Understanding the Value of Prism (Silverlight TV #37)

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In this episode, Brian Noyes discusses strategies for building Silverlight business applications. Brian is an advisor working with the Patterns and Practices team on the current and future versions of Prism. John and Brian discuss what Prism is, when to use it, when not to use it, and how to pick and choose which parts of Prism may be of most value to your application.

Prism is made up of various parts including modularity, regions, the shell, commanding, events/messaging. Brian explains and demonstrates how each of these concepts is tackled by Prism 2.2 and some possible future plans for Prism 4. We'll do some follow up shows on Prism and on MVVM later this summer, too!

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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Ward Bell

    Lightening fast tour of the Prism neighborhood. Brian and John know this cold and their expertise shines through. John often stops the show to level set and ask the "why does that matter?" question; Brian is right on it with a pithy answer. Best twenty minutes on Prism I've seen. Well done fellas!

  • User profile image
    Kevin Dwyer

    Great introduction to Prism guys.

  • User profile image

    There is a saying: Keep it simple stupid. Why is this very simple demo and/or in general SilverLight development, going at light speed in the other direction?


    If we are dealing with "patterns" then why does a new feature have to be optional or not?


    2 years ago I told everyone that nearly anyone could become a developer though training and practice. Today; not chance baby. Even watching this video I was playing buzz word bingo in my head.


    Something is fundementally wrong with software development when you need so many pieces just to make a stock ticker.

  • User profile image

    N2Cheval, Prism is different than its predecessor (CAB) in that it does not require you to use every piece of it. That was one of CABs problems as many people felt you had to grasp all of it to use any of it, and thus it became difficult to adopt. Prism goes the direction of "use what you need". It is not a pattern just a set of tools you can use or not use.


    There is another older but still very good video on DNR TV from Brian Noyes showing Prism at this link.


    I'll be hosting a few more videos on architecture so please add in your comments. I understand there are a lot of "buzz words" in Prism, so I will also make a blog post to explain many of them this week. Hoepfully that will help!


    Thanks for watching.

  • User profile image

    N2Cheval has raised something I've been thinking about for a while. The pace of change in both technologies, patterns and philosophies and the dogmatism behind each is reaching a critical mass where I cannot keep up.


    Generally I get one project out of a technology before it is superceded. Learning a technology is so hard. The reading involved to glean a few vital nuggets of information is a massive burden and discovering the known issues inherent in every technology is incredibly frustrating; it rinses the joy out of programming.


    To vocalise these concerns seems taboo. The other day, I announced on Twitter that I didn't have time to use Unit Tests, especially since they didn't work right out of the box in VS (no time to troubleshoot, one thing too much on my plate). I was shot down by some random sitting on a Twitter search who told me that there was something wrong with the why I work if I wasn't testing. He doesn't know me or the pressures I'm under.


    Where are these fundamentalists that are pervading programming coming from? Is it because of the evangelism movement? Does is steep too much expectation from ourselves and others?


    N2Cheval, if you don't want to use Prism, don't use it. I won't judge you.


    Thanks for listening, Luke.

  • User profile image

    There are a lot of "techniques" being used in the wild. Unit testing, Prism, Agile, whatever. I agree that you need to use wha tmakes sense for your scenario. Prism is not a silver bullet ... you need to use it if it makes sense. Further, only use the pieces of Prism that make sense to you.  You can substitute any technique or pattern in there for that matter. Use what makes sense.


    Regarding the pace ... yes, it smoving fast from all angles. Technology is like medicine in that we relearn all the time to keep up. Smiley


    Thanks for watching!

  • User profile image

    I know we're tangenting off the Prism subject, but I also agree with Luke in that like it or not, the projects I and I expect others work with last longer than the time needed to learn enough of the new techniques to see if they could even be useful to the current or the next project.


    Take Prism 2 (to get back on subject some) how do I know what parts make sense to use (or should use) without creating a test application, modifying it enough to learn what can and should not be done with it to make a reasonable decision about it. These people who are always up on latest trands must have personal tutors (by the sounds of it Sampy must be in that category) as I can't find the hours while being productive in paid work. Anyway rant over, more reading and learning instead...

  • User profile image

    What is the relation to WCF RIA Services? How does it fit in with P&P like this?

  • User profile image

    RIA Services works fine with Prism. You can use MVVM too, if you like. One option is to have your ViewModel call a service class that invokes the RIA Services' methods when needed. These can fill the model classes and your VM can then use them to bind to the View. This is just one option. You could also skip MVVM entirely. It's really your call there.

  • User profile image

    I heard a quote once, besides 'keep it simple stupid', something like 'keep it as simple as possible, but not simpler'.   These 'reference' apps that get shown are not enough to convince anyone that the complexity and learning curve of the framework is worth the investment.

    My wish would be for a real application to be used as a reference app, similar to how Windows DNA and COM+ were proven with the FMStocks and FMStocks2000 application (http://www.fmstocks.com/).   It would be useful to see a reference app similar to the Dell call center app whose screen shot was shown in the original presentation of UIP & CAB.  any chance of that?



  • User profile image

    can we get videos on prism v4?

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