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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 class
  • Data binding – much needed and welcomed
  • UI enhancements (animations for simple features)
  • Embeddable maps

Great release, and a great addition to any Silverlight developer’s toolbox.

Bing Maps in Silverlight using Layer shapes

Download the SDK here: Bing Maps Silverlight Control SDK and check out the interactive SDK.

Facebook .NET SDK

An updated (actually 3.0) release of the Facebook .NET SDK was also released.  Are you a .NET developer writing Facebook applications or desiring to integrate the social network into your applications?  Check out the Facebook .NET SDK which provides:

  • Silverlight-compatible assembly for handling all the logic to communicate with Facebook platform and has specific support for XAML data binding.
  • Web API for Facebook IFrame/FBML applications
  • Using ASP.NET MVC?  There’s an assembly to support that model as well

The Facebook .NET SDK encapsulates the interaction with the developer platform for Facebook and should help .NET developers in web or client get started in a familiar way with Facebook.  I’m excited to see what folks might do with Silverlight and Facebook!

Download the Facebook .NET SDK here and get links to getting started with the Facebook API.

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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 the intellisense and it doesn't have to actually be the implemented file.  Make sense?  Probably not. 

My colleague Marc has created a Codeplex project for enabling Virtual Earth intellisense.  Basically he's created a helper Javascript file that you can reference in your project to enable the intellisense.  Note that this does not actually get referenced in your project (meaning, the Javascript file isn't downloaded to your users), but rather just leveraging the VS2008 Javascript intellisense reference scheme to 'trick' the IDE into giving you intellisense for your referenced Virtual Earth API.  This is accomplished because the Javascript reference of the helper file is a design-time only helper...not affecting any true reference to the Virtual Earth control.

Once you do that, you'll get something like this:

Marc did a great job getting a lot up and running with this helper file.  He's recorded a short screencast on how it works to help you understand it a little better.  And if you are interested in helping contribute to the project, please watch the screencast for more information.

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just found out about a great feature on windows live maps.  how many times have you needed to provide directions to someone (or a group of people) that you may not know where they are coming from?  you could give them the address and have them map it out themselves, which is usually what most people do.

on your web site you might even enable them to see a map and enter an address for specific location directions, after all, that person might know better shortcuts than the mapping services right?  well, windows live maps has a feature which can give you (a website owner or just a party planner) both worlds.  it is implemented as '1 click directions' and here's how it works.

first go to windows live maps and enter an address to plot.  i'll use the scottsdale center for the arts, the location of where the azgroups.com team has arranged for scott guthrie and others from the silverlight team to come to phoenix for an event.  i typed in 'scottsdale center for the arts, scottsdale, az' and it gives me back some options.  i click on 1 click directions:

and it now gives me a map of the location with 4 different directional instructions from the north, south, east and west:

perfect little added value to this typical scenario.  now i can email someone that link, print it out for a party, or put the link on a website.  and it still gives the user control to start from a specific location:

so the end user gets the best of all worlds in their online direction searching!  thanks live maps!

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miss the days of devdays?  me too.  my team is trying to bring a little of that spark back!  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 (): take a look at the ado.net entity framework, linq and the ado.net data services (project 'astoria').
    • office as a developer platform (tim heuer): didn't know you could easily write office applications using managed code?  let me show you how easy it is and what visual studio 2008 has done to enable this and make it even easier.
    • what is new in visual basic 9 (): that's right.  beth massi -- if you are a vb'er, you've no doubt heard the name from the vb team.  we convinced her that she needed to be a part of this and she agreed!  come learn from beth all the new goodness that is VB9: xml literals, object initializers, anonymous types, extension methods, lambda expressions and some wicked intellisense improvements!

architect track:

    • why user experience matters: face it, developers are not good at defining user interfaces and thus it is often an aspect that is left out.  let's discuss the reason this needs to change and how attention to the user experience affects application adoption.
    • agile development at microsoft: the team from patterns and practices will discuss how they have fully adopted agile methods in their development team and their learnings over the years.
    • the Windows Live platform: think windows live is just virtual earth?  think again!  come hear about the services available to you as service-based building blocks that microsoft has exposed for your use!

this is going to be a great day and a must-see event.  it is completely free to attend.  come hang out with us.  we will also have a couple of surprises throughout the day and some fun stuff to show as well.

register for your event today:

PHOENIX 29 JAN REGISTER HERE

DENVER 31 JAN REGISTER HERE

do not miss out on this opportunity to hear from some locals as well as some people we are dragging out from redmond and the product teams!

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contest alert, contest alert!  i wrote a while back about creating your own virtual earth 3d tour using collections and the live platform.  by doing this you can create your own windows media video file of your locations using virtual earth 3d rendering.

well, now you can benefit.  the virtual earth team is hosting a contest.  what do they want you to do?  they want you to build up some interesting collections and create the virtual tour.  after you've done that, post it on soapbox or youtube (or both) and submit your entry.   

this should be a fun few minutes for you to mess around with virtual earth 3d.  they've posted some samples such as a major league baseball tour, etc.  since i'm ineligible, here's some ideas noodling in my head:

    • seven wonders of the world
    • united states war battlefields
    • government capital buildings
    • royalty residences (i.e. US president white house, parliament, whatever the dude who runs italy lives in)
    • amusement parks
    • nfl football fields
    • airports

anyway, have fun with it, get creative and submit your entries!