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MIX10 and Windows Phone

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189685-windowsmobile_slideI’ve been lucky for the second year in row to go at MIX. I was very excited to be part of the event, because one of the main topic was about Windows Phone 7. I’m a long time fan of Windows Mobile.  I often think about building some Windows Mobile application, but i had to learn the .NET Compact Framework. But i didn’t had much time to learn that framework. Since I'm focusing my development skill on Silverlight, the announcement of Windows Phone was a great relief. My installation and testing the new tools was very easy.

 

I’m looking forward to develop some application using Silverlight on Windows Phone. So look often at this blog because i will post often about Windows Phone.

 

Globally MIX10 was not as surprising as last year because most of the announcement was not exclusive. We knew most of the announcement prior to the MIX. But i can easily tell, this was my preferred MIX at this time. Because, i took advantage of the event in many ways. I’ve learned a lot from the session which where very good. Also i had a good time meeting a lot of people, from which i learned a lot.

 

Here is some links for resources related to MIX and to Windows Phone.
MIX10 Resource:
Videos: http://sessions.visitmix.com

Windows Phone Resource
Tools: http://developer.windowsphone.com
Forum: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsphone7series
Tutorial: http://channel9.msdn.com/learn/courses/WP7TrainingKit/WP7GettingStarted/YourFirstWP7AppLab/
Blog: http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/wpdev

 

Regards,
LP

Expression Blend for Developers at TechDays 2009 Montreal – Part 2 – Creating Glass Effect

For the second part i will show you how to create some glass effect. Just as a reminder i’m not a graphic artist, i’m .NET Developer. As you can see Expression Blend allow any developer to improve the design without the help of a graphic artist or images (keep in mind Silverlight and WPF are vector graphic base).

Starting with the background I've created in the previous post we will add some stuff to have parts of the application looking like glass.

Now we will add an header that will look more fancy and glassy. First we will add a rectangle.

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Again we will use the gradient properties to add the required effect. So we will change the background to use the gradient.

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Now we will change the start anchor and set the Alpha to 20. After we will add a new anchor in the middle and set the Alpha to 50. We will add another anchor to the right of the last one just added, and we will set the Alpha to 15. Finally we will set the Alpha of the last anchor to 0.

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To polish this title bar we can add a drop shadow. To do so, in the Properties under Appearance, there is a property called Effect. We now click on the New button. In Expression Blend there is some predefined effect available. You can now select DropShadowEffect.

 

 

 

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Now we have an header that look a lot better. As you can see if we resize the window, the the opacity effect is visible in the header.

 

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Now you can add some text in the header. You can also apply the DropShadowEffect on the text to make it more readable. And again you can play with the Gradient. Here is an example:

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Now we will add glass effect over an image. So add an image in your application. Over this image we will add a new rectangle. This will be the object that will create the glass effect.

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Now we will set the gradient to a really soft blue #CEDDEC. Now we will need 4 anchor in our gradient slider. And the only thing that will change is the Alpha on each anchor.
(From left to right)
- 1rst : Alpha = 80
- 2nd : Alpha = 25
- 3rd : Alpha = 50
- 4th : Alpha = 30

Also I've changed the gradient arrow to make the illusion of the direction of the light.
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The final result:

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Next part: Working with Template and data binding to a sample data source.

Regards,
Louis-Philippe

Expression Blend for Developers at TechDays 2009 Montreal – Part 1 – Using gradient

Two week ago i presented a session on Expression Blend for developers. I had a great time presenting (even if i had some issues remembering my slides). But what was interesting wasn’t the slides but the demos.

So today i will show you some tips and tricks based on my demos.  

Using gradient

Using gradient can help improve the visual aspect of an application. In Expression Blend the functionality is well implemented. First select the control you want to apply the gradient.

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In the Properties bar you can select on which properties you want to apply the gradient. More often we apply the gradient on the background of an object.

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Now you can select the third option. This is the gradient tools.

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The gradient slider allow you to change the way the gradient will look like.

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You can have multiple anchor in the slider

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Here is an example of the way we can use the slider to create some effect. For each anchor we can change the color and the opacity.

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Also there is a tool in the toolbar that allow us to change the direction of the gradient.

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This tool display an arrow that let you change the direction of the gradient. It’s really simple to use.

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So we can have professional background for our application by setting the gradient from “Black” to “Almost Black”. And use the Gradient Arrow to change the gradient direction.

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Here is the result.

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Next part: Creating Glass Effect

Regards,
Louis-Philippe

Samedi.NET was a huge success

This Saturday the .NET Montreal User Group presented a full day of presentation on Silverlight. The main topic of the day was “How to build a business application with Silverlight”. There was more people than we expect to have on a Saturday (more than 160 persons).  Five speakers shared the stage to cover the whole presentation(Laurent Duveau, Dominic Sévigny, Guy Barrette, Pascal Groulx and me [Louis-Philippe Pinsonneault]. The real goal behind this day was to present the different tools that a developer may have to use to create a business application.

Agenda

  1. Introduction
  2. Design a prototype with ShecthFlow. (Guy Barrette)
  3. Using RIA Services.  (Laurent Duveau) 
  4. Creating and calling a WCF service. (Pascal Groulx)
  5. Changing the look of the application with styles. (Dominic Sévigny)
  6. How to change the look of a button and make it shining. (Louis-Philippe Pinsonneault) 
  7. Create a logo with Expression Designer and importing it in Expression Blend (Guy Barrette)
  8. Animate the logo with Blend. (Dominic Sévigny)
  9. Search Engine Optimization. (Laurent Duveau)

Here is a list of the tools that were used during the day:

  • Visual Studio 2008 SP1
  • SQL Express
  • Silverlight
  • Expression Blend 3
  • Expression Designer 3
  • .NET RIA Services

There is effectively a real interest in Silverlight in the community. It was interesting to see that there was not only developers but also some designers who attend at the day.

I’m really happy to be part of this event and sharing with others.

If you are interested in taking some Silverlight training, look at the Silverlight Tour.

 

Also you can attend at the Tech Day on December 2nd to December 4th at Montreal. I will present a session on Expression Blend. Dominic Sévigny will present a session on PRISM and Laurent Duveau will present the new feature of Silverlight 3.

Some picture of the day:

Samedi.NET crowd
The crowd before a few minutes before the presentation.

 Samedi.NET (Guy Barrette talking to Christian Beauclair (from Microsoft) just before the presentation.)
Guy Barrette talking to Christian Beauclair (from Microsoft) just before the presentation.

Samedi.NET (Guy and Etinne Tremblay presenting the event)
Guy and Etinne Tremblay presenting the event

Samedi.NET (Guy starting his presentation. We had the chance to see his designer talent)Samedi.NET (Guy starting his presentation. We had the chance to see his designer talent)
Guy starting his presentation. We had the chance to see his designer talent

Samedi.NET (Guy building a Silverlight SketchFlow application and integrate a sample data source in his sketch flow application.)Samedi.NET (Guy building a Silverlight SketchFlow application and integrate a sample data source in his sketch flow application.) Samedi.NET (Guy building a Silverlight SketchFlow application and integrate a sample data source in his sketch flow application.)
Guy building a Silverlight SketchFlow application and integrate a sample data source in his sketch flow application.

Samedi.NET (Laurent show the DomainService class base on the .NET RIA Services) Samedi.NET (Laurent show the DomainService class base on the .NET RIA Services)
Laurent show the DomainService class base on the .NET RIA Services

 Samedi.NET (An overview of the crowd.)
An overview of the crowd.

Samedi.NET (Laurent answering some questions while Pascal Groulx prepare his presentation.)
Laurent answering some questions while Pascal Groulx prepare his presentation.

 Samedi.NET (Pascal a few moment just before his 1st presentation. His presentation focus on how to build a web service using WCF.)  Samedi.NET (Pascal a few moment just before his 1st presentation. His presentation focus on how to build a web service using WCF.)
Pascal a few moment just before his 1st presentation. His presentation focus on how to build a web service using WCF.

 Samedi.NET (Dominic Sévigny show us how to work with Styles in Silverlight using Visual Studio and Blend.) Samedi.NET (Dominic Sévigny show us how to work with Styles in Silverlight using Visual Studio and Blend.)
Dominic Sévigny show us how to work with Styles in Silverlight using Visual Studio and Blend.

Samedi.NET (This is me (Louis-Philippe Pinsonneault) explaining how to build custom controls in Blend. I create a button based on a rectangle, and i tried to make it shiny.)  Samedi.NET (This is me (Louis-Philippe Pinsonneault) explaining how to build custom controls in Blend. I create a button based on a rectangle, and i tried to make it shiny.)Samedi.NET (This is me (Louis-Philippe Pinsonneault) explaining how to build custom controls in Blend. I create a button based on a rectangle, and i tried to make it shiny.) Samedi.NET (This is me (Louis-Philippe Pinsonneault) explaining how to build custom controls in Blend. I create a button based on a rectangle, and i tried to make it shiny.)
This is me explaining how to build custom controls in Blend. I create a button based on a rectangle, and i tried to make it shiny.

Samedi.NET (The second presentation of Guy was about Expression Designer and Expression Blend. He show us own we can integrate file made with Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.) Samedi.NET (The second presentation of Guy was about Expression Designer and Expression Blend. He show us own we can integrate file made with Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.)  Samedi.NET (The second presentation of Guy was about Expression Designer and Expression Blend. He show us own we can integrate file made with Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.)
The second presentation of Guy was about Expression Designer and Expression Blend. He show us own we can integrate file made with Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.

Samedi.NET (Dominic came to help Guy to integrate the user control containing a logo.)  Samedi.NET (Dominic came to help Guy to integrate the user control containing a logo.)
Dominic came to help Guy to integrate the user control containing a logo.

Samedi.NET (Dominic show us how to create animation using Expression Blend. )Samedi.NET (Dominic show us how to create animation using Expression Blend. )
Dominic show us how to create animation using Expression Blend.

Samedi.NET (Laurent finish the day by presenting how to work with SEO.) Samedi.NET (Laurent finish the day by presenting how to work with SEO.)
Laurent finish the day by presenting how to work with SEO.

Samedi.NET (Finally, Laurent answers some questions at the end of his session.)
Finally, Laurent answers some questions at the end of his session.

 

**Update**

You can download the source code that we used (thanks to Laurent for the file)

http://cid-0e564ed4426a5ecc.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Presentations/Samedi.NET%20Montreal%202009/BeersMontreal.zip

Regards,
LP

Reporting and Printing within Silverlight 3.0

Since a couple of week i was looking for way to create reports within Silverlight or generate printable version of the content of the Silverlight application. I found some solutions (with the help of Dominic Sévigny). As a reminder, Silverlight doesn't allow us to access resources from the client machine for security reason. This is why it's not possible to print within Silverlight. As you will see, all of the controls I'll talk about use a similar technique to generate reports. They generate files like PDF, Excel, ... as container for the report which allow you to save the file locally or open it with your local viewer or editor which allow you to print the file.

Report Sharp-Shooter for Silverlight

To generate reports there is Perpetuum Software who have a reporting tools that allow you to generate the report on the server and a report viewer for Silverlight that allow you to view and export (PDF, XLS, DOC) reports.

Feature:
  • Fast report uploading: every single page is loaded separately; you can view only those report pages you really need without loading the whole report
  • Report preview: single page, continuous
  • Export to PDF, HTML, Excel, and RTF
  • Zoom of any type: percent, regional, dynamic
  • Fast search
  • Easy navigation
  • Report panning

Link: http://www.perpetuumsoft.com/Report-Sharp-Shooter-for-Silverlight.aspx

Screenshot:



SmartPrint for Silverlight

To generate a printable version of the content of a Silverlight application, there is a beta software called SmartPrint for Silverlight from SmartWebControls. This application let you generate a PDF. This is a workaround solution when you need to print, because Silvelight doesn't allow us to access to do. This control take the XAML part to render in the PDF and send it to an HTTPHandler on the server. This HTTPHandler use server side component to render the PDF and return the result PDF to the client.

Feature:
  • Generate printable PDF documents on the server based on Silverlight screens
  • Support for letter and landscape documents
  • Automatically email generated PDF documents as needed
  • Generate and print a PDF document right in the browser within seconds
  • Support for custom header text and page numbers
  • Support for multiple pages
  • Works with standard and navigation projects
  • Generate reports directly from Silverlight screens
  • PDF documents can be saved on your server or generated on the fly and served to clients
  • Efficient compression algorithms used ensure data is transferred as quickly as possible
  • SmartPrint Silverlight assembly is less than 75kb in size allowing your XAP files to stay small
  • Free unlimited trial version available that runs on the "localhost" domain
  • Works in Internet Explorer 6+, FireFox 2+, Chrome 2+ and Safari 4+

Link: http://www.smartwebcontrols.com/SmartPrintDetails.aspx

Screenshot:  

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Those solution are good workaround for the security limitation of Silvelight. I hope in the next version of Silvelight they will integrate some native feature for printing and/or reporting.

Regards,
Louis-Philippe

New version of the AJAX Toolkit

Yesterday a new release of the AJAX Toolkit was release. What’s new in that release? There is 2 new controls:

  • Seadragon - Seadragon enables you to pan, zoom, and make an image full screen. You can use it, for example, to display interactive product pictures.
  • AsyncFileUpload - This new control enables you to perform file uploads without doing a postback. The control displays a throbber image during upload and raises client and server events when the upload is complete. This control was contributed by Steven Lindsay.

Finally the have implement the File Upload functionality. Like many people this was my long awaited feature.

Here is the link to download the latest release of the AJAX Toolkit:
http://ajaxcontroltoolkit.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=33804

If you want more information you can read the blog of Bertrand LeRoy, who wrote a great post on the new feature:
http://weblogs.asp.net/bleroy/archive/2009/09/30/ajax-control-toolkit-new-controls-bug-fixes.aspx

Regards,
LP

(via: Bertrand LeRoy)

Montreal User group (Special Event in french)

On October 24th, there will be a special training event on Silverlight. I’m very please to be part of the event as a presenter. My presentation will focus on Expression Blend.

Here is the complete schedule (in french):

  • Intro (15 min)
  • Design du prototype avec ShecthFlow. (30 min) Guy Barrette
  • Utilisation de RIA Services.  (90 min) Laurent Duveau 
  • Création et appel d'un service WCF. (30 min) Pascal Groulx 
  • Pause du midi (60 min)
  • Changer le look de l’application en utilisant les styles. (30 min) Dominic Sévigny 
  • Changer le look d’un bouton pour le rendre « shiny » avec Blend. (30 min) Louis-Philippe Pinsonneault 
  • Créer un logo dans Expression Design et l’importer dans Blend. (30 min) Guy Barrette 
  • Animer le logo avec Blend. (30 min) Dominic Sévigny 
  • Search Engine Optimization. (30 min) Laurent Duveau 
  • Période de discussion (45 min)
  • Tirages (15 min)

    Feel free to register by clicking on the image below.

    montreal silverlight event

    Waiting to see you there!

    LP

    (via: Laurent Duveau)

     

  • Introduction to XAML

    This morning while i was reading my RSS feed, i seen something interesting for anyone who want to start developing in Silverlight or WPF. Microsoft Learning have just released a new course "Introduction to XAML" which is free.

    To activate the course use the following link:
    https://www.microsoftelearning.com/eLearning/courseDetail.aspx?courseId=128213&tab=overview

    Regards,
    LP

    Silverlight 3 and Expression Blend 3

    Today is a big day for Silverlight.
    The version 3 of Silverlight is now in RTW (Release To Web) and have been released. http://silverlight.net/GetStarted

    And Expression Blend 3 is now in Release Candidate. This release also include the long awaited feature SketchFlow (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=92e1db7a-5d36-449b-8c6b-d25f078f3609 )


    You can find more detail at the following websites
    http://www.seethelight.com
    http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight
    http://team.silverlight.net/

    I will post more on the new feature very soon.

    Regards,
    Louis-Philippe

    Microsoft TechDays Canada 2009

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    Save the date: Microsoft TechDays Canada will have its second edition in 2009 and is coming back to Montreal on December 2, 3.

    For others cities/dates go to: www.techdays.ca