Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Silverlight 2 - Your LINQ to a Better Experience


This Saturday, April 26th, 2008, I will be presenting on Silverlight at the Indianapolis Code Camp. My presentation is called "Silverlight - Your LINQ to a Better Experience". The slides for this presentation can be found here (you are free to use them, just please mention Silverlight 2 in Action if you use these slides).

During the course of this presentation, I will walk through the implementation of a really cool master/details page (I'm not just saying that, it really is cool, not what you're expecting). This will give attendees the opportunity to see how Silverlight can address three of their most common development tasks:
  • Retrieving Data
  • Loading Data
  • Presenting Data
Personally, I am very excited about this presentation. As someone who has been working with Silverlight since day 1, it is very exciting to be able to turn the focus to more day-to-day types of solutions. In addition, this is the first time I have given this presentation in public. With that said, if you would like me to give this presentation (or another Silverlight presentation) in your area, please let me know, we'll see if we can make it work.

Book Update
At the moment, there are eight chapters available. I was sincerely hoping to finish chapter 10 and get that available to MEAP customers. However, there are some items in the current beta that just make this chapter impossible to MEAP at this time. However, we are still working to get Chapter 6 available to MEAP customers in the near future. Chapter 6 covers networking and communications which is a very important and interesting part of Silverlight development.

Shout Out
Personally, I am somebody who installs very few third-party components on my machine. I like to keep my machine as clean as possible. However, I have recently found myself using a plugin called Xippee more and more. There is a 1-minute video on the site that shows how it works. Check it out (this is not an advertisement, I haven't received a dime for mentioning it :)).

Thursday, April 03, 2008

DataGrid and DeepZoom Info Available in Silverlight 2 in Action

Today we released two new chapters to Silverlight 2 in Action MEAP customers. With that in mind, I want to give you some information related to the new content, as well as the previous content. In addition, I also want to let you know what you can expect moving forward.

New Content

The new chapters cover two very exciting and important aspects of Silverlight: Data and Media. This information is covered in chapters 4 and 7.
  • Chapter 4 – This chapter covers a wide range of data-related topics in-depth. These topics include: data binding, data templating, using the DataGrid, and an overview of LINQ. The content in this chapter is pretty meaty. This has personally been my favorite chapter to write thus far. The reason why was primarily because of data templates. Data templates are really, REALLY cool (if you don’t believe me, come to my presentation in Indianapolis, IN on April 26th). In addition, I am pretty impressed with the DataGrid, even though it is still in its infancy.

  • Chapter 7 – The focus of this chapter is media, including deep-zoom. In this chapter you will see an old-friend from Silverlight 1.0: the MediaElement. This will include information related to the properties and lifecycle of this element in Silverlight 2. You will also see information about playlists and interactive playback. In addition, there is a high-level overview of the content access (a.k.a DRM) features of Silverlight 2. From there you will get a detailed tour of the imaging and deep zooming features.
Collectively, these two chapters span 61 pages.

Previous Content

I have received some comments / questions regarding the current MEAP content. These items have generally expressed concern that the content was outdated with Silverlight 2. In fact, if you mentioned this, you are correct.

I’m still not sure what happened, but some previously released content was re-released. This was unintentional because the content originally covered Silverlight 1.1. I will say that the MEAP content that has just been released still has some Silverlight 1.1 stuff (especially in chapters 1 and 2). However, the necessary changes have been made to be consistent with Silverlight 2. I hope that by the next MEAP release, this will be resolved.

With that said, if you still feel there is content out-of-date beyond chapter 2, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Another common question that has been asked has been “is the MEAP version the final version of the content?” The answer is definitely NO. For instance, in chapter 4, I already know that I will be updating the DataGrid section and fixing up the LINQ portions a bit. Currently, both of these sections provide a lot of content as-is. However, there is still more that needs to be included in this book (like the sorting features of the DataGrid coming in Beta 2).

I really want this book to be a solid resource. Because of this, if you want something or feel something is missing; please do not hesitate to let me know. I will see if it can be worked in.

Currently, I am working on chapter 10. This chapter covers resources, styles, and templates. I’m hoping to finish this chapter up by the end of this weekend. From there, MEAP customers will get the content approx. 1 week after I finish the chapter.

I hope you have enjoyed what you have seen thus far. Now, I’ve got get back to writing the actual book.