Monday, April 30, 2007

problem: RadControls for Silverlight and new Silverlight plug-ins (update)

As is often the case when you're a pioneer in a new technology, changes to the technology's core can have some dramatic effects on your demos. Such is the case with the recently released RadControls for Silverlight and the new Silverlight 1.0 Beta browser plug-ins. If you install the new 1.0 Beta plug-in (or the Alpha 1.1 for that matter), you will not be able to view the current RadControls for Silverlight demos (which are designed to work with the February CTP plug-ins). If you don't install the new plug-in, you cannot view any of the Silverlight demos currently featured on Bummer.

This problem will be addressed as soon as the RadControls for Silverlight are updated to work with the new beta. Until then, make sure you check-out the RadControls demos before upgrading your browser plug-ins. Capisce?

UPDATE: The Telerik RadControls for Silverlight have been updated to work with the Silverlight 1.0 beta runtime. You may now upgrade without any reservations.

MIX 07: more Silverlight details

The "big" keynote at Mix 2007 is almost over and in its wake we have received a few additional details about Silverlight. Most notably, we now know that the first official release of Silverlight 1.0 will be coming sometime this summer and that a version 1.1 will follow (perhaps later this year?) with full support for managed language programming (such as C# or VB) against Silverlight. The summer release will primarily target Silverlight media scenarios, but the follow-up version will really start to open-up the possibilities of using Silverlight for serious web development.

Before today's demos, I'll admit I had been a bit of a Silverlight "fence sitter". That is to say, I had viewed Silverlight as a "neat" technology but seen relatively little proof that it could really improve web experiences. After today's demos, I can say whole heartedly that I'm convinced Silverlight does have the capability to radically effect the web.

It's not that Silverlight can do anything that's not possible with existing technologies, but the Expression Studio/Visual Studio/XAML workflow really make it a lot easier. When you see demos like Silverlight Air Lines or Top Banna, you gain an appreciation for how much time will be saved (and how much cooler web sites will look) when visual assets built with XAML can be directly used in a web application and coded against with .Net.

One point that was glazed over during the keynote that remains key to Silverlight's success is the penetration of the Silverlight plug-in on "average user" computers. Traditionally, developers avoid excessive use of Flash to ensure a site is broadly accessible, even to that 2% of the world's PCs that don't have Flash installed. Silverlight 1.0 is currently installed on 0% of the world's computers, which should give anyone thinking about broad Silverlight deployment in the near future reason for pause. A cool website isn't very cool if 80% of the world's computers can't access it.

That said, I am very impressed with the latest Silverlight demos and road map. In six to twelve months time (after "Orcas" and Silverlight 1.1 ship), I think Silverlight will become an essential part of many new ASP.NET projects. That means now is the time to start learning the framework so that you can deliver RIA solutions after Silverlight has gained some traction.

Finally, lots of new software downloads were made available today to coincide with the keynote, including:

Grab the free bits and stay tuned for more updates from Mix 2007.

P.S. Some of the videos on the just opened Silverlight web site don't seem to be working. Hopefully they'll address the problem soon. In the mean time, don't miss the featured Telerik RadControls for Silverlight overview.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Sitefinity RC2 in pictures

Sitefinity 3.0 RC2
Here is a gift for the weekend. I've created a complete photo gallery that gives a thorough overview of both the Sitefinity 3.0 administration tools and the sample Telerik International University site (a fine university I must say, though not quite a Texas A&M). The photo gallery is packed full with over 60 screenshots, each and every one with descriptive comments. In general, I find this update to Sitefinity 3.0 to be very compelling. The fit and finish introduced in RC2 is really starting to bring the new features of the CMS together and make it really shine. There are still a few small issues here and there that need to be ironed out before the official release, but that will be no problem with the official release still a few weeks away. I can't wait to start hearing feedback from the community on this latest RC and I really can't wait to see the Sitefinity 3.0 module development community get started. This is going to be a fun platform to extend. Enjoy the slideshow and the release candidate!

Sitefinity 3.0 RC2 released

The final release candidate before the official Sitefinity 3.0 release is now available for download. RC2 adds a lot to the previous Sitefinity 3.0 releases (including RC1) and is a good sign for what's to come in the official release (due in mid May). Among the new features in RC2 are:

  • Multilingual support
  • Support for Medium Trust Environment
  • Web Farm and Web Garden support
  • Page Caching
  • Lists Module
  • Blogs Module
  • Content Reuse Model
  • GUI Improvements feature
Obviously, medium trust and multilingual support are huge enhancements in this release, especially for people that want to run Sitefinity on shared hosting. The blogs module has also been included in this release, bringing an important piece of the puzzle to the new CMS for those interested in using it as a community or personal website.

Also, unlike my promise for multiple photo galleries after the first Sitefinity 3.0 release candidate, I do expect to deliver at least one photo gallery of the new RC for those that don't have the time to download and install. For everyone else, grab the new bits and let us know what you think.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

RadCallback vs. RadAjax vs. "Prometheus" Ajax

For many of you, your excitement for the new "Prometheus" Ajax is tempered by your well grounded caution for what will be involved in moving to the new Ajax Framework. Many of you, like me, remember the work done to upgrade our applications about a year ago when RadAjax replaced RadCallback. It took me a little more than a year to replace all instances of RadCallback controls in some of my larger projects, so I know this can be a long process and a good reason to pause when the next Telerik Ajax is introduced.

Thankfully, the transition to "Prometheus" Ajax from RadAjax is nothing like the transition from RadCallback to RadAjax. Unlike the previous transition, the APIs for "Prometheus" Ajax and RadAjax are virtually identical. That means the entire Ajax coding model you've spent the last year mastering for RadAjax can be carried straight forward to "Prometheus" Ajax. In many cases upgrading from RadAjax to "Prometheus" RadAjax will only require three steps:

  1. Add an ASP.NET AJAX ScriptManager to your page (or add one to your MasterPage and make this a one-time step)
  2. Change the reference on the page from RadAjax.Net2 to Telerik.Web.UI (or change the assembly reference in Web.Config/Machine.Config and make this a one-time step, too)
  3. Change the "radA:RadAjaxManager" tag to "telerik:RadAjaxManager"
That's it. If you use the "one-time" method for the first two steps above, updating your pages with RadAjax could be a simple search and replace process. Clearly, if you have programmatic references to "Telerik.WebControls" those will also have be updated to "Telerik.Web.UI". The change is simple, though, and doesn't require any of the major reworking that was necessary to move from RadCallback to RadAjax. A perfect task for your summer interns!

The biggest changes for "Prometheus" RadAjax are under the hood. Even though the API has not changed, "Prometheus" Ajax runs on a completely different client-side Ajax framework (specifically, Microsoft's ASP.NET AJAX). Switching to "Prometheus" allows you to take advantage of all the development effort that Microsoft invested in building ASP.NET AJAX and also opens up to you the wide world of ASP.NET AJAX enabled tools (such as the AjaxControlToolkit and the new "Prometheus" controls).

Like the transition from RadCallback, though, RadAjax and "Prometheus" RadAjax will be fully inter operable. You can use RadAjax to update new "Prometheus" controls and you can use "Prometheus" RadAjax to update existing RadControls. You can even use RadAjax and "Prometheus" RadAjax on the same page (though it would obviously be recommend to follow the easy steps to update your page before introducing both controls on the same page). The dev teams have worked very hard to make it as easy as possible to enable whatever upgrade environment you need as you adopt the new "Prometheus" Ajax controls. I think you'll find the transition to next the generation Ajax products to be very easy.

We know that upgrading something like RadAjax in your projects will take time and planning, though, so we're trying very hard to make your path as clear as possible. RadAjax will not be going anywhere anytime soon, with continuing product enhancements through the end of the year and full product support for years to come. "Prometheus" RadAjax is the future, though, so it is important to start planning your transition to this product now so you have plenty of time to smoothly upgrade and test your applications.

Now, about those summer interns...

P.S. An "official" RadAjax vs "Prometheus" RadAjax is now available on

RadControls for Silverlight demos live

In anticipation of the upcoming Mix'07 conference in Las Vegas, Telerik has decided to reveal to the world some early previews of the new RadControls for Silverlight. Telerik has been quietly working on WPF/e Silverlight controls since the very first bits were released from Microsoft and today's demos represent the early results of that work.

One of the challenges developers face when working with Silverlight is that no concept of "controls" exists in the current framework. Even the most basic UI components must be hand crafted to use Silverlight in its current state. To solve that problem and make developers lives easier, Telerik has developed a component framework for Silverlight and delivered several "building block" controls (and a couple "composite" controls):

  • Button
  • Image
  • Media
  • Label
  • CustomElement
  • StringLayoutPanel
  • Cube
These controls still represent the infant stages of Telerik's Silverlight offering, but they do establish Telerik as the leading Silverlight component vendor. Check out the live demos (complete with "obligatory" spinning cubes) and lead developer Hristo Kosev's recent blog post for more details about these new controls.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

some RadScheduler details

Thanks to an informative forum post from Telerik developer Atanas Korchev, we now have a number of "official" public details on the upcoming RadScheduler control. Here are some highlights from his post:

  • RadScheduler will support recurrence and single occurrence exceptions within the pattern
  • It will have the standard skinning support common to all "Prometheus" controls
  • In case you missed it, RadScheduler will only be available in RadControls "Prometheus"
  • That also means it is .Net 2+ only
  • It will sport three views in version 1: day, week, and month
  • Multi-month, year, time, and other views may be included in future releases
  • Multi-day events will be supported
  • Fully ajaxified, drag-and-drop interactions
  • Preview release due in late May, official release in Q2
It is also important to remember that RadScheduler will be a server control (like all other RadControls) and not a mini-application (like Google Calendar or Outlook Web Access). The RadScheduler component will enable you to create applications like that via rich integration with other RadControls, but it will not be a full featured calendaring application out of the box. Our goal is to make the newest UI tool in the RadControl suite flexible and powerful so developers can quickly build any kind of application they need.

Watch for the preview release in late May to see the early beginnings of RadScheduler. It is unlikely that all of the features listed here will be in the May release since the control is officially targeted for Q2 (which is September 2007), but it will be a good opportunity for you to see what direction the control is taking and provide early feedback to help shape its development!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Q1 is live!

You've been waiting for this day since the Q4 release. The next major Telerik release has arrived and Q1 2007 is now officially live on There are not many secrets to share with you about the release since most of Q1's details were discussed after last week's Quest reveal. But just in case you missed it, here are the highlights:

  • New ASP.NET suite: RadControls "Prometheus" for ASP.NET
    • Includes RadToolTip, RadColorPicker, RadSlider, RadDock, RadSplitter, RadAjax
  • New Telerik Reporting product
  • New RadControls for WinForms controls
    • RadGrid, RadTreeView, RadChart
  • RadInput 2.0
  • New OnRequestError client-side event in RadAjax
  • New skinning and secondary Y-axis support in RadChart
  • Unified export (to Word/Excel) methods in RadGrid
  • RadControls for ASP.NET Learning Guide
For more details, be sure to check out the latest release notes. Watch for more details about this release to pour out over the following days and weeks, especially in regards to "Prometheus". Until then, don't wait another minute and download your copy of the Q1 controls right now! (Hopefully you remembered to upgrade your license, too.)

Prometheus, brother of Atlas

One of the big secrets revealed by the Quest is the introduction of a new ASP.NET product line from Telerik code named "Prometheus". In Greek mythology, Prometheus is famous for bringing fire to the people and beginning an age of enlightenment for man. And in a way, that's exactly what the RadControls based on ASP.NET AJAX will do for ASP.NET developers. RadControls "Prometheus" will deliver new controls, experiences, and performance improvements based on the OpenAjax-enrolled Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX client-side framework.

Also fitting, in Greek mythology Prometheus' brother is Atlas (usually represented as the guy holding the earth on his shoulders). As you may remember, the code name for ASP.NET AJAX was "Atlas", which makes the relationship between "Prometheus" and "Atlas" (the code) very fitting. RadControls "Prometheus" builds on ASP.NET AJAX just like other RadControls have built on ASP.NET for years, making these new controls the natural evolution of Telerik's ASP.NET controls.

And that's really the point. RadControls "Prometheus" represents the natural evolution of the ASP.NET controls. For complete details on how this transition will work and for answers to most (if not all) of your "Prometheus" questions, don't miss the official "Prometheus" FAQ on For live demos of the new "Prometheus" controls, visit the online demos.

Office 2007 Ribbon UI for RadControls for...ASP.NET

That's right. Office 2007 Ribbon UI for ASP.NET. In what is the absolute best implementation of the Ribbon UI I have seen on the web to date, Russel Masson has contributed an outstanding project to the Telerik Code Library. The project, which will likely become a Telerik Open Source Project soon, provides everything you need to implement the Office 2007 Ribbon UI in an ASP.NET application. The project includes a number of custom Ribbon controls built by Russel that work closely with the Telerik RadControls to work their magic.

You must check out the online demo to understand the quality of this implementation. This is much more than a Ribbon UI skin for Telerik controls (though it is a good skin, too). This is a full platform for implementing the Ribbon UI.

This post is intended mostly to call your attention to an incredible free community resource, but I will be posting much more on this framework in the future. I have already implemented my own customizations to enable Office 2007-like RadWindow pop-ups that I will be showcasing in future posts and eventually contributing back to the project source. I will also be working on integration with ASP.NET AJAX and RadControls "Prometheus" in the near future.

I will be providing some analysis in the future on using the Ribbon UI on the web, looking at whether the Ribbon UI should be used for navigation (as tabs normally are on the web) or as a simple tool bar (as it is used in Office). For now, download the latest project source and have fun playing with (and enhancing!) the best Ribbon UI controls for ASP.NET.

Q1 almost here

I know many of you are anxiously watching the Telerik website, compulsively hitting F5 (and Cntl+F5 every now and then...just to be sure), waiting for the Q1 update to show up. Well, fear not. The Q1 release is on the way and it should be live in a matter of hours. Making a release live takes some time since all licenses have to be upgraded and all demos have to be updated. Those steps are in progress, though, so you'll get your Q1 fix soon. In the mean time, give your fingers a break and stop hitting F5. I'll let you when Q1 is live. I promise.

Friday, April 20, 2007

last day to upgrade your license

That's right. Your time is almost up to purchase a RadControls for ASP.NET license (with a subscription) and get a free license for RadControls for WinForms and Telerik Reporting. If you are an active subscription holder before the weekend, you will get all of these products for the price of the current ASP.NET license for the next year (or until your license expires).

If you miss today's deadline, you'll be subject to the new product pricing announced early last month. That means the license for ASP.NET, WinForm, and Reporting will cost you $1299 instead of $999. Save if your license expires in the next month (or so) or if you are still trying to decide if you want to purchase a subscription, do yourself a favor and save $300 by buying (or renewing) a subscription today!

preview: RadInput 2.0

It has been a long time coming, but the time has finally arrived for the release of RadInput 2.0. As I said waaay back in November of 2006, RadInput 2.0 will ship with a few new textboxes for validating specific data types:

  • RadTextbox - skinnable textbox, accepts all characters
  • RadNumericTextbox - three modes: currency, percentage, and number
  • RadMaskedTextbox - pattern based data mask
  • RadDateInput - validates date input
Also new to RadInput 2.0 are features like spinner buttons for the NumericTextbox, automatic validation message positioning, and a new client-side event for DateInput to handle invalid or out of range values. But a picture is worth a thousand words and a screencast is worth ten-thousand words, so I'll let the following screencast do the rest of the talking: Direct link to screencast with player (1:43)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

new IE6 and IE7 VPC images available

A couple of days ago the IE Team at Microsoft announced the release of two new (free) Windows XP SP2 Virtual PC images for testing web applications. These images refresh the previous testing images and like their predecessors expire in three months (August 2007). The IE7 image is actually new to this refresh, so now you can choose to leave IE6 installed on your main box and do your IE7 testing on Virtual PC (or remove IE altogether and just use VPC- your call).

One thing this IE post brought to my attention that had slipped under my radar is that now Virtual PC 2007 is freely available for download. So if you're like me and still running Virtual PC 2004, take this weekend (while you anxiously wait for Q1 on Monday) and upgrade to the latest freeware from Microsoft.

new features added to converter

As you wait for more details about today's exciting reveal, here is some equally fun news to fill your day. Three new features have been added to Telerik's Code Converter today that significantly enhance the formatted code view:

  • Line number support
  • Alternating line color support
  • Save as HTML
The first two features- line numbers and alternating line colors- can be enabled on the Highlighted Syntax tab via two simple checkboxes. Like the tab key feature, your settings for these controls are automatically saved in a cookie to save you from setting your preferences every time you visit the site to convert code. These features are also ajaxified with Telerik's RadAjax so you can add or remove formatting without reconverting your code.

The last feature, Save as HTML, enables you to easily export the HTML markup for the formatted code to an HTML file for future use (on a blog, for instance). You can easily replicate this functionality by clicking on the "View HTML Source" tab, copying all of the contents, creating a new HTML file, pasting the contents, and saving, but that's way too many steps. Remember, we're here to make your lives easier.

Have fun with the new features and be sure to share your opinions in the forums. I will be updating the online converter comparison chart soon with these features, further distancing Telerik's Code Converter from the pack!

Q1 secrets revealed!

Congratulations! You have successfully completed the Q1 Quest and unlocked the secrets of Telerik's biggest release ever. After some very interesting guesses, we now know the official secrets of Q1 are:

  • RadControls "Prometheus" for ASP.NET - the future of RadControls for ASP.NET built entirely on .NET 3.5 (also known as ASP.NET AJAX). Q1 will include RadToolTip, RadColorPicker, RadSlider, RadAjax, RadDock, and RadSplitter! More on this later...
  • Telerik Learning Guide - you asked for better documentation/tutorials and now you have it! With over 600 pages, this material sets a new benchmark in the .NET component vendor space.
  • RadGrid for WinForms - an incredible Vista-styled grid for WinForms developers
  • RadScheduler - it's finally confirmed! Telerik is hard at work on RadScheduler as part of "Prometheus" and you can expect to see more details in the coming months.
  • RadControls for Silverlight - leading the way on Silverlight development, we revealed today that we are working on RadControls for Silverlight (formerly WPF/e). Watch for more details at Mix 2007!
Expect a flood of blog posts over the next few days as I highlight some of the new controls and share more details about the revealed secrets. This is an exciting time and I can't wait until everyone gets to download these bits on Monday! Was the game worth the wait?

P.S. If you don't see the reveal, try clearing your cache and reloading the Quest page.

first look: Telerik learning guide

While you wait for the secrets of the Q1 Quest to be revealed, I have some exciting news that I can share with you. As recently announced in the April Telerik Newsletter, Telerik in partnership with Falafel is delivering an industry first with the Q1 2007 release: a full 500+ page (584 to be precise) training guide for RadControls for ASP.NET. The book covers all 18 RadControls for ASP.NET and has everything you need to become a master of the RadControl suite.

Falafel Software is an international provider of development, consulting, and training services that has worked with the RadControls for many years. Their knowledge and expertise have been poured into this book making it an useful resource for RadControl newbies and experts alike. In addition to the RadControls, the book also includes some basic information about Ajax, MSDE, and Firebug.

The book will be made available for download with the Q1 release to all Telerik customers. So there you have it. One secret revealed and many more to come!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Q1 Quest almost revealed!

As the Q1 release draws ever closer, the community (i.e. you) continue to work hard to unravel the mysteries contained in this Quest. Over 3,200 people have already contributed their piece to the puzzle and only a few remain before all will be known. In the mean time, the official Quest Forums have been a buzz with speculation. Among the more "interesting" guesses:

  • RadApplicationBuilder - add this to your page, upload your requirement docs, and "BAM"...a beautiful, working, bug-free application. (Sean Brooks)
  • RadBull - give your application wings (Mark Deaney)
  • RadPony - I guess everyone wants one at some point (Mark Fitzpatrick et. al.)
  • RadLotteryWinningNumberPicker - now, honestly. If we had (and I'm not saying we haven't) made this do you think we'd give it away? (Rebecca Rasmussen)
If you haven't contributed your piece to the puzzle, do it now by joining the Quest. If you haven't submitted your speculation, do it now by leaving your best guess on the lively Quest forum thread. For everyone else, stay tuned. All will be revealed very soon...

Monday, April 16, 2007

gadget SDKs ranked

Part of my continuing effort to deliver the best online code converter service has included the production of widgets/gadgets for all of the major gadget engines. Before starting this project I had never built a widget, but I had often heard the experience was similar for all engines. Now that I've used most of the widget engine SDKs- Google Desktop, Windows Sidebar, and Yahoo! Widgets- I thought I'd share my experiences with you.

While the "big 3" have some similarities, the development experience for each is very different. As a result, I'd rank them in this order (best to worst):

  1. Yahoo! Widgets
    By far the best widget development experience out there, largely due to the mature API and easy to use tools. With Yahoo! Widgets, you can easily design your widget in Photoshop and use the provided JavaScript to automatically convert the Photoshop image into your widget base. Animations are easy with the well documented API and the built-in debugger makes it easy to solve problem as you develop. The other two widget engines need to take...more...pages from the Konfabulator turned Yahoo! example.
  2. Windows Sidebar
    As the newest entry into the desktop gadget scene, Microsoft has done a fair job of creating their gadget SDK. Unlike Yahoo!, Microsoft does not supply any tools for creating your gadget, but since they are built with "normal" HTML it is much easier to use existing tools like Visual Studio to construct the gadget. This is where Microsoft beats Google, which does provide a (very poor) tool for visually building gadget but uses a weak HTML-like syntax to layout the gadget. Microsoft does not supply a debugging tool for building gadgets, either, instead requiring you to use Visual Studio to debug your code.
  3. Google Desktop
    Bringing up the bottom of the pack in Google Desktop Gadget's SDK. While it is well documented and it does include a visual builder to layout your gadget (albeit a very poor visual builder), the HTML-ish gadget syntax leaves a lot to be desired. Most importantly, there is no built in textbox control with automatic scrollbars multi-line input. There is a multi-line input (called an "edit" control), but there is no automatic scrollbar support! This is a glaring oversight and (especially for something like the code converter) makes the engine unusable for many advanced scenarios. Google's Desktop development offering still feels very immature, which is surprising given how much time they've had to get it right.
So if you're thinking about building a widget to work with your web services, I'd highly suggest you start with Yahoo! Widgets. Not only does it have the widest audience (Windows XP/Vista and Mac) it is also the most fun to develop!

wpf/e now Silverlight

For months now, people have been trying to figure out Microsoft's intentions for WPF/e. At the NAB Show this week they began to make their plans clear. Officially (in other words, not another code name) dubbed Silverlight, Microsoft said the cross browser plugin will focus on delivering "next generation media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web". It is clear by the list of early partners (that includes Netflix and Major League Baseball), though, that the main focus of Silverlight will be online video.

That doesn't mean the RIA part of WPF/e is dead. Silverlight is still going to be a XAML based plugin and the official Silverlight site features several RIA examples (like the old page turning photo album and the new (to me) WPF/e Scratch Pad). So while Microsoft may be primarily focused on stealing online video market share from Adobe, there will still be plenty of opportunity for web developers to innovate on this new platform.

For now, this remains mostly marketing news. There is no new WPF/e Silverlight CTP and no new features have been announced (though there are some new wallpapers...aaahh). Watch for the new "Silverlight enabled" official Silverlight site on April 30th and for more details about Silverlight to be announced at Mix 07.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

unlock the Q1 secret

We're just 10 short days away from the biggest release in the history of Telerik, but before April 23rd arrives there is a secret to unlock! The public RoadMaps for Telerik's products have shared some of the details about the upcoming release, but not everything. The secret information is safely locked away and only you can unlock it before the 23rd.

Watch your inbox for an email with a link or visit the Quest site directly to contribute your piece to the puzzle. Only after enough people have added their piece to the mysterious Q1 puzzle will all of the secrets of Q1 be revealed. So don't leave the community on a limb! Use your ID to add your piece the puzzle right now and bring everyone one step closer to unlocking the mysteries contained behind the puzzle.

For those of you that have already done your part and added a piece to the puzzle, help pass the time and speculate what will be revealed by visiting the official Quest forum. What will the secret be?!

compare online code converters

An excellent question was recently asked in the official Code Converter forums: What value is the Telerik Code Converter adding to an Internet already full of VB to C# and C# to VB converters? I'm glad you asked. Code Converter is trying to become the best (free) online .Net code converter by fixing all of the problems of the currently available converters and by adding new innovative features to a tool that has become stale.

But don't take my word for it. I have prepared a full comparison chart of six different online converters (including Code Converter) so you can easily see what Telerik is doing better. If you think I've omitted a feature or converter that deserves to be in the list, feel free to voice your opinion in the Code Converter forums. Just as I want the Code Converter to be the best online converter, I want this list to be the definitive resource for comparing the different online (free) converters. Enjoy the comparison and don't be afraid to speak up in the forums!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the ajax papers: part III (update1)

It seems that this will be the regular cadence for releasing installments in this series. I had hoped to release articles in closer succession, but I guess that's what you get when you release as you write (and research). The third installment in our extensive look at Ajax moves past the implementation of Ajax and looks at the benefits Ajax does (or doesn't) provide to web applications. We cover why you should use Ajax, when you should Ajax, common problems introduced by Ajax, and results of actual tests that show how much real value Ajax provides over PostBacks (comparing RadAjax, ASP.NET AJAX, and traditional PostBacks).

There is also a call for your reader submitted questions at the bottom of the article. As we near the end of this series, I want to make sure I've covered all of your Ajax related questions. If I've missed something or if you want more detail on a specific topic, send your questions to todd.anglin [at] telerik [dot] com. If I receive enough questions, I'll do a special installment in this series that answers all of your questions.

Until then, download the PDF and enjoy the article!

P.S. I apologize for the large PDF size. Word 2007's "Save As PDF" doesn't make PDFs that are very compact and I haven't found a good (cheap) tool for making them any smaller. Sorry!

P.P.S. The online version of this article should is now available on the blogs.

Friday, April 06, 2007

windows vista sidebar gadget ready

Just in time for the Easter holiday and the weekend, I bring you the the Code Converter gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar. This gadget joins the gadgets/widgets that have already been released for Yahoo! Widgets and Google Gadgets. The Vista Sidebar gadget is probably the best to date, with two different display modes (for docked vs. undocked usage) and a completely refactored JavaScript codebase. For those of you that have Vista, download the widget now and start enjoying the conversion bliss. For those without Vista, check out the short demo video below to see what everyone else is enjoying: Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

ajax manager pre-release CTP available

I have a few more exciting follow-up items from last week's Ajax Manager WebCast to share with you today. First, all of the code for the demo conducted on the WebCast is now available for download on Joe Stanger's blog. Included in this code is a pre-release CTP of the Telerik Ajax Manager for ASP.NET AJAX. Definitely worth checking out!

Second, it seems that the on-demand download of the Ajax Manager WebCast is now working on the Microsoft website. If you use IE, you can use the Live Meeting Replay player for the full replay experience or (like all other browsers) you can download a 15MB WMV file. Jump to 18:45 in the WMV to get to the actual start of the WebCast (the first 18 minutes is just "pre-show" waiting time). If you're interested in downloading the actual PowerPoint slides, you can grab them on Joe's blog, too.

Finally, if you asked a question during the Ajax Manager WebCast that did not get answered, make sure you check out the full list of questions and answers Joe posted last week. Joe forwarded all of the unanswered questions to me offline and I provided an answer to all of them. There are about 70 questions (and answers) on the list, so you're likely to find information you're looking for there.

more converter updates

For everybody who prefers the online version of the Code Converter over the widgets, I've got some more improvements that will make your online code converting experience even better. Spurred largely by requests in the Converter forum, I've added two new ways you can view your converted code: Highlighted Syntax and HTML Source (of highlighted syntax).

These new views are easily accessible via new tabs in the results area (powered quite obviously by Telerik's RadTabstrip). Unlike other online code converts that provide highlighted syntax, Code Converter from Telerik gives you all versions of your results at one time so you can easily access the format you need without re-converting your code. The HTML Source view (a first for online converters as far as I can tell) makes it very easy for you to copy your converted code with the highlighting HTML for easy posting in blog or other format that requires the markup.

There is an occasional JavaScript error being caused by the TabStrip, but it does not affect the Converter's functionality. The error should be resolved soon, but I just wanted to give everyone a heads up before posting the error in the forums. Enjoy the new tools!

Monday, April 02, 2007

new: code converter Google Gadget

Keeping the momentum rolling, I have just released the the Code Converter Google Gadget. Unlike the the Yahoo! Widget and Code Converter website, the Google Gadget version of Converter has adopted a much simpler UI to help the tool blend-in to your minimalist Google homepages. You can add the new Gadget to your personalized Google Homepage or you can embed it on any page that supports Google Gadget Syndication (such as Blogger and Google Pages).

While you should also be able to use this Gadget in Google Desktop, I have not yet tested it in that application. I have a much richer Yahoo! Widget-like Gadget for Google Desktop mostly built, but unfortunately Google Desktop does not provide good scrollbar support for editable areas (meaning if you add code longer than the edit area, you can't see or edit it...good job Google). I will continue to search for a work around that provides the necessary scrollbar support for Google Desktop, and as soon as I find it I'll post the "real" Google Desktop Widget. Until then, enjoy the latest widget!

Add Code Converter Google Gadget to your personalized homepage now

ajax manager WebCast available now (update1)

For those of you still having trouble with my pre-recorded version of the Ajax Manager WebCast, I'm happy to report that the recording of last week's live WebCast is now available. Joe Stagner has posted a link to the on-demand recording on his blog, but I'll also provide the direct link to save you some time:

To download this recording, you'll need to "register" for the WebCast on Microsoft's web site. I know it's confusing since the WebCast has already occured, but trust me, the download link will eventually be presented. I ran into some errors on the Microsoft site when trying to access this resource, but hopefully you won't have the same problems. If you do, let me know in the comments and I'll ask Joe to investigate.

Enjoy the show!

UPDATE: Joe Stagner has confirmed that the download on Microsoft's site is broken. He is trying to get a copy of the video to host on his own site and I will post an updated link as soon as it is available.

tab extender

As I eluded to last week, I've got another free tool for you. The Tab Extender is an AjaxControlToolkit based extender that allows you to easily add tab key support to any ASP.NET textbox. This extender is being used on the new Code Converter to provide tab key support in the upper code input textbox, so you can check it out there to get an idea of what it does.

Using the Tab Extender is easy. On any ASP.NET AJAX enable website (with the AjaxControlTookit assembly in the bin), just add the Tab Extender assembly to your bin and drop a "TabExtender" control on your page. Set the "TargetControlID" of the Extender to the ID of an ASP.NET textbox that you want to add tab key support to and run your project. You'll now have a textbox that allows you to format contents with the tab key.

The download includes the full Extender source and a demo website showing the Extender in action. Check it out today and be sure to share your improvements if make any!

Download TabExtender source and demo site