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Monthly Archives: July 2007

Silverlight moved a step closer to release today as it moves to a Release Candidate version. Silverlight 1.1 Alpha has also received a refresh at the same time to keep both versions running off the same code base.

There’s no need to uninstall you old version just simply installer the RC1 and it will update the required files.

Please also note that this release is NOT 100% compatible with the Beta or Alpha versions that you have been using up to now – particularly the object activation model has been altered. But this is the last time we’ll break things! And moving forward there will be seamless transitions from one version to another.

Here’s the runtime itself:

Some tools for building Silverlight applications:

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One of the most time consuming things about picking up a new technology is the amount of time it takes to get fully under the covers and pull apart the various nuts and bolts.

A great way to get started, I know how it’s how I originally got going in Flash, is to pick apart work that has been done by others.

Family Show is an end to end WPF sample that we are continuing to build out and extend. This has been designed from the outset to be used as learning for the community at large and has had a lot of features added in this, its second full release.

fs2_gray2smfs2_data2sm

The application can be downloaded from the developers here:
http://www.vertigo.com/familyshow.aspx

The code is available on Codeplex at:
http://www.codeplex.com/familyshow

For more background information on the project visit Tim Sneath’s blog as he has a full write up and history of the project http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2007/07/17/announcing-family-show-2-0.aspx

In the next few weeks you should see a similar style of posting for the Top Banana Silverlight application. Something to look forward to 🙂

Yes MIX UK 07 is drawing closer and the site went live yesterday.

The great news is that several of the agencies we’ve been engaging with over the last 12 months will be presenting sessions at this years event. I’ll post a list of speakers once the line up is final.

In the meantime you can visit the site at:

www.microsoft.com/uk/mix07

Or if you’re on Facebook keep an eye on:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=2538818341

There is new content on the Microsoft WW Partner Portal to provide info about the resources available to our Web Partners.  Of course this content has been built in Silverlight and it address the web for different audience types – IT Generalists, Custom Development Companies and Agencies.  

Take a look at this.

We have also produced a DVD – the “Microsoft Web Experience Stack”.  This is a DVD with a VPC image of Windows Server  2003 R2, .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0, SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio Professional, Expression Suite (Web, Blend, Design, Media).  Partners can order this DVD from here where you will also find webinars, case studies, and white papers.

Trying to navigate round Microsoft?  Trying to find out the latest info on a particular product?  This new tool could help.

Partner Bot is an Instant Messenger ‘data digger’, which quickly retrieves partner-related information and shows you where you can find the answers you need. Simply type in your question and Bot will bring back an instant response. Add Bot as a buddy in your Windows Live Messenger contacts and it will always be available whenever you’re logged in. Whether you’re looking for support options, searching for competitive information or want to learn more about products, you can ask Partner Bot and it will point you in the right direction.

(Please be aware that Bot may guide you to areas of the Partner Portal which can only be accessed by Registered, Certified or Gold Partners, so you may need to sign-in to view this information.)

How Do I Add Partner Bot to My Contacts?

· Log-in to Windows Live Messenger

· Click on ‘Add a Contact’ icon

· Add partnerbot@hotmail.com into Instant Messaging Address

 

I recently grabbed some time with Paul Bishop, MD at Splendid, to sip some coffee, ask him a few questions about his web agency and find out what he is up to ….

Paul can you tell us what you do at Splendid?
As one of the founders of Splendid, my role is selling and talking to people. I spend time with customers discussing what they want to do and then proposing how they can achieve it. Within a project, my role is very much at the conceptual stage. I then hand over to other people to ensure smooth delivery. There are 2 other founders at Splendid. We were all at college together and have previous experience of working for both large and small agencies. About 4 years ago we decided to set up our own agency together. We all have specific and different roles to play. Alex is responsible for business accounting and strategy, with a lot of experience in new business ventures and the tv market. A lot of start ups have great ideas but need help with the finance and Alex helps link ideas to investors. Dan is very much creative and new technology evangelist, with a focus on the music industry primarily but also looking at new technologies such as Silverlight. Dan recently attended the Microsoft Silverlight Bootcamp in the US. I talk and sell stuff!

What makes Splendid different in this marketplace?
Splendid has the ability to take on very big projects even though it is still a fairly small company. Our size helps us to maintain agility and move quickly. This had been a great help in taking on new technologies such as Silverlight. We have a very strong methodology that makes us robust and allows us to compete against the larger agencies. Our methodology gets the users involved. I think a number of companies say they involve the users, but we really do. The methodology is a guiding principle more than a rigid process, and is constantly changing and incorporating customer feedback and our learnings.  We partner with Flow Interactive for user testing and jointly we win more projects by being able to offer the full service.
Splendid majors on user experience but is increasingly developing more as technology changes. Overall we focus on user experience and we are nice people so customers want to work with us!


Tell us about a cool Splendid solution
EMAP! We initially got involved by developing a gadget with Microsoft on Vista WPF for Empire magazine. This then developed into a website for New Woman based on a full .Net build. We have just launched Heatworld – online Heat magazine. Heat magazine contributes a substantially to EMAP’s revenue and over 700,000 copies are sold every week.  They are a complete Microsoft technology house and gave us just 10 weeks to deliver the solution as they wanted it to be live in time for the current series of Big Brother. We delivered a solution on time that has a very visual navigation based on photos. In the first 4 weeks they received 5M page impressions! On the first day there were 37,000 page impressions without any advertising. We delivered a full design process completely on .Net built in 10 weeks!  Take a look – it’s addictive! 
At Christmas 2006 we delivered our first .Net application ever to New Woman. Now 6 months later our developers that used to use PHP are all completely converted. Why? Simplicity, speed, the elegant environment, re-usable components. Now about 35% of our business is .Net

What are the press saying about Splendid at the moment?
Splendid is a relatively low profile company delivering high profile sites to our customers. We are known for the work we do and that’s important.  Our customers promote us for us by recommending us to others.
Any advice for partners looking at this new technology?
Let yourself or your business needs decide on the best fit more than new technology push.  Come up with the idea and chose the technology that best suits. Splendid is agnostic to technology. We are always thinking about the solution for the customer.
We have been really surprised by the realism and the passionate approach at Microsoft. I think everyone has  a perception of Microsoft.  I know we did.  We have been really pleasantly surprised and now have an honest and open relationship with the development team at Microsoft. There is a realistic exchange between our teams and this has helped to build the relationship. It’s been really refreshing.
Microsoft actually found us and asked us to get involved last summer around Vista as it was felt that we could add something different.  We are now involved in the Win Live Special Interest Group where we get exposure to the futures, roadmaps and can provide feedback which is great because I believe that we could incorporate this into every project we do. We are linked into the Silverlight teams both in the Uk and the US.
Things have really changed for us and I’d advise other partners to take a look and be surprised.

How was Mix07 in Las Vegas?
We have been so involved in this technology that we had exposure to a lot of the content prior to the event but is was still a spectacular event.  It was great to meet so many people and I just love Las Vegas! I’m really looking forward to being involved in MixUK.

If you were invisible for a day where would you go and what would you do?
Nothing I wouldn’t do if I wasn’t invisible! I’d like to hang out in the pits at a Formula 1 race. I’s also like to nose around Number 10 or a cabinet meeting just to see how they really make their decisions. In fact I’d like to do a world tour of all the leaders!