Electric Rain has released a Community Technology Preview (CTP) build of their new 3D XAML designer called ZAM 3D. Although you can always create and edit XAML files by hand (NOTEPAD anyone?), for more complex scenarios, a tool like ZAM 3D is a godsend. In addition to creating 3D models and interface widgets, elements can be animated and integrated directly into Avalon applications. The XAML that is output by this build is compatible with our March 2005 CTP.
Some of the available features:
I just returned from the Flash in the Can designer event in Toronto where we demonstrated Avalon along with Electric Rain. It was great to be able to show the tight integration and smooth workflow that a tool like ZAM 3D provides, and the feedback we received at the event was fantastic. I videotaped our one-hour presentation, and I hope that I can post it somewhere on the internet for all to see.
Also, be sure to visit their ZAM 3D discussion forum to give them feedback about this exciting release.
Although you've probably heard about this elsewhere by now, I figured I'd add my own post to the mix. You can now download Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 from the MSDN Subscriber Downloads site. The following ISO images are available:
If you're interested in deploying an application built with Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2, you'll want to read about the Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 Go-Live License. Also, many of the whitepapers at MSDN have been updated for Beta 2, so be sure to check out all of the updated content.
If you have installed previous versions of Visual Studio 2005, such as Beta 1 or Community Technical Preview (CTP) builds of Visual Studio Team Suite, Visual Studio Standard or Visual Studio Professional, then you must uninstall the pre-Beta2 components in the exact order below before beginning to install any version of Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2. I ran into the exact issues described in the Notes section below, so don't be surprised if you hit them too.
As mentioned previously, I attended the Flash in the Can event in Toronto earlier this month with some other evangelists and members of the Avalon team. I recorded the one-hour (okay, 56-minute) presentation that was given by Karsten Januszewski. If you're interested in Avalon, would like to see Electric Rain's cool ZAM 3D tool, or if you just want cool demos, the video has been posted on Channel 9.
I apologize for the murky video. For some reason, they didn't light the presenters in this room, and it was almost pitch black. Fortunately, the video of the presentation is relatively bright and very readable.
If you weren't able to make it to the WinHEC 2005 conference for Bill's keynote (I wasn't), you can now watch it here. For two Longhorn demos, skip to 1:03:00. To hear about the new Metro print path, skip to 1:30:00. For more on the Metro print path, you can read the recently-posted Metro Print Path FAQ. Can I say "Metro print path" one more time? :-)
We also announced a hybrid hard disk technology that sounds really cool. I'm all over a faster laptop resume time.
Update: The WinHEC 2005 Conference Presentations and Papers are now available.