Mike Swanson

January, 2006

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    WinFX January CTP Released


    We released the WinFX January CTP this morning along with some associated Go-Live licenses. As Karsten mentions in his post, there are no changes to WPF between the December and January CTPs, and in fact, they're binary compatible. Here are links to the bits:

    Note: If you have a prior version of the Windows SDK on your machine, not only do you need to uninstall the SDK, but you also need to uninstall the Monad and Compact Framework bits. I ran into this problem on my machine, and it took me a moment to figure out, so save yourself the potential confusion.

    For some extra reading, check out related articles from CRN, ZDNet, eWeek, and Computerworld about today's release.

    Last, but not least, for those who are using my Adobe Illustrator to WPF/XAML Export Plug-In, you'll be happy to know that the current version works just fine with the January CTP.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Be Seen at MIX 06


    Sure, you can visit the MIX 06 site and read the blah, blah, blah. Or, you can just download the essentials to your brain and register before Web 2.0 passes you by. Let me make it easier for you: if you're a developer, professional designer, or business decision maker that cares about the imminent future of the internet user experience and how Microsoft is going to help you kick some serious ass, sign up now. I guarantee that you'll thank me later. And if you haven't noticed, MIX is edgy, so don't forget to pack some attitude.

    If you think I'm just shilling for Microsoft, shame on you. How could you ever pass up IE7, WPF, Windows Live, Xbox 360, AJAX, mash-ups, Windows Media Center, mobile devices, digital identity, RSS, and Windows Vista all in one place? This truly is the next web now!

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Forrester and SD Times on WPF and XAML


    Forrester Research, Inc. recently released a five page report titled: Why Windows Presentation Foundation Will Dominate Thick Client Development. In their executive summary, authors Carl Zetie and John R. Rymer state (my boldfacing):

    Microsoft has unveiled a powerful weapon that will allow it to consolidate its control of the desktop by offering tools across development tasks and roles with high levels of integration. This innovation goes by the opaque acronym of XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language), but don’t be fooled: The possibilities inherent in this technology will make it extremely important for enterprise developers, their tools, and their processes. This, in turn, will dramatically influence the attractiveness of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). And yet, XAML has been largely overlooked in the evaluation of the broader impact of Windows Vista and WPF.

    It is a short, but prescient report. Of particular interest to me (being in the Developer & Platform Evangelism group) is the statement about the "toolability" of XAML:

    XAML is readily “toolable.” One of the characteristics of XML descriptions in general is that it can be relatively easy to build visual and other editors for them, and XAML is no exception. The result: XAML-aware tools will appear not just for programmers but also for graphic designers and other roles that must collaborate with programmers.

    In addition to our own XAML tools (Expression Interactive Designer a.k.a. "Sparkle", "Cider", and Expression Graphic Designer a.k.a. "Arcylic"), we've already seen early tools from MOBIFORM, Electric Rain, my own Adobe Illustrator to XAML export plug-in, a Maya export plug-in by Thomas Goddard, and an on-line 3ds Max to XAML conversion tool by Andrej Benedik. I'm aware of a few more that are in development, and I've received queries from others who are considering writing their own tools. Based on my work with WPF early adopters, it's clear to me that we have significantly eased (some would say "enabled") the workflow between professional graphic designers and application developers, and tools like these are only the tip of the iceberg.

    I'd also like to point out Larry O'Brien's recent column in SD Times titled: Getting over the XAML Hump. WPF is indeed a change from the way applications and user interfaces have traditionally been implemented. Larry relates some of his pain in understanding the new object model and capabilities of the technology. Despite his challenges, I'm encouraged by his closing sentence:

    Learning WinFX ought to be the New Year’s resolution of anyone who wants to stay employed writing Windows applications.

    I couldn't have said it better myself. :-)

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    NxOpinion Needs Developers


    I don't make it a point to reference external job postings via my blog, but this one is special. You see, I spent two years working with the Robertson Research Institute (RRI) and Sagestone (now NuSoft Solutions, Inc.) to develop a cutting-edge medical diagnostic system that was designed to help prevent death from misdiagnosis in rural areas and developing countries. Not only does the NxOpinion project have a lot of heart and the opportunity to truly change the world, but it represents a well architected and executed collection of technologies that offer an incredible challenge and opportunity for any developer. The "brain" of the system was developed with the help of Microsoft Research and represents a fascinating chunk of code. As a bonus, you'd get to work side-by-side with Rob Cecil, RRI's CTO, one of the strongest architects/developers I've had the pleasure to work with in my 26+ years of software development...definitely a great learning experience. If you're interested, Rob Cecil's blog post has all of the details.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Illustrator to XAML Plug-In Updated for December 2005 CTP


    I've updated my freely available Adobe Illustrator to WPF/XAML Export Plug-In to be compatible with the WinFX December 2005 CTP. Other than a very minor tweak to the XAML syntax, I've added Width and Height attributes to the outer Canvas tag (Chris only asked for this about three months ago). Remember that you can hold down the left shift key during export to launch the default XAML viewer; this happens to be Internet Explorer in recent builds.

    Most of the feedback I get is very positive, and I continue to receive around 650 downloads of the plug-in each month. Frankly, I'm surprised that so many people have found it to be useful. If you're new to the plug-in, you might be interested in watching the 25-minute Channel 9 video I recorded awhile back. As always, comments and suggestions are highly encouraged!

Page 2 of 2 (10 items) 12