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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Winforms Control Set for Silverlight and FLASH

by Don Burnett

Over at Tim Sneath's Blog, Tim blogs about company called who has created a bunch of cool new custom controls for both Silverlight and Flash. These controls are very cool because they have implemented the Winforms control library. This is a big step ahead for Silverlight, because you can now do in Silverlight most of the controls you see in regular Windows application in either Flash or Silverlight.

This means you can port a whole Windows Application UI over to the web and it makes porting real .NET applications to the web and a universally viewable platform possible.

Here's some examples (clicking on the graphics will bring up the Silverlight demo):

A typical tab control with buttons and radio buttons

Office-style toolbars

A datagrid

Outlook style calendaring UI

A visual studio style designer for the web

Check em out they are worth your time if you are doing Silverlight or Flash..

The GOA System.Windows.Forms core library includes 40+ standard controls and components:

  • Control, ContainerControl, ScrollableControl, Panel
  • Button, CheckBox, RadioButton, GroupBox, Label
  • TextBox, NumericUpDown
  • ImageBox, ImageList
  • ScrollBar, HScrollBar, VScrollBar
  • Form, MessageBox, Cursor
  • ListBox, CheckedListBox
  • ComboBox
  • TreeView
  • MonthCalendar
  • TabControl, Splitter
  • ToolTip, ProgressBar, Timer
  • ToolStrip, StatusStrip, MenuStrip, ToolStripButton, ToolStripComboBox, ToolStripDropDown, ToolStripLabel, ToolStripProgressBar, ToolStripSeparator, ToolStripSplitButton, ToolStripTextBox
  • XamlCanvas (Silverlight specific)

GOA WinForms Professional is the perfect solution for GOA developers who want to integrate high-end controls in their existing RIA applications. In addition to the System.Windows.Forms core library, GOA WinForms Professional includes a set of advanced controls for quickly creating rich user interfaces:

  • The standard WinForms controls of the free edition
  • A sophisticated Data Grid
  • More than 30 extended controls and components

Silverlight Screenshots in Linux

by Don Burnett

Here are some of the first screenshots of Silverlight running in Linux. This is quite cool to see because this project has been FLYING ALONG.. These Mono Project folks are indeed very talented and bringing great function and the best of .NET to Linux.


The Famous Silverlight Airlines Demo

Even Microsoft's Famous multi-touch Surface Demo runs (modified)

Video Being scaled and rotated (EARLY DEMO)

This really bodes well for people adopting XAML mark-up and developing applications and Silverlight being a truly cross-platform plug-in and a great environment for Rich Internet Applications, no matter if you are on Linux, Macintosh, or Windows.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Why Microsoft is softening me to Windows Mobile Applications

by Don Burnett

I am predicting that this will be a huge year for Windows Mobile.. Why? Well some things have changed about the Windows Mobile platform that make this an exciting time.


I have been loyal to Windows CE since it's inception (before that Apple Newton) and down through it's various incarnations My first PDA had a grayscale screen. I think my favorite one was the version that looked like Windows 95 had a desktop explorer and a start menu..

I bought a Windows mobile phone over a year ago. It had Windows Mobile 2003 second edition. As soon as I did they came out with a new version. Through my four pocket PCs I kept being left behind. The products I bought have not been able to update to the latest version (including the HP IPAQ 2215 which I still have). I think that's been a MAJOR, MAJOR difficulty with the platform and keeping customer retention in the product line. I have complained about this before.

I like the Windows Mobile OS quite a bit, there are some great applications for it, and I can even myself develop for it.. I admit, I did get a little envious seeing all the hoopla over the new Apple iPhone. However I have seen the Silverlight plug-in for Windows Mobile so I know the level of graphics and overall coolness of Windows Mobile will see a big upgrade in the near future and I really think we are heading for .



On my Windows Mobile Phone I do have an SD card and I did find it really cool when I could sync a whole movie I recorded with Windows Media Center and sync it without having to think about it. I ended up using it to download and watch TV episodes of Smallville during the season a year ago, when I didn't have time to watch it. The screen was a bit small, but hey it fit in the pocket just fine. After a while the novelty wore off and the function was replaced by my brand new Sony PSP. 

I don't really load up my phone with software, it runs slower the more memory used. However, this decision on my part just changed today with software so useful that I'll probably never remove it from my phone.

That would be Windows Live Search..

Besides the typical search engine function, it displays news feeds from MSNBC, has a local search feature for landmarks, locations and businesses, gives you great maps and directions (using NAVTEQ like most commercial GPS systems use). The search function also uses an hierarchical menu system much like Apple's iPod device making navigation easy. I decided to try to simulate the Apple ad on television with it, I searched for seafood, got directions and called the actual place I got directions too.. All that without an iPhone, WOW!

The instant answers feature is quite nice too.. I could get stock quotes and find out information very easily..

This is all new features for my phone and wow they support not just the latest windows mobile but my windows mobile 2003 phone as well.. All I have to say is go Microsoft..This is the best new add-in for the phone since I got it. I am actually finding a justification for the purchase of my data plan. I think this addition should come standard on every Windows Mobile device. The utility of this software client it is unparalleled. It's available as a free download on all current Windows phones. If you have Windows Mobile you should run to download this right now. It made me feel my phone had new function and I was actually happy about my purchase as the one feature I found cool and a reason to buy one is now on the phone I have right now. I am also very happy my phone has real buttons, call me old fashioned but I am still big on real tactile feedback.

Windows Live Search is the first in a series of web connected applications from Windows Live. I am totally impressed by this application and the fact that they are addressing all the installed user base of Windows Mobile tells me that they are very serious about this market and bringing innovation. I would now call the Windows Mobile the best improved product that I have ever purchased.

So before you go out to get that Apple iPhone, check out Windows Live Search and the new Silverlight Mobile. It means a great mobile future ahead for Microsoft.

If this little video below is any indication (reminds me a lot of the Windows Media Center Interface) we are in for a great year..




Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Yet Another Too Cool For Words WPF 3D Website

by Don Burnett

Okay, this is the coolest UI I have seen in a long time. if you want to look at an animal that is in the Zoo you just click on their icon in the spinning globe. The interface has really great effect. WOW, you have to see this one for yourself. It really shows the superiority of a multimedia app over the web using WPF 3D.. This is not something you will see today in Flash.

When you consider that this is a fully delivered educational multimedia application (just like we used to see in CD-ROM applications) right to your web browser with a real 3D enviroment. Including the forest trees and flowers (in 3D), and it delivers overlayed information about various animals. You don't have to know Japanese to see the quality and realize the kind of future these XBAPs have.

Schools will love this because all you need is the internet and a windows computer with .net 3.0 installed to recieve this level of quality content. This really is the future educational delivery system. I am just blown away by what they have achieved. It's all real-time 3D and the educational content is top notch. It also has that great Japanese design beauty and well thought out interface. This is the kind of thing I learned at Media Station, Inc. while working on projects for Disney and Universal. I haven't seen someone pull this kind of thing all together in a real application in a while. The future of XBAP delivery looks very bright with this. XBAPs are WPF platform applications that run in a browser and install in the browser, no folks this isn't Silverlight yet.. When we get this kinda 3D power in Silverlight, Microsoft will really have the keys to the kingdom and a cross-platform winner.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Microsoft Surface-Type Technology

At Darren David's blog he has a look at something presented at the D5 Conference...

A very cool HP Demo called the HP Multi-touch “Interactive Canvas”

If you thought surface was cool and future tech, you should check out this blog entry

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Creating a typical Enterprise App in Blend with XAML

by Don Burnett

Wow the code samples are coming fast and furious these days, the latest up on the Mix site is a clone of Microsoft's Outlook UI done (no sorry folks no Acropolis but it's not really needed) totally in XAML and Expression Blend.

If you want to skip visiting the Mix site (and miss Joshua's great Blog, I love it and wouldn't!)

You can download the project files here and the documentation here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Acropolis Videos Posted

by Don Burnett

Right from Brad Abrams blog are some new Acropolis how-to videos have been posted at . I suggest you check out both Brad's blog and the Acropolis videos.

Yesterday I blogged about Apple's Safari for Windows now in Beta, cool browser (even with the benchmarks I still think IE 7 is faster and more secure.. However problems have already been found with the beta, I guess that's the point of a public beta..

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Safari Comes to Windows

by Donald Burnett

Well today at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference, Apple upped the anti of the browser wars and released Safari for Windows.. The initial news is that it is very fast, and has all the features you have come to expect from Safari. It so far doesn't seem to be playing nice with the Silverlight plug-in, but that maybe something remedied with a little updated JavaScript.

So what does this mean? The browser wars are far from over and Apple has released a very fast effective browser for Windows. If you are a web developer or rich Internet application developer you should be aware of this new browser on the landscape. You can download the public beta right here.

Safari for Windows

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Enterprise WPF Applications come of "Age" with Acropolis

by Donald Burnett

Well, there has been much comment over the last few months that while WPF is great for Designers there is not much joy there for winforms developers. People have complained about a lack of components that match the functionality provided by WinForms. Microsoft has shown developers however that you can integrate winforms components with the winforms integration .DLL that ships with .NET 3.0 reference assemblies. Yes that make integration possible and many developers are starting to take advantage of this capability. Still a few things seem to be missing. Folks who program "enterprise" level applications expect a lot of functionality.

If you have ever seen Microsoft Outlook you know that it has a very modular design with panels that give the application a "portal" or "dashboard" look and feel. Different activities are possible in each of the area of the screen.


"Enterprise" type (dashboard style) applications are standard faire in many businesses world wide that Microsoft services. A few years back Microsoft started offering help to developers attempting to create these applications to manage business operations, processes and projects. They developed the "composite application block" for winforms to help developers with these needs. Altogether this became known as the "Enterprise Library".

Starting with the Enterprise Library, Microsoft started creating a toolset of controls and functionality to make creating applications of this style possible with windows forms. When WPF came along there was a gap in functionality so this type of application wasn't easily created. With 1.0 of WPF even the ubiquitous datagrid control wasn't present. Well Microsoft has a wonderfully supportive developer community authoring controls, and this gave birth to the XCEED Datagrid for WPF which XCEED amazingly made available for FREE to the community. It's become the defacto standard for the community. However "Enterprise" support was still missing from WPF.

PARTS IS PARTS- But this Ain't Chicken! (Conjuring the Spirit of Clara Pellar)

One of the things Microsoft did with winforms is to offer a feature called "PARTS" . If you aren't a Windows Client developer, but know ASP.NET 2.0 you probably know about Web Parts.. Web Parts are a family of controls that enable you to add rich, personalized content and layout to your application. WPF was not yet in the picture with "parts" of any kind. Sure it's possible to create amazing user interfaces with WPF, but people working in the enterprise doing these modular style of applications were left wondering if they would see support.

Today at (Microsoft's new portal for WPF and Winforms) Microsoft introduced the next step in the WPF revolution their "Acropolis" CTP. This is a toolkit for creating modular, business-focused Windows client applications. "Acropolis" builds on the.NET Framework, and includes a run-time framework, design-time tools, and out-of-the-box functionality. "Acropolis" enables you to build reusable, connectable components and assemble them into working applications that are easy to change. It uses a composite application framework to address complex, changing business requirements. Composite applications integrate functionality as components that you can easily reconfigure or replace. An example of this would be an application that would let you chose either a winforms or WPF user interface or both.

The CTP seems like a very finished product even in this preview. It integrates nicely into the Visual Studio "Orcas" preview. There are some really cool controls to explore in the toolbox..


Some Terminology you should know before sitting down to the CTP:


The basic building block for "Acropolis" applications. A part typically provides a portion of the application’s user interface and encapsulates self-contained and reusable functionality. "Acropolis" parts separate the implementation of their logic and state from their user interface (view).

part view

The user interface portion of a part. Part views are sometimes referred to as skins.


A part that contains one or more child parts that work together to implement a specific function, scenario, or task that the end-user can perform. A form can implement a specific navigational pattern to help the user to accomplish the task that it implements. You can nest "Acropolis" forms to provide rich user interface structures.


An application-level capability that implements a specific strategy or provides pluggable functionality, such as logging, event routing, and so on. Services do not provide user interfaces, but instead provide functionality that parts can use to supplement their own business logic. An application can customize the behavior of the "Acropolis" runtime by defining and configuring services according to specific requirements.


A parent or host application that integrates "Acropolis" parts, forms, and services together with its own functionality. The application shell communicates with the "Acropolis" parts, forms, and services through the "Acropolis" runtime.


The framework that manages the lifetimes and intercommunication of all parts and services in an "Acropolis" application. The runtime also integrates the "Acropolis" application into the shell and manages the services that are required to communicate with the shell.

connection point

A point of communication between a part and other "Acropolis" components, such as the part's view, other parts, or services. Connection points come in multiple types including ComponentProperty, ComponentCommand, ComponentNotification, and ServiceDependency.

There are a couple different application styles you can create.. One is a "Document" style of interface.. Notice the extended controls in the toolbox and new functionality in application.xaml as seen below..


What you are looking at in the middle of the above picture is the new "Acropolis" Designer. Unlike the WPF Designer and the Windows Forms Designer, the "Acropolis" Designer has nothing to do with the user interface of a part, form, or application. Instead, the "Acropolis" designer is divided into regions that contain information about the different aspects of a part. When you create a new "Acropolis" part, you can view the generated PartName.xaml file in the designer.

The Application shell itself also looks very modular and what you'd expect from a modular enterprise app...


For this posting I do not have time to delve more deeply into the "parts" functionality, but I will in the future. These new controls and functionality finally put WPF on an enterprise level footing.. I expect that we'll see some very amazing applications developed with this new functionality.

This is a new day of joy in the evolution of WPF development. Some of you may be already familiar with this functionality in winforms but now "Acropolis" extends the functionality to be managed in XAML. You can use WPF data binding in the XAML of a part view to bind user interface (UI) elements directly to part connection points. you You can also use XAML to configure aspects of a part, form, or application, such as the following:

  • Connection points.

  • Child parts.

  • Service dependencies.

  • Services made available to child parts.

  • Navigation manager.

The benefit of the new "Acropolis" Designer's XAML configuration capability is that it makes it easy for you to define complex application structures without writing code. XAML provides a consistent syntax that makes it human readable and editable, but it is primarily useful with tools such as the "Acropolis" designer.

There is a lot here to explore. We'll dive deeper in my next posting.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

¿Usted Web site?

by Don Burnett

One of my old work associates, Ben Congleton , told me about exciting project that he is working on.. It's called and what it does for your website is rather slick.. The project is in limited Alpha release but it is quite useful.. Go to the site to let them know you are interested. I really like to support great ideas, and this one is a very good one.

Basically from one line of script you can embed the ability for someone to Instant Message you right inside your own website. It is based on the open jabber protocol and works with GoogleTalk and GAIM/pidgin.


This works great with MySpace pages, Blogs, etc.. Check it out..

If you are on a PC you can use GAIM/Pidgin to receive IMs from the website. All you need is a Jabber compatible IM client.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Linux Envy in Vista? We've got the cure.

by Don Burnett

One of the things about Windows Vista as it progressed in development that people expected then for whatever reason went south on us was it's cool 3D functionality right in the OS, things like 3D icons, animation, and manipulation of the desktop in 3D..

Well the Linux community was watching what happened with Vista and came out with something called "Beryl" a 3d Desktop manager and  outshone Vista before it got to release for snappiness and 3d Coolness..


Well not to be outdone a cool programmer from France (Chris'soft) has came out with a 3d Virtual Desktop Manager for Vista and XP that does the same kind of 3d Switching..

It's called

Yet anOther Desktop Manager 3D

or YOD'M 3D

It's a free download that you can get here!

I am using it and it's very stable... It's fun and worth the download.

Documentation can be found here..

Friday, June 1, 2007

JetFuel and Windows Live Writer 2

by Don Burnett

At Mix 07 James Clarke showed off a new plug-in that would add Silverlight video content to a web page. The plug-in works great and is a great solution for blogging. Microsoft simultaneously released a new version of Windows Live Writer. They work great together.

Here's a sample video from the Armory Arts project I am involved in down at Jackson Michigan.