One of the most awaited and requested features before the release of Silverlight 3 Beta was the ability to run Silverlight applications out of the browser. To be clear, this is not completely out of the browser, since the browser chrome/host is still being used. However, the application can be run directly from the Start menu (or desktop), depending on what the user chose.
As a developer you can configure the application so that it can be installed for out of browser use. Next to out of browser, the application can also run offline but only if your code works in such a way that this is allowed. By that I mean you can work with IsolatedStorage to save some information local and use network detection to check for a network. If your application relies on services or files that are online you can disable working in offline mode (but still enable out of browser).
While this feature has been blogged about with Silverlight 3 there are some notable differences with the Silverlight 3 RTW. First it’s important to note the syntax for the application manifest has been changed. Silverlight 3 Beta breaking changes: while the Beta version used “<Deployment.ApplicationIdentity>” the RTW version now uses <Deployment.OutOfBrowserSettings>
<Deployment.OutOfBrowserSettings><OutOfBrowserSettings ShortName="OobDemo Application" EnableGPUAcceleration="False" ShowInstallMenuItem="True">
The good news is Visual Studio is now giving you an editor to configure the out-of-browser settings.
Choose Silverlight project properties > Check “Enable running applications out of the browser” and click the “Out-of-Browser settings” button.
You might notice Visual Studio will create a separate “OutOfBrowserSettings.xml” file to store the settings. The contents of this file get concatenated with the AppManifest.xml file upon build, which is of course logical. If you need to change any of the settings manually (like the ShowInstallMenuItem), you will need to do this in the OutOfBrowserSettings.xml. Adding these out of browser settings in the App manifest file will result in duplicates.
When I now run this demo application and right-click I have the option to install the Silverlight application. This is the default behavior. You can also hide the display of the Install option in the right-click menu and control this programmatically, for example by adding a button “Install”.
When controlling the installation through your own interface you can use Application.Install to install the application out of browser, however this needs to be triggered by a user action. In the sample below I’m responding to a button click event:
private void Install_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
if (Application.Current.InstallState == InstallState.NotInstalled)
Looking forward to seeing applications make use of this feature, there is one out just as Silverlight 3 is released: it’s Sobees Silverlight Twitter client. Worth checking out (just right-click the app to install locally).
In this video we look at how to use an XML file as the basis for Sample Data in Expression Blend 3. We look at where the data gets imported, adapting it and binding it to a DataGrid control.
3 minutes on Blend 3: #10 XML ample Data and DataGrid
The 3 minutes on Blend 3 series:
In this video we look at how to add navigation from within a composition screen. We also take a look at the SketchFlow player and see how navigation from the composition screens affects the player’s navigation.
3 minutes on Blend 3: #7 SketchFlow Composition Screens & Navigation
In this video we look at how to use States in a SketchFlow project in order to add interactivity to screens. By using screens you can give the prototype more real looking interaction. For example, having a state to show or hide a block of information upon a click event. You will also see that States are taken into account by the SketchFlow player giving reviewers direct links to the available states on a screen without any work from your side.
3 minutes on Blend 3: #8 SketchFlow States
In this video we take a look at a new feature in Expression Blend called Sample data. We create a new sample data source and edit some of the properties, next we create a ListBox with a binding to the collection of data. You will see that Blend also allows you to create a details view and binds to a ListBox selected item automatically. The fact that Blend does some of this stuff automatically for might be good but in case you need more control that’s also possible, check out the recommended link below for some more in-depth information.
3 minutes on Blend 3: #9 Sample Data (master-detail)
SketchFlow is a new feature that is part of Expression Blend 3. I’ve had the chance to demo this new feature to quite some people over the last months, and this seems to make sense to quite an array of different profiles: information architects, designers, developers, project managers.
Because just 3 minutes on SketchFlow is really too little to show SketchFlow I’m splitting this feature up into several videos.
In this first video on SketchFlow we introduce the creation of a Silverlight application prototype. SketchFlow projects can be either Silverlight 3 or WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), from there on you’ll be creating the flow of the application, giving the customer the chance to react on a more interactive form of prototype than you would generally deliver in the form of documents or images.
A SkechtFlow screen is a Silverlight or WPF user control/window, so that means you can add interactivity to it, working some parts out and leaving others in a very “sketchy” way. Check out the below video to see how the application flow can be created using SketchFlow.
In this edition we look at how to add content to SketchFlow Silverlight application screens. We look at the Sketch styles that are supplied in Expression Blend so that the UI of your screens is making clear to your customer that this is a prototype and not a finished design. This video is available in three languages.
3 minutes on Expression Blend 3: SketchFlow Adding Content
In this video we continue on where we left off in the previous video: after letting the customer or reviewer give feedback on our application, we now see how to import feedback files into Blend. We also see how this feedback can be shown in the different screens and how Blend informs you about out of date feedback.
3 minutes on Expression Blend 3: SketchFlow Player
This series will introduce concepts of Expression Blend 3, with a short 3 minute video available on MSDN Chopsticks in Dutch and French. The accompanying blog posts will give some resources or insights.
I was actually planning to do the videos in Dutch and French only (the two main languages in Belgium) but then I just went for it and added a version in English for most of the coming videos, so stay tuned... I’m starting with the workspace and then have a number of videos addressing SketchFlow.
Today we start with video no. 1, which addresses the Workspace, assets pane and saving your own workspaces.
In this video we look at the SketchFlow player in Silverlight. After creating an application flow and adding some content, the SketchFlow player is used by your customers/reviewers to look at the different screens, application flow and transitions. The player also allows giving feedback and saving this feedback for use in Expression Blend.
The 3 minutes on Blend 3 series:
In this video we look at composition screens in SketchFlow. You can think of a composition screen as a control that is reusable in several other screens. Good examples of where you’d use this are: logo & header section, the footer, reusable content parts. As soon as you are creating content in the SketchFlow application that is identical on more than one screen you might consider transforming it into a composition screen.
3 minutes on Blend 3: #6 SketchFlow Composition screens
Just nine months after the release of Silverlight 2 in October 2008, the new version is here: Silverlight 3 has been released today!
Next to Silverlight 3 you can also find the RC version of Expression Blend 3, including SketchFlow. This RC version targets Silverlight RTW version so you can start using it already to build Silverlight 3 applications. In this RC release you will also find the first public release of SketchFlow.
Where to get the downloads:
Next to Silverlight 3, a new release of .NET RIA Services is also available. Note however that .NET RIA services has not been released (RTW), it is an update to the preview version.
And not to forget Deep Zoom Composer targeting Silverlight 3 is also available. This version includes some new features like slideshow support, links and menus.
So what is new with this Silverlight 3 release? Well, quite an extensive list, just look at this page on the Silverlight community site which has a feature comparison chart. My favorites are: Out-of-browser support, multi-touch support (Silverlight on Windows7), Perspective 3D, BasedOn styles, effects, behaviors, DataForm, etc.
Enjoy (the light)!
Today at the World Partner Conference in New Orleans, we announced the business model for the Azure Services Platform, and opened up free testing for everyone. Windows Azure, SQL Azure and .NET Services will be commercially available at the Professional Developer Conference 2009 (November), in the meantime developers can test the CTP as from today at no cost.
Check out the Windows Azure blog post for the full details.
You might also have seen the announcement of name this name change. CTP is expected in August 2009. Follow the official blog for more details.
Visit the Azure Services Portal to get started: http://www.azure.com/.
At Microsoft we like to drive special attention to people that do great work in the developer community, as you might know the MVP title is a recognition of this effort.
Since yesterday we have two new MVPs in Belgium, of which one in the developer space.
Therefore, I would like to congratulate Maarten Balliauw for being awarded MVP in the ASP/ASP.NET category. Maarten has been working a lot around ASP.NET MVC lately, of which he also released the first book on the subject (as far as I know it was the first one at the time): ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly. Next to that, Maarten’s blog is a fantastic resource. He does depth posts around ASP.NET MVC, Azure, VSTS, PHP, OpenXML and much more. Congratulations Maarten!
We would also like to congratulate the MVPs that have been re-awarded. You have been doing great work!
Hans Le Roy - Internet Explorer - http://hlrnet.com/technoblog/?tag=ie8 Loïc Bar - Client App Dev - http://blogs.codes-sources.com/loicbar/default.aspx Ludovic Lefort - SharePoint Services - http://lefortludovic.blogspot.com/ Riemer Grootjans - XNA/DirectX - http://www.riemers.net/ Jan Tielens - SharePoint Server - http://weblogs.asp.net/jan/ Wilfried Mestdagh - Windows Live Platform Bruno van Dooren - Visual C++
Congratulations to all of you!