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Brad Abrams - Silverlight 3.0 for Great Business Apps

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Even business applications deserve to look nice. In this episode Brad Abrams shares with us some of the details he will be covering in his upcoming MIX09 session on Silverlight 3.0. While there are some "unannounced" aspects of Silverlight 3.0 that he can't go into for us in this show, he does provide us with a couple of great demos that illustrate how easy it will be to write great looking applications with Silverlight 3.0. To see all of the great features of Silverlight 3.0, you'll want to check out his session at MIX09:

Building Business Centric Applications with Silverlight 3
Come learn what it what it takes to building a data-intensive Silverlight application with the new set of features coming in Silverlight 3.  You will learn how to write secure scalable N-tier applications in a way that as simple was writing 2-teir applications.  Explore how improvements and futures in Silverlight are helping to enable rapid development for business applications and make your development process more productive

But I'll also try to bring Brad back after MIX09 for a quick recap and summary of the cool features he showed off.

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  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw

    wow, those links where really cool :O
    but what happens when there are multiple SL controls on the page?
    or if the SL control is just a small part or the page?
    also, can you use clean mvc style urls?  (no extensions and stuff like that)

    man, mix is too far away Tongue Out

  • Vesuviusvesuvius Count Orlock
    Well that is something certainly worth looking forward to. I love that fact the the datagrid has continued to be developed and grouping/paging is such an important feature in LOB applications. I hope they follow suit with the WPF grid as well.




  • Vesuviusvesuvius Count Orlock

    I reckon the URL routing is already catered for.

    Brad details "deep navigation" in the interview, with forward and back actions in the browser (even copying a clean URL to firefox), so I'm sure this is already taken care of. Brad does mention that this AJAX problem has been dealt with.

  • Edward MoemekaMoemeka Me

    Do we have to wait till Mix to find out of the Text Rendering ix fixed (or at least improved)?  Almost everyone I know who is working on a Silverlight project is having a hard time dealing with this issue and most of us have had to come up with horrific hacks to get around it. 

  • IanBlackburnIanBlackburn mmmm coffee...

    Silverlight 3 is really going to start to drive home the value of using Silverlight for business apps.  It is a clear differentiator from the competition, and a clean win for .net developers, many of whom are currently seeing Silverlight as some sort of media app.  That is set to change.

    I have summarised the points from this video here, looking forward to Mix09!

    Cheers

    Ian
    http://silverlightforbusiness.net

  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw

    its likely that it is, but what i wanna know is how  Wink is it managed server side or does the url get passed into SL and parsed there somehow?
    also, what i mean by a "clean" url is a url without file exstensions and querystring arguments Smiley

    ex:
    www.mypage.com/Categories/Mugs
    and not
    www.mypgae.com/Categories.aspx?name=Mugs

    im sure we'll know after mix but mix is tooo faaar awaaaay Wink

  • Robert HessRobert Hess Changing the world, one cocktail at a time.
    aL, I suppose "clean" might be in the eye of the beholder? I realize that the URL listed in the address bar can be a little hard to read in this video, but essentially it looks like this:

    http://localhost/SLAppTestPage.aspx#/Views/HomePage.xaml

    The Silverlight application itself exists on the ASPX page shown in the URL, so that essentially has to be listed in that fashion, however just as you'd use "#" to then link to a "position" within a big gigantic page, we are using this to link to a the "position" within the Silverlight application that you are wanting to access.
  • I agree with Moemeka... deep linking is great, data grids are fine, lots of good stuff here. But the thing that is really holding me back from using Silverlight for my LOB apps is the fact that the text rendering and font support is really difficult to get it to look good.

    I'm willing to be convinced that Silverlight is a fantastic LOB forms framework, but we need better text support. Hopefully we'll see that in the "I can't show you this right now, but just you wait" category.
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw

    i dont seem to be making myself very clear.. Smiley
    what im refering to are "restful" Urls
    here is a good definition
    http://www.xfront.com/REST-Web-Services.html

    the example in the demo is not "restful" in this sense as it includes the aspx extesion of the file that the SL application is located in.
     a completly restful url in your example would be:
    http://localhost/SLAppTestPage/Views/HomePage 

    i dont think thats possible however as that would mean reloading the page, something that we most likely dont want, hence my question in the first place Smiley most likely, the closest you could get is http://localhost/SLAppTestPage#/Views/HomePage .
    using a html anchor (the # )makes sense for intra site links, what im wondering is just how SL controls are notifed of the anchor link beeing hit and what kind of control you have over the anchor link .. does it need the .xaml extension? is there a routning engine a la mvc in SL to handle the routes?
    what happens for instance if you have two SL controls on the page? i suppose you can only have one anchor link? (or can you? there could be some syntax for adressing diffrent controls)

    lots anf lots of questions.. Smiley again, im sure things will clear at mix Smiley

  • Brad did a great job about justifying all these new features for SL3 and how they will save developers so much time building LoB apps with the new framework. I'd personally use this video and the one from his MIX session to show new developers and people who don't believe in SL.

    The team is doing a great job on the new LoB framework.
    Thanks Brad!

    ..Ben
  • For a business app you really need to also think about printing support.

    On the silverlight forums there is a thread with over 50 posts dating back to when it was called Silverlight 1.1 saying that printing support is needed.

    I hope that printing support is one of the surprises of Mix but I don't think it will be as it has been rumoured that they are not looking to do that for the 3.0 release.

    +1 on the font rendering issues.
  • DCMonkeyDCMonkey What?!?
    Heh. I started that thread. I left the "alert me when someone posts" feature on and still get a few "me too"s a month in my inbox.
  • Silverlight 3.0 is really nice, I love the user input validation. hey check out my silverlight 2.0 application at www.somaliplay.com and tell me what you think.

  • Yep, you can definitely make your URLs cleaner, to remove file extensions, query strings, etc.  You'll find it to be very similar to ASP.NET MVC in general concept (and even a bit in syntax), so hopefully the learning curve is smooth.

    But, one thing to note is that they'll never be quite as good as pure server-side URLs because Silverlight (like Flash, AJAX, etc.) can only update the part of the URL after the hash ("#"), so you'll get http://some/server/url#some/client/url - careful thinking can still lead to something very nice, you're just stuck with the "#" in the middle somewhere.
  • Tim HeuerTimHeuer Tim Heuer
    Hi aL_ -- I think we must recognize that REST is a style, not a mandate.  In the definition of REST as described by Fielding makes no such requirement that file extensions be hidden, but rather that the URI represent a state of an interface.  The above still does wheter .aspx and # are present.  The guidance for RESTful URIs is that a noun is used versus a verb so /SLTestAppPage/getView?view=HomePage would be lest noun-ish, but still represents and endpoint to a resource.

    It's a semantic difference between a REST purist (hi-REST) and an interpretation I suppose Smiley

    But enough on that...viva Silverlight!
  • Funny you should ask  if their is a routning engine a la mvc in SL to handle the routes? That is the almost exactly the title of my blog post today.. I introduce a rounting and navigation framework based on the same api as mvc in silverlight.. check it out at http://www.orkpad.com/Blog/post/2009/03/10/Silverlight-Routing-a-la-MVC-Routing.aspx (.) In my internal usage, it is awesome way to design applications because you can extend and change without have to bring down the whole house. Cheers
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Right on.
    C
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    im sorry if i struck a nerve or something Smiley i didnt mean for my post to spark a discussion about "beauty" of urls, what is rest/hi-rest/lo-rest and what isnt (i still barely know after years of RoR development) and what approach is the "best"

    i was just interested in the amount of control you have over
    a) the url to the page the SL control is on (i.e. does SL3 pose restrictions on that url in order to have deep links?  -the awnser to this appears to be a "no")
    b) the SL part of the url (the right side of the #)

    as for part b, ive got some awnsers already (thank you orktane, i'll deffinetly check that out Smiley thats for SL2 though right?) and i'm sure there are lots of details that will be revealed at mix Smiley
  • @AL, yeah it's for SL 2.. and it seems quite similar to what is being show for SL3. However, let's see how extensible the navigation system is in SL, because the MVC type routing engine that I have is quite quite powerful and extensible. Let's see..
  • One unanswered SL 3.0 question, one that, to me, is critical for line of business apps, is support for a lower level drawing object/API (e.g. DrawingVisual in WPF).  Even marginally complex business charts with more than a few hundred data points exhibit poor performance due to the need to instantiate so many shape objects (lines, rectangles, etc.).  Any plans to add these capabilities in SL 3.0?
  • Silverlight 2 gave us severe multimedia, Silverlight 3 is finally going to give us a great framework for building business applications.  Great video!

    ...Matt
    http://www.insidercoding.com
  • Like Rick, I too would really appreciate to be able to draw directly to the canvas instead of having to create drawing objects.  It's alot of dev work to maintain those objects for graphic editing applications.

    ...Matt
    http://www.insidercoding.com

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