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December, 2010 - Katrien's MSDN Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Silverlight 5 features, firestarter keynote and sessions resources


    Last week folks from all around the world attended the online or in-person keynote during the Silverlight Firestarter event in Redmond. Scott Guthrie did the opening keynote in which Silverlight 5 was shown to the public for the first time. The rest of the Firestarter event were in-depth sessions about the current version of Silverlight.

    > You can read the overview of announced Silverlight 5 features in Scott Guthrie’s blog post: Announcing Silverlight 5

    In this post we’ll go through the main topics of the keynote and sessions, and highlight some of the shared information with resources that you can use today.
    Silverlight 5 Beta has been announced for H1 2011. As mentioned by Scott, there were more than 20.000 votes up on Silverlight feature request site (Uservoice). About 70% of those votes are addressed in the new features in Silverlight 5 beta.

    The keynote and Silverlight 5 highlights

    > Watch the full keynote on demand: Silverlight Firestarter Keynote with Scott Guthrie


    Something that is probably not shown enough is the support by IIS Media Services 4.0 released in November, to deliver high quality video to a series of clients and devices.
    During the keynote, Chris Knowlton showed how to use Microsoft Expression Encoder Pro and IIS Media Services to setup a live HD Smooth Streaming site serving up on Silverlight desktop, Windows Phone 7 and iPhone/iPad.
    Please note this is not Silverlight running on iOS but rather automated transmuxing of the video on the IIS server to be compatible with iOS. Chris Knowlton’s demo is fully on today’s technology of Silverlight 4, IIS Media Services and Microsoft Expression Encoder Pro. Chris showed only one unreleased version which is Expression Encoder Pro SP1.
    Scott Guthrie mentioned IIS Smooth Streaming capabilities are coming to Windows Azure in the future as well.


    Note: Scott Hanselman has a great post up on his blog that runs through all the steps: Streaming Live or On-Demand Video from IIS7 to iOS Devices (iPhone/iPad) and Silverlight
    Start using today: IIS Media Services 4.0 and Microsoft Expression Encoder Pro.

    > Download IIS Media Services 4.0

    Announced Silverlight 5 media features include:

    • TrickPlay support with audio pitch correction
    • Hardware decode
    • Remote control support

    Business applications

    John Papa showed a few of his top features for Silverlight 5 business applications and also how to use coded UI testing, now available with Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2 (available for Ultimate and Premium editions of Visual Studio).
    Tim Heuer has a video up on his blog on how to use the Test Manager and coded UI tests.

    > Download Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2
    > Download WCF RIA Services Toolkit December 2010 (by the way, did you know the new Windows Azure Management Portal is built using Silverlight and WCF RIA Services?)

    Announced Silverlight 5 business app features include:

    • Model View ViewModel (MVVM) and Databinding enhancements like binding in style setters, ancestor RelativeSource, debugging support in XAML (yes!!), markup extensions, much more…
    • PostScript vector printing
    • WS-Trust support
    • Out of browser: child windows within app, P/Invoke (on Windows)
    • Enhanced in-browser trusted app: with group policy allow access to My Documents, COM and more
    • Microsoft Visual Studio profiling

    3D and Graphics

    To present some of the new low level 3D features announced for Silverlight 5, Luigi Rosso, Chief Technical Officer and and Guido Rosso, Chief Creative Officer from Archetype were invited on stage.
    You’ll have to watch the video to watch Scott Guthrie in 3D. The red polo shirt plays a role, not saying more than that…


    Announced Silverlight 5 graphics features include:

    • GPU accelerated 3D API
    • Hardware acceleration with Internet Explorer 9

    The keynote was closed by a very interesting demo of how the SQL Server team is building new products on top of Silverlight.

    In-depth sessions

    In-depth sessions are about what you can use today (Silverlight 4), although some of the speakers throw in a few notes when something new in the future will easy a certain task.
    All sessions are available on Channel9 for on-demand viewing or download in different formats including MP3.

    Data Binding Strategies with Silverlight and WP7 by Jesse Liberty

    Did not yet have the chance to watch this session but according to Twitterserve it was pretty good to say the least.

    Building Compelling Apps with WCF using REST and LINQ by Yavor Georgiev

    Building Feature Rich Business Apps Today with RIA Services by Dan Wahlin

    Download the announced update: WCF RIA Services Toolkit December 2010

    MVVM: Why and How? Tips and Patterns using MVVM and Service Patterns with Silverlight and WP7 by John Papa

    John uses the Book Club example to go through the session material. He explain the most important aspects of implementing MVVM pattern and how to integrate with WCF RIA Services and others.

    Shout outs to some of the open source MVVM libraries available out there:

    Tips and Tricks for a Great Installation Experience by Tim Heuer

    Tim Heuer has written about the Silverlight installation subject earlier on his blog. 

    Tune Your Application: Profiling and Performance Tips by Mike Cook & Jossef Goldberg

    Performance Tips for Silverlight Phone 7 by Jaime Rodriguez

    You can find Jaime’s source code, presentation and a performance cheat-sheet (very useful!) in his blog post:

    New Silverlight Labs

    A new set of labs was also released during the event. You can follow online or download the content for viewing offline.
    These labs are focused on Silverlight Line of Business (LOB) applications with practical, real-world samples.

    View Firestarter labs

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Web Camp Belgium on 24 January with Scott Hanselman and James Senior: attend or watch online


    Microsoft Web Camps are free events that allow you to learn and build on the Microsoft Web Platform. Good news: Web Camps are coming to Belgium!

    The Belgian Web Camp event on 24th of January 2011 is a full-day event where will hear from Microsoft experts on the latest components of the platform, including ASP.NET MVC 3, jQuery, HTML5, OData and WebMatrix.
    Scott Hanselman is doing a two-hour keynote together with James Senior, which is then followed by three sessions delivered by Gill Cleeren and Katrien De Graeve.

    Two options to registering for the event:

    1. Register to attend in-person:
    2. Register for the keynote live stream and see how you could have free breakfast delivered to your company:


    Location: Business Faculty
    St. Lendriksborre 6 / Font Saint Landry 6
    Brussel - Neder over Heembeek 1120
    Timing: Monday 24 January 2011 – 8:30 to 17:00

    WebCamps_signature_v2 (2)





    Welcome and registration



    Opening Keynote by Scott Hanselman and James Senior on ASP.NET MVC 3 and WebMatrix



    Coffee Break



    HTML5: How about today? (Katrien De Graeve)


    What is HTML5? With more and more browsers supporting HTML5, ECMAScript 5 and other web standards, developers now have a strong web platform they can use to create a new class of web application that is more powerful and interactive than ever before. What's in HTML5 that lets us take our sites to the next level?
    Expect demos and code!






    Come in as jQuery zero, go out as jQuery hero (Gill Cleeren)


    jQuery is the web developers’ new favorite. This lightweight JavaScript library has developers writing JavaScript code again, and loving it! What previously needed 20 lines of code can now be done in just 3 lines. Who wouldn’t be enthusiastic? Microsoft showed its love for the library by fully integrating it in Visual Studio. I dare to ask: should you stay behind? In this session, we’ll take a look at jQuery and we’ll teach you what you need to know to get you on your way. More specifically, we’ll look at selectors, attributes, working with WCF, jQuery UI, and much more. You could easily walk out of this session wearing a sticker: “I love jQuery”!



    Coffee Break



    Oh, look at that data: using oData to expose your data over the web (Gill Cleeren)


    While applications, sites, tools all generate tons of useful data, it is sometimes hard to access that data from your own application. To increase the shared value of data, Microsoft has introduced the Open Data protocol. Using Open Data, we can expose any data source as a web-friendly data feed.
    In this session, we'll start by looking at oData, to make sure that everyone is on board with all the concepts. We'll see how it adds value for the developer and the end user for many of Microsoft's products and services. We'll then look at how we can build our own oData services using WCF Data Services, from working with the basic concepts to more advanced features such as query interceptors and service operations.
    Come and learn about information and entity services that are stunning in their simplicity!



    Closing drink


    Speakers Web Camp Belgium

    Scott Hanselman
    hanselman_86x98Scott works out of his home office for Microsoft as a Principal Program Manager, aiming to spread good information about developing software, usually on the Microsoft stack. Before this he was the Chief Architect at Corillian Corporation, now a part of Checkfree, for 6+ years. He was also involved in a few Microsoft Developer things for many years like the MVP and RD programs and he'll speak about computers (and other passions) whenever someone will listen. Before Corillian and Microsoft, Scott worked as a Principal Consultant at a local Microsoft Solution Provider called STEP Technology, speaking, writing, consulting, and very much not getting rich during Web 1.0.

    senior_137x154James Senior
    James works for Microsoft in Redmond as the Web Evangelist on WebMatrix, ASP.NET MVC and jQuery. He helps run Microsoft's top developer conferences like PDC, Mix and TechEd as well as being the mastermind behind Web Camps - free training events, the Web Camps Training Kit and TV show on Channel 9.

    Gill Cleeren
    gillGill Cleeren is Microsoft Regional Director (, MVP ASP.NET, INETA speaker bureau member and Silverlight Insider. He lives in Belgium where he works as .NET architect at Ordina. Passionate about .NET, he’s always playing with the newest bits. In his role as Regional Director, Gill has given many sessions, webcasts and trainings on new as well as existing technologies, such as Silverlight, ASP.NET and WPF. He also leads Visug (, the largest .NET user group in Belgium. He’s also the author of “Silverlight 4 Data and Serivices Cookbook, published by Packt Publishing.

    Katrien De Graeve
    katrienKatrien is a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft Belgium and Luxembourg, focusing on Microsoft Web and UX stack. In this role she works with the community and is responsible for developer events. Before joining Microsoft in 2007, Katrien was active as a trainer, a web developer and later a team lead at a Belgian web agency. Very passionate about technology Katrien De Graeve has been active with the Internet technologies for over 14 years.


    Prepare for the event: check out Web Camps TV on Channel9 and use these resources:

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows Azure SDK 1.3 and the new Windows Azure Management Portal Now Available


    At PDC10 last month, we announced a host of enhancements for Windows Azure designed to make it easier for customers to run existing Windows applications on Windows Azure, enable more affordable platform access and improve the Windows Azure developer and IT Professional experience. Today, we're happy to announce that several of these enhancements are either generally available or ready for you to try as a Beta or Community Technology Preview (CTP).  Below is a list of what's now available, along with links to more information.

    The following functionality is now generally available through the Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio release 1.3 and the new Windows Azure Management Portal:

    • Development of more complete applications using Windows Azure is now possible with the introduction of Elevated Privileges and Full IIS. Developers can now run a portion or all of their code in Web and Worker roles with elevated administrator privileges. The Web role now provides Full IIS functionality, which enables multiple IIS sites per Web role and the ability to install IIS modules.
    • Remote Desktop functionality enables customers to connect to a running instance of their application or service in order to monitor activity and troubleshoot common problems.
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 Roles: Windows Azure now supports Windows Server 2008 R2 in its Web, worker and VM roles. This new support enables you to take advantage of the full range of Windows Server 2008 R2 features such as IIS 7.5, AppLocker, and enhanced command-line and automated management using PowerShell Version 2.0.
    • Multiple Service Administrators: Windows Azure now supports multiple Windows Live IDs to have administrator privileges on the same Windows Azure account. The objective is to make it easy for a team to work on the same Windows Azure account while using their individual Windows Live IDs.
    • Better Developer and IT Professional Experience: The following enhancements are now available to help developers see and control how their applications are running in the cloud:
    • A completely redesigned Silverlight-based Windows Azure portal to ensure an improved and intuitive user experience
    • Access to new diagnostic information including the ability to click on a role to see role type, deployment time and last reboot time
    • A new sign-up process that dramatically reduces the number of steps needed to sign up for Windows Azure.
    • New scenario based Windows Azure Platform forums to help answer questions and share knowledge more efficiently.

    The following functionality is now available as beta:

    • Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role: Support for more types of new and existing Windows applications will soon be available with the introduction of the Virtual Machine (VM) role. Customers can move more existing applications to Windows Azure, reducing the need to make costly code or deployment changes.
    • Extra Small Windows Azure Instance, which is priced at $0.05 per compute hour, provides developers with a cost-effective training and development environment. Developers can also use the Extra Small instance to prototype cloud solutions at a lower cost.

    Developers and IT Professionals can sign up for either of the betas above via the Windows Azure Management Portal.

    • Windows Azure Marketplace is an online marketplace for you to share, buy and sell building block components, premium data sets, training and services needed to build Windows Azure platform applications. The first section in the Windows Azure Marketplace, DataMarket, became commercially available at PDC 10. Today, we're launching a beta of the application section of the Windows Azure Marketplace with 40 unique partners and over 50 unique applications and services. 

    We are also making the following available as a CTP:

    • Windows Azure Connect (formerly Project Sydney), which enables a simple and easy-to-manage mechanism to set up IP-based network connectivity between on-premises and Windows Azure resources, is the first Windows Azure Virtual Network feature that we're making available as a CTP. Developers and IT Professionals can sign up for this CTP via the Windows Azure Management Portal.

    But there is more:

    Microsoft provides you different ways to assist you in making cloud computing and Windows Azure in particular more accessible to you and your business.

    • Windows Azure Introductory Special: This is a new offer specially made for you. Limited of one per customer and includes a base amount of the Windows Azure platform services with no monthly commitment.
    • Windows Azure for MSDN Subscribers: This is a special offer only available to MSDN subscribers providing a total of 16-month free access to the Windows Azure Platform.

    Building your first application on the Windows Azure Platform is easy and can be done using these simple steps:

    1. Download the Tools: Get Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio to start building and debugging applications for Windows Azure.
    2. Create your first local application: Learn how to create a simple ASP.NET application in Visual Studio for Windows Azure.
    3. Deploy your application to the cloud: Learn how to deploy and run your sample application in Windows Azure.

    If you would like to see an overview of all the new features that we're making available, please watch an overview webcast . You can also watch on-demand sessions from PDC10 that dive deeper into many of these Windows Azure features; check here for a full list of sessions.  A full recap of all that was announced for the Windows Azure platform at PDC10 can be found here.  For all other questions, please refer to the latest FAQ.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    New Windows Azure Platform Features Available Today


    Building out an infrastructure that supports your web service or application can be expensive, complicated and time consuming. Whether you need to forecast the highest possible demand, build out the network to support your peak times, getting the right servers in place at the right time or managing and maintaining the systems, these actions require time and money to do.

    The Windows Azure platform is a flexible cloud computing platform that lets you focus on solving business problems and addressing customer needs instead of building that infrastructure to have your business running on. Furthermore with the platform, there is no need to invest upfront on expensive infrastructure all together. Pay only for what you use, scale up when you need capacity and pull it back when you don’t, all this power is provided by the Windows Azure Platform at your fingertips.

    During PDC 2010 we announced much new functionality to become available at the end of this calendar year. Some of these new functionalities are available as of today:

    • Full Administrative Access
    • Full IIS Access
    • Remote Desktop
    • Windows Azure Connect
    • VM Role

    Reading about cloud computing is one thing, experimenting and trying it out is a completely different thing. As such Microsoft provides you different ways allowing you exploring these new functionalities while making cloud computing and Windows Azure in particular more accessible to you and your business. All this and much more can be done in three easy steps.

    Setup a Free Account

    You will need an account and subscription to access the Windows Azure Portal allowing you to deploy your applications. Microsoft offers two choices for having a free subscription:

    • Windows Azure Introductory Special: This is a new offer specially made for you. Limited of one per customer and includes a base amount of the Windows Azure platform services with no monthly commitment and free of charge.
      1. Navigate to the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal.
      2. Select the country you live in and press continue.
      3. Right click on the sign in link to sign in the portal.
      4. Click on the View Service Details link under the Windows Azure Platform section.
      5. Locate the Windows Azure Platform Introductory Special offer and click on buy.
      6. Provide a name for the subscription.
      7. Check the Rate Plan check box below and click next
      8. Enter the Billing information and click next
      9. Check the Agreement box and click purchase.
      1. Sign in to the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal.
      2. Click on the Subscriptions tab and find the subscription called “Windows Azure Platform MSDN Premium”.
      3. Under the Actions section, make sure one of the options is “Opt out of auto renew”.  This ensures your benefits will extend automatically.  If you see “Opt in to auto renew” instead, select it and click Go to ensure your benefits continue for another 8 months.
      4. After your first 8 months of benefits have elapsed (you can check your start date by hovering over the “More…” link under “Windows Azure Platform MSDN Premium” on this same page), you will need to come back to this page and choose “Opt out of auto renew” so that your account will close at the end of the 16-month introductory benefit period.  If you keep this account active after 16 months, all usage will be charged at the normal “consumption” rates.

    Note: You can have both offers active at the same time providing even more free access to the Windows Azure Platform and related new functionalities.

    Download the Required Tools

    Following tools are required to access the news features on the Windows Azure Platform:

    Use and Experience the New Features

    As part of the release of the new features, new detailed walkthroughs are being made available in learning how to use these new features:

    • Introduction to Windows Azure: In this walkthrough, you explore the basic elements of a Windows Azure service by creating a simple application that demonstrates many features of the Windows Azure platform, including web and worker roles, blob storage, table storage, and queues.
    • Deploying Applications in Windows Azure: In this walkthrough, you learn how to deploy your first application in Windows Azure by showing the steps required for provisioning the required components in the Windows Azure Developer Portal, uploading the service package, and configuring the service.
    • Virtual Machine Role: Windows Azure Virtual Machine Roles allow you to run a customized instance of Windows Server 2008 R2 in Windows Azure, making it easier to move applications to the cloud. In this walkthrough, you explore Virtual Machine roles and you learn how to create custom OS images that you deploy to Windows Azure.
  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip [link]: Visual Studio 2010 SP1 Beta has been announced


    Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 Beta has been announced by Jason Zander and S. Somasegar.

    SP1 becomes available to the public in two phases:

    1. MSDN Subscribers can get the download as of now
    2. General public will be able to download the Service Pack as of December 9th 2010

    Improvements include IntelliTrace support for 64bit and SharePoint, Performance Wizard for Silverlight, Unit Testing on .NET 3.5 and more.

    Link for download and more information: Jason Zander’s blog post “Announcing Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 Beta”.

    Note: If you have ASP.NET MVC3 RC installed, Razor syntax intellisense will break. Please read Jason Zander’s note about current compatibility and wait for an update to the RC.


    Quick tip posts are short, useful posts pointing to content and tricks that might otherwise go lost in a typical 140 chars tweet on Twitterverse.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip [link]: Windows Phone 7 Developer Guide now available


    Last week the Patterns & Practices team announced the availability of the Windows Phone 7 Developer Guide. The guide describes a scenario around a fictitious company named Tailspin that has decided to include Windows Phone 7 as a client device for their existing cloud-based application.

    The book consists of seven chapters:

    Tailspin sample application is provided in two versions: just the Windows Phone 7 client or the combined Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure application. The simplified version allows you to test the version locally with simulated services without the need to install Azure development environment on your machine.


    Quick tip posts are short, useful posts pointing to content and tricks that might otherwise go lost in a typical 140 chars tweet on Twitterverse.

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December, 2010