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Brian Holmgård Kristensen

Hi, I'm Brian. I'm a Danish guy primarily working with ASP.NET e-commerce solutions using Microsoft Commerce Server.

I'm co-founder and core-member of Aarhus .NET Usergroup (ANUG), which is a offline community for .NET developers in Denmark.

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 Friday, 09 November 2007

The speaker of this session, Jesse Liberty actually joined Microsoft because of Silverlight. His work at Microsoft is not about convincing anyone to use Silverlight, his job is more to help developers on how to learn Silverlight and make the best use out of it. There is a tremendous interest in the whole Silverlight technology as he goes, so obviously Microsoft invests in customers wanting to use Silverlight for implementing their applications. Jesse went on a stated his agenda for this session; that we should not expect to see or be impressed by fancy demos of Silverlight in action. That his goal by demo-driven presentation is to show us how easy it is to use the declarative language XAML to build real applications with the .NET Framework and Visual Studio.

Jesse started his demo by creating a new Silverlight project in Visual Studio 2008. What he was about to demo was building a Silverlight application from scratch including a new custom Silverlight control in it. The essence of the demo was to build an application on the Conway´s Game of Life. I don’t want to go into much detail about what Conways Life is, but basically it has something to do with some cells living in a matrix-like world of total 800 cells, where each cell from generation to generation comes to live or dies depending on the state of the cells neighbors.

Among other things in his demo, he showed us how to implement a timer in XAML and make use of this timer for creating a loop control structure. Also and by far more interesting he demoed a new feature of Silverlight 1.x where they have implemented the capability of Silverlight to reference standard HTML that is produced in the page where the Silverlight control is hosted. This makes it possible to reference any HTML elements e.g. changing its display or capturing its events using API’s inside the System.Windows.Browser namespace. The .NET code looked exactly like the DOM most of us are already familiar with from JavaScript:

HtmlPage.Document.GetElementById(“myControlID”)

What Jesse really wanted to illustrate was the only really difficult thing on Silverlight is on how to go around declarative programming. When you are passed that barrier you find yourself back in the well known world of .NET programming and just thinking about implementing the logic using standard .NET. This happens very quickly with Silverlight.

I haven’t done any work in Silverlight at all so coming to this session was really good for me as I got some feeling on how Silverlight fits in – technically speaking that is. I have of course seen a lot of Silverlight demos out there – but for me it is really more interesting to see how it is done. Great session by Jesse Liberty – it was cool to see when his little tiny application came to play. Thumbs up!

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Posted on Friday, 09 November 2007 08:13:50 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)
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