Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween treats from Telerik

Google's logo is different today, which means another holiday is upon us. This time it's the scariest of all holidays that haunts you once a year. If you thought anything other than Halloween, you're a twisted thinker (and I want to know what you thought- leave a comment). To commemorate today's holiday, I've two treats to hand out.

First, for those of you that haven't noticed, the first service pack for Sitefinity 3.1 just dropped and is now available for download. This service delivers a number of stability and bug fixes across the 3.1 release, including improved site search support, better localization support with workflow, a number of medium trust fixes, and fixes for the new forums module. As usual, if you're a Sitefinity developer you'll definitely want to download and run this update. I promise it's not a trick.

Second, and I've saved the best for last, I've created a Telerik pumpkin carving template for all of you carvers out there that decided to wait 'til the last minute to get your carve on. The directions are easy to follow and if you're successful it should look something like the pumpkin featured on this post. Consider this the "easy" template for 2007- maybe next year I'll unleash a more advanced version.

Enjoy the treats and have a safe Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Todd Anglin on Silverlight

While I generally hate to refer to myself in the third person on this blog, "Todd Anglin on Silverlight" is really the only way to title this post. In between speaking at various sessions during DevReach, a couple of guys from pulled me aside to do a quick interview about Silverlight. The interview covers everything from the current state of Silverlight, how Telerik plans on supporting Silverlight, and even addresses the popular myth about the nirvana Blend/XAML workflow (a popular theme that week). The whole thing was recorded live to video and it is now available online (in a Silverlight video player, of course).

If you're interested in learning more about Silverlight or gaining a better understanding of Telerik's plans for Silverlight, check out the 30 minute video today. And if you're looking to hear more about Silverlight from men wiser than I, don't miss Lino Tadros' or Chad Hower's interivews on the site, too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New RadEditor "Prometheus" build available

While the official Q2 2007 SP2 won't be available this week as planned, a new build of RadEditor "Prometheus" with most of the SP2 enhancements is available. The new internal build, dated October 25 (make sure you scroll down in the forum thread to download the correct build), delivers almost all of the enhancements mentioned in this week's SP2 post. The only features that are not ready in this internal build are the Table Wizard dialog, a few layout issues with toolbar modes, and a few missing localization points in the dialogs. All of these items will be addressed, though, before the official SP2 ships mid-next week.

With this release, RadEditor "Prometheus" comes very close to duplicating all of the functionality in the original RadEditor. In fact, one of the only features that won't be present is docking toolbars (a feature that currently is not planned for the "Prometheus" version). So if you've been waiting for "Prometheus" to catch-up with the old Editor before giving it a spin, now is a good time to take it out for a test drive. Look for the final SP2 version along with SP2 updates for all "Prometheus" controls next week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Microsoft: WinForms here to stay...for now

As promised, here is the shocking news that is starting to come to light. When Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 start shipping in a few weeks, Microsoft won't be recommending that companies use WPF to build applications. No, they'll be recommending that people building new LoB (Line of Business) apps (a.k.a. business apps) use the tried and true WinForms technology to get the job done. WPF won't be explicitly discouraged, per se. Instead WPF will be encouraged as the platform for "rich experience apps" and WinForms will get the nod for everything else...from Microsoft.

If that doesn't surprise you, then you've probably missed what seems like at least a year's worth of "WinForms is dead" "don't start any new development in WinForms" discussion in the industry. It will be very interesting to see how this increasingly public position from Microsoft will affect the adoption rate of WPF in business development and how the component industry will react. Microsoft claims this is not a new position and consistent with the messages they've been sending, and based on the details in the WPF paper they promoted technically they're right. In fact, for many months Microsoft has been saying "use the best technology and integrate" (meaning build with WinForms and integrate WPF), it just seems that message is finally starting to sink in.

So what does this news mean? Does it mean the tools in Visual Studio 2008 aren't really ready for full scale WPF development? Does it mean WPF itself (or at least with its current out of the box tools) is not ready for business development? I'll let you draw your own conclusions on those points, but it definitely does mean that WinForms development is here to stay for at least another couple of years. Sound off and let me know what you think of this news in the comments.

"Prometheus" SP2 due Thursday

Another service pack for the Q2 2007 "Prometheus" controls is coming later this week. Service pack 2 will primarily address RadEditor "Prometheus" and will deliver a number of enhancements that the dev team has been busy preparing. Among the features RadEditor "Prometheus" will see in SP2 are:

  • Toolbar button tooltips now display in FireFox
  • NodeInspector module now implemented
  • AJAX spell check issues in FireFox now fixed
  • Genearl UI improvements
  • Table borders in preview mode removed
  • New dialogs:
    • FormatCodeBlock
    • ImageMap
    • ImageProperties
    • PageProperties
    • TableWizard/TableProperites
  • New toolbar modes supported
  • 3 new skins: Monochrome, Telerik, Web20
Clearly, the RadEditor team is hard at work making the next generation rich text editor for the web the best that it can be. Some of these improvements are already available in a pre-release hotfix build if you're interested in giving them a try. The other controls in the "Prometheus" suite will receive minor updates in SP2, and at this time a SP2 date for the other RadControl suites is not available. If you're forging ahead with "Prometheus" based projects, mark your calendars and grab this update late Thursday.

Community 2.0 published on AspAlliance

I've be longing to share this incredible content with you for what seems like months now. After a lengthy review process- most of which was just waiting for an open publication date- my whitepaper on "community 2.0" has been published on the popular AspAlliance website. This whitepaper grew out of an internal effort at Telerik to effectively understand and describe what it takes to build a strong, thriving community. The research in the paper was so compelling, though, that I couldn't resist making it available to the community for broad consumption.

What is community 2.0? I assure you I am not out to create yet another "2.0" version of a common word (Business 2.0, you'll be missed?). Rather, this paper methodically examines the elements of many popular "web 2.0" sites that have thriving online communities. What did Digg and Wikipedia do correctly to grow their communities that others like Netscape failed to do? Through my research, three simple and easy to understand principles emerge that connect the success of online communities, and by these principles you'll have the best chance at creating your own successful online socials.

If you have a site or business and you want to create a community, this paper is a must read. Check it out on the AspAlliance site, tell your friends, and then let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy my latest publication.

Monday, October 22, 2007

WinForms controls on dnrTV

Here's another hot news item that I didn't deliver to you on time. A little more than a week ago I sat down (virtually, of course) with .NET celeb Carl Franklin to film a new episode of dnrTV all about Telerik's RadControls for WinForms. The episode was released late on October 12th, but it is still on the homepage of dnrTV at the time of this writing.

What is dnrTV? For those that have never seen it, dnrTV delivers Camtasia captured screen casts of conversations that Carl has with a vast array of guests from the .NET world. The WinForms episode that we "filmed" comes in a series of dnrTV episodes focusing on various .NET products. But unlike unfettered internally produced web casts on .NET products, dnrTV episodes benefit from the candid and insightful questions that Carl delivers to guests- often the questions you wish you could ask while watching a web cast.

Either way, it was fun to shoot and it is a great way to learn about what Telerik is doing in the WinForms space if you still have yet to check it out. And without giving too much away, I have some pretty big news regarding WinForms learned at VSIP that I'm going to try to share later this week. I guarantee it will surprise you. Until then, check out the dnrTV episode and look for more content like this in the future.

Telerik Watch celebrates 1 year

As I was composing my last post explaining the uncommon week of silence on this blog, I realized that in all the preparation for the VSIP Summit and the recovery from DevReach I missed a very important event: the first birthday of the Telerik Watch blog! That's right, you've been enjoying this fine publication for over a year now. The first post, dated October 11, 2006, set the stage for what has been a very successful blog- thanks in no small part to you, the outstanding and loyal audience.

Time marches forward, though, and I look forward to bringing you another great year of content. When I originally started this blog, Paul Thurott's WinSuperSite was a big inspiration and I aimed to deliver the same in-depth attention for Telerik products that he delivered for Microsoft. Since then, a few things have changed. Most notably, I was hired full-time by Telerik in early 2007. I also started contributing to two additional blogs: Blogs and ASP.NET Weblogs. Needless to say, this blog has adopted a much more casual approach of brining you the latest Telerik and industry news while leaving more in-depth content for other venues.

Is that what you want? I want to know. I'm starting a new poll that will run for the next couple of weeks on the side of this blog asking you to submit your opinion: should Telerik Watch keep on keepin' on or should it start running more in-depth content? With your feedback, we'll build on the success of 2007 and march boldly in to 2008, delivering content you enjoy reading.

Happy birthday Telerik Watch!

The week the blog stood still

Since it's introduction almost over a year ago (can you believe that?!), not a single week has passed where this blog didn't bring you something new. Over 200 posts later with a continually growing audience- thanks as always to you for reading- this blog had it's first week of silence last week. It wasn't to make a point and it certainly wasn't due to a dearth of good news to share. Rather, I was in Redmond, Washington enjoying the annual Visual Studio Integration Partner (or VSIP) Summit and simply didn't have the time I needed to bring you your regularly scheduled, high quality, Telerik Watch posts.

But I am back now and have plenty of news items to share. Much of what we learned at VSIP is under Microsoft NDA, so I'm afraid I can't bring you a lot of news from that event (yet), but there is plenty of fun stuff to share in the meantime. Expect quite a few posts this week as I try to catch-up and bring you back up to speed on the world of Telerik and its surrounding environment. I hope you enjoyed your week off and used the time to catch-up on your "guilty pleasure" RSS feeds- Engadget, Joystiq, you know the ones. As for this blog, it's time to get back to your regularly scheduled content.

Friday, October 12, 2007

.NET Rocks WPF Panel

One of the fun little activities that took place at the recent DevReach conference in Bulgaria was a panel discussion on the current state of WPF. The panel featured Tim Huckaby, Brian Noyes, and yours truly (and the famous .NET Rocks hosts, of course) discussing the merits of WPF, dispelling some of the myths, and clarifying some of the misconceptions about designer tools available for WPF. Tim brought to the table excellent first hand experience using WPF to deliver solutions; Brian brought an incredible depth of technical WPF knowledge; I brought a unique perspective that needs a little introduction.

Ever since joining the "programming world" about 6 years ago, I have been reluctant to mention my "hidden" past as a graphic designer. Yes, that's right. I'm the artist in the room of engineers. For years I did freelance logo design, brand development, and designs for all variety of print projects. I cut my proverbial computer teeth on Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop, and the Macromedia design products. In fact, in my early hunt for colleges RISD (Rhode Island School of Design or "riz-dee" for the initiated) and similar topped my list of interests.

"What in the world are you doing in programming?!" say you. Glad you asked. I may be an "artist" but I am also thoroughly pragmatic. I had no intention of becoming a "starving artist". With entrepreneurship in my blood, Texas A&M's highly ranked business school replaced my desire to go hang with hippie artists and involvement in the school's Student Council lead me to programming. An ugly (and I mean ugly) ASP application was dropped in my lap one day and I didn't run away. Quite the opposite. The web suddenly became my playground for building things and it gave me a venue to continue to flex my graphic designer muscles.

The rest (as everybody says) is history. I spent much of my own time learning as much as I could about building things for the web- ASP Classic, ASP.NET 1.x, ASP.NET 2, and now about 5,000 different Microsoft platforms. I never left my designer roots, though, so when Microsoft starts touting tools that "designers will love" my ears perk up.

I'll let you uncover my opinions on that marketing message in the .NET Rocks episode. Either way, that's my true background and the source of my unique perspective on this panel. Hopefully you'll enjoy the new point of view.

Silverlight Short Cut giveaway winners

The time has come to announce the two lucky winners of the Silverlight 1.1 Short Cut giveaway. Today our winners will be taking home one fabulous prize...A NEW CAR PDF (so it's not quite as exciting as The Price Is Right). The Silverlight 1.1 Short Cut covers everything you need to know to get up to speed on Silverlight, how 1.0 compares to 1.1, and how to use the tools that are available today for working with this alpha technology. An updated version will also be available soon that corrects a few last minute errors in the copy, so check your O'Reilly downloads page later next week to get the latest version.

And with that, my ability to stall the naming of the winners has run out. The same technique used to select the Learning Guide winners was applied here, so thank the random atmospheric noise if your number doesn't get called. And the winnings numbers are...
Clayton Powell and Asit...come on down. Send an email to todd[dot]anglin[at]telerik.[youKnowWhat] to get your free copies of the Short Cut. Thanks to everybody who took time to play; I promise there will be more fun giveaways in the near future. And don't forget, have your pets spayed or neutered.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Q2 2007 SP1s released

Landing just a few weeks after the original Q2 launch and a day later than planned, the first round of service packs for the Q2 2007 release is now online. Updates have been released for the RadControls for ASP.NET, RadControls "Prometheus", and Reporting; an update for RadControls for WinForms should be available later today. These service packs address a slew of bugs reported across all of the product lines and add a few new features along the way. You can get the complete scoop by reading the release notes for each product:

Jump over to your accounts and download the latest bits to get your applications running on the latest Telerik release. There will be one more service pack released for the ASP.NET and WinForms controls before Q3 in December, so keep sending your feedback and we'll do our best to solve any of your issues.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sitefinity 3.1 released

While a little late out of the gate, Sitefinity 3.1 is now officially available for your consumption. If you've been following along on this blog, then you already know most of what's new in the major Sitefinity update: site search, forums module, new page edit mode, and so on. There are at least 8 new major features by my count, so this should be a no brainer update if you're using Sitefinity 3.0. That said, there are a few issues with some of the new features to watch out for. The release notes clearly identify these issues, so take a quick look over there while you're upgrading to understand what will be fixed in an ensuing service pack.

I know I previously promised some screenshots of the new features, and I still plan to deliver those soon. Travel to DevReach in Bulgaria and VSIP in Redmond is making it difficult to get everything online as fast as I'd like, but the Sitefinity tasks are high on my list. Until then, download your own copy and let us know what you think of the upgrade!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Silverlight 1.1 Short Cut published, win a copy

This is a very exciting news item that I have been eager to share. After weeks of writing and rounds of editing, Telerik has just published a new O'Reilly Short Cut covering all the ins and outs of Silverlight 1.1 Alpha. This short 76 page book was written by yours truly along with a lot of help from the brains that make up the Telerik Silverlight Team. It is a great primer for anyone looking to get up to speed on Silverlight and the tools that are available to work with it. We've worked very hard to produce a resource that is easy to read and full of helpful information, and we've involved some of the brightest minds in Silverlight- Jesse Liberty and Adam Kinney- to make sure everything is accurate. The short cut is available as a downloadable PDF from O'Reilly's site for $9.99. To help celebrate its release, though, I'll be giving away two copies next week. To win, simply leave a comment on this post telling us the reason you're most looking forward to Silverlight 1.1. Will it enable you to build new types of applications? Is there something you've always wanted to do that Silverlight will finally enable? Tell us and win. Standard rules apply to the contest (only one post will be entered per person, blah, blah). All entries must be made by midnight (GMT +6) next Thursday (October 11) to be eligible in the drawing. Enjoy the new resource and good luck!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Q2 2007 SP1 coming next week

As with all major releases, there are always a few features that don't make the release date or have bugs that need to be quickly addressed. Handling that for the recent Q2 2007 release is the first service pack due to hit the streets late next week. This service pack will address bugs and issues reported since September 19th and will add a few new features to some of the RadControl components. Among the controls getting the most improvement in the upcoming service pack is RadEditor "Prometheus". We know there has been a fair amount of confusion surrounding this beta product and some of its missing/broken features, but hopefully SP1 will start to fix that problem.

Meanwhile, some exciting initiatives are underway at Telerik that should make the bug reporting and status tracking process easier for you to follow. This program is still being developed, so the details are thin at this point, but expect some updates in a few months. When it is complete, it should be much easier for subscription holders to track the status of the bugs/issues/enhancement requests they submit to Telerik.

Until then, stay tuned to this blog and watch for an announcement next week regarding SP1.

DevReach 2007 recap

This has been a light blogging week for me, largely because I'm still in Sofia trying to recover from the nightly DevReach 2007 parties. But while the parties were good, the conference was great. In its second annual appearance in the capital city of Bulgaria, DevReach 2007 brought in an amazing array of great speakers to educate .NET developers in eastern Europe. I joined big names in the .NET world like Richard Campbell, Carl Franklin, Stephen Forte, and Tim Huckaby to put on over 40 sessions in two days. Hundreds of developers attended the conference helping make it a big success and solidifying the stature of DevReach as a major international .NET conference.

Slides, demo code, and pictures from the event should be available online in the next week or so. Check the event site for updates and links to the downloads. There will also be a DVD produced that has all of the DevReach sessions (video and audio), slides, and code coming soon. I'll provide more details on that when they're available.

All in all, everyone seemed to have a great time and talks about doing this again next year are already underway. If you missed the fun in 2007, start clearing your calendar in 2008 because this is an event you don't want to miss!