Even a chimp can write code

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Windows Vista: Now In A Store Near You

After "the biggest product launch in Microsoft's history", Windows Vista is now available in a store near you and via fine merchants online. This is a culmination of years of work done by my teams and countless others in Microsoft, hardware & software partners and OEMs. In the WPF team, as elsewhere, we've fervently believed: "if you build it, they will come". So although I don't claim to speak for Microsoft on this blog, above all, a big shout out to all of the developers and creative professionals who patiently evaluated our CTPs, Betas and the like and gave us great feedback; and to the people who continue to bet their businesses on our platforms, frameworks and APIs. Thank you for your support. Please keep telling us what we're doing wrong, and what we're getting right. Here's to building applications we've dreamed of!

Tags: , , , ,

Windows Presentation Foundation, is the next generation presentation sub-system and managed code framework for Windows. It is a .NET Framework 3.0 component, present on Windows Vista and a free download for Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003.

Labels: , ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Xceed WPF DataGrid - For Free

For real. WPF didn't ship with a DataGrid control in .NET Framework 3.0. The fine folk at Xceed Software recognized that and have now released an enterprise strength WPF DataGrid control to the community. They have a beautiful demo XBAP called Xceed DataGrid for WPF LiveExplorer that lets you see the control in action and use it for yourself.

Get the Xceed DataGrid control. [Requires .NET Framework 3.0 or Windows Vista]

Thanks to Mike for the tip.

Tags: , , , , ,

Labels: , , ,

Email this | Bookmark this


KF sent us a link to this beautiful XAML Browser Application (XBAP) created by Bascule for the Windows Vista launch in Japan:


Requires .NET Framework 3.0 or Windows Vista. I've seen it several times, changing the camera angle and zoom settings. Never gets old!

Tags: , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Monday, January 08, 2007

The new Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista

It has been tough to keep this one under wraps but I can finally talk now. Yahoo! is shifting the communication and instant messaging landscape. The new Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista is one of those seminal applications that demonstrate what good user experience really is. See the video and decide for yourself. This application is built on Windows Presentation Foundation (a .NET Framework 3.0 component and part of Windows Vista).

This isn’t just a re-skinned version of the existing messenger app... this was built by Eric and his ace team from the ground up. A tip o’ the hat to Karsten for tirelessly making sure all of Yahoo!’s questions and concerns were responded to promptly; whether he was hunting us down via discussion lists or on the phone or even setting up face to face meetings, Karsten was a bull-dog you couldn't get away from. Props to the good folk from frog for the kickass design.

This app is a powerful showcase for WPF and Windows Vista features and a testament to how designers and developers can work together on building great applications.

Tags: , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Link dump

MSDN Wiki for the Windows Presentation Foundation SDK: If you find yourself stumbling into WPF esoterica that isn't adequately covered in the SDK, with the new MSDN Wiki features, you now have the ability to add your content to the SDK. Michael's post on the SDK blog has details.

Comparing WPF on Windows Vista v/s Windows XP: This question comes up often; in fact we had an interesting thread on the internal discussion list recently. Tim provides a great perspective on this topic. He also highlights the less known story about how WPF made its way to downlevel platforms like Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Building consensus: Brad Abrams has a multi-faceted post on building consensus in the workplace. Pick your favorite tips or post yours on the comments section.

Stop Digital Amnesia: The Center for Digital Amnesia Awareness says they have a cure. Details tomorrow night.

Tags: , , ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Rich Internet Application straw man

Via Mike Chambers (Apollo product mgr at Adobe), comes this snapshot of a comment made by Mark Anders of Adobe:
If you look at what Microsoft is doing with WPF, they say it's really about rich Internet applications but actually, I don't think it is, because I think rich Internet applications are not about Windows only. I think the Internet is about a multitude of machines and you do not always know what they are.

Mike then goes on to extoll the qualities of a true "rich internet application" and how <insert Adobe buzzword> is the shiznit. Naughty! Naughty! Macromedia/Adobe coined the term rich internet application (RIA) and can frame it to mean whatever the heck they want it to mean. Cross platform? Sure! Compelling experience? Yeah why not! Target a layer above the platform? Well, duh! Makes the OS irrelevant? Was it ever relevant to anybody outside Redmond anyway?

Students of logical fallacies will recognize Mark and Mike's argument as a classic Straw Man Argument. The modus operandi is thus: create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to your opponent. Simple. But not straight.

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is part of .NET Framework 3.0, the new managed code programming model for Windows. As a member of the WPF team, and specifically as one of the co-owners of the XAML Browser Application (XBAP) story, I haven’t made the connection between WPF / XBAPs with the so-called rich internet applications. I doubt anyone else on my team or others in Microsoft who swim in the WPF pool have ever positioned WPF/XBAPs as such.

But there’s no reason to let facts get in the way of a good Microsoft bashing.

Tags: ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Is Data Dead?

Some things never make it out of Beta. Recently, Google deprecated their SOAP-based Search API (Beta) in favor of an AJAX Search API. With this sudden announcement, Google is no longer issuing keys and has even pulled their SOAP API SDK out.

Want to integrate web search into your app? The SOAP APIs let you dispatch requests to the search servers and get responses (think ordered lists), that you could display however you choose to, or generally do whatever you wanted with them. Google’s new AJAX API replacement is much in the mold of AdSense and YouTube APIs: it occupies an “island” on your user interface real estate. Context and basic customization options aside, you have no control over what gets shown in that island. [Update: I stand corrected on this last statement. Mark L clarifies that the AJAX API offers other options giving you some control.]

Tea leaves
For a variety of reasons, developers have found this to be a worrisome turn of events. Apparently, in addition to the loss of flexibility, there wasn’t any advance notification on this decision, nor a REST or GData replacement API. The AJAX APIs (currently) allow 8 results only, a departure from the flexibility of the old SOAP APIs. Google’s Terms Of Service forbid you from hacking on the AJAX API and screen scraping results or manipulating the server to give you the data and not the UI with it.

From an API use perspective, this is a step forward for novice web developers and folks who could care less about aesthetics and user experience on their web sites. With that audience, it is difficult to argue against the idea of adding search to a website with just a couple lines of script and markup. By sheer numbers, I suspect that demographic makes up the 80% of Google’s audience for these APIs. Moreover, by supporting only the AJAX model instead of multiple alternates, Google seems to be marshaling the proverbial 20% of their resources to this effort. So the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) seems to be in full play here.

Web developers of the world, all is not lost! Live Search offers you a SOAP-based API. Yahoo! Search offers REST-based APIs. If you care about sanctity of APIs or just want complete control over results, you should consider moving over. Both these are excellent search services from very developer-focused companies.

Geeks need to take a chill pill
The blogosphere is rife with conspiracy theories and some folks make this out to be a technical battle between SOAP and REST or SOAP and AJAX or APIs and widgets. I do not think that is the case at all. Google’s decision seems to be based on business decisions, not technical. As a data and service provider, Google is looking for a way to monetize the service. This way, they can inject ads and cross-promotions into the results widget. If this snowballs into a trend, it portends an end to the days of building mashups by freeloading on data from the cloud. But again, Google has probably calculated that mashups account for almost nothing on their bottom line.

Tags: ,

Email this | Bookmark this