Even a chimp can write code

Thursday, June 21, 2007

nibbles: snack tutorials for hungry designers

Celso Gomes has a new site up called nibbles: snack tutorials for hungry designers.
In his words:
The concept of nibbles is simple: snack tutorials for hungry designers. The tutorials will teach a few steps at a time, so they will be short and easy to follow - the perfect creative snack.

There are a few tutorials on using Expression Blend and Silverlight already up, with content on Blend and WPF coming soon. New additions will be announced on the nibbles blog.

Labels: , , , ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Silverlight links

Joe has a comprehensive list of breaking changes between the 1.0 Beta and the forthcoming 1.0 RTW release of Silverlight. It's a small list but the changes were mostly requested by the community via forums and 1:1 interactions.

Vivek has been blogging up a storm in this past couple months on Silverlight topics. Some good posts there on his experience building a sample search app using Silverlight, a hyperlink control etc. (Thanks to Lauren for the tip)


Email this | Bookmark this

Outlook 2007 look and feel with WPF

Ronnie Saurenmann, one of our architect evangelists in Switzerland, sent a link (via email) to a Hands-on Lab (HOL) on how to build an Outlook 2007 UI look and feel using Windows Presentation Foundation. He says this was done "90% in Blend and 10% manual XAML" tweaking. There's an XBAP demo of the app in case you want to see the results, along with a lab manual with step-by-step details and sample source code.

Update: Fixed source code link.

Labels: ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Why is XAML case-sensitive?

In short, because XAML is XML, and XML is case-sensitive. Rob Relyea, fellow program manager and owner of the XAML specification at Microsoft explains with details.

Labels: , ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Joel Spolsky's brush with Vista's SuperFetch

In a scathing post on the new Safari 3 for Windows, Joel remarks how slow the browser is while starting up. He likens Apple's performance claims as reality distortion, but later makes an update saying:
The more I run Safari on Vista, the faster it launches. Am I hallucinating? Is there a cosmic force that means just when I complain about Safari taking 57 seconds to launch, as soon as that complaint is made public, it launches much more quickly? Am I going insane? Or is someone playing a clever prank on me?

Well Joel, you're not going insane. Ironically this is Microsoft's Windows Vista coming to Safari's rescue. You see, Windows Vista has a little known feature called SuperFetch, which
enables programs and files to load much faster than they would on Windows XP–based PCs.

When you're not actively using your computer, background tasks—including automatic backup programs and antivirus scans—run when they will least disturb you. These background tasks can take up system memory space that your programs had been using. On Windows XP–based PCs, this can slow progress to a crawl when you attempt to resume work.

SuperFetch monitors which applications you use the most and preloads these into your system memory so they'll be ready when you need them. Windows Vista also runs background programs, like disk defragmenting and Windows Defender, at low priority so that they can do their job but your work always comes first.

The Windows team has figured out that the more you use something, the more you must like it and the easier and faster it should be to load. But you won't see that in a Microsoft ad.

Labels: , , , ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Eyes On Darfur

Amnesty International's Eyes On Darfur project just went live. It uses satellite imagery to get a neighborhood watch going over 12 vulnerable villages in Darfur. The idea being that with the eyes of the world on Darfur, the repressionist establishment and its cohorts there would not go about business as usual.

The project claims to leverage "the power of high-resolution satellite imagery to provide unimpeachable evidence of the atrocities being committed in Darfur - enabling action by private citizens, policy makers and international courts. Eyes On Darfur also breaks new ground in protecting human rights by allowing people around the world to literally "watch over" and protect twelve intact, but highly vulnerable, villages using commercially available satellite imagery."

There's much to be said about the low resolution images. But this is a cause that is dear to Ashley and I, and we're happy to see Amnesty do this if only to increase awareness. There's another project that's been in the works for a while and I hope to talk about that soon.


Email this | Bookmark this

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Google Gears and Silverlight

Last week Google announced an early beta of Gears, a "browser extension that enables web applications to provide offline functionality using following JavaScript APIs:

  • Store and serve application resources locally
  • Store data locally in a fully-searchable relational database
  • Run asynchronous Javascript to improve application responsiveness"

I figured that meant it was an automatic fit within a Silverlight application. So, as a proof of concept I decided to tweak the Simple Database Demo and integrate Silverlight content into it. The results are here for you to see.

Thanks to how Google and Microsoft architected their respective products, that was 5 minutes of effort at most. You can choose your browsers View Source option on that example and see how script interacts with the Gears APIs and tweaks XAML in Silverlight.

If you play with Gears and Silverlight some more and create something cool, drop me a comment.

Update 1: Danny Thorpe talks about his founding work on Gears whilst at Google.

Update 2: Fixed broken link to SilverGears sample.

Update 3: Fixed links again. Due to some issues with the hosting service for the "SilverGears" sample, I've moved it to a new host. I really appreciate Mike and Chris for hosting it on simplegeek.com thus far.

Update 4 (May 02, 2009): Those of you searching for information on local persistence store in Silverlight may want to see this post which also looks at offline/out-of-browser support.

Labels: ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Everybody Hates The London Olympics Logo

Not me though. If you've built a brand that everybody's suddenly talking about, can it be a bad thing? [Tip: look at the size of the thumb on your vertical scrollbar after you jump through that hyperlink.]

Although the use of a tangram-like style evokes images of broken glass or even an athlete doubled over in pain, it seems to spell out "2012", the year of the Olympics in question.

Labels: , , ,

Email this | Bookmark this

Friday, June 01, 2007

Surface As Inspiration

David Anson outdoes himself yet again. Check out his Silverlight Surface demo. Source code included.

Labels: ,

Email this | Bookmark this