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Monthly Archives: November 2007

Scott Guthrie has released some preliminary details about what’s in the next release of the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha… well that’s the first thing… it’s not 1.1 anymore but a fully fledged v2, which makes a lot more sense to me with the amount of power and flexibility being added to the release now.

Silverlight 2.0 will focus on enabling rich Internet applications.  This release will include a cross-platform, cross-browser version of the .NET Framework, and will enable a rich .NET development platform in the browser.

Some of the new .NET specific features in the next public Silverlight preview will include:

  • WPF UI Framework: The current Silverlight Alpha release only includes basic controls support and a managed API for UI drawing.  The next public Silverlight preview will add support for the higher level features of the WPF UI framework.  These include: the extensible control framework model, layout manager support, two-way data-binding support, and control template and skinning support.  The WPF UI Framework features in Silverlight will be a compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework features in last week’s .NET Framework 3.5 release.

  • Rich Controls: Silverlight will deliver a rich set of controls that make building Rich Internet Applications much easier.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for core form controls (textbox, checkbox, radiobutton, etc), built-in layout management controls (StackPanel, Grid, etc), common functionality controls (TabControl, Slider, ScrollViewer, ProgressBar, etc) and data manipulation controls (DataGrid, etc).

  • Rich Networking Support: Silverlight will deliver rich networking support.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for REST, POX, RSS, and WS communication.  It will also add support for cross domain network access (so that Silverlight clients can access resources and data from any trusted source on the web).

  • Rich Base Class Library Support: Silverlight will include a rich .NET base class library of functionality (collections, IO, generics, threading, globalisation, XML, local storage, etc).  The next Silverlight preview release will also add built-in support for LINQ to XML and richer HTML DOM API integration.

This is a great preview of some of the features coming to the next version of Silverlight, the question you’re probably asking now is when can I get my hands on it?

Well the good news is Silverlight 2.0 Beta will be released in Q1 of 2008.  Even better the Beta will support a Go-Live license that enables you to begin building and deploying Silverlight 2.0 applications.

The development applications will also be getting revised at the same time with a free Visual Studio 2008 tools update that provides Silverlight 2.0 support within Visual Studio 2008. Silverlight development will not be limited to the paid for versions of Visual Studio 2008 Standard/Professional products, but will come to the free Visual Studio 2008 Express editions as well, which is great news.

‘And finally’ is news that next week a new preview of ASP.NET 3.5 extensions will also be released which will include extended Silverlight support for easily integration of Silverlight within your ASP.NET applications.  In particular there will be new controls that make it easy to integrate Silverlight video/media and interactive content within your sites.

This is a good step change from the 1.1 Alpha release and I look forward to seeing what you guys can do with it 🙂

Roll on Q1 that’s what I say!


Microsoft Silverlight logoOne of the most important aspects with any new plug-in technology is the install experience.

The Silverlight development team has tried to give as much flexibility as possible to allow you to provide the best, and totally controllable install experience for users of your site.

Adam Kinney posted some great examples of how you can provide more context at install time and some of the methods that you can leverage.

In addition to this Tim Sneath has posted some helpful tips that the Microsoft teams have learned over the last few months as we built out our own first Silverlight experiences.



I recently caught up with Monochrome for a chat with Adrian Munn (Sales & Marketing Director) and Niklas Richardson (Technical Director) to find out more about them and what they have been up to….


So what do you do at Monochrome?

Adrian: We are a web agency specialising in application design/development and web design/development. We are a traditional web services company incorporating managed services for our customers. For the past 4 years we have been focused on rich and immersive content and new technologies that engage our users and customers. I am Sales & Marketing Director which means I go out and sell. I engage with the customer and talk about the long-term growth potential for their current environment and discuss new opportunities to utilise the new technologies available. I show customers how they could get the most from the web and how the new technologies will help them to engage with their end-users and customers. I guess you could call me an evangelist!

Nik: I’m the Technical Director here at Monochrome.  I have been in the web industry since 1997 so I have seen a lot of technologies come and go.  My primary focus here is to investigate these new technologies…  see how they fit into the projects that we build… and decide whether they are relevant or not.  However, with all new technologies we have to be careful that we don’t just use them because they are new but use them because they are relevant and will provide either a better end user experience or a better development environment, or both.  As well as investigating these new technologies I also strive to become an expert in them so that I can guide my own team to build better solutions using best practices.


So what are Monochrome known for in this marketplace?

Adrian: We see ourselves as the market leader in Rich Interactive (RI) and immersive content. We call ourselves a “big little company”. We are not frightened to take on challenges and big business. We are interested in the long-term evaluation of technology to assess what is right for the customer today but also what is future-proof whilst taking advantage of new technology.


So what are you talking to Microsoft about?

Adrian: The relationships we have in the RI space and the community relationships we build with people in the industry have enabled us to get involved and given us exposure to what Microsoft is doing in this area. The RI space that Microsoft is now advocating and putting research into, complements our background of existing RI technology. It has allowed us to engage early on working with the Microsoft solution and the community they are building. Monochrome are excited at the challenges that RI offers to the marketplace and how working closely with Microsoft can assist building apps. We can see how this offers us streaming technology, delivery of RI experience and fast delivery that gives us benefits when using the Silverlight and Expressions toolset to build apps with real ongoing value. Some of our projects involve streaming media and Microsoft has a solution that is ideal for delivering to our customers.


Nik, you recently attended Mix07 – why?

Nik: Microsoft are one of the best software companies in the world no matter what anyone says. I’m not  a Microsoft preacher but if you look at the company in the cold light of day and look at what they create – if they chose to play in the RI space you know that they will create something interesting and special. Therefore Mix was all about understanding this compelling alterative. I think they are on the right tracks. I’m going to definitely hang around to see what happens. And if there is opportunity to give feedback – then great! This is what we did with Flex when that came out. Microsoft create cool stuff – Surface, Xbox, Zune. It’s not always brand new ideas but they do know how to do cool stuff!


So what was it about?

Nik: Everyone was “super excited”! 🙂 This was a Microsoft I had not seen before and it was really interesting. With the Silverlight technology they have a compelling offering but I was interested to understand more about where it is going. I’m not sure what I was expecting. You think of Microsoft as very “Corporate” and the perception is that perhaps they don’t see the fun side of this market as they are such a large company. But Mix07 was really refreshing – and I’m not just talking about all the alcohol consumed! 🙂 It was my first experience of a Microsoft conference and it was much more than them just trying to be funky. I came away with so much info, I was amazed at how much guidance they give. They help you to sell their products. It’s not the Partners’ responsibility to work out how they sell their products. They help you to understand that.


So what is your “top tip” for Agencies looking at this area?

Nik: I would say:

1. Keep an open mind

2. Remember it’s a new product

3. Watch the roadmap and where it is going

4. Engage & communicate

Be mindful of the fact that this is not just a “now” solution, or a 6 month or 9 month solution – you have to look at where this will be in 18 months time. This could really leapfrog Flex when you consider Microsoft’s resource and experience of building Enterprise solutions. Remember the ability for Microsoft to evolve and change the environment to come up with something new. They have created a Zune, they have changed mobile technology. Every time you might think Microsoft is washed-up, they evolve and change based on the future and the need. They want to hear from their partners. This company (Microsoft) has been here since the start of the computer revolution, they are a huge part of the software industry, you can’t ignore that fact.


Adrian, you recently attended Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC07) in Denver – now why did you go and what was that all about?

Adrian: After Nik came back from Mix07, I think we started to take Microsoft seriously. Because of the relationship we had built with Microsoft, we were given the opportunity to go to WPC07. I was sceptical at first but  I ended up being shocked by the way Microsoft was engaged with RI at the highest level. I heard Steve Ballmer & Kevin Turner talking about Silverlight in their keynote speeches.  This was great to see how seriously they are taking this investment. Initially I had mixed views but they consistently demonstrated how well they engage with the Business Partners. After a poor experience with other suppliers, it was great to see how Microsoft work WITH their partners. There was opportunity to have Q&A with Steve Ballmer which showed real openness. Web Agencies were in  a minority this year but this will change. It was an great opportunity to meet a lot of people, other Partners and Microsoft USA.


What next for Monochrome?

Nik: Microsoft roll out of RI apps in a number of different sectors.

Adrian: There is an opportunity to build communities around this. We want to take advantage of Microsoft education and support to build our capability in RI. We will be looking at future opportunities to build web apps in RI and play a part in the changing market.


Guests for dinner (dead or alive) – who would they be?

Adrian: Einstein, JFK, Jimmy Hendricks

Nik: Douglas Copeland, Richard Branson, Neil Armstrong, Lewis Hamilton


Check out more about Monochrome


Popfly is the first of a new generation of web tools that enables users of all skill levels to create or edit their own mash-ups for use within applications or to simply spice up their web sites or socials sites.  


Key Messages:

Popfly is a tool that enables you to easily build and share mashups, gadgets, and Web pages

  • Free Web-based tool built with Silverlight
  • Build applications using popular services (Flickr, Halo, Twitter)
  • Share your applications almost anywhere (Facebook, Live, Blogs, Web pages)
  • Connect with other creators

Why Popfly:

Add some fun to your Facebook profile, web site, or Windows Live Spaces page

  • Custom Games – Asteroids, Whack-a-mole
  • Quizzes, tests – Who’s more popular

Build a home page

  • Organization or Club site – schedule, photos, videos, roster, maps and directions

Mix and re-mix photos and videos

  • Take pictures from Facebook, Flickr, Windows Live Image Search, or Windows Live Spaces

Unify your online personality

  • Show what you dug on Digg, what you buy and sell on eBay, your Halo 3 game scores, and more