Jaime Rodriguez
On Windows Store apps, Windows Phone, HTML and XAML

  • Jaime Rodriguez

    tool to create motion path animations for silverlight...

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    One animation that is in WPF and not silverlight is  AnimationUsingPath ..   [you create a path, and have an element animate following  that path] ..  

    For quick prototypes, I thought it would be handy to fake path animations by capturing the keyframes and replaying them in silverlight...  I can do it all with out code or math, which is nice for designer's doing rapid prototyping..
    The gist:

    1. Create an animation in Blend for a WPF project ..
    2. Add the control in the sample code below to the WPF page that has your animation..  
    3. [optional] configure a couple of settings if the control guesses them wrong..
    4. Click Capture --
    5. Now you have KeyFrames you can cut & paste into a Silverlight animation... 
      1. Create a dummy translate animation in Silverlight project for your same element..
      2. Replace the keyFrames inside the animation with the ones from the tool .. 
      3. An extra nicety is that once you have done that, you can replay the silverlight animation using blend..

     

    Here is what the control looks like:

    image

    The settings:

    • Animation Name == name of storyboard you want it to run..  (used to call begin on it )
    • Element to Animate == name of UIElement target of the animation: ( used to capture its transform at each keyframe)
    • KeyFrame type:  Spline or Linear?
    • Frames per second -- how often to sample..  

    If you are a coder, all of these properties can be set programmatically via dependency properties ...  Look at Page3.xaml in the harness attached with the source.  

    Here are a couple of quick samples of results: ball and fly.. [created by SysTim, thanks bro] ... and my original ball and fly
    Disclaimer: the paths were created rather quickly and I sampled at only 30 fps ..  you likely need to tweak the settings and paths for a smoother experience..  and do some math and code for perfect/production smoothness .. but for prototypes the tool is handy and you can tweak the animation before and after in blend..

    The source code for the control is here ..  If you create a better showcase animation let me know or put a comment pointing to it.

  • Jaime Rodriguez

    Expression Design tips...

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    Expression Design tips I learned while at the  Express Yourself contest in San Fran last week.. :

    1. The list of features that design does not support when importing Adobe illustrator files is in the readme ... It is here.. 
    2. To use the Clipboard ( Cut  & Paste ) between Design with Expression Blend, you should set the options under Edit -> Options -> Clipboard (XAML)...   here you get options similar to what you do when selecting File-> Export XAML  ... The default settings are for WPF... so if doing silverlight you need to change these...

     Along with those two tips there a few common issues that you will have to workaround ...  [the design team is on top of these, but likely needs to wait for a Service pack or similar]

    1. Design works in WPF device independent units 1/96 of an inch.. It does all conversions for you .. So highly recommended you work at 96 DPI ..  If you work at say 72 DPI you are going to see your export to be 4/3 the size you expected...  
    2. Design puts an <?xml >  directive on top of their files..  Though this is still valid XML ...  CreateFromXaml ( ) does not parse it ...   [this applies to using downloaded object and creating from XAML in a file..  I believe it works fine if you use the Xaml files as a Source..
    3. Design automatically generates names ...  (Group1, Group2,  Path1, etc. ) which can be an issue for Silverlight since it likes Unique names...   [this is only issue if loading two files into single object ... a simple  replace of x:Name="  to x:Name="prefix   does the trick .. .

     

    PS -- The contest results were quite impressive... stay tuned at the VisitMix.com blog where I think they will show the videos of the competition ..

  • Jaime Rodriguez

    Interesting posts for week of 6/4 to 6/10 ...

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    I traveled most of the week so did not blog ... from the blogs, I read here are some of my 'faves' for the week..

    • Glenn Plock shares details on the future or Smart Client Software factory and migration to Acropolis
    • Jon galloway shares his thoughts on SVG and XAML ...  
      Only addition to his thoughts/concerns  would be that it is very doable to use Illustrator to get to XAML ...Illustrator has a free 30 day trial.. Once in illustrator, not only try the plug-in to export... you can also try opening the ai file with Expression Design... and exporting the xaml from there...  I have great results lately with Design's capability to read AI and export as xaml.
      {note: expression design also has a 30 day trial, this whole thing is still free}
    • Free designer training ( Blend and Design ) from lynda.com ... Tim has the details..
    • Dwayne blogged about HostVisual and creating non-interactive WPF UI in background threads ...  good stuff, I subscribed to his blog in hopes he continues to post..
    • Microsoft User eXperience Evangelist (UXEs)  are aggregating their blog at http://design-for-innovation.com/ ...  These are sharp designers who know a lot about user experience; though the aggregation is still in the works , it might be worth keeping an eye on it ..
    • Peggi wrote the most complete article in writing a WIC enabled codec. I worked with an ISV that wrote a WIC Codec for their Vista version of their software; they were quite happy with the 'benefits' ... which Peggi summarizes much better than I ever would:
      "Building your CODEC on the Windows Imaging Component platform makes it possible for all applications built on WIC to get the same platform support for your image format as they get for the common image formats shipped with the platform. It also enables the Windows Vista Photo Gallery, Explorer, and Photo Viewer to display thumbnails and previews of images in your format using the decoder that you provide. For Raw formats, it enables more sophisticated imaging applications to take advantage of your decoder's Raw processing capabilities. Depending on the encoder options you support, you can also expose unique capabilities of your encoder to enable applications to take full advantage of the advanced features of your image format" ...  
    • [FYI, WPF is built on WIC, so once you have the codec you will be able to open your custom image format with an <Image Source=".. " /> tag  ...]

     

    Cool stuff I heard about :

    [Movies]

    • I watched Hannibal rising on the plane from NY to seattle ( my hands cramp if I type on plane) ...   fell asleep..  the first 15 mins were interesting cause it explained the 'why?' ... the rest was gory fill-time..
    • I went to theater for "Ocean's 13" ... I was a fan of Ocean's 11 so I had to go see this one..  Though I laughed a few times, quite a bit of the movie was a little too far fetched for me ...   I wish I had waited for video instead of theater..

     

  • Jaime Rodriguez

    Acropolis CTP1 released to web...

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    Acropolis is a set of components and tools (add-ins to Visual Studio) to help you build smart client applications..
    To check out and download acropolis, you can go here.  There is also a 12 min video there

    Just a few immediate thoughts on what excites me about acropolis:

    • Framework-like features for building WPF LOB applications.
      • You get good structure out of the box -- hopefully leading to good architecture.
      • You get code out of the box (e.g. a Doc/View like we did in MFC)  so you can focus on functionality instead of wiring File->Open ..
    • Toolability
      • So far, we have had great success with developer/designer collaboration between Blend and VS; now with Acropolis we show framework-like toolability for XAML as well as WPF's rich extensibility.   {arguably that was proven with the
    • Acropolis shows our continued 'client investment'; in the midst of all this RIA buzz we have seen lately, Acropolis is a good reminder that for certain apps, a smart client architecture is still the best option.. don't compromise on experience if you don't have to..
    • The 'architecture decisions' they have made have been outstanding..
      • Though they target and are optimized for Windows Presentation Foundation, they are presentation agnostic, so you could possibly create or reuse a Windows Forms  User Interface application and reused the business components.
      • Skinning, Theming, Databinding, Commanding.. All of the UI goodness we have seen as clients evolve come together in acropolis...
    • It has a cool codename ..

    [Some of you might know Acropolis as an productization and WPF implementation of the Composite Application Block released by our Patterns & Practices team..  You are right, it is all that and a bag of chips...    If you are a CAB user, no worries, the P&P team will release migration guidance to move to Acropolis.  ]

    Lastly, there are several sessions for Acroplis at TechEd; be sure to look for them...
    Kathy Kam and David Hill are the speakers... If you are at TechEd and want to hook up with them, drop an email w/ your contact info and I can pass it along..  else, provide feedback in the forums or their blogs: Kathy   , David's blog ..

    I will get back to Acropolis soon - traveling this week..

    [PS -- Claiming a Technorati Profile.  maybe that will force/encourage me to blog a little more..
    I got the 'blogging for dummies book' last week but have not read it, I have been hooked on Javascript Definitive Guide and it is a long, but very good one] ..

     

     

     

  • Jaime Rodriguez

    list of silverlight bloggers & and silverlight FAQ ...

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    quite a few people have asked  "what are the silverlight blogs we should be reading" or "where is the FAQ"...    
    I don't have the only answer, but I can share what I read and my getting started doc, here it goes:

    Note that none of these replace www.silverlight.net. I am just looking to save you people 15 mins from digging through a lot more contennt on that site...  [but you have to get to the other content eventually]

    Please let me know what I missed ...  what helped you? and where did you get stuck that has not been documented...

    [Update if you click on the OPML, and get an empty page, please do "View Source" on the page to see the OPML content ..will track it tomorrow and put a fix in the comments to avoid people getitng the dupe rss entry]

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