send me an internet

i've been reading about the aol snafu about releasing search data.  if you haven't caught that yet, aol released some search data from 650K subscribers (wow, i didn't even realize people used aol search -- i'm assuming that is all from aol subscribers only) for research purposes.  while they removed account-identifying information, it was clear that any intuitive person would be able to sift through the search results and identify trenst based on same user -- thus increasing probability of identifying that person. aol has retracted and removed the data and offered an apology without trying to evade their logic...

getting screwed by cox

where i live, i actually have a few choices for high-speed internet services.  it's actually been great having that feeling of choice in a utility (yes, i consider high speed internet a utility -- municipalites should as well and start offering it), especially when you generally (or at least i don't) have one for electricity, water, etc.  i'd been a customer of cableamerica services for a while.  they were a small provider servicing more rural areas [at the time] of phoenix-metro(and somewhere in missouri, which i found odd).  their customer service is awesome, their services great.  i was one...

cingular will charge for old technology

bravo i say! in a recent decision, cingular has decided to tack on another $5/month to subscribers using older technology handsets on their network. some may think this is rash, and i'm sure people like my dad (who only turns on his cell phone to make calls, yet still gives out his number) will be upset. to cingular, it appears that's going to be okay. in business to succeed and provide best value to the mass of customers tough decisions have to be made. believe me, i learned this the hard way with my home builder. the cingular people...

code camp, oscon, oscamp, no fluff, oh my

well i just wrapped up 12 consecutive days of conference attendance.  whew, i'm spent.  and i'm taking it out on my family...shame on me...yeah, the ones i haven't seen in 12 days.  sometimes that tension just gets wound up.  and no i don't mean taking it out on them physically, so hold off on calling the authorities...just, you know, stressed out and feeling behind...and they get the brunt of your bad attitude.  i'm working on it. enough of the babble...that's not what you're here for -- you're still here right? well, i have to say, i've witnessed several different types...

no fluff: day 3

i started out the day attending software tools that make life easier with jared richardson.  jared took an interesting approaching describing 'a tale of two shops' where in reality it was the same dev shop within 6 months and using two different methodologies...namely the shop got better when implementing source control management (scm) tracking, testing, etc. he had a lot of ground to cover in the short time and really only got to detail in on scm.  he concentrated on talking about subversion mainly, but did poll the audience on what is being used.  there was subversion, cvs, perforce and...

no fluff: day 2, part 2

my day at no fluff just stuff continued with some ajax sessions. i say in on justin gehtland's talk on javascript programming.  justin is from relevance, the same guys bringing streamlined out to the market this past week (and as he tells me a new build on monday). justin said his favorite languages in order are: javascript, ruby, java, c#, and everything else.  yeah! c# made the list ;-).  he's a brave man with his first two being duck-type languages.  it was a good overall discussion on javascript, but nothing i didn't already know -- i think a lot of...

no fluff: day 2

well, on to the next conference!  after oscon, i traveled back home, saw a movie with my wife, woke up and headed out to the no fluff just stuff conference in phoenix this weekend.  because of oscon, i missed the first day of no fluff... so the no fluff day 2 started for me by going to see a session on testing with selenium by neal ford.  selenium is a web testing framework mainly designed for user testing (i.e., user acceptance, use cases, etc.) -- *not* for unit testing.  selenium is a completely javascript application, which means it executes on...

oscon 2006: day 2.0

the second day of the normal conference proceeded along the same path.  keynotes that are 20 minute vignettes again.  i'm not sure why it bugs me so much, but it does.  i think because of this i'm pre-disposed not to get much value out of them...and i didn't. the next session i went to was the history of copyright and what it means to open source by karl fogel.  karl was formerly with collabnet, and is now with google.  i have to say, karl immediately lost credibility with me on his approach.  to me he committed the cardinal sin of...

oscon 2006: day 0.11

we're still not at the official conference, but have done another build, so we've rev'd to 0.11. today is tutorials again.  i signed up for an ajax on rails one and a marketing one (how to market to people who hate marketing). much of the same -- not what i expected as far as classroom learning. :-( the ajax on rails was basically a launch party for the relevance guys and streamlined.  i'd seen it before from one of our local guys pointing it out to me.  but they finally released the gem and i was able to install it...

oscon 2006: day 0.1

i'm spending this week at oscon, the open source conference sponsored by o'reilly.  it's one of *the* conferences for the open source community, bringing together developers and such from all over using various types of open source software and for others to learn from their good/bad experiences and get some general education as well. for me, as an employee of the perceived enemy, you may wonder: wtf?  well, that's a good question.  in my team's role, one of our passions is to understand any opposition and help change perception.  difficult?  sometimes.  yes there are zealots (every side has them), but...

book for sale at oscon

a book for sale: "Just say NO to Microsoft: How to ditch Microsoft AND why it's not as hard as you think." -- nice. tags: oscon, oscon+2006

as seen on campus

nice cheesy 'mailbox' on microsoft campus promoting windows live mail... tags: windows+live, live, hotmail

no msde for you, vista

there is an interesting discussion going on over at eric nelson's blog.  why?  simple, here's the title of the post: Time to move on from MSDE to SQL Server 2005 Express (you do want to run on Windows Vista - don't you?) eric has great points about the reasons for sql 2005 express edition (which is still free and has better features), but i have to admit, i winced at the decision myself...the comments are very interesting to read. tags: msde, sql server express, sql server 2005, sse

mobile software factory

my comrade woodyp led me on to the mobile client software factory.  looks pretty cool and stuffed chalk full of a bunch of patterns and goodness. if you do mobile development, this is *definitely* something to check out   tags: mobile, compact+framework

some cool interactive sites

a friend of mine who's a designer/developer type of fella turned me on to some interesting links today, and i thought i'd share. first, Max Kiesler -- a 'strategic designer' -- he has a ton of posts on ajax designs, etc. -- interesting reads for web developers second, is computerlove...a fun site, but as a golf fan, here's one of the links (in case it isn't on the home page when you visit) that i thought was awesome: a phantom5 digital camera (4000 shots per second) captures tiger woods' golf swing.  very cool. and design 101 for programmers :-) tags: ajax, atlas, web2.0, tiger...

free sharepoint development book

if you are jealous of the people who got the book at teched, well you can get it for free (in PDF form) now. 7 Development Projects with the 2007 Microsoft Office System and Windows SharePoint Services 2007 whew, as if our product names weren't long enough...here's the short version: 7 Dev Projects with MOSS 2007. UPDATE: Leaving a comment below asking for the book will do you no good.  I don't own the book, nor did I ever distribute it...this was a link provided at this time over 3 years ago. tags: sharepoint, moss, office

virtualpc is now free!

wow!  responding to market demands, microsoft has just announced virtual pc will now be free! sweet… get virtualpc for free now!

primecondition.com beta uses atlas

[warning: if you are reading in an aggregator, this post has some video, so visit the site if you can’t see it] well, some cool stuff hapening in the land of heat.  two really smart guys have been working on a project that one of them alluded to earlier this year. well, i’ve been invited to beta test the site/product.  this isn’t necessarily a review of the product…i’ll have to download the end result and get motivated to exercise first :-), but i thought their use of technology use is cool and they are microsoft developers who are passionate about technology. i think simon got motivate when...

Valleyschwag Shipment #2

the latest valleyschwag shipment came -- check out the goods! tags: valleyschwag, web2.0

eweek open source vs .net

eweek labs did a bake off recently and published some findings yesterday in their eWEEK Labs Bakeoff: Open Source Versus .Net Stacks article. some soundblogbytes: Even if the .Net stack had bombed convincingly in these tests, it would probably still maintain popularity in many companies. But its strong showing should give companies confidence that the .Net stack will handle most high-level enterprise needs. the one thing that i didn’t like about the article was the raw publishing of the test results…

kool im - ajax web messenger

a while back anand and i saw some stuff about meebo while at a conference.  today i just saw that Kool IM was released.  same concept really, a web-based-super-nifty-ajax-enabled messenger ‘client’ that enables access to all messenger clients. one thing that strikes me as odd is how willing we’d be to give a third party our login information…isn’t that one reason why everyone hated the passport idea? anywhoo…check it out: Kool IM tags: kool im, ajax, messenger, im

microsoft portable media player?

Microsoft preparing launch of iPod rival well, i can honestly say i don’t know anything about these plans…but i can say i *hope* microsoft gets it right…and by that i mean: don’t just have wmv/wma as the only supported formats: if this is the case, it will fail.  it will fail for me immediately.  mp3 is a decent format.  okay, okay, stand back drm hounds…but seriously…would you buy any music media device that doesn’t support mp3?  and video…let’s make sure it plays mpeg, avi, wmv, mov, etc. size: seriously…with the lessons learned from ipod, it should be clear that size matters ;-) — i...

ms funds odf open source project

today, microsoft is announcing a funding of a project to build the Open XML Translator, which is a set of tools to translate between office openxml and odf documents. msft is also announcing an interop center for office 2007, which apparently is an add-in for office 2007 where you'll get PDF XLS and ODF interop. anyhow, interesting news -- probably moreso that msft is funding this open source effort for three partners for a project hosted on sourceforge...hey, couldn't they at least have said codeplex? ;-) tags: codeplex, odf, openxml

vista, java and ie

after my third install of vista, i again faced the problem of my IE search bar not working.i installed 2 things prior to it not working: primopdf sun java runtime well, primopdf doesn't even work in vista, so i uninstalled thati then uninstalled the java runtime...lo and behold the ie search bar (and other things) worked again.  apparently there is a known issue with the sun java add-in -- beware...or disable it. tags: vista

interesting blogging from a flex-er

some interesting posting going on over at john c. bland ii site. john is a great guy who is well versed in the adobe realm of things (digging flex right now) and attended our mix conference and (i think) actually walked away with an appreciation (and changed perception) of what we are doing on some of the user experience areas. his post on installing vista beta2 his post on toying with the expression tools tags: asp.net, vista, wpf, expression, acrylic, sparkle, cider, avalon

best practices for asp.net

along with the other ‘best practices’ analyzers that have been released (sql, security, etc.), microsoft’s now released one for asp.net 2.0! pretty cool: The Best Practice Analyzer ASP.NET (alpha release) is a tool that scans the configuration of an ASP.NET 2.0 application. The tool can scan against three mainline scenarios (hosted environment, production environment, or development environment) and identify problematic configuration settings in the machine.config or web.config files associated with your ASP.NET application. This is an alpha release intended to gain feedback on the tool and the configuration rules included with it. download best practice analyzer asp.net tags: asp.net

hard core css - interface redesigned

i just noticed the boys at interface (simon and spike — i’d link to spike, but he hasn’t told me his blog yet ;-)) completed their redesign of the interface site. if you’ve ever met simon or heard his philisophical tirades on how you are evil if you ever implement a <td> element for positioning, you’ll notice the site is some serious css goo.  i bet if you took the stylesheet away it would be all sorts of white-as-milk love. anyhow, mad props to simon and spike (and whomever else geeked out on it).  interface for me locally is a premier partner,...

doclibutils source code released

following releasing code for feedreader, the source for doclibutils is now available as well. this is far less mature and has a few known scripting issues, but now those can tinker away! codeplex: DocLibUtils

.net v3 install white paper

via jasonz: there is a new white paper posted on msdn outlining .net fx 3.0 install/detection/etc.

FeedReader open sourced...finally

well, for those that have been emailing, i hope you stayed subscribed.  feedreader has finally found a home and the complete source code is available.  as i’m sure most of you have reflected the code ;-) you’ll know it isn’t brain surgery, but that there are probably some things that could be cleaned up and we know there are areas that need to be fixed. so visit the feedreader codeplex today and get the source released under the creative commons attribution-sharealike 2.5 license. remember, the purpose of open source is to share :-D, so be sure to contribute back your fixes and...

origami for subtext updated

i’ve updated the origami skin for subtext…although gotdotnet is having some problems and i can’t upload it just right now. i’ve fixed a few things thanks to phil and matt pointing out some areas…namely fixed css for safari, opera and ie6 removed the need for modifying the DTP.aspx body element fixed the cookie preservation of the user personalization areas fixed the css images references there are still a few config things that you have to do for your config that will be outlined in the README file. there are still some things i’m working on and one thing that i had (google ad support) was screwing up...

trouble with vista and asp.net installs?

are you running windows vista beta 2 or later?  i am.  more about that some other time and my frustrations as a developer workstation! at any result, one of the problems i’ve been having is getting use to the user access control features (basically run as a least privelege user).  i couldn’t take it anymore and made myself an administrator.  guess what, still didn’t help, imo (again, more about that when i have time to document the scenarios fully — after all, i’m giving the team a chance…it is beta ;-)). UPDATE: scottgu pointed me to this post on how to turn...

create your own opensearch provider

a while back i wrote a dictionary search provider for ie7. i just found this link from eric lawrence providing an online tool for configuring your own search provider…pretty cool opensearch provider creator

new skin for subtext users

well after installing subtext and lurking around, i decided i was sick of the “designed by tech” skins.  don’t get me wrong, most of them were good, but let’s be honest…they are designed by non-designers most of the time. after hunting around, i realized that i’d been playing around with ruby on rails lately and as well with typo.  i remembered that an author had created a pretty cool theme for typo called ‘origami’ — well i downloaded it, deciphered all the references and created my swag at a subtext skin based on that. lo and behold, what you are viewing is...

moved to subtext

i’ve moved the blog to subtext from .text 0.95.  i never got around to getting community server running correctly for me (importing data, etc.) so i figured i’d stick with the easier config… anyhow, deployment turbulance may occur, apologies.

blinq part 2: comparing rails scaffolding

in a previous post i started to take a quick look at the new BLINQ bits released this week at teched.  to recap, essentially the core functionality of BLINQ (i love saying that…they should have named it bling) is to generate a CRUD structure of code and asp.net pages for your data structure.  the “inq” in BLINQ is because the code generated uses LINQ.  okay, all that aside, let’s start taking a look. BLINQ is a command-line tool.  type BLINQ to see the options.  for simplicity comparison sakes for rails, i chose the /noStyle option so it would generate the vanilla-plainjane-nofrills-whiteasmilk...

php is better because it's free

recently i posted an opinion to one of my local user group lists in response to something that irks me as of lately.  granted a few years back this may have been a valid statement, but i don’t think it is anymore. the comment was something along the lines of this (paraphrasing): why use asp.net when you can use php and get what you need for a fraction of the cost. it caused me pause to consider the various scenarios, but i’ll settle for simplicity on the hosted scenario for comparison, because quite frankly, i’m calling b.s. on those type of comments...


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The opinions/content expressed on this blog are provided "ASIS" with no warranties and are my own personal opinions/content (unless otherwise noted) and do not represent my employer's view in any way.