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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.



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...

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...

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: ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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) ...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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....

Pano versus Pivot: Windows Phone Design Days content available

One of the biggest discussions I started getting into when Windows Phone development was announced to the world was sparked with this single question I posed to our internal Windows Phone developer teams: What is the use case for when you would want to use a Pano versus Pivot application layout? I asked this in the context of an application for Yelp that I was writing.  Information was similar but not identical.  It was only similar in the sense that the data was all about user reviews and venues.  In my eyes I saw this like the fact...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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,...

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...

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: ...

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...

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? ...

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...

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...

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. ...

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:...

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...

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 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 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.

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 Tools RTW

UPDATED: See last paragraph about offline installation. Sorry for the short post, this is more of a public service announcement.  When the Silverlight 2 runtime shipped, we shipped the Visual Studio tools along with it.  The tools download was labeled “RC1” and caused some confusion.  There were some reasons for this, but regardless it still targeted the Silverlight 2 release runtime. Today we released the RTW (Releast To Web for those who are wondering what that means) of the tools.  There is no need to re-download the runtime or anything.  All you need to do is download the...

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 ...

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 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)!...

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...

Silverlight 2 UI Templates

One of the things I hear a lot about it wanting well-designed control templates/styles for developers to use in Silverlight (and WPF).  As someone with that missing creativity gene, I agree.  While we wait for some of these galleries to emerge (and designers to contribute), there is some hope for the rest of us today. For WPF developers, there has been a commercial resource available (not free) in the templates provided by XAMLTemplates.net.  They provide various styles available for purchase for WPF templates and styles. There also have been some emerging in the Silverlight.net community gallery (look for...

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...

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...

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...

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)...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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: ...

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...

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...

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> ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

ATMs, design and XAML

I’ve been a Wells Fargo customer for a long time.  As a financial institution it has served me well.  I’ve never really put much thought into the services I use and the interactions I have with their systems.  Actually I take that back – I make heavy use of the online banking system and have noticed some likes/dislikes, but overall pleased. Over the past year, the automated teller machines (ATM) have undergone some design changes that, while subtle, have been impressive and welcome additions to the ATM experience for me.  It really made me actually notice a change in...

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...

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 ...

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...

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,...

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...

NY Times Reader on Mac with Silverlight

A while back the team at the New York Times newspaper produced a digital reader for their content, dubbed ‘Times Reader.’  The technology powering that reader experience (“the digital newspaper that reads like the real thing”) is Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), part of the .NET Framework.  It is a remarkable experience for viewing digital news in a traditional format.  It provided online and offline reading capabilities mixed with some new and innovative ways of viewing related stories. Portions of the reader were even transformed into a starter kit framework: Syndicated Client Experiences Starter Kit.  This kit provides the initial...

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...

New and great Silverlight examples

There are some really great application concepts emerging using Silverlight.  I cam across two that I feel are really demonstrating great use of the technology, both in the code as well as attention to detail in the user interface.  Both of these examples make great use of layouts, controls, etc. within Silverlight 2 to show what is possible with some imagination and the platform. The first is the “My Travel Management” site which leverages real travel information to represent the scenario of looking at flight arrangements.  It definitely is a twist on the Silverlight Airlines, providing a little more...

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...

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’: ...

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

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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. ...

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

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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

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...

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...

write a plugin for expression encoder

remember that feature i was mentioning that is a plugin for expression encoder?  you know the one that enables you to publish the output immediately and directly to the silverlight streaming service? well, how would you like to write your own encoder publishing plugin.  perhaps you have a process with a content delivery network?  or have some custom process you want to implement in your own workflow (save as an encoder job file, etc.) for ongoing media encodings?  james clarke just announced a quickstart guide on developing publisher plug-ins for encoder. the code looks relatively simple to implement: [EncoderPlugin("Zip Plugin from scratch","Enables output...

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...

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 ...

visualizing the presidential debates

i found this very interesting site at ny times today which titles itself as 'analyzing the details' of the republican debate (the recent youtube one). aside from the video transcript interface (being able to select a topic and have the video and text jump immediately), there is the transcript analyzer which presents this visualization below: very cool experience.  i'm able to visualize the time blocks and highlight the large blocks to see the topic/text that is taking that area.  additionally, you can see how much time each candidate actually talked.  it looked like guliani and romney capitalized the time...interesting. anyhow, a pretty cool/different...

.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...

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? ...

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

some more silverlight 3d

saw this on the 'sphere...using ulead, swf2xaml jeff and michael created 'silverlightvr 360,' showing an image of a jeep in virtual 3d.  the user is able to move the image on along both axis points to look at the object (jeep) in a virtual 3d view. tools and directions are listed on their write-up here. tags: silverlight , 3d , xaml , swf2xaml

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...

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...

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...

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...

silverlight released, go to a devcamp!

now that silverlight is 'officially' released, maybe you've been waiting for that "RC" label to go away.  okay, no more excuses, time to start digging in.  what better way to do that then cuddle up with a few of your closest unknown friends and hack away, barcamp style! some fine folks have organized a SilverlightDevCamp in two areas and they are free to attend and get some SWAG, some learning, and make some connections.  designers, developers, people with macbooks, everyone is welcome. what is a silverlightdevcamp?  i'm glad you asked.   SilverlightDevCampSF is an upcoming gathering, inspired by BarCamp, to build Silverlight applications, It's...

silverlight runs on linux and other news

wow, what a day, i'm sure you're reading all about it but here's some recap: silverlight 1.0 release to web silverlight early adopters: Entertainment Tonight, Home Shopping Network, WWE expression media encoder 1.0 release (middle of press release) and holy cow here's the news for developers: microsoft officially partners with novell to deliver moonlight as the silverlight implementation for linux.  booyah.  you can read all the details about it here. ...

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. ...

setting expectations in user experience

i've finally found the ultimo mp3 integration for my auto.  i don't have a new car, i don't have an aux jack, and i'm no longer in high school where i care about deep bass or wicked features, my factory stereo works fine thank you very much.  fine, that is, except that i can't play my mass collection of audio (unless i do it 6 CDs at a time). well, i've found it.  unfortunately the actual store is in atlanta, ga, usa.  a little too far for me to drive and get it installed...so i begin my research of installing it...

why tafiti is important

well, you've seen the flurry of tafiti no doubt (at least if you are a regular subscriber to things silverlight).  i'm not here to say "go check it out" and add another post to the flurry, but instead to perhaps look at why tafiti is important. you see, when i look at the site, i think it is cool, interesting, unique, <insert-favorite-word-here>.  but at the same time i'm a little opinionated about the ui design choice.  i should be clear that i'm no professional designer at all, and all of this is my opinion of course.  but i look at the...

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...

implementing silverlight controls in 1.0

i just put up my latest screencast featuring a sample on how to create your own user control in silverlight version 1.0.  this is about a 24 minute screencast that walks through creating the XAML as a user control (not the primary focus) quickly, and then consuming this user control in a silverlight 1.0 application, creating the control dynamically using createFromXaml. i also realized that in the screencast i mentioned that i was using the 'open as web site' feature in visual studio 2008 instead of just right-clicking the project in blend and choosing 'edit in visual studio' -- but then...

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...

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...

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: 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...

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 - 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...

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,...

facebook + code = facephone and virtual friends

what?! you don't know what facebook is?  haven't you heard all the cool kids are doing it so you should totally jump on it with complete disregard to whether or not there is any benefit to you at all.  then just accept every single friend request and you can have yet another disparate network of your own!  (i'm actually experimenting with adding random friends to see if people accept them the way myspace grew -- friends in myspace seem to almost be a chest-pounding reputation/currency thing.) seriously, though if you haven't heard about it, it is worth a read. ...

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: 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: 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

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...

bad ux: features not available to users

i was recently logged in to a members-only web site (of which i'm a member) and noticed two buttons in the left navigation titled: Administrator Options Record Keeping Information upon clicking on either one i was presented with a pop-up and this message: Please note: In order to speed up some of the lookup functions of the website, it was necessary to enable the Website Admin Button for all user screens. The Admin Button is only functional for users with Admin Rights. Clicking on the Admin Button will check if the user is a current...

great ux: espn and mlb

i remembered watching the super-bowl via esp.com and even mentioned my experience in a previous post.  well, tonight espn proves to be a winner for me again.  while watching the dbacks and randy johnson stomp on colorado, i moved to espn.com and their gamecast view...it is incredible.  i didn't have a tv nearby, so i have no idea how out-of-sync it was, but the play-by-play visuals were great, down to the diamond being the shape of the field where they are playing...here's a shot: when a ball is hit, they even have an animated baseball going in the direction...

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: 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

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...


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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.