Category - Mix

  1. Mix07 Day 1–Session 2

    For the second session I decided to go to a talk titled, "Developing Data Driven Applications Using the New Dynamic Data Controls in ASP.NET." I should have known better than to go to this. Every time someone from Microsoft demonstrates the "power" of a grid control, detail control, or similar control they use the most trivial example and make the rest of us look like morons because our apps seem to require hundreds of lines of code to produce results. This was no different. Polita Paulus* demonstrated a way to build an entire data driven application with no code at all. Someone in the audience asked her about reality and what to do when you have business logic creating objects that you need to display in a grid of some sort. Her answer is along the lines of this, "Well we've been thinking about that, and let us know in the newsgroups if this is important to you. To do that you'd need to use Linq and we are going to explore that for the next version."

    Now I know that you have to walk before you can run, but it seems like all of Microsoft's ASP.NET data controls have this problem. At least most of the ones in 2.0 can take an object exposing IEnumerable (so a generic collection would work here), but it's still frustrating when they claim that they'll do it in the next version when the history is that they won't do it, they'll expect someone like Infragistics or Telerik to do it.

    Needless to say I wasn't very happy with their answers. Especially when they pointed us to their web site to download these controls. The controls are part of the ASP.NET Futures program. That means they are not productized, PSS doesn't support them, they may not be production level quality (read bugs may include performance and security, but we aren't responsible). Wait for the next version, what about getting the current version out before telling us to wait for another version.

    *Polita Paulis was Polita Huff until recently. She seemed very happy in the fact that she was recently married and went to Fiji for her Honeymoon. She showed us pictures and video from it. It made for a good demo because it illustrated pictures and video as well as data, but really I feel like I know too much about her. Oh, and she's the Senior SDE who is responsible for bringing us the grid view, the detail view, etc.

  2. Mix07 Day 1–Session 1

    Building rich web experiences with Silverlight. This session was presented by Joe Stegman. Joe is an excellent presenter and I've attended many of his web casts including the Digital Black Belt series that helped prepare people for security issues with web site design. Joe was presenting Silverlight to us using the go-live loving beta of version 1.0. He made it clear that he would show us some of the stuff the Scott demonstrated in his keynote, only using the now-defunct-yet-not-released-yet version 1.0 of Silverlight.

    Let me tell you, I can't wait for 1.1 to be released. The amount of JavaScript that he had to write to hook things up was a little confusing. I was actually disappointed that they continued with the XAML method of finding nodes (findName) and not the fairly standardized DOM (getElementById). But that's just a small thing and we'll all forget about it when version 1.1 is released.

    Basically you include a script file and call a method to generate the Silverlight control. The Silverlight control is just a typical object tag with a type of "application/ag-plugin". For example:

    <object type="application/ag-plugin">
      <param name="Source" value="somexaml.xaml" />

    The script file and function you'd call would prevent IE from forcing the user to click to activate though, so you should just use that. That's all you need for Silverlight. Notice there's no requirement for adding a managed assembly to the GAC, no special web.config settings, and that's all because you don't need them. During the keynote Scott showed running a Silverlight page that pushed some video to the screen running from a web server and browser on a Mac. No Windows required.

  3. Mix07 Day 1–The Keynotes

    Today was the first full day at Mix 07. It started this morning at 9:30 with a keynote address from Ray Ozzie who said this about following in Bill Gate's shadow, "There will never be another Bill Gates." Ray also gave the high level vision of what Silverlight really is. It isn't a Flash competitor, even though it will compete in that space. It's really the third wheel assisting apps that cannot decide if they are desktop applications or web applications.

    Scott Guthrie came out and gave demo after demo of how this can be used. The demos were for companies such as CBS, MLB, and Netflix. You can see those parts of the keynote on the Mix07 site (

    One of the features that Scott made everyone excited about was the fact that Silverlight will include a .NET Framework to run on the client side. This is a cross browser, cross platform runtime that will run on the Mac. He then proceeded to do a demonstration of debugging client code running on a Mac from a PC. He went to the immediate window and changed the text that appeared on the Mac's browser. It was wicked cool.

    I know, I'm as shocked as you that I wrote "Wicked Cool" but please bear with me I'm building up to something.

    The demo's that he and the other speakers presented showed that Silverlight has the capability to be more than just flash. The demo called "Top Banana" which was a video mixing station in a browser was reported to weigh in at less than 50KB sent to the browser for the application (not counting the videos). Simply amazing...


    then it happened...

    The version of Silverlight that they were showing off is the next version. I know what you are thinking because I was thinking it too. How can they have a next version when the current version isn't even released? All the cool stuff for Silverlight that goes above and beyond just being a Flash competitor is in version 1.1. Which they have released the Alpha of today. Version 1.0 is in beta, but it has a go-live license. Because of that, you will see some demo's on here for Silverlight. Hopefully soon.

  4. Mix07 Day 1–Session 3

    Okay, for the Keynote and the first two sessions I learned stuff that I cannot use in my day-to-day programming because (and take your pick here):

    1. It's not released yet
    2. The version that will do what I need it to do is the next version after the one we are currently developing
    3. I can't get away from .NET 1.1, what makes me think I can do something in 2.0 or 3.0 much less 3.5?

    So, I decided to attend a talk that would actually be of some use, "Internet Sites with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007" also known as MOSS 2007. Tyler Butler started by showing us the new Hawaiian Airlines site which was built using MOSS2007. Very impressive. You should go take a look.

    He then read a few slides from his PPT, and then tried to do a demo... but he couldn't get the projector to switch to his demo machine from his PPT machine. I paid how much to come to a conference to learn how to do my job better only to have the presenter unable to demo what he's talking about?

    I would like to say that his hand waving and slide deck made up for the fact that there was no demo, but it's a little hard to understand the concepts when there wasn't even a single screen shot that we could look at.

    In his credit he did tell people that they could come up after the Q&A session to see the demos. All in all MOSS2007 sounds like a great product, and a worthy successor to MCMS.

    Now if only I could get my feet wet with it.

  5. Mix07 a 72 Hour Conversation

    I'm in Las Vegas this week for the Mix07 conference. It is being billed as a 72 hour conversation but I'm learning that they want to sleep. It's now 2:50 AM and there's nobody left to converse with. I wonder if I should feel cheated...

    What's in store for the week? Well it looks like it's going to be three days of learning about Silverlight. Silverlight is Microsoft's answer to Flash. Why do they need an answer to Flash? Well, if you are as dedicated to Microsoft technologies as I am, you have spent a lot of time learning WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). Why should I have to learn something else to make dynamic content for the web? Silverlight will enable you and I to use our knowledge of WPF for use in the web in a cross browser manner.

    Okay, that sounded like a lot of hype, and maybe that's all it is. We will see this week how things turn out. I'll try to keep you updated on what's going on.