Tablet Developers on the blade runner future.

Silverlight 5 – 5 Quick Things

Silverlight 5 is on the way.  Today (December 2, 2010) we’ve seen a brief preview, and I’d like to give a short overview of the important points.  I’m giving you the short story, and if you want a complete feature list see here.


You can now write 3d hardware accelerated applications in Silverlight.  This includes hardware accelerated shaders.  Are in-browser 3d shooters finally coming?  We’ll see :)


Hardware accelerated video decoding.  Watching videos now uses less CPU power and more GPU power.

WPF parity

WPF people are great, but they’re always complaining about missing features:)    Silverlight 5 is now closer to WPF than any previous version (including custom markup extensions and Ancestor Relative Source).


People who really care about fonts aren’t crazy about Silverlight 4 font rendering.  Silverlight 5 adds support for clearer fonts and other features (full OpenType font support, etc.).


Silverlight 5 will be available in beta in early 2011.  It will be released in late 2011.

Video: HTML5 Primer with Scott Stanfield

Thanks to Kelly White for recording and uploading this video. 

Scott Stanfield of Vertigo talks about HTML5. It’s a great primer.

Scott Stanfield on HTML5 from Portland Silverlight User Group on Vimeo.

If you’re interested in more talks like this, swing by the Portland Silverlight User Group.

Silverlight Tour Portland – Time is Running Out

The Silverlight Tour is returning to Portland December 6th-December 8th.  It’s a great way to learn about Silverlight.  I’ve been informed that the class is filling up early.  If you want in, you’d better register  soon.

Silverlight Firestarter Bus – Portland edition

Ever wanted to see Scott Guthrie announce a new version of Silverlight… live?  If you’re in Portland, we’ve scored some transportation.  Primo transportation.  There’s talk of food, drink and wifi.  December 2nd, we go to Redmond.

Go here to register for the bus: Firestarter Bus

Then go here to register for the event: Silverlight Firestarter

Silverlight Firestarter!

The Gu is back.  Register now.

All Silverlight.  All day.

Book Review: Silverlight 4 In Action. Buy it.

 Silverlight 4 In Action by Pete Brown

Silverlight 4 In Action is Available!!!

If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for this book for a while.  It doesn’t disappoint.  Do these things:

It’s that good. 

What’s in the book?

Chapters on:

  1. Introducing Silverlight
  2. Core XAML
  3. The application model and the plug-in
  4. Integrating with the browser
  5. Integrating with the desktop
  6. Rendering, layout, and transforming
  7. Panels
  8. Human input
  9. Text
  10. Controls and UserControls
  11. Binding
  12. Data controls: DataGrid and DataForm
  13. Input validation
  14. Networking and communications
  15. Navigation and dialogs
  16. Structuring and testing with the MVVM/ViewModel pattern
  17. WCF RIA Services
  18. Graphics and effects
  19. Printing
  20. Displaying and capturing media (including webcam/mic)
  21. Working with bitmap images
  22. Animation and behaviors
  23. Resoures, styles, and control templates
  24. Creating panels and controls
  25. The install experience and preloaders

What’s good about it?

  • It’s really clear.  Rare is the technical book that reads this well.
  • It’s really complete.  Rare is the technical book that covers this much material in style.
  • It has tidbits.  If you know of Pete Brown, you know he knows Silverlight inside and out.  This books surfaces that knowledge in a really interesting and compelling way.

What’s bad about it?

  • It’s not really a cookbook.  If that’s what you need, look elsewhere.
  • Buying this book kills trees. (I’m trying here…)

Who should buy it?

*Anyone* who is interested in Silverlight.  You want it on your bookshelf.

Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Bellevue Recap

The Bellevue Unleashed event was great.  It was our biggest yet!  The day looked like our other events (lecture and hands-on-labs followed by an application contest).  At this event though, David Kelley was able to join us to talk about Blend and Ux design.  Those two facets are soo important to apps that will sell well.

We only have one more event that isn’t sold out – Boise on October 25th.  See:


 The contest was the most exciting part of the day, and we had some great entries.

1st place - I’m loving WP7.  A pandering name perhaps, but what a game.  It looked super hard.  And super fun.  And used the accelerometers!

2nd place – Powerpoint Remote.  Pretty much exactly what it says.  Imagine controller powerpoint from Windows Phone 7.  A favorite in the Apple store and will be in the Windows Phone Marketplace (we hope).

3rd Place – Lockdown. Run this app.  Put the phone in your glove box.  Bam.  Lojack.

Honorable Mentions

 Apartment Finder – Bring in all kinds of nifty info to help find an apartment

Bosstinator – Estimates projects for your boss.

Druminator – Super great looking drum machine.  If only it didn’t have a fatal flaw at demo time :)

Episode Finder – What’s that episode where Jane is a hero on that mud planet?  Oh, it’s called Jane’s World!!!

Megamillions – Ever want to win a million bucks?  This app will tell you the right number to play in the lottery.  Well worth any price they decide to charge for it.

Nimby – Search Zillow for home price index.  Get out of bad neighborhoods fast! :)

Thanks to everyone who came! I think everyone had a great time.


Special thanks to our amazing sponsors!

  • Agilitrain
  • Silver Bay Labs
  • Silvertail Software
  • Wirestone
  • Microsoft

Windows Phone Unleashed Portland Recap

Play Video

Thanks to everyone who came to the Windows Phone Unleashed event in Portland.  It was a super great time.  It was great to see devices, and it was even better to run apps on them :)

First of all, if you missed the Portland event, we have upcoming events in several cities around the Northwest:

  • Bellevue – October 7th, 2010
  • Seattle (downtown) – October 14th 2010
  • Boise – October 25th, 2010
  • Register now as seating is limited.  Portland sold out, and I would expect others will, too.

    What did the day look like?

    It was a giveaway of a seat on the Silverlight Tour course.

    It was sessions on sensors, navigation, web services, push notifications, launchers and choosers, etc.

    It was a Hands On Lab where everyone got to build a real Windows Phone 7 application.

    But best of all, it was an app building contest.  We worked really hard so everyone could have a chance to deploy their apps to an actual device.  The apps that were created were pretty amazing.  And some of them are pretty nearly ready for the app store… It was a jaw dropping contest.

    1st Place – Dawg application.  This application was created by an individaual with 0 previous .Net experience!  It allows a user to interact with Craigslist and had *tons* of features.

    2nd Place – Zoo Pals.  This app is a great idea.  I hope it makes it into the app store err Marketplace.  Your kids get to take picture of zoo animals and put them over cartoony animal pictures.

    3rd Place – Am I too Drunk? This app uses accelerometers to determine if a user is too drunk to accomplish certain tasks.  Great idea :)

    Honorable Mentions

    My piggy bank.  I missed the action shot on this app, but it’s another one for kids!  It keeps track of piggy bank totals to avoid kid fights.

    My baby. Info about pregnancy (what happens in the 2nd trimester and… that kind of stuff).


    Apple Killer.  Get it?? The WP7 devices are “killing” Apple?  Well, not quite yet ;)   It’s an XNA arcade app.  Again, I missed the action shot :(

    Caddie Mate.  Who needs a caddie with this application?  Well except to carry  stuff.

    Color Shaker. Shake the color out of pictures.  Another one that’s great for kids.

    Twitterly.  What hackathon would be complete without Twitter?  This app (among other things) shows tweets that happen in close proximity.  The Tweet is coming from inside the house!

    Thanks to everyone who came!  It was a super day.


    Special thanks to our amazing sponsors!

    • Agilitrain
    • Silver Bay Labs
    • Silvertail Software
    • Wirestone
    • Microsoft

    Windows Phone Unleashed – Redmond

    Windows Phone 7 Unleashed is a free day of Windows Phone 7 training.  We’re coming to Redmond, WA.

    Windows Phone 7 at Mobile Redmond/BellevueOct 07, 2010
    3007 160th Ave SE
    Bellevue, WA 98008


    This is a combination hackathon/training. It’s meant for people who code and want to get a jump start at development on the new platform. It’s a BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop) event. Registrations are limited so make sure you get signed up soon.

    Windows Phone 7 is about to be released! Come check out Windows Phone 7 Unleashed for everything you need to know to develop for WP7. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or you’re just starting with .NET development, there’s something in it for you. The first half of this deep dive event is lecture and hands on lab. At the half point mark of the day, you’ll have a solid foundation for building WP7 applications.

    Installing the Windows Phone 7 Tools In 3 Steps

    Here are some easy instructions for getting going with Windows Phone 7 development.

    Step 1: Remove Any Old Phone Tools

    If you’ve installed betas or any earlier phone tools, go to the “Programs and Features” control panel and search for “phone”, “visual”, etc. and uninstall all of the old phone tools and emulators.

    Step 2: Install the Phone Tools

    The Phone tools installer will download and install the necessary components.  But it takes a while.  If you don’t already have Visual Studio installed, Visual Studio Express (a free edition of Visual Studio) will be installed.  There are all kinds of goodies that need to be downloaded and put onto your machine.  Best to find something to do while you wait.

    The tools can be found on the Getting Started Windows Phone 7 page.  Click on “Download the Developer Tools!”

    The direct link for the install page is here but beware this may change in the future as new versions are rolled out :)   For right now, you can download all of the developer tools in an .ISO for burning to a DVD/direct mounting.  These can be super useful for training scenarios.

    Run the installer, you’ll get some great stuff including:

    • Visual Studio Express (if you don’t already have Visual Studio Installed)
    • Windows Phone 7 Add-in for Visual Studio 2010 (allows you to write phone applications in Visual Studio)
    • Microsoft Expression Blend (if Blend isn’t installed, you get a free version of Blend.  This allows WYSIWYG design of phone applications)
    • XNA Game Studio 4.0  (a free version of game studio for developing games on the phone)
    • Windows Phone Emulator (your own windows phone… in software.  used for testing applications)

    System Requirements are pretty basic and include:

    • Vista or Windows 7
    • 3Gb of disk space
    • 2Gb of RAM
    • Emulator needs a DirectX 10 capable graphics card with a WDDM 1.1 driver

    Step 3: Test the Phone Tools Installation

    Start Visual Studio 2010

    Either the one you already had installed or the Express edition that was installed for you.

    Go to File->New Project

    Select Windows Phone Application

    On the left pane, select “Silverlight for Windows Phone“.  On the Middle pane select “Windows Phone Application“.  Press OK.  Wait a few seconds and Visual Studio will generate your new project.

    Press F5: Your Application Runs

    Press the F5 key and wait a few moments.  Visual Studio will build your application, start the emulator, deploy your application to the emulator and begin running.  You should see something like this.  Notice the goofy numbers on the right hand side.  These may or may not be present (it depends on the template you use).   These are normal, and they’re there for debugging purposes.   Thanks to PHenry for pointing this out.


    You just created your first Windows Phone 7 application.  For some more resources, see here:

    The getting started guide.

    The training kit.

    The Windows Phone 7 Unleashed events.

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