News, views and reviews on Microsoft
Since when did Microsoft take to making their sites look so fucking ugly! Take the Silverlight 3.0 site for example.
I know times are tough, but putting all these ads on pages – especially a site promoting such an exciting new release – is just unbelievable.
Sure, it’s great that 3rd party vendors have taken to Silverlight so enthusiastically, but promoting them so blatantly and crassly is a complete backwards step.
The irony of course is that Microsoft are promoting Silverlight to designers, the very audience who take look and feel so seriously. From a User Experience point of view the Silverlight site is complete fuckup.
Microsoft, lift your game please!
Still getting through all our news from last week and PDC, so please bear with us – normal up to date transmission will resume in the coming days <g>
The release of the Silverlight Toolkit on Codeplex deserves a mention.
The Silverlight Toolkit is a collection of Silverlight controls, components and utilities made available outside the normal Silverlight release cycle. It adds new functionality quickly for designers and developers, and provides the community an efficient way to help shape product development by contributing ideas and bug reports. This first release includes full source code, unit tests, samples and documentation for 12 new controls covering charting, styling, layout, and user input.
Interestingly the project has four quality bands, from Experimental up to Mature. There’s nothing currently in the Mature band, but give it a few weeks and you’ll see that change.
The project also has a Themes section. Very cool.
Download the latest release here.
OK, so not strictly a Microsoft announcement, but definitely of interest following the official release of Silverlight 2 last week.
SilverlightContrib is a collection of open source Silverlight controls and API enhancements. The CodePlex page is here. This latest release is Silverlight 2 compatible.
There is also a demo site showing off the controls. Our favourite is the Cool Menu
We don’t cover all the open source projects out there (there’s thousands) but we do like to promote some of them from time to time.
Here’s the main features of Silverlight, which Microsoft claims is now on 25% (or more) of PCs worldwide:
Highlights of new Silverlight 2 features include the following:
. .NET Framework support with a rich base class library. This is a compatible subset of the full .NET Framework.
. Powerful built-in controls. These include DataGrid, ListBox, Slider, ScrollViewer, Calendar controls and more.
. Advanced skinning and templating support. This makes it easy to customize the look and feel of an application.
. Deep zoom. This enables unparalleled interactivity and navigation of ultrahigh resolution imagery.
. Comprehensive networking support. Out-of-the-box support allows calling REST, WS*/SOAP, POX, RSS and standard HTTP services, enabling users to create applications that easily integrate with existing back-end systems.
. Advanced content protection. This now includes Silverlight DRM, powered by PlayReady, offering robust content protection for connected Silverlight experiences.
. Improved server scalability and expanded advertiser support. This includes new streaming and progressive download capabilities, superior search engine optimization techniques, and next-generation in-stream advertising support.
. Vibrant partner ecosystem. Visual Studio Industry Partners such as ComponentOne LLC, Infragistics Inc. and Telerik Inc. are providing products that further enhance developer capabilities when creating Silverlight applications using Visual Studio.
. Cross-platform and cross-browser support. This includes support for Mac, Windows and Linux in Firefox, Safari and Windows Internet Explorer.
Source: Microsoft PressPass
That last point is interesting to note. In terms of cross platform and cross browser support, as Mary-Jo notes, Silverlight does work on the Chrome, but not on iPhone (due to Apple’s usual closed wall bullshit licensing).
We don’t think everything Microsoft does or promotes is great, but Silverlight is definitely one they are pushing big time. They will succeed, and it’s only a matter of time (although I do think Joe Wilcox has a point when he says ‘promises are cheap‘). If you are still undecided on Silverlight, then it’s time to reconsider.
The Silverlight site still sports the Beta 2 download, but it is only a matter of hours before the full version becomes available.
What a fucking joke. It’s great that there’s a ‘significant Silverlight announcement’ being made on Monday. But why you have to dial in to hear it via a teleconference call by Scott is beyond us.
And check out the special instructions: Participants will need to speak the passcode “Silverlight”.
Scott, you are our hero man – so how have the press dicks managed to force your announcement to be made in this prehistoric fashion? Microsoft – what the fuck are you thinking?
And yes, we will be dialing in. The news will be available here once announced.
This is a good move, as it gives developers time to play and fix any breaking issues (download the word doc here) between this version and the previous beta, before the official version is publicly deployed (real soon now!)
If you find an issue please log it on the Silverlight forum.