New Zealand Silverlight Development... Are you Doing It?

New Zealand Silverlight Development... Are you Doing It?

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Take a trip to http://silverlight.net and you will see

This is testament to the work that Jay and Niall have done but also the strength of the All Blacks brand (especially during a world cup). I worked with the guys to choose whether to convert a WPF version of this gadget to Silverlight 1.0 to take it cross platform. Niall was able to convert it in a 48 hours period which confirms that you can go WPF->SL, albeit harder than going SL->WPF.

Some of my favourite quotes from the press release and online about this solution.

"The All Blacks are high performance innovators both on the field and on the web. Silverlight allows allblacks.com the opportunity to leverage its existing online investment to deliver a deeper user engagement. New Zealanders are looking for simple methods of interaction with their team. The All Blacks gadget delivers a rich user experience and provides users with real time access to the latest content."
Mark Vivian, Broadcasting and Content Manager, New Zealand Rugby Union

Silverlight is fast, cross platform and allows developers to more readily meet sophisticated user expectations. The rich application space is rapidly evolving and Silverlight is definitely leading the charge."
Mabode director Jay Templeton

Having done a fair bit of WPF (and knew XAML pretty well) - the learning curve for me was non existent for Silverlight - and really was just a matter of remember what elements/attributes/functionality weren't supported. (and learning the ways of the javascript plugin object).

The bit that I originally perceived to be the hardest/most tedious - conversion of WPF XAML to Silverlight XAML was actually made really really simple using Expression Blend. The 'Convert to' function was the real timesaver - and allowed me to quickly convert things like StackPanels (which had no Canvas.Top/Canvas.Left values) - into Canvases.
Niall Ginsbourg mobilewares.net

Anyone else interested in technical details, this example is Silverlight 1.0 served from a Cold Fusion site running on Windows.

Just over three months ago I first showed Ian Taylor Silverlight. Ian got very excited by it's potential and that lead to an article being printed in Computerworld titled Flash and Silverlight go head-to-head in Dunedin.

At the time Ian was quoted in a TVNZ press release for the launch of the-hub.tv

"Everyone has talked about merging traditional broadcast media with user generated content and the web. What I see in Microsoft Silverlight is that dream finally coming true. It is one of the most exciting technologies that I’ve seen in my 30 years in the broadcasting industry," says Taylormade CEO Ian Taylor.

Taylor and his team have plenty of ideas of where they plan to take the-hub.tv and the Mission-On message but it wasn’t until he saw Silverlight that he recognised the platform that will bring those ideas to life.

The interesting part in this tale is that person tasked with building the Silverlight presence on http://the-hub.tv is Clinton Rocksmith a Flash, PHP, Mysql, Java open source designer/ developer. Back in early August Clinton wrote in an email to me (he has given me permission to post his words here)...

Sent: Monday, 6 August 2007 12:17 p.m.
To: Nigel Parker
Subject: Silverlight update

Hi Nigel,

Just wanted to say how impressed I am with Silverlight, I'm REALLY getting into it in a rather large way.  I've always dealt with programming in Flash since version 3 in Australia for doing interactive websites and I always felt that the web experience should be more about interactivity, but the programming model in flash makes the workflow difficult and the timeline just gets too long, and complicated.  It's just yuck.

Through the University of Otago the computer science department there, instills a general feeling of Anti-Microsoft, but I think that the Expression tools that are available, complete with excellent tutorials and blogs and forums, that Microsoft is on a real winner with Silverlight.

Now, I've never used Visual Studio because of the University stance, but after speaking with other Microsoft guys here at Taylormade, I'm starting to come around to the possibilities of the dot net framework as opposed to the PHP Mysql Java open source mentality, something that I would probably not even entertained if Silverlight and XAML required Windows Servers only without plugging into all the others as well.

Just thought you'd like to know that while many people are quick to jump on the anti-Microsoft bandwagon of development, that with Silverlight and the way Microsoft has approached it with open attitude that it has converted one guy and quite possibly more as the application delivery of Silverlight becomes widespread.

Clinton

This was a GREAT piece of feedback for me. In fact when I took Silverlight on a university student day tour around the country this month I found that the people that heckled us at Canterbury last year during Brett Roberts presentation on Microsoft and open source actually called out "Holy S***" during one of my demos; the evals have been fantastic... I have presented Silverlight to 2961 people over 34 sessions in the last three months in New Zealand and the average eval score has been 87%!

Clinton has done a great job "enhancing" The Hub GYM with Silverlight. Ian showed this at the end of his talk at A New Future for Broadcasting Conference last month and I showed it at the MSNZ partner conference last week.

The Silverlight Gym will be available shortly at http://the-hub.tv for people to try (I'll post an update when it is there) but in the meantime check out this screen cast... the jerky video is caused by the low frame rate on the screen capture tool.

Nas did a great job with the inaugural http://zamdes.com user group meeting and next months http://www.microsoft.co.nz/expression event in Auckland has over 150 registrations (still not too late for you to book your place).

The other activity that is getting people up to speed with Silverlight locally is a recent Intergen Silverlight competition...Glenn Conner one of the winners traveled to Web on the Piste with us to deliver a session. Check out the vidcast of Glenn (Scott and I) below... sorry about the wind sounds during the snow sections I did my best to fix it up... use headphones to listen... next time I definitely will need an external Mic for this sort of thing. I still can't believe Glenn drew the picture that shows as his Windows background!

Watch with Silverlight (18 1/2 mins) or download WMV from skydrive (48.5MB)

After watching the vidcast check out the preview of Glenn's Tarantula demo application.

There are more stories to share from NZ embracing Silverlight and I will update you when they come to life, please also contact me if you have a Silverlight project that you wish to profile. As Sean said in the partner conference keynote last week. New Zealanders are installing the Silverlight 1.0 plug-in at an amasing rate.

I wonder if Peter Jackson's recent work and tomorrows global Halo3 launch in New Zealand have anything to do with it ;)

Enjoy