Category Archives: Microsoft

Fun with Silverlight

I spent my weekend learning Silverlight, writing a game in Silverlight 1.0. I did all of my project in Visual Studio 2005 and using Silverlight 1.0 runtime. It’s a pretty simple game, I’ll reveal more later in the week and eventually post all the code and blog about the development experience.

The biggest pain was not in the XAML, that was pretty straight forward, it was all the [explicative deleted] Javascript. It’s been a few years since I did any Javascript so I had a lot of relearning to do.

If you are want to look into Silverlight coding, I highly recommend you go to the Getting Started site on Silverlight’s website. http://silverlight.net/getstarted/Default.aspx

After you download all the bits, go to the very bottom of the page under “3. Learn from Samples and Documentation”. Go read all the QuickStarts!!! Very good code samples here to get you started.

After you go through the code samples, there are some really good focus videos at http://silverlight.net/Learn/learnvideos.aspx . These helped me over quite a few hurdles.

The documentation was also very helpful in looking up how some properties worked, going back and forth between Java and Xaml. http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb188743.aspx

There will be more to come on this subject to be sure, but over the next few days I’ll be preparing my presentaion for Alabama Code Camp 5 on SQL Server 2005 Full Text Searching,

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Arcane Fun Fridays

WHEW! All of this WPF / XAML sure has been a lot of fun. But I think it’s time to come up for air and see what else is happing out there in Dot Net land.

Alabama Code Camp is coming up in just a little over a week, Saturday October 6th to be exact. Still plenty of time to register and even just a bit of time if you want to get in on the Silverlight programming contest. First prize for that is a Zune! http://www.alabamacodecamp.com/home.html

devLink, the large conference for a cheap price comes up right afterward in Nashville, Friday and Saturday October 12th and 13th. http://www.devlink.net/ . You can tell I’ll be there, my name’s on the front page as a winner of a Barnes and Nobel gift card (look for the dude from AL !)

(By the way, anyone know of a good dog repellent? My nephew is coming to house sit and is bringing Marshmallow and Buttercup, his twin Dobermans along because I have a big back yard they can play in. Last time though they ate the garden hose, chewed the handle off my shovel, and bit through one of my lawnmower tires.)

There’s a new add-on for SQL Server Management Studio I’m eager to try out. It’s still in Beta but looks promising. It was blogged about at http://weblogs.sqlteam.com/mladenp/archive/2007/09/20/SSMS-Tools-Pack—an-add-in-for-SQL-Management-Studio.aspx or you can download it directly at http://www.ssmstoolspack.com/ .

If you are a fan of NUnit, you’ll appreciate the new xUnit. Read James’ announcement at http://jamesnewkirk.typepad.com/posts/2007/09/announcing-xuni.html .

In a recent Dot Net Rocks episode, Carl Franklin announced they would be taking over Shrinkster.com. Shrinkster has been down due to spam abuse, as soon as Carl gets everything setup we’ll be able to go back to using short links again!

Speaking of Dot Net Rocks, I especially enjoyed show 274, where the new features of VB.Net and C# for the 2008 release were discussed. Entertaining and lots of good tidbits. I think my favorite feature so far has got to be C#’s extension methods. http://www.dotnetrocks.com/default.aspx?showNum=274

During my long drive to the Tallahassee Code Camp last week, I put together a podcast theme session, and copied a bunch of related podcasts onto my cheapo SanDisk mp3 player. This time I went with a “Millenator” theme and got all the episodes of Dot Net Rocks that Mark Miller appeared on. Good stuff, lots of thoughtful material combined with some humor. Next time you go on a trip, copy a bunch of past episodes of your favorite podcast that are in the same theme and make that long drive go much quicker.

There have been several updates to the world’s greatest Visual Studio Add-In, CodeRush, over the last few weeks ( http://www.devexpress.com/Home/Announces/CodeRush25.xml ). Apparently Mark Miller and the boys have been busy! If you’re not on 2.5.4 go update yours today.

Speaking of Mark Miller, I love his intro slide for his VSLive session coming up in LasVegas. Take a look, pure genius. http://www.doitwith.net/2007/09/11/MyLastVSLiveSessionEver.aspx

A final note, between getting ready for Alabama Code Camp and going to devLink my blogging may get spotty for the next few weeks, bear with me and I’ll have full reports from both code camps and lots of fun new stuff to share.

Tallahassee Code Camp A Blast!

I got home a little while ago from spending all day Saturday at the Tallahassee Code Camp. And I have to say, it was a blast! Despite a six hour drive, which included driving through the remains of a tropical storm, it was well worth my time.

The day opened with me actually giving a presentation on SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition. I always like giving my presentations in the first slot, as the attendees are awake (mostly) and energized (or at least heavily caffeinated). They typically ask great questions, and this group was no exception. After my presentation, I was able to spend the rest of the day relaxing and learning about all sorts of great technologies. I attended sessions on Silverlight, LINQ, Windows WorkFlow (WF), and Ajax. All great, and very informative.

The Tallahassee User Group really knows how to put on a good show. Registration was extremely fast, they had more than enough doughnuts and coffee at breakfast and great pizza at lunch. The rooms were nice, all in all quite well run.

And the swag, baby! I have to brag and say I scored some great stuff, primarily a stack of new books on various .Net 3.0 technologies. My best score though came from Joe Healy (http://www.devfish.net/) who gave me one of those cool oval Microsoft stickers which I’ve now proudly affixed to the top of my laptop, just under my Coding Horror sticker.

I also have to give and extra special thanks to my long suffering wife the Southern TinkerBelle ( http://southerntinkerbelle.com/ ), who bent over backwards to arrange things so I could attend. Thanks sweetie!

Thanks again to everyone for a great time, and I look forward to going back next year!

More WPF Resources

Walt Ritscher of Wintellect was in our offices this week, teaching us WPF. Great guy, really knows his stuff, and has a blog well worth checking out at

http://wpfwonderland.wordpress.com/

There’s a great training site on XAML/Silverlight called Nibbles. Be warned the site is done in Silverlight, so for now you’ll need to use IE and have Silverlight installed.

http://www.nibblestutorials.net/

Fellow southern blogger Keith Rome has a blog on WPF and Silverlight:

http://www.mindfusioncorp.com/weblog/

Tim Sneath has a lot of good info on Silverlight:

http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/default.aspx

Finally, this isn’t specifically a WPF resource, but our regional developer evangelist and all around swell guy Doug Turnure has a posting of .Net bloggers in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi:

http://blogs.msdn.com/dougturn/archive/2007/08/19/most-popular-bloggers-in-georgia-alabama-and-mississippi.aspx

Update: September 15, 2007 – I wanted to add one more resource. I picked up Pro WPF by Matthew MacDonald (http://www.amazon.com/Pro-WPF-Windows-Presentation-Foundation/dp/1590597826/ref=pd_bbs_3/104-6226587-5048708?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189884771&sr=8-3 or http://tinyurl.com/2pw8z9) I have several of Matthew’s books and have always enjoyed his writing, and this book appears to be another winner. It’s a good companion to the Adam Nathan book, as each book goes into some areas the other doesn’t.

Pro WPF

Breaking news: Silverlight 1.0 Released!

Hot off the presses, Microsoft has released Silverlight 1.0! For those unfamiliar with Silverlight, it’s a lightweight add-in that works with most browsers. It allows you to display incredibly rich content in the browser. Version 1.0 uses AJAX libraries to handle multimedia content, games and more.

Read the Microsoft Press Release at:

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/sep07/09-04SilverlightPR.mspx

There is an interview with Scott Guthrie on Channel 9, you can see it here:

http://channel9.msdn.com/showpost.aspx?postid=339594

You can download Silverlight and learn more about it at the Silverlight site:

http://silverlight.net/Default.aspx

or the Microsoft page (slightly different content)

http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/

Scott Guthrie has a really informative post on his blog:

http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2007/09/04/silverlight-1-0-released-and-silverlight-for-linux-announced.aspx 

If you want to see an example of a Silverlight site, visit the Alabama Code Camp site at:

http://www.alabamacodecamp.com/home.html

Sweet.

New Customer Feedback Program at Microsoft

Microsoft has announced an exciting new initiative, a customer feedback program that allows folks like us to interact directly with the developers and let them know just how we feel. Rory Blyth wrote a really good post on the things that are wrong with Windows, and all I can say is “Amen and pass the crunchy peanut butter!” Read his post at http://www.neopoleon.com/home/blogs/neo/archive/2007/08/24/26758.aspx and see if you don’t feel like saying exactly the same thing.

Anyway, if you want to learn more about the new program from Microsoft, go to http://www.microsoft.com/emea/itsshowtime/sessionh.aspx?videoid=9999 and click the “See a Preview” link.

Rumor has it that Scott Hanselman, Microsoft’s newest employee will be the very first developer they will be trying this on.