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Silverlight 4 Tools for Visual Studio 2010 Launch: New Designer Capabilities (Silverlight TV 27)

20 minutes, 34 seconds


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Mark Wilson-Thomas joins John to announce the launch of the Silverlight 4 Tools for Visual Studio 2010! Mark shows off several impressive, new features in the Visual Studio 2010 designer that work for both Silverlight and WPF development. Some key new features that are covered include:

  • New interactive design surface
  • Working with Styles and Resources
  • Go To Value Definition lets you directly locate nested styles
  • Using the new "Data Can" to pinpoint data hookups
  • Moving stuff around in complex Grid panels using the new right click "goodies" 

You can learn more about the new features from the Cider Designer blog, too.

Relevant links:

Follow us on Twitter @SilverlightTV or on the web at http://silverlight.tv/


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  • I think I'm in love with these new features. But honestly, I think a longer and more in debth videos on these features, especially the search for styles.

  • John Papajopapa Evangelist on the Loose

    Ben - We can certainly do a follow up video showing more of the new features. I'll talk to Mark.

  • It was a GREAT introduction and holy $$$$ type of demo, but a longer and slower version would be awesome.

    Thank you guys!

  • rhmrhm

    I still think it's weird having Blend and Cider, but at least the design view of Cider is useful in 2010!


    btw. Does everyone in Microsoft have those 17" thinkpads or do you just use the same laptops for all the demos on Channel9?

  • John Papajopapa Evangelist on the Loose

    rhm - Yes, the "new" Cider is much more useful now.


    Those are actually 15" thinkpads (at leat mine is). I only bring mine as a backup ... just in case. We run all demos off the guest's laptop.

  • At the 20:34 minute point in the video, Mark has the cursor on a DataGrid, and it shows some items in the Property Grid called "Generate Columns", "Remove Columns", and "Edit Property-Bound Columns".   I thought "Cool, you can now generate columns later on in the development cycle" (after that first drag and drop manuever).  


    But I downloaded the latest bits, and I don't have those same options in the Property Grid.  What's up?  Is this a feature that didn't make it into the Release bits?




  • Here's a picture of what I was looking at in the video if it helps. Smiley



  • Hi @dextroart


    The features you are seeing are part of the design-time capabilities for the WPF version of the DataGrid control which I was using at that point in the demonstration.  Unfortunately these features are not yet in the Silverlight version of that control - I will pass along your feedback to the Silverlight team to let them know you'd like to see them in future releases.




  • Video is the most effective way to demo working in a complex UI. Doing things and showing what happens in other areas of the UI, especially when you are taken to a "sub-context", a mini-editor, a details explorer, is easier to produce and more efficient to learn from than reading typical numbered step procedures even with screencaptures (I write docs for a living).


    I agree with Ben this was a great intro and would also welcome a longer more comprehensive version showing more of what can be done. We've been working in XAML [VS] and now have these great timesaving features. Some capabilities could be discovered rt-clicking everywhere, but more visual demos of what's possible will help us to recall what's possible when needed. IMO.

  • Has anybody else noticed the typo in the context menu that's shown about 4 minutes into the video?  'Go to value Defintion'... it has made its way into the released product as well - I just checked.

  • John Papajopapa Evangelist on the Loose

    johnnyboyc - Yes, Mark and I noticed it during the shoot actually and alerted the team. Consider it an "easter egg" Smiley

  • Not directly related to this post but the Right Click in the properties windows shows a misspelled context menu item 'Go to Value Defintion', as shown in this video. If I wasn't so lazy I'd find the right place to report this...

  • ..Should have refreshed this page before posting! Glad it's not just my eyesight. On the same note the VS team have been great at responding to feedback especially during beta2 for performance issues, kudos to them.

  • Thanks for the typo report all - yes, we spotted that during the making of the video; unfortunately it was too late for a small fit-and-finish bug to make the bar for holding up the release. We're sorry about that. We hope you think the feature is useful, and we will fix the typo in the next major release.


    Thanks a lot for all of the interest in seeing more details of the designer features.  There's already a ton of useful material on using the Visual Studio 2010 designer over on our Cider Blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/wpfsldesigner/pages/learn.aspx - and we are adding more there too, so do keep checking back.


    We'll also work with John and others to fill in the gaps and help you be productive - I'd love to hear from you all on the kinds of topics you'd like more detail on - the team monitors the WPF and Silverlight Designer forum, so post away over there.


    For those who are coming along to TechEd USA in a few weeks time, you may be interested to hear that myself and Mark Boulter will be giving a session there which covers a number of useful Tips and Tricks for using the designer. We'll show the material I covered in this video plus a number of other topics, and there will be time for questions. We'll also have a full feedback session. Hope to see some of you in New Orleans!


    DEV313 | Making the Most of the Microsoft Silverlight and WPF Designer in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
    Session Type: Breakout Session
    Track: Developer Tools, Languages & Frameworks
    Speaker(s): Mark Wilson-Thomas, Mark Boulter
    Level: 300 - Advanced
    WEB08-INT | Building Rich Business Clients in Microsoft Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation: Feedback Session
    Session Type: Interactive Session
    Speaker(s): Mark Wilson-Thomas, Mark Boulter
  • Hi,


    As a newbie in SL I was stunned by the "glossiness" of the buttons in the sample.  Is there anyway I can get to the style code of this sample?


    As usual, VS leads in the IDE market! And this graphic editor prooves it again!

    Great job Cider!

    Great job John!

  • Hello...


    I've installed the new Toolkit and is trying to use the Theme features: I've opened a Theme.xaml file with a ResourceDictionary which contains lots of Styles...


    I've then "opened" the designer and is now looking at the Properties window.

    No matter were i click/select im not getting any of those style-helpers in the properties window ?!?


    I have Visual Studio 2010 Professional + SL4 Tools + SL4 Toolkit  installed

    what am i doing wrong ?



  • Hi Yvan and thanks for the kind words!


    I "borrowed" the styles for those buttons from the Family.Show sample (which is actually a WPF sample app).


    You can find it's code on Codeplex at http://familyshow.codeplex.com/ 


    You might also find the Blacklight controls (http://blacklight.codeplex.com/ , showcased at http://mightymeaty.members.winisp.net/blacklight.silverlight/) useful for this sort of look and feel.



  • Hi M Kirk


    Sorry you're having trouble getting this to work.  


    Whenever a XAML Window, Page or UserControl is loaded in design view (i.e. you can see the design pane with a preview of your design or the Intentionally Left Blank message), the Properties Window should be active if it is shown, and show the Property Marker for all properties in view for the selected piece of XAML (wherever your cursor is in the XAML file). 


    If the page in question is a resource dictionary, like the one I showed in the video, you will need to use the same trick I did in the video to get the Properties Window to "light up" - show the split view, then click on the design pane (which doesn't show by default for RDs). Do this by:


    1. Clicking on the split view button in the splitter bar which contains the Design and XAML Tabs (there are two split view buttons at the right hand end of the splitter bar, one vertical and one horizontal - vertical looks like a box with a vertical line through the middle, the horizontal the same with a horizontal line through the middle)

    2. Clicking on the Grey "Intentionally Left Blank" view shown in the Design tab


    This should "wake up" the Properties Window for the Resource Dictionary.


    Once the Properties Window is "lit up", the property marker (the little widget to the right of the label for each property and to the left of its value) should allow you to click on it and see "Apply Resource" (along with Apply Databinding, Reset Value, and Go To Value Definition) in the drop down menu.


    Click on Apply Resource in the Property Marker menu, to see the resource picker window.


    If you do this for a Style, the picker will show the available styles.


    Hope this helps!


    If not, can you say whether you are not seeing the property marker, not seeing the picker when you click Apply Resource, or not seeing your resources in the picker once it appears?





  • Hi Ben


    If you couldn't make TechEd USA in New Orleans, you can see the talk we gave on tips and tricks for using the designer there online now:




    Hope you find it interesting!



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