On Tuesday, most of the day was packed with sessions. I managed to see very interesting information. Microsoft is really pushing SIlverlight a lot, and while it’s great news for web applications, I really hope that they will not release their effort on WPF. We’re waiting for V2!!
Building Silverlight Applications using .NET (Part 1 of 2)
This session was most probably great for developers without experience with WPF. For me, however, after a certain point, I found myself thinking “I know all that already”. And then I suddenly realized that it is actually great: It means that the Silverlight programming model in .NET is so close from full-featured WPF that the learning curve is actually very small. This is a great realization.
Oh, BTW: When you work with Silverlight on .NET, you must add references to the System DLL and also mscorlib. However, there is a different version of them for Silverlight. So the way it works is: The libraries don’t have all the .NET 3.0 classes, but eventually the CLR engine is exactly the same as the full blown WPF one. This is a great model for extensibility.
Design Rich Client Experiences with Expression Blend and WPF
This session was rather meant for designers, but I had a lot of fun anyway.
Side note: We got some rubber bracelets with different colors: Yellow for designers, Blue for developers and Green for business. I decided to make a statement and to wear one blue and one yellow, and to fully embrace my devigner identity ;)
So anyway. The session showed a lot of using Blend, and it really made me realize that so far, I only touched the surface of what you can do with that tool. That leads us to the “motto du jour”: Keep your projects blendable as long as possible. If you data bind in XAML, you need to come up with a kind of simulation data making you able to see the data items in Blend as you design them. That’s a trick that I don’t master yet, I’ll need to test this more.
Controls with Silverlight AJAX
I am a big fan of Nikhil Kothari, and it was great to see him again do a very nice session. Nikhil showed how to use ASP.NET controls to integrate Silverlight in a web page. There are two basic controls allowing you to very easily add Silverlight experience to your web page: XAML control and Media control
These two controls allow a fairly unexperienced developer to easily integrate Silverlight in the page. The Media control, for example, comes with skins, and these skins can be controlled using ASP.NET control properties. So you can use pre-designed skins.
There is, however, more than that: You can actually edit the XAML skins files in the Expression tools, and basically you have 100% control over the code! This is great for people confident with XAML and the Expression tools.
Lessons Learned: Designer/Developer Productivity in Windows Presentation Foundation
Great session again by IdentityMine. Especially great to hear about my biggest interest of the moment, how to improve designer-developer collaboration in WPF.These guys have a huge experience in the subject. We also heard about the newest product shipped by IdentityMine, a set of controls which will no doubts be very useful in many WPF projects. The package is called “Blendables”. Learn more about it on www.blendables.com.
I attended only the first 20 minutes or so of the general session. The first part was OK, with Disney demonstrating a
After a while, though, I started to feel a little tired of the marketing talk… So I decided to go and take a walk on the strip, and had a great time taking pictures and observing that amazing place.
Dinner with Infragistics
After my walk, I had dinner with people form Infragistics, who also just released V1 of their WPF controls set. Lots of great stuff to play with, and they are currently working a lot of these controls and also whole new ones. It’s certainly great to see all big names in the .NET world coming up with tons of applications and controls.
Cirque du Soleil
To conclude a great and packed day, I crossed the road to Treasure Island and had a great time watching the late show of Cirque du Soleil Mystere. It was simply fantastic. I had seen Ka last year, and liked it but Mystere is very different, much more circus-like (though à la Cirque du Soleil, so with a lot of amazing costumes and props). When the show was over, I was sure only one hour had passed, but no, actually it had been going on for two full hours. Make sure to catch one of these shows when you’re in Vegas, it’s really worth it.