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March, 2009 - Katrien's MSDN Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
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    Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control (CTP), using Deep Zoom technology


    Talking to some colleagues the other day, I showed them a cool sample application that is available to show off the Silverlight VE Map control, which has been released in CTP mode at MIX09. The application uses Silverlight Deep Zoom technology to zoom into the location from a Twitter user and show it on the map. Check it out:, it’s created by Earthware and hosted on Windows Azure.

    This gave us the idea of offering our office visitors a cool way to locate the Microsoft Belgium office. That said, I put up a sample in a few minutes. I’m planning to add some functionality like adding route calculation, for which I’ll be using the Virtual Earth Web Services. In this post though, I’m using only the map control. It literally takes less than 30 minutes from downloading the CTP to getting the map on the Silverlight app.


    You will need either Silverlight 2 or Silverlight 3 beta runtime, SDK and tools for Visual Studio. The Silverlight pre-requisities can be downloaded from

    Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control CTP
    In order to get access to the VE Silverlight CTP you need to go to the Microsoft Connect site, login or sign-up, fill in the survey and then you will get access to the downloads section.

    Adding the map control to the Silverlight application

    First we need to create a new Silverlight project in Visual Studio. In that project, make sure to add a reference to the Microsoft.VirtualEarth.MapControl.dll (found in the install directory you chose for the VE Silverlight map control).


    To add the map control first add a namespace reference and then call the Map control in XAML.

    <ve:Map x:Name="veMap" Mode="Aerial" ZoomLevel="1" /> </UserControl>

    Adding this will show the Virtual Earth map zoomed out to the maximum.


    Zooming in to a location

    To zoom in to a location I got the longitude and latitude and pass that on to the map. At the same time I’m switching from Aerial to Road mode. The user can still use the default map controls to go back to Aerial mode. In this case I’m zooming in to the location of the MS Belgium office.

    private void NavigateHome(int zoom)
         Location homeLongLat = new Location(50.890995015145464, 4.45862411989244);
         veMap.Mode = new RoadMode();
         veMap.View = new MapViewSpecification(homeLongLat, zoom);

    This will zoom in into the Belgium office location.



    Further reading

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    .NET User group and VB online forum have merged


    ACCB.NET, a .NET user group in the city of Bruges but welcoming people from all other the country has now merged with the VBiB online forum. The merger is final and new official name and logo are here. From now on, ACCB.NET & VBiB is the new official name.

    With this merger the user group has the best of both worlds: the offline meetings and the online part in the form of a forum.

    - ACCB.Net organizes two (offline) meetings a month, one being a theme evening, one a practice evening. Topics vary, from .NET in general to specific parts and frameworks.

    - VBiB, through the online forum, offers the same type of content and help online.

    There is a focus towards helping students and hobby and beginning programmers in priority, but of course seasoned programmers are very welcome.
    If you are a seasoned programmer and have a wish to share your knowledge don’t hesitate to contact the user group. They are actively looking for new members and people that would like to share their knowledge.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    New sessions by VISUG: Back 2 Basics


    As you may have noticed, VISUG normally delivers on the latest technologies. That’s a great way to keep your skills updated and learn about all that is coming. However this time VISUG is starting with a new type of session: Back 2 Basics.

    Back 2 Basics sessions are held in the afternoon (as opposed to evening) and address a technology or topic that is not on future technology but rather on existing technology.

    [Update: there are three sessions already foreseen at this stage. Thanks Gill for pointing out my mistake :)]

    Want to try it out? Registration is free and you get two sessions to choose from:

    Back 2 Basics: LINQ
    Two sessions of 50 minutes are foreseen:
    A language focused overview of the foundations of LINQ in C#3.0 (50 minutes) and LINQ to SQL compared to LINQ to Entities. (50 minutes)
    Date: 15 April 2009 from 2 PM to 4 PM, at Microsoft Zaventem offices.
    By Kurt Claeys.
    More details and registration here.

    Back 2 Basics: ASP.NET Caching
    Gill Cleeren will be presenting a two hour session on the ASP.NET Caching model.
    Date: 29th April 2009 from 2PM to 4PM, at Microsoft Zaventem offices.
    More details and registration here.

    Back 2 Basics: Integrating Membership, Role Management and Profiles into Web Applications 
    Presented by: Pieter Gheysens 
    Date: May 27, 2009   from 2 PM to 4 PM, at Microsoft Zaventem offices.
    More details and registration here.

    Next to the two above mentioned sessions also more of the “regular” type of sessions are announced:

    Mocking, by Maarten Balliauw  - on 7/5/2009 
    Domain Driven Design, Yves Goeleven  on 18/6/2009 
    IronRuby: The .NET developer should not fear the dynamic language, by Ivan Porto Carrero  on 30/6/2009 
    ORMs: Entity Framework vs NHibernate  by Kurt Claeys & Davy Brion, on 10/9/2009

    Full list here.


  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    MIX09 Day 1 Announcements (Silverlight 3, Expression Blend Sketchflow, SuperPreview)


    MIX 09 keynote has just finished, luckly everything was streamed live so that people like myself not lucky enough to be in Las Vegas could also follow. Good news for the rest of the event as well: about 24 hours after the sessions, all is available on demand from the MIX website:

    Bill Buxton kicked off the keynote talking about design and experience. Next Scott Guthrie aka “The Gu” got the announcements rolling. The on-demand video of the keynote should be available soon at the MIX site.

    Silverlight 3 Beta 1

    A new beta of Silverlight five months after the Silverlight 2 RTW in October 2008 marks Microsoft’s investment in this technology for sure, and delivers quite some interesting new features.

    Running Silverlight apps offline and out of the browser

    One of the new features in this beta is the ability to build Silverlight apps that work wherever the user is: at home, at work, be it with or without connectivity. Silverlight provides the ability for app consumers to detach applications for offline use, launch the application locally, and to remove the application later, all the while ensuring the application stays up-to-date. The developer on the other side has the ability to program against the loss of connectivity.

    Other features, not an extensive list:

    • Controls and framework
      • Multi-select listbox
      • Web Service credentials support
      • Save File Dialog
      • Multi-touch support
      • Element to element binding
      • Binary XML support
    • Media:
      • Native support for MPEG-4-based H.264/AAC Audio
      • Support for H.264, smooth streaming full HD (720p)
      • Raw audio/video support meaning audio and video can be decoded outside the runtime and rendered in Silverlight, extending format support beyond the native codecs.
    • Graphics:
      • Support for 3D
      • GPU support
      • Bitmap effects
      • Custom animation easing
      • Improved image scaling features
    • .NET RIA Services: Multi-tier data programming model, with caching, validation support


    Expression Suite

    Blend 3 (preview)

    The main new feature demoed was Sketchflow: end to end design experience, going from conceptual models to interactivity to finalized applications. Check out Christian Schorman’s blog post about this feature.
    Also worth mentioning: coding C# or VB is now possible within Blend 3.

    Download Expression Blend 3 preview
    As far as I could find out, Sketchflow was only demo’ed but is not yet part of the preview download.

    Note: try installing Blend 3 preview on a test machine or VM, especially if you are working on Silverlight 2 projects. Opening a Silverlight 2 project in Blend 3 will upgrade the project to Silverlight 3 and that’s probably not what you want.

    Expression Web – and SuperPreview

    One of the announced features of the new Expression Web is something called SuperPreview. This tool allows you to test your rendering using several browsers and browser versions, without having to install the actual browsers on the machine.

    Check out the Expression team blog and find the link to the beta SuperPreview dowload:

    Azure Services Platform

    Azure Services platform was first announced at PDC 2008, with MIX there are a few new updates worth mentioning:

    • FastCGI support: good news if you want your PHP or Ruby hosted on Windows Azure
    • Full trust applications
    • Geolocation: at this moment there are two US based datacenters to choose from but you get the idea: through the Azure Services Developer Portal you get to choose on which location your apps run. This is utterly important for applications that need to comply with certain geographic regulations for keeping data in a certain location (in a country for example). More on this on the Windows Azure team blog.

    Lots more, some recommended places to check out more:

    Tim Sneath’s live blogging on the MIX site: – first thing to read for an almost minute by minute keynote transcript.

    Windows Live Messenger Web Toolkit: site: Getting started with Silverlight 3 Beta.

    Microsoft Web Platform Installer v2:

    Twitter: lots of people attending MIX09 are using Twitter, I’m also tweeting tomorrow during keynote day 2. You can follow me at @katriendg.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Geeky Girl Adventures in London


    After a very busy but satisfying week with TechDays 2009 in Antwerp, I was able to join a group of girl geeks for a special trip to London.

    In short: a fantastic experience I won’t forget soon. Let me start from the beginning…

    Brussels Girl Geek Dinners ( is a group originally started by Sarah Blow in London. After attending a few of the girl geek events in the past I wanted to do something more for this group, TechDays seemed like the perfect occasion. The number of women at the technical conference is always very low, any way to get this number up is a plus. Facilitating the BGGD #11 event was a fun and informal way to show our support.

    BGGD #11

    Last Tuesday (pre-conference day of TechDays) we were able to assist Clo (@bnox) in organizing Brussels Girl Geek Dinner #11 at Metropolis Antwerp. Biggest girl geek gathering up till now with around 170 people attending! As Clo put it, Microsoft loves girl geeks!

    DSC_6865The event started with a presentation around DigiGirlz and Kodu (a visual game programming language) by my fellow evangelist from California: Lynn Langit. A great presentation about the work she is doing in the US to start a curriculum to get young girls interested in IT. Looking forward to seeing Kodu out of alpha so we can get young girls in the family and friends started with this.

    Second presentation of the evening was Sarah’s high-speed overview (done in an interesting way) of mobile development. Although I’m not doing mobile development at the moment I think I should get started with a few try outs soon.

    And then not to forget the great networking in a (bit) crowded foyer at the Metropolis. Nokia presented some goodies as well, although I was unable to really hear what they were saying due to all the noise. Goodie bags and goodies were great, I even spotted a few of the male invitees with the pink goodie bags… ;-)

    Adventures in London: BGGD #12

    For BGGD #12 we got something very special, I’m still thinking about the nice encounters and events this last Saturday.

    It all started with an enigmatic e-mail from Clo to a few of the BGGD regulars: tell us what mobile phone you are using and keep 14th of March free… then we discovered a good week ago that we would be travelling to London by Eurostar with a group of 40 girl geeks!

    Eurostar developed a twitter/live mobile platform especially for the event, which of course I think they will be expanding in the future. The platform allowed all of us to update our location and status, attach a Flickr picture and get this directly posted on our Twittter accounts. Check out the application on

    We got together at Brussels Zuid/Midi station to board the Eurostar, and all of us got a SIM card to allow free data transfer while in London (offered by Mobile Vikings). I was lucky to get a second HTC Diamond borrowed from a colleague working for the Windows Mobile group :) Easy for keeping my own number and phone available during the day.

    In between foreseen appointments we were free to form groups and do some shopping, loaded with vouchers and special deals. Didn’t really get to do any of the stores with deals but that was more a personal choice.

    Our first appointment in London was a lecture at the Apple store, by Presentation at Apple store by Jess Greenwood and Molly Flatt. A bit fast but nonetheless a very interesting presentation on social media trends.

    Second appointment, and for me the most valuable part of the whole experience was a meeting with the London girl geeks and French bloggers at The Berkeley. The venue itself incredible nice and we got served some very tasteful and fashionable looking delights.

    I got the chance to meet some of the London girls and we got talking about technology. It was great to exchange ideas and views on the technology but of course also on other personal stuff. I’m hoping to have new chances to continue these conversations in the future.

    Exchanging Twitter nicknames or adding the girls in LinkedIn was our way of keeping in touch for the future.



    To finish off, looking at this sign on the tube it looks like London knew we were coming :)

    Mind the girls

    Check out loads of pictures on the Flickr GGSL group:

    Other girl geeks blogging on BGGD #11 and #12:

    And there’s certainly more out there.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Silverlight Drag & Drop Manager published on CodePlex


    Great to see the community publishing new stuff for the community.

    Kevin Dockx, the Sivlerlight guru as they call him over at RealDolmen, has recently published the source code, documentation and even an online working sample of drag & drop controls for Silverlight 2.

    > Silverlight Drag Drop Manager on Codeplex

    Project Description (Codeplex)
    Silverlight Drag Drop Manager allows you to easily implement drag and drop behaviour in your Silverlight projects by providing a DragSource & DropTarget control, which act as a content container and can contain any SL user control. Highly configurable.

    Great work Kevin!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    MIX09 Sessions, my favorite picks


    MIX09 is just a few weeks from now, good time to get a good look at the sessions and choose a few I’ll be watching. I’m guessing most sessions will be online less than 24 hours after the event. I should be blocking some days in my agenda to catch up, since I’m not going this year.

    The keynote, of course, will be worth watching. I’m expecting a few announcements around Silverlight 3, check out this Channel9 interview with Scott Guthrie for some hints.

    My session picks:

    • From Concept to Production: Microsoft Expression Blend, by Celso Gomes (Nibbles Tutorials ring a bell?) and Christian Schormann.
    • How Razorfish Lights Up Brand with Microsoft SharePoint (I did some SharePoint development in a past life… so I’m always interested in seeing new stuff on SharePoint).
    • Designing the Windows 7 Desktop
    • Simplifying Distributed Access Control with Microsoft .NET Services, by Justin Smith
    • Live Framework and Mesh Services: Live Services for Developers, by Ori Amiga. I was at one of his sessions at PDC08. He’s a fantastic and very motivated speaker. After attending one of his sessions you just want to start developing right away!
    • What's New in Microsoft SQL Data Services, session abstract is not very elaborate since they will only be able to give the details after the keynote. New stuff definitely worth watching…
    • RESTful Services for the Programmable Web with Windows Communication Foundation
    • What's New in Microsoft Silverlight 3, by Joe Stegman
    • Choosing between ASP.NET Web Forms and MVC
    • The Next Generation of Microsoft Virtual Earth, by Chris Peddleton – again details will only be released after the MIX keynote so new stuff will surely be announced
    • Building Amazing Business Centric Applications with Microsoft Silverlight 3, by Brad Abrams (details after MIX keynote)
    • What's New for Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Developers in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
    • And so many more, can’t choose!

    Special mention for these two not to miss sessions by TechDays speakers:

    • Working across the Client Continuum, Laurent Bugnion
    • Lighting Up Web and Client Applications with Microsoft Live Services, by Belgian Regional Director Gregory Renard

    Find the full agenda here.

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March, 2009