While in the keynote of day 1 we saw the light of Windows Azure Platform, the Microsoft Software + Services platform, on day 2 we actually had two keynotes: a lot of stuff!
Keynote 1: Ray Ozzie, Steve Sinofsky, Scott Guthrie, David Treadwell – on Windows 7, WPF, .NET 4.0, VS2010, Live Framework, Mesh, Office 14 Keynote 2: Chris Anderson and Don Box – A lap around Azure Services platform
As yesterday, I really appreciated the speech by Ray Ozzie, he started out by pointing us to the importance of client user interfaces and how the web can actually improve the value of the PC. By overlapping from PC / Web / phone, the use of these together is more value than just the sum of their parts.
As there were a lot of announcements and demos, I’m listing things I wrote down during the keynote. A lot of them I will come back to later in a more detailed post but this should give an overview of what we saw.
And now I would like to get a few of the CTPs. Will do that after taking the chance to follow a few sessions still today.
Yesterday, during the keynote at the Professional Developers Conference the new Silverlight 4 beta was announced. To tell you the truth I’m really impressed with the number of new features that the team has been able to deliver in beta form just a good 3 months after the release of Silverlight 3 last July. Here’s an overview of the features that for me pop out the most in this new beta.
Please note this is beta release and should be installed only in development environment. There is no go-live license available with this beta release.
To try out the beta you will need Visual Studio 2010 Beta or Visual Web Developer Express 2010 Beta 2. All the links to the tools can be found here: http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight-4-beta/#tools
Webcam and microphone support
Silverlight 4 supports webcam and microphone input. This was a very highly requested feature in the past and has now been included in this version.
Check out the very cool PDC keynote demo where you can use your webcam in a Silverlight application to read a book ISBN barcode and automatically retrieve the related Amazon book information. This is also a great example of how fantastic the .NET support in Silverlight is. For this sample they simply used an open source .NET barcode reader library from Codeplex.
Offline DRM support through PlayReady, this applies to out-of-browser Silverlight applications.
IIS Smooth Streaming support for the iPhone
Yes, this is maybe something you weren’t expecting coming from Microsoft. IIS Media Services 4.0 will support streaming to the iPhone. Note this is not Silverlight support on the iPhone, it’s streaming a format that is supported by the iPhone and generating a video tag that Safari browser on the iPhone supports. Point your iPhone to http://www.iis.net/iPhone to try it out. More information at http://www.iis.net/overview/IntegratedMediaPlatform.
The out of browser functionality is now extending further into the system. While Silverlight still runs in it’s security sandbox, trust can be elevated to run as a trusted application. A trusted application can now read and write files to the typical My Documents, My Pictures etc directories (or equivalent on Mac platform).
A Silverlight out of browser application will never run in admin mode, however a user can be asked for extra permissions. This always happens in a standard dialog interface which cannot be manipulated or changed in look and feel by the developer (fortunately so). Some other enhancements:
WPF uses the same UI language as Silverlight, i.e. XAML. However, there are some important differences which make sharing XAML code directly between Silverlight and WPF projects impossible. The convergence of these two technologies is however very important and therefore you can see some evolution in Silverlight adopting implicit styles, WPF 4 adopting the Visual State Manager and animation easing.
Silverlight 4 is now also using the same Common Language Runtime (CLR), which means the same assemblies will work on WPF and Silverlight (binary assembly compatibility). We’re talking about pure library assemblies, not XAML.
WC RIA Services .NET RIA Services has now been renamed to WCF RIA Services. Walkthrough and source code of the keynote demo can be found here: http://jeffhandley.com/archive/2009/11/18/contososales.aspx
You can also let your feature requests be heard at http://silverlight.uservoice.com/pages/4325-feature-suggestions. During the PDC keynote, Scott Guthrie mentioned that about 70% of the Silverlight 4 feature requests are being implemented.
Lots of stuff to dive into, have fun!
Last week during the ReMix 09 keynote in Belgium, two companies, These Days and Ventigrate officially announced the first alpha release of Sistr. Sistr is a component that makes use of jQuery and Silverlight 3 to render richer fonts in web applications. It’s implemented in such a way that it’s very SEO friendly but at the same time allows you to integrate fonts that would otherwise need to be converted to PNG images.
You might have seen the Flash counterpart of this component, named sIFR. You might want to look at a short comparison table to see the capabilities.
Using Sistr on your site is pretty straightforward and explained on the HowTo page.
How to get started? Easy, just download jQuery library and Sistr component. The standard version does not include the source code, which is available if you want to embed fonts. Unzip the Sistr file, this gives you a small sample project that shows you how to integrate the component in a site.
Congratulations to Ventigrate and These Days for giving back to the community with this tool.
WebMatrix is a free web tool from Microsoft. In one sentence: it’s an all-in-one tool you can use to download, install and tweak and publish a website based on an open source app like WordPress, Umbraco, Drupal, … OR program your own site with an easy-to-use Razor syntax and ASP.NET Web Pages. Now that’s a mouthful!
The beta version brings us a load of new, useful features to build sites even faster. I highly recommend watching the recording of the BUILD conference session: “WebMatrix: uber geek in designer clothes”. A pick out of the new features:
This is Beta, in that context there is no automated installation procedure foreseen so make sure you read the installation notes. It also means that you might have to manually uninstall previous versions. Other than that you should not be having issues with other programs. Note: if you prefer to continue using the released version 1.0, you can download it here.
Download and try it out for yourself:
Recommended article: check out how Scott Hanselman is using WebMatrix and ASP.NET Web Pages with Razor syntax to upgrade an old site: Hanselminutes.com: Rewriting a 5 year old VB.NET WebForms application as an ASP.NET Web Pages application with Razor
Talk to us! Let the WebMatrix team know what you think should be added to the product at https://webmatrix.uservoice.com/forums/128313-webmatrix-suggestions
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: http://live.visitmix.com/
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.
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:
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: http://blogs.msdn.com/xweb/archive/2009/03/18/Microsoft-Expression-Web-SuperPreview-for-Windows-Internet-Explorer.aspx
Azure Services platform was first announced at PDC 2008, with MIX there are a few new updates worth mentioning:
Lots more, some recommended places to check out more:
Tim Sneath’s live blogging on the MIX site: http://visitmix.com/Opinions/ – first thing to read for an almost minute by minute keynote transcript.
Windows Live Messenger Web Toolkit: http://blogs.msdn.com/angus_logan/archive/2009/03/19/announcement-reach-your-people-everywhere-in-real-time.aspx
Silverlight.net site: Getting started with Silverlight 3 Beta.
Microsoft Web Platform Installer v2: http://www.microsoft.com/web
Twitter: lots of people attending MIX09 are using Twitter, I’m also tweeting tomorrow during keynote day 2. You can follow me at @katriendg.
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.
3 minutes on Expression Blend 3: SketchFlow Player
The 3 minutes on Blend 3 series:
In this post you’ll find our top tips for going through Windows Store developer registration, based on the learning’s we’ve had these past few months as we work with Belgian developers to get ready for Windows 8 launch.
Store Portal Dashboard: https://appdev.microsoft.com/StorePortals/ Logging in and accessing the Store Portal, learn about Strong Authorization and account security: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/jj553414.aspx
The registration process is a seven-step flow in which the following elements are important:
Before your apps can go through certification your account needs to be validated. Depending on the account type, there are several steps to be completed.
Both Company and Individual verification is done through a withdrawal on your credit card, which is then reverted directly. The transaction number or amount is used to verify your account. Go to the Dashboard > Subscription page to go through verification.
Here’s a good overview of where to find the account status.
Under the “Profile” link, check the status of your account:
1 – Developer identity validation – Must be set to “Authorized” before any apps can be certified. (Only Company). Vetting is done by an external party “Symantec/GeoTrust” that will send an e-mail to the Approver e-mail you entered in the process of registration. Make sure Spam folder is checked and followed up. You can find more information on the types of proof needed for Belgian accounts through Symantec knowledge base: https://knowledge.verisign.com/support/ssl-certificates-support/index?page=content&actp=CROSSLINK&id=SO17796
2 – Payout account: the status of your bank account information being complete. Must be complete if you are certifying paid apps, or in-app purchase. (Company and Indidual)
3 – Tax profile must be set to “Valid” if you are certifying paid apps, or in-app purchase. (Company and Indidual) Important to note is that the Tax Profile section should be filled in by a company representative, for example the CEO or Financial director.
If you run into an issue with your developer registration, there are several support options available including community forums and the official support team ready to help you (through chat or e-mail).
The Developer Toolbar in Internet Explorer 9 Beta, which you can call by pressing F12, allows you to set the current page’s Document and Browser modes. Useful when having issues with some older sites, but also when checking rendering for your own site with different settings.
‘Quick tip’ posts are short, useful posts pointing to content and tricks that might otherwise go lost in a typical 140 chars on Twitterverse.
My MIX08 countdown sidebar gadget says it: 7 days to go!
Just one week away I can’t wait to be at MIX08. So much coming, so little time!
After Scott Guthrie’s post about the new Silverlight 2 features, I’m hoping we all can get working on our Silverlight 2 applications. Scott gives a glimpse of what is expected but I’m sure much more will be shown at the keynote.
If you are planning to go I hope you have your ticket because since last week everything is sold out. But, the good news if you are not able to join us in Las Vegas: the opening keynote will be streamed live on March 5th at 9:30 AM PST (that’s 5:30 PM in if you’re in Belgium). Add a reminder to your agenda and point your browser to www.visitmix.com to get all the news live. It will be a 2:30 hour session packed with the latest news on Microsoft’s web technologies and tools. I’m expecting quite a few announcements so the 2:30 hours will be time well spent.
The keynote will be kicked off by Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, Vice President of the .NET Developer Platform Scott Guthrie and Internet Explorer General Manager Dean Hachamovitch. In addition to news on Silverlight 2 there will be Internet Explorer news, Expression, Windows Live, ASP.NET and more.
I’ve been preparing my personal schedule of the MIX sessions I want to attend. It’s hard to choose…
In addition to all the sessions and keynote information I’m sure this will be a great opportunity to network and meet new people.
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
The 3 minutes on Blend 3 series:
Last Friday December 4th we had the pleasure to have Scott Guthrie visit Belgium after a few other European countries. For this visit we setup a full afternoon event together with the Visual Studio User Group (VISUG) at a Brussels movie theater. In this post I’m giving you an overview of the events and some resources that might be helpful if you want to go further. The sessions were not recorded.
Setting up an event registration just a few weeks beforehand is not always feasible, however in the case of the session with Scott Guthrie we were fully booked even a week before the event date! Hopefully not too many people got left behind.
The red polo shirts
We need to say something about the red polo shirts. For the occasion we had foreseen red polo's for all attendees as a gig since Scott is quite known for wearing a red polo shirt when presenting. I think this was well received by the audience, we could see smiles all over :-)
Luc Van de Velde kicked off the sessions and showed the video made for MIX09 which also is all about the red polo. Check out the video for yourself: Channel9, how Scott Guthrie prepares for MIX09 keynote. I think Scott Guthrie was pretty surprised to see a full red room but nicely surprised we hope!
Check out all the pictures of the event on the Live Gallery - Scott Guthrie in Belgium - 4 December 2009. The VISUG guys also recorded some interviews with attendees so keep an eye on their site.
In this session Scott did an overview of the newest features in the Visual Studio 2010 Beta IDE, web development settings and overview of ASP.NET 4. This includes improvements in ViewState, CSS rendering, URL Rewriting for WebForms and more. You can download the PowerPoint presentation as well as the demos from Scott Guthries blog.
To get started with Visual Studio 2010 yourself there’s quite some material online.
Silverlight 4 Beta was announced during PDC keynote last November. Scott talked us through the major improvements in Silverlight 4 and showed us some very cool demos including the webcam with effects and a Facebook client in Silverlight Out-of-Browser mode. Download the PowerPoint presentation from Scott Guthries blog. You can have a look at most of the demos by watching the PDC Day 2 Keynote online – check as from 0:53 for Scott’s part.
In this session Scott started to introduce ASP.NET MVC by going through the process of creating a new ASP.NET MVC application and then moving on to what is new in ASP.NET MVC 2. ASP.NET MCV lets you develop without using WebForms but still leaning on the capabilities of ASP.NET Core framework (for example Membership & authentication). It’s a different approach following the Model View Controller pattern in which you have higher testability, a clearer separation of concerns and basically much more direct access to the HTML. WebForms sometimes abstracts part of that. Download the PowerPoint presentation and a walkthrough from Scott Guthries blog.
To conclude, I really had a great time following Scott’s sessions and I’m pretty positive everyone present at the event did the same. Now let’s all dive into it!
Be sure to follow ScottGu’s latest tweets on Twitter.
This is feeling like a tradition since I started working for Microsoft almost three years ago: we’re been organizing REMIX events every year. This year is no different with REMIX10, taking place on September 28th 2010 in De Montil near Affligem.
REMIX events are geared fully towards web folks: web designers, HTML integrators and web developers. We bring in a blend of local and Microsoft corporate speakers, with a keynote that portrays a bunch of local cases and gives you a good overview of Microsoft Web and User Experience platforms. First things first: make sure you register in time, you can choose the User Experience Track or the Web Development Track. Registering for one does not prevent you from changing once at the location but it does allow us to better setup our rooms. Register here.
So, what can you expect this year?
The remaining sessions are to be confirmed really soon. Make sure you follow us on Twitter for the latest updates: @remixbe
Check out our first look at the full agenda on the REMIX10 page. Hope to see you there and spread the word!
After a jetlag, a few days of e-mail immersion and inbox cleaning, finally some time to get into the real stuff and get you a summary of the event. For some non-technical experiences about the event, scroll to the bottom.
First things first, getting into the PDC information is really easy: you can follow ALL sessions online on Microsoft PDC site: https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/timeline.aspx. There are downloads to the PPT presentations, some have mp4 downloads and all of them can be watched online on Channel9. This is an extremely good resource to keep close.
Tip: Greg Duncan has put together the list of all sessions on a single page, with links to each of the video formats and PPT. All in one page, really handy! Thanks Daniel for this tip.
A second tip for a more Belgian insight into the conference is to check out the blogs of Gregory Renard (French) and Gill Cleeren (English), both Regional Directors. They were blogging quite a lot before, during and after the conference.
Hereunder you can find the links to the most important downloads and info pages related to PDC 2008.
The Azure Services Platform was announced during the opening keynote, this is Microsoft’s cloud computing and services platform. Now announced as a CTP you can already download the SDKs and play with the technology locally on your own computer. At this stage the number of developer accounts is restricted though. Sign-up at the Azure site and you might get lucky.
If you are using Java or Ruby you can also start experimenting with Azure as we have released alpha versions for:
On a funny note, I know people are wondering how to pronounce Azure. Even after watching this I still don’t know :-)
Windows 7 has been unveiled at PDC, however this does not mean it’s available for end-users. This is a first preview and at this stage pre-beta bits were given to the PDC attendees. Windows 7 Developer Guide available at MSDN Code Gallery
We saw Surface tables all over the conference. I think this was the first “coming out” of the Surface team as they are preparing for wider commercial launch. The SDK is currently not widely available. In the meantime, check out there two sessions:
CTP for the next version of Visual Studio and the .NET Framework was also announced.
And I’m forgetting lots of other stuff that was released during the PDC week… should update this post as I see them.
On a non-technical level, I had the pleasure to meet with lots of people during PDC, many of them Belgian. We had a drink at the Hard Rock Café with about 30 Belgians at PDC. I would like to thank U2U for sponsoring this drink together with us. It was a perfect time to meet Belgian peers at the also at the conference.
The party at Universal Studios on Tuesday was also lots of fun. The whole park was reserved for the PDC attendees, so no lines anywhere! I had lots of fun in the Simpsons ride (don’t remember the actual name of the ride).
And of course, weather in Los Angeles was just wonderful: 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Almost too hot but as we didn’t see much of the daylight just great for a few moments outside between sessions.
See you next year for PDC 2009.
TechDays 2009 registration is open: this year’s event will take place on March 10th, 11th and 12th in Metropolis in Antwerp. The concept is somewhat different from last year as we will have a full day pre-conference on the 10th and then two normal conference days on 11th and 12th March. Registration is open at www.techdays.be.
While the full agenda is to be finalized in the coming weeks I wanted to take the opportunity of giving you some information on the content that we are planning for the conference.
The pre-conference on March 10th will give you five in-depth sessions on developing for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and using the latest .NET Framework 3.5 technologies. I’ll have more details on this soon, I can also tell you we will have none the less than Jan Tielens and Lieven Iliano from U2U doing the talks.
We have quite a few top speakers lining up this year. From Belgian to international speakers, there are enough reasons not to miss this event. Check out the Brainmasters page to get a first look at the speakers. Here are some highlights: we have Regional Directors, MVPs, speakers from the Microsoft product teams and community folks. Some of the names:
Like last year’s event, again we will be bringing you 60+ sessions of Developer and IT-Professional content. Working together with my new manager Hans Verbeeck we have defined three topics for the three developer tracks: “Client/Web and UX”, “Tools and Languages” and “SQL Server & Data/SharePoint & Office/SOA”.
Here are some of the confirmed sessions:
Best Practices for Managing Project with Team System - by Joel Semeniuk Based on his book " Managing Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System" Joel Semeniuk will provide a deeper look into the challenges and existing opportunities of managing projects using Team System. This session will explore some best practices and tools that you must have when managing virtually any size team.
Data Access Hacks and Shortcuts - by Stephen Forte Struggling with Data Access? Who isn’t? Come and see some Data Access hacks and shortcuts that will make your life easier! In a high energy demo-only session, Stephen shows: how a mere mortal can pass a custom .Net collection to a stored procedure, improves your LINQ queries with Lambdas and expression trees, making complex data models easier to manage in the Entity Framework, creative Sliverlight databinding, LINQ to REST, and transforming your database back end to get enormous performance and productivity enhancements. This is data access for the 21st century! Speaker will also provide guidance along the way about ORMs, LINQ, and EF and encourage Q&A.
Visual Basic 2008 Tips and Tricks - by Lisa Feigenbaum In this session, learn how to turn yourself into a Visual Basic 2008 guru with the new language and IDE features. Tips and tricks include how to maximize your IntelliSense experience, leverage Refactoring features, and improve the performance of your query and XML code. Come learn how to get the most out of your IDE! We'll also explore the integrated XML support in Visual Basic 9.0, and see how you can use the features to work with XML more naturally from your Visual Basic program. With respect to LINQ, we'll go deep into best practices, pitfalls to avoid, and answers to most frequently asked questions.
WCF Tips & Tricks - by Christian Weyer The Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is now 2.5 years old. It is known as a generic communication framework. But the more generic a framework is, the more complex it becomes. And the more features it offers, the more likely it is that developers oversee the important and mighty ones. Christian Weyer shows you his favorite list of WCF tips and tricks to ease the pain - all gathered from practical customer projects experience from the past years. Come and try to find your very own personal favorite.
Fastest To Market: RAD Web Applications with ASP.NET Dynamic Data and Entity Framework - by Ingo Rammer For some applications, time to market is simply critical. If your application is heavily-data driven and backed by a well-designed database schema, you could help yourself a lot be looking at the dynamic duo of ASP.NET Dynamic Data and the ADO.NET Entity Framework. Together, these two technologies allow you to build data driven websites ... quicker than anytime before. In this session, Ingo Rammer will show you how to combine the flexibility of ASP.NET with these new features for quickly building data-driven web sites. (And yes, it even allows you to simply embed a few RAD pages in your big, existing ASP.NET application).
Pex – Automated White Box Testing for .NET - by Peli de Halleux Pex is an automated white box testing tool for .NET. Pex systematically tries to cover every reachable branch in a program by monitoring execution traces, and using a constraint solver to produce new test cases with different behavior. Pex can be applied to any existing .NET assembly without any pre-existing test suite. Pex will try to find counterexamples for all assertion statements in the code. Pex can be guided by hand-written parameterized unit tests, which are API usage scenarios with assertions. The result of the analysis is a test suite which can be persisted as unit tests in source code. The generated unit tests integrate with Visual Studio Team Test as well as other test frameworks. By construction, Pex produces small unit test suites with high code and assertion coverage, and reported failures always come with a test case that reproduces the issue. At Microsoft, this technique has proven highly effective in testing even an extremely well-tested component.
Add the TechDays 2009 event to your Facebook events and register with the early bird discount before January 16th 2009.
I’ll be giving updates on my blog as more sessions and speakers get confirmed.
Hope to see you there!
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)!