Monthly Archives: March 2009

MIX ‘09 & The Silverlight Toolkit March 2009 Release

It has been an action packed last week, a lot getting announced, released and talked about. What happened?

MIX ‘09

MIX09 was awesome, first because it was the first one I’ve ever been able to attend and second because of all the great announcements and energy of the people. I met great people, had amazing conversations and the energy was so high that I didn’t even notice that I lived off of Red Bull and a couple of hours a sleep a night.

No, the Adobe guy and I didn’t fight as people kept asking me :). We had a great conversation though I do forget his name (drop me a line if you read this cool Adobe guy). That’s in fact one of the reasons I love MIX, it’s bringing together different people inside the industry all focused on making rich interactive experiences for the web denizens. It’s saying here are all these cool tools and technologies but instead of focusing on whether a site is Rails or ASP.NET MVC lets talk about how to give users something useful.

I was asked a great question by my sound guy (thanks for making me sound good!) after my talk:

“As a consumer, as someone that uses the web, why should I care about Silverlight?”

A lot of reasons went through my head and I tried to imagine what a good marketing peep would say but perhaps due to the lack of sleep I instead spoke the first thing that came to my mind which is that “You shouldn’t care about Silverlight, you should care about the great applications these people are creating with it.” That really goes for any technology, at the end of the day people don’t care about Flash or Silverlight or whether your site is 100,000 lines of spaghetti code being spit out by CGI scripts, they just want it to work easily without getting in their way while providing a rockstar experience.

I talked with people from all over the industry, from companies that are often our competition but at the end of the day we all want to provide a killer experience for the people that just want to watch a little bit of March Madness online :) See what I did there, I just made someone in marketing happy but I’m also highlighting that the web is about providing an experience, not what technology is used. You can watch March Madness in SD using the Flash player or in HD with Silverlight. By the way if you haven’t watched a game in HD in your browser I encourage you to do so, it’s awesome. I don’t even really like basketball but I find myself watching it amazed at the quality that’s being live streamed.

Silverlight Toolkit March 2009

To coincide with MIX we released a new version of the toolkit, officially known as the Silverlight Toolkit March 2009 release. As a team that focuses on bringing new controls to everyone this release initially felt ‘light’, because with every release we want to bring as many controls as possible and to fix every bug under the sun but as I was preparing for my MIX talk we realized there is a ton of stuff in this release. It was a true forest for the trees moment. You can find all the goods in the official release notes but here are just a few highlights:

  • New Controls: Accordion, DomainUpDown, TimeUpDown, TimePicker, LayoutTransformer, TransitioningContentControl, AreaSeries (for charting). Check out the DomainUpDown sample showcasing Jesse Liberties tutorial videos. Pure hotness.
  • Silverlight 3 Beta Controls: DataPager, ChildWindow, Frame/Page, DataForm, Validation controls (ErrorSummary, FieldLabel, DescriptionViewer) and DataGrid enhancements.
  • Bug fixes as always.
  • VB.NET versions of all the samples! The community spoke and we listened so now we have full VB.NET samples.
  • A real installer that puts the controls right into the Visual Studio and Blend toolbox. The less monkey work you have to do to get off the ground with the controls the better.
  • New source! Now the full source for Calendar, DatePicker, GridSplitter and TabControl are in the toolkit. No more needing crack those open using Reflector, you can go straight to the source, comments and all.

High-Speed RIA Development Talk

If you were at my talk at MIX and had a question I left you hanging with ask it in the comments or forums, we’ll get your questions answered. Also any feedback you want to give would be great. I have a thick skin, I can take it :) I want to make sure that my next talks address your needs better and also to help shape future blog posts about what things you may want to hear about and see.

My MIX Talk Online

Update: If you want to tease, scoff or hear about what’s new in the Silverlight Toolkit you can watch my session online. If you want to learn more about sharing skills and code between Silverlight & WPF check out my team mates Jeff Wilcox’s talk.

MVP Summit Talk: Silverlight Toolkit: Past, Present & Future

Today I’m giving a talk at Microsoft’s 2009 MVP Global Summit here on campus. The title of the talk is “Silverlight Toolkit: Past, Present & Future” and I’ll be talking a little bit about where the Silverlight Toolkit came from, what’s going on with it right now and what we’re planning in future versions. Pretty self-explanatory actually :) I’m done a few dry-runs and once it came out at 30 minutes, the next at an hour and 15 minutes so I’m hoping I’ll find a nice average and nail the 45 minute window I have.

We’ve done a lot with the toolkit in a very short time and we’re not done yet. There are some really great things shipping in the MIX09 time-frame and I’m lucky enough to get to speak about them at MIX09 as well.

For anyone coming to my talk today I look forward to sharing our plans with you and if you were there feel free to drop me a line with any follow up questions.