Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What's New In Silverlight 2 Beta 2?

Silverlight 2 Beta 2 was announced in TechEd earlier this week. The actual bits are not yet public, but I think it should be soon.
(Update: The Beta 2 bits are now available. Scott Gu has a detailed list of changes here)

The best news for me was that there are several changes for making the Silverlight model as close as possible to the WPF model. This is very important for Silverlight to live up to its reputation of being a WPF subset (remember its code name WPF Everywhere? )

Below are some changes:

  1. Improved Templating model using the Visual State Manager
  2. New Tab Control
  3. DataGrid improvements: Autosize, Reorder, Sort, Performance increase
  4. TextBox: Text wrapping and multiline selection highlighting in textbox.
  5. Includes the Visual Tree Helper.
  6. DataBinding: Binding to attached properties is now supported.
  7. Controls like the DataGrid which are now not part of the runtime (and have to be downloaded as part of the XAP) have been moved to the runtime. This is good news, but then the XAP is going to be heavier :).
  8. DeepZoom: XML based file format
  9. Full Screen Mode keyboard support: The only key supported earlier was escape. This was supposed to be for security reasons. Now additional keys are supported (arrow, tab, enter, home, end, pageup/pagedown, space).
  10. A bunch of new stuff on the Networking side: Upload support for WebClient, ability to allow user to increase Isolated Storage capacity (via UI), duplex communications ("push" from Server to client), new VS template for “Silverlight-enabled WCF Service”.
To see a full list of changes see this post.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Microsoft Innovation Days, Kochi

Microsoft India has been holding events around the country to get people excited about some of the newer technologies. Last week, an event was held at Kochi (Cochin) called Microsoft Innovation Days. One of the sessions was on Silverlight. Since IdentityMine has been into this technology for more than a year, we were invited to present a 30 minute part. I did the presentation on behalf of IdentityMine, and it was a great experience talking to the 200 odd developer crowd!

During the presentation, I showed a demo of a Silverlight 2 application we created. This was an application (not a full fledged one) that was created in just about a week's time. The short time period surprised a lot of people!

I discussed briefly some of the features used in the Silverlight demo - like Databinding, Templates, Animations, Drag and Drop, Video Brush, Isolated Storage, and Video Markers. I also shared some of our experiences working with Silverlight, including the Developer-Designer workflow. My session ended with a fun example of using templates - I had ported the 'Button Fish' (of Avalon Feature Fest fame) to Silverlight

I think we had a lot of people excited about Silverlight. Many in the audience later expressed their desire to try out Silverlight.