A Dullard's Guide

Information on development, Silverlight, HD DVD, HDi, and whatever else Amy feels is missing from the interblags.

Sliding Puzzle, Silverlight 1.0 Edition

Sliding Puzzle, Silverlight 1.0 Edition

  • Comments 9

If you're an HDi developer who spends anytime reading this blog or the MSDN forum, you've probably noticed that I've mentioned Silverlight more than a couple of times recently.  Silverlight is, of course, Microsoft's platform for delivering rich interactive applications and media experiences for the web.  The final presentation to the user is somewhat similar to Flash, but the development experience is much more focused on allowing designers work like designers, developers work like developers, and to collaborate more effectively.  Silverlight is based off of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) which is a graphics API for Windows applications and was originally called WPF/E (/E = everywhere).

Like HDi, the presentation layer of Silverlight is markup.  Silverlight's markup is called XAML which stands for eXtensible Application Markup Language and is pronounced xammel (rhymes with camel).  Silverlight 1.0 uses JavaScript.  Silverlight 2.0 is currently in beta 1 and also allows you to use managed .NET framework code (like C# or VB).  The final version of Silverlight 2.0 should be released by the end of the year.

Because of the similaries between Silverlight 1.0 and HDi, I thought the most logical thing for me to do was to turn one of my HDi samples into a Silverlight application.  One of the very first HDi samples I published on this blog was a sliding puzzle, so I thought it fitting to make it my first Silverlight application.


(click on the picture to see the project)

Some adjustments needed to be made, of course.  HDi allowed for screen capture, but Silverlight doesn't (to the best of my knowledge).  So I took out all the screen capture code and hard coded an image.  Silverlight 1.0 doesn't have templating (2.0 does, though), so the XAML nodes are all hard coded.  The XAML can be modified on the fly with script, so that approach is an option.  Though, I wanted to stay as true to the original script file as possible, so I didn't add that.

To modify the markup in HDi, you'd call node.style.setProperty, but in Silverlight, the correct call is node.setValue.  And while you would call animateProperty or using a timing block in the markup in HDi, animation is done in Silverlight using storyboards which are declared in the XAML.

And, again, in keeping with the original script, this puzzle uses up/down/left/right buttons just like the HDi version.   This puzzle could be updated to support a mouse.

My attempt at a Silverlight 1.0 version of the sliding puzzle is attached at the end of this blog.  Warning! This is my first real Silverlight app, so from what I can tell, it works.  I can't say whether or not this is the best way to implement such a puzzle with Silverlight.  But here it is for your review.

A brief overview of what you'll find in this project....

  • Default.html launches the puzzle.  The shell of ths file was generated for me by Blend.  There is JavaScript in this file which calls a function in Silverlght.js to create the Silverlight object in the HTML. 
  • Silverlight.js is part of the SDK.  I made no modifications to this file.
  • Page.xaml is the markup file with all the UI elements
  • Page.xaml.js was generated by Blend.  Most of the code for Page.xaml should go in here, but because I already had the code in another file, I just added hooks in here for my key event listener.
  • Main.js is where all my puzzle code is

If you're ready to start doing Silverlight development, there are a couple of tools you will need.  First, download the Expressions Blend 2.5 March Preview.  If you're a Visual Studio user, you should also download the Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 (includes the runtime and SDK).  You can alternatively download the Silverlight SDK and samples separately from the VS tool.

I'm going to continue working on converting some HDi projects I have to Silverlight 1.0 and then 2.0 and hope to post those projects here in the near future.  In the meantime, If you're interested in playing around with some Silverlight samples (1.0 and 2.0), check out http://silverlight.net/Learn/

Attachment: SL_SlidingPuzzle.zip
  • Just to confirm, this won't work on a HD DVD player, correct?

  • Right, this will not work on an HD DVD player.  This runs in a browser with the Silverlight plug-in.

  • Would it be possible to code a "browser" to run silverlight on HD DVD players? Or is Microsoft not that keen on allowing others to use the entire Silverlight library at the moment?

  • The interactivity on HD DVD as defined by the DVD Forum is different from Silverlight (and HDi was Microsoft's implementation of that interactivity specification).  For a content developer (such as yourself) to code a "browser" on HD DVD would be incredibily difficult (you'd have to parse the XAML and re-interepret as markup supported by the player and interpret Silverlight calls, etc).  CE manufacturers could theoretically build something into the player to run Silverlight, but they would need the incentive of content producers writing Silverlight for a set top box (and on HD DVD, the incentive is not there).

    Microsoft is working on getting Silverlight implemented on a variety of devices including cell phones (with an annoucement a few months back with Nokia) and on Linux machines (I believe the plug-in is called Moonlight).

  • So it's not impossible, it just requires alot of dedication, correct? Either way it's a shame, I would have really loved to see HD DVD's first Silverlight title.

    Do you know if the DVD forum announced their future HD plans?

  • Currently, I don't think DVD Forum will announce any future HD plans, because HD DVD is their plan, and if fails.

    However, I think DVD Download and HD Download techniques will be considered as the future HD plans, maybe HDi or silverlight will back at that time.

  • Silverlight had nothing to do with HD DVD, I worried about the future of HDi though.

    The DVD forum probably is planning some sort of a succesor to HD DVD for the next format war,

  • Do you think there will be another format war? Although I hope there will be, but I think this generation will be the last generation of optical disc. They'll be replaced by web and download techniques.

    I really like HDi, however BD will not support it and HD DVD is failed. I don't know where it'll be applied.

  • I think the format war that currently exists is between Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD.  And all current reports show that Blu-ray is not winning due to it's high priced players, discs, and confusing list of profiles.

    I do not have any information on what the DVD forum's plan is for advanced interactivity (HDi being MSFT's implementation).  Though, I can say there are a lot of great lessons to be learned from it (separation of presentation and logic) that will appear in many areas to come.

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