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Just read Robby’s excellent post about silverlight templating model.

I will start off by admitting that I think Robby is a ton smarter than I am and his intimate experience with helping to define the templating and styling models for WPF make him a much better candidate to see the big picture of this topic. To add to this… I have actually experienced some of the simplicity the new model in Silverlight 2.0 brings to it and can very much agree with most everything Robby says here. (Triggers and Binding in WPF are enough to get you into a lot of trouble where templates become big messes of “XAML defined logic” and state managed nightmares..)  WPF Templates definitely have a steep learning curve for somebody to really learn to harness the possibilities. I think this model is more accessible.

That said, I have already had some painful experience with the developer/designer workflow because of the “not so loose” contracts in Silverlight 2.0 control templates.

Simply my problem resides in the fact that I was working with a large set of developer created controls that defined the contracted elements in each template. Mid stream in the project there was a large change in the project that caused the developer to re-architect a bunch of the controls as well as there was a standards/consistency effort afoot that caused the developer to rename all the elements (you know how religious developers can get about naming conventions :) … The end result was a mass of control templates that were broken. Sure it isn’t too hard to rename elements… But the real friction occurred because of the communication that was required to decide who is responsible for fixing the XAML for these controls. If its one or two controls its not a big deal… 32 controls with complex internal dependencies on styled controls… it does become a big deal… Why? because a lot of developers don’t know what “right” looks like to fix the controls themselves… So because of the tight contract between the designers design and the developers code it became a two man job to fix the changes.

I feel like this breaks the “holy grail” idealistic plan to create “lookless controls” so designers can work on visuals and interactivity independently of logic and function. Which brings us back to a not very parallel dev/designer work flow pre WPF. Now I have to make sure to sit with the developer and make sure they have thought through all the visual states that a control can be in (which in so many cases I haven’t really understood or uncovered until we get deep into the application development). It becomes a ping pong dev/design workflow rather than a parallel… (of course I still think this is way better than what we had before XAML).

If all we were templating and styling were the stock controls (button, ListBox, slider, etc) then I can see the value of making it easier and more toolable… But I am more excited about creating controls that nobody has thought of before that really advance the state of interactive applications. Reducing the friction of communication between developer and designer by making controls lookless so I can focus on figuring out amazing interactivity that maps to logic/behavior/function that is supplied by a developer still seems more powerful.

Totally a hot button issue with me lately… I think seeing the flip sides of this argument should illustrate how passionate we are at Identity Mine about workflow and roles…

All this said, the current state of templating in Silverlight is light years ahead of anything I have done in competitive platforms we just need some consistency between WPF and Silverlight or a roadmap to consistency…

(oh and what’s with naming elements with dependencies PART_ in WPF and not in the same controls in Silverlight?… I would love it if because I knew what a “part” in a control is named in WPF I would know what the corresponding part is named in Silverlight? Try styling a ScrollViewer in WPF and Silverlight to see the differences)

</Rant>

The Nate Mix 08 Update

February 29th, 2008 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Late night here in Vegas and Im totally trying to get work done getting ready to deliver our Nerd+Art talk tomorrow. Listening to NIN Ghosts I-IV. Pretty sweet… Add this to Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” because I wanted to support an artist who is testing the waters with direct distribution. (It’s ironic that Im excited about this announcement of not so direct distribution)

Anywho… its been an amazing day at Mix. The Guy Kawasaki interview with Steve Ballmer was fantastic. Totally gave me a new respect for Steve. I love competition and somebody who is passionate about changing the world and giving other people the same opportunity.

IdentityMine hosted another industry influentials dinner at Zeferino tonight and it was amazing. Definitely the place to be. I met some new faces like Jeremiah Morrill who won the Flotzam contest. Very cool website that I will be adding to my blogroll. Got to visit with ThanRob RelyeaKarstenLaurentGrantNickDr. WPF (you had to be there to figure out who he is… my lips are sealed… hint the mustache is a dead giveaway). We also had some great appearances byScottBrad and Miwa among many many others.

Any conversation that ends debating whether designers should be allowed to create dependency properties and routed events is a good conversation in my book.

Nice! “THE NEW ITERATION” hard copy

February 29th, 2008 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Karsten and Jaime’s white paper on “How XAML Transforms the Collaboration Between Designers and Developers in Windows Presentation Foundation” is included in the goody bag (that Mark so graciously gave me since speakers don’t get one…lame)

This is a really nice addition to the “mix” of stuff that we get here.

At Mix ground zero

February 29th, 2008 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Well here we are… Mix 08. My third year here and it is feeling routine to be in Vegas every spring. Pretty exciting to see everybody. Laurent has already been here for the pre-sessions and has been blogging like crazy.  I’ve already run intoWaltMike and JoeDarren and William… I know that Than and Grant are running around here somewhere.

Really excited about the keynote tomorrow. Since a lot has already been announced Im really curious as to what kind of stuff we will hear about tomorrow.

Network is slow… That’s because every nerd in the hotel is in his room surfing the web or at the blogzone party. (which now that Ive blogged I think I can officially go get a free drink…) Let the party begin! Oh wait… still gotta work on our talk too.

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Terrific news! We’ve just announced our next two Blendables Mix products. 3D and Layout.

Check them out at http://www.blendables.com

It seems like there are 2 holy grail pieces to really getting 3D to come into its own in WPF… The first piece, Interactive 2D on 3D has a pretty cool solution on codeplex.

The second piece, for me has been taking the simplicity of the WPF layout system and making it easy to create rich experiences using 3D as a tool for data visualization and interactivity. The Blendables 3D Mix does just that for me… Now I can stack objects in 3D space, lay them out in 3D grids, and more… This is very cool stuff… You really need to check it out.

The Layouts Mix is amazing too. It’s all about SwitchPanel for me…With this panel you can automatically “switch” from one layout to another and get “layout to layout” animations. This is a really effective technique for feedback animations when filtering on content or looking for pattern recognition when animation from one view of data to another view.  You have a ton of control over the animations in this panel including variables like force and resistance. As well these include “Penner Animations” so you can tweak the easing to your hearts delight.

Also in the layouts Mix is CameraPanel and PerspectivePanel… You gotta see these ones to really understand them. But you can do some really cool stuff with them. I’m already plotting how I am going to take over the world using CameraPanel and RandomPanel together to create a cool visualization for Flotzam… (Karsten: Im about halfway done with a Blendables Flotzam skin… was too busy to get it done for the design contest)

It’s pretty exciting to see the Mixes coming online!

Expression Community at Microsoft.com

February 29th, 2008 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

“Express Yourself! Create and share your work with other members of the Expression Community. Get inspired. Get creative. Get noticed.”

http://expression.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx

Also check out ScottGu’s demo of Expression Blend working with Silverlight 2.0.

http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2008/02/28/first-look-at-using-expression-blend-with-silverlight-2.aspx

PI Reader Available in Subscription Center Beta

February 29th, 2008 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

You would probably only know this if you had installed the Syndicated Client Experiences starter kit or recently downloaded the latest version of the Seattle PI Reader but now the two are integrated.

Now that there is more than just the MSDN Reader in the list you can start to really see the value of this experience. I just finished rebooting after installing SP1 and noticed the little orange icon in the task tray updating. When i clicked on it to open the Subscription Center I saw that the PI had been updated and I was able to browse the most recent stories without having to commit to opening up the whole app. Clicking a title reveals a bit more information and double clicking launches the reader.

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If you haven’t used the PI reader, its a great app and there are some really notable new features. For instance now you can drag articles into a “reading list” and then you can twitch navigate through that reading list… Its a very cool scenario. Spend a few minutes browsing the section fronts and add articles to the reading list (hint: you can flick them into the reading list very cool metaphor that has very low dexterity required). After you have built your reading list grab a cup of coffee and kick back and really read… I mean really read. We don’t do that very much anymore.

 

Interactive 3D

February 29th, 2008 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Whoohoo! Its what I was hoping for.

And the best part? It works great in Blend!

The TrackBallDecorator is sweet!

The suspense is killing me

February 29th, 2008 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Somebody is good at “apple” style marketing…“Oh and one other thing…”

Some 3D goodness is coming… So keep your eye on the wpf3d teams blog. I have my suspicions on what it is. There are a few key things that will totally change the landscape if they happen and Im hoping that its what I think it is.

Oh and PDC 2007 is announced… Hope I can go to it again… Been to the last two and it would be tradition if I can make it 3 in a row.

Oh and Mix ’07 is coming… It was a killer event last year. Can only be better this year.

UnivRSS a 3D Vista RSS reader

February 29th, 2008 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Man today is fun! So many posts from the community.

Havent seen this hit the WPF posts quite yet (or I am not reading closely enough)

http://www.microsoft.com/emea/msdn/thepanel/featured/universs.aspx

UniveRSS is a 3D RSS feed reader for Windows Vista. It leverages the Windows Presentation Foundation and provides a stunning way of visualizing RSS feeds and their content. It introduces a full-screen 3D universe where galaxies represent the folders of your RSS feed directory, and the stars are represented by the spinning cubes that hold the feed information. Size and position of the feed cubes indicate how many unread items they contain.