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!
Today developers can start with the final migration of their Beta Windows Phone 7 code to RTM, as today the developer tools hit RTM version. This means that as of now code can be developed against the RTM version, with the final step before submitting your app to the Marketplace. The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace will start accepting submissions early October, in the meantime it’s a good idea to get registration done as this can take some time to get all required documents through.
Download the RTM tools: Windows Phone Developer Tools package is a free single download containing all of the tools that developers need to create apps and games for Windows Phone 7: Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, the Windows Phone Emulator, Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone, and XNA Game Studio 4.0.
Silverlight Toolkit for Windows Phone
A special version of the Silverlight Toolkit to be downloaded separately from CodePlex contains these features, amongst others:
Check out this video with Charlie Kindel and Scott Guthrie celebrating the final version of the tools, notice how a few of the upcoming apps are being previewed:
Also recommended: Windows Phone Developer blog post by Brandon Watson on the final tools release.
And don’t forget the Belgian 5K Contest! If you’re in Belgium, don’t forget you still have about two weeks to register for the Windows Phone 7 5K Challenge.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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)!
First of all, what is XNA? If you haven’t read upon this, XNA is a framework and a set of tools that allow you to create games on Windows and even Xbox 360. Check out these resources to get started: XNA Developer center on MSDN: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/xna/default.aspx Community site at http://creators.xna.com
Official release is now XNA 2.0 but recently the Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP was announced. This version has several updates that allow you to more seamlessly integrate and deploy games for the Zune family. Now, I know this product is not on sale in Belgium but if you can get your hands on one you can do really cool stuff with XNA on it.
Interview with MVP and author Riemer Grootjans
Last month I sat down with MVP and author Riemer Grootjans to talk about his new book on XNA. “XNA 2.0: Game Programming Recipes”, by Apress was released in July 2008 so it was about time we interviewed Riemer. Check out the video on Chopsticks, there are some very nice demos from the book in there as well.
By the way, did you know there are four other videos on XNA from an event done last year in Belgium. Check it out: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?list=tag&id=20
XNA-BUG – User Group event
In addition to Riemer, we have a second XNA MVP in Belgium: Brecht Kets. Together they started up the XNA Belgian User Group. I already announced it on this blog previously but in case you haven’t registered: XNA-BUG is doing a launch event for the user group on November 6th in Ghent. Register here and find out about XNA here in Belgium: www.xnabug.net
There is a free extension for Visual Studio available for a few months already, which I only now found out through a newly released video on Channel9: Visual Studio Toolbox: JScript Editor Extensions.
>> Download the extension Watch the Channel9 video
>> Download the extension Watch the Channel9 video
Note: if you’re looking for more or extending these extensions you can start by viewing or downloading the source code from these extensions from Codeplex.
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!
The next event for the Belgian Information Worker User Group will take place on December 8th 2008, at the new Microsoft offices in Zaventem.
Sessions for the evening, as announced on the BIWUG site:
Silverlight and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
Microsoft recently released Silverlight 2.0 - it's latest version of the framework to build Rich Internet Applications. This session will start off with looking at how Silverlight works and how you can use it as a developer. In the second part we will explore some examples of how you can integrate SharePoint and Silverlight. Speakers: Gill Cleeren (http://www.snowball.be/) and Joris Poelmans (http://jopx.blogspot.com)
Integrating e-ID and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
More than ever, applications will use eID for securing online transactions, spreading and obtaining information and for the signing of documents. eID will be available for every Belgian citizen in 2009.
In our presentation we will talk about: What is eID? What are the business benefits? What are the pitfalls of eID implementations? How can we integrate eID with SharePoint in an efficient way? Speakers: Michiel Scharpé and Benny Glassée
Register for the event as seating is limited.
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!
Peter Himschoot and Gill Cleeren, Regional Directors, both share their thoughts on what PDC 2008 is for them: from the main announcement around the new cloud platform to Windows 7 to new features in C# and .NET 4.0.
Watch the video we shot on location during the PDC conference and learn what you should be doing today to be up to date with the latest developments on the Microsoft platform.
Be sure to check out their blogs: Peter Himschoot, and Gill Cleeren who has basically all the information you need to get synced on all the PDC stuff.
Note: this video is in Dutch.
Ever wanted to build a rich client application with syndicated multimedia content?
The SCE Starter Kit has just been announced over at the WindowsClient.NET site and Tim Sneath’s blog.
This starter kit gives you a jump start to integrating a rich content
experience on the desktop with branding, skinning and custom interface
The starter kit delivers a base to build upon for creating client
multimedia applications with rich syndicated content, from documents
and photos to videos and podcasts, that is searchable and automatically
synchronized with new content and application updates, enable user
annotations, keep track of bookmarks/favorites, and a lot more.
To get started, have a look at these two applications:
Next, review the documentation, video walkthroughs (great stuff here!) and hands on labs on the “Get Started Building Your Own Syndicated Client Experiences Application” page.
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.