Saturday, December 20, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: RadDocking for Silverlight

Just in time for the holidays, I've got a brand new Telerik Watch Minute for your viewing pleasure. In this episode, I spend about 5 minutes introducing you to the new RadDocking for Silverlight CTP. RadDocking is the just introduced layout control from Telerik (available now on that enables you to build very interactive "pane-based" UIs without writing any "code" (just some XAML markup). I'll show you how to go from a brand new Silverlight application to running an app with the RadDocking for Silverlight control in this video, so it's a great primer for anyone getting ready to start Silverlight development with the RadControls. Enjoy the video and happy holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

ASP.NET MVC RC1 coming in January

So by now, you've probably heard of this thing called "ASP.NET MVC." A little more than a year ago I first mentioned it on this blog, and then about 6 months ago I introduced you to MVC Preview 3. Now we have official word from "The Gu" himself that the MVC release candidate will be shipping in 3 - 6 weeks time. When it does ship, we should be seeing bits that are feature complete with no known bugs, and pending a short "reality check" period, the final bits should be shipping shortly there after. There are a number of new (significant) things coming in the RC that weren't available in the Beta. Scott has (of course) detailed them in more detail than anyone else can, so for the "skimmers" out there, here's the Reader's Digest version:

  • Views (i.e. ASPX files) will now be created by default with no code behind file. This is designed to reinforce the MVC separation of concerns and reduce "file clutter."
  • You'll be able to access your strongly-typed model in Views via a new "Model" property (as in, Model.CustomerId) in addition to the old ViewData property (ViewData.Model.CustomerId).
  • HtmlHelper and AjaxHelper methods can now be "model aware," enabling powerful strongly-type, IntelliSense-assisted Helper syntax. The OTB (out of the box) helpers will NOT use this functionality in V1, though.
  • One of the coolest new features: MVC in Visual Studio will now support "auto scaffolding." In short, you'll be able to use wizards to automatically generate Views designed to view, edit, list, and create data. The wizards will interrogate your model and automatically add the necessary inputs and validation to your Views, too! Pretty cool time saver.
There's more, and if you're interested you should definitely read Scott's post. In case you missed it, Telerik is already supporting ASP.NET MVC (as of Q3), and you can be sure that we'll make sure our controls continue to work with the ASP.NET MVC RC. It's been a long time in the making, and it's definitely not a tech that is for everybody, but for the fans, it'll be here soon! In the mean time, what do you think of MVC now that it's (almost) fully baked? Is it enough to make you leave WebForms?

New SPs available for Telerik Silverlight and WPF controls

Listen-up all you XAML developers. There are two new service packs available from Telerik this week that are just for you. First, the RadControls for Silverlight suite has received its second service pack (making this Q3 2008 SP2, for the record) and a special "futures" build with some previews of controls coming in Q1 2009. The service pack is your "standard" bug-fix SP with the addition of some improvements to the Silverlight "Vista" theme and a brand new "Office Black" theme. The "futures" build includes two controls: RadDocking for Silverlight CTP and RadGridView for Silverlight Beta. When installing the latest bits, you should use the SP2 installer OR the Futures installer. You cannot install both. The SP2 release is just a subset of the Futures release (sans the new controls), so for most, installing the "Futures" build probably makes the most sense. For WPF, this week brings the Q3 2008 Service Pack 1. The WPF SP has got a little more happening than the Silverlight SP2, and the bulk of the fixes can be found in the RadScheduler for WPF. There you'll find improvements in the drag/drop experience, the templating support, and even a new demo showing you how to use XML data with the Scheduler. Other controls getting some attention in this SP are the RadGridView, RadCarousel, and RadChart for WPF. All controls, like Silverlight, also received the new Office Black theme, so now that theme can be used with any Silverlight or WPF RadControl. There's tons to talk about with these releases- especially with the new Silverlight Docking and GridView controls- so stay tuned for more detailed posts focusing on those controls. Until then, check out the release notes and download the SP bits today!

Friday, December 12, 2008

In Case You Missed It: Part VII

Has it really been since August that I last brought you an ICYMI update? If you haven't been following the Telerik Blogs in the mean time, you've missed a lot. The Telerik Blogs are really active now with many of the guys and gals on the RadControl product teams regularly posting very helpful and insightful technical blog posts. In fact, the blogs are so active nowadays that it can be difficult to keep-up with all of the information flowing across the lines! Fortunately, we've got a new blog layout coming soon and some new features that should make it easier to track the content relevant to your job. Until that goes live, here are some great posts from just the last few months that you should check out:

And that's just the tip of the iceburg...or tip of the great mountain of content as it may be on the Telerik Blogs. Remember that I post most of my technical posts on the Telerik Blogs (and not here), so be sure to add the Telerik Blogs to your feed readers and enjoy some great content during your daily blog reading!

Google Chrome is official, Today not April 1st

Some things just baffle the mind. Like how Google's brand new Chrome web browser can already be graduating from "beta" status to "official" version 1 status when Gmail has not managed to achieve the same feat during its 4 YEAR "beta" period. But Gmail still being in beta is not news; Chrome earning it's wings, is. Today Google announced- and released- the first "official" version of Chrome, boasting in a blog post from Sundar Pichai (VP Product Management) that in the last 100 days Chrome has garnered some 10 million active users from all 7 continents. Today's move underscores how aggresively Google is moving in the browser space, and anyone doubting Google's desire to become a big player in the browser world should take note.

I, for one, have been a Chrome fan since day one. The browser is far, far from perfect, but it's getting a lot of things right. Most importantly, it's "cold start" time is unbeatable. It is a reminder of how slow Firefox and IE take to get going and it raises the bar for how a modern Internet browser should perform.
Telerik began unofficially supporting Chrome during its early beta phase, and Telerik was one of the first vendors to provide full Chrome support for its ASP.NET AJAX controls. Now that the browser is official, Telerik will continue to improve its support for Chrome. In fact, Chrome is already an "officially" supported browser, so if you have users or customers actively using Chrome, you're covered if you're using the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX. And a quick search will verify that Telerik is currently the only major UI vendor for .NET that is offering support for Chrome!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FREE products from Telerik (as in FREE, not trials)

If there is one word that everyone seems to love, it is probably Telerik. If there are two, the second would be FREE. I'm happy to announce that today Telerik is bringing those two words together and making some of its products 100% FREE! Some of these products have been free for a while, but we've done a poor job of making sure you know where to get them. Some products, like the RadFormDecorator for ASP.NET AJAX, we're making free for the first time today. So, here's the free stuff:

  • Telerik OpenAccess ORM Express - This is a 100% free version of Telerik's new OpenAccess ORM product. This is not a trial. The only limit of OA Express is that it only works with free databases (like MS SqlServer Express, Oracle Express, MySql, and Firebird). Other than that, all features are enabled and 100% free to use in any of your projects.
  • Sitefinity Community Edition - This is a 100% free version of Telerik's full-featured CMS/web development platform. This is also not a trial and it is not just for personal/non-commercial sites. You can use Sitefinity CE for any web project! And the only things you lose with CE (vs. Standard Edition) are version control, workflow, multi-lingual site support, and permissions management (plus a "Powered By Sitefinity" logo is rendered on your site).
  • RadEditor Lite for MOSS- Through a partnership with Microsoft, Telerik offers a 100% free "lite" version of the RadEditor for ASP.NET for anyone to use with SharePoint. If you are doing SharePoint development and you want a more full-featured editor that actually works cross-browser, what are you waiting for? Download RadEditor Lite for free today!
  • RadFormDecorator for ASP.NET AJAX- Just released today, the RadFormDecorator from the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX is now 100% free. If you're not using the RadControls and you want a fast, free way to style all of your form elements, you can now use Telerik's RadFormDecorator. Plus, we're including 14 skins with the free control and free trials of all the other RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX!
You can learn more about each of these free products (and any products we make free in the future) by visiting our new "Free Products" page. There you'll also find direct links to download these bits that you can start using them right away. Now, of course, the free products do not come with dedicated support from Telerik, but you do have access to all of Telerik's help resources, like the (very) active forums, the product documentation, and the online demos. We hope you enjoy the early holiday gifts! Share the news with your friends and stay tuned for even more free stuff in 2009.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

MSDN DevCon Houston Wrap-up (update)

So, I didn't have time to post one of my friendly "Join Me at xxxx" posts before today's MDC Houston event, but hopefully my reminder last month was enough for those of you that wanted to attend. As I type, MDC Houston is rapidly coming to a close, and all-in-all, I think it was a good start for Microsoft's fledgling community event. I don't have "official" numbers, but I think there were somewhere between 300 and 400 people in attendance for today's "mini-PDC." I'll post some pictures when I get to a stronger Internet connection. Check out pictures on Flickr.

My session, "Building Business Applications with Silverlight," went very well (I think...people in attendance can correct me if I'm lying). The session I did was originally presented by Jamie Cool, a Microsoft PM, at PDC. It was definitely a tough act to follow, but fortunately the Silverlight "futures" bits (code named "Alexandria") are fun to show-off and are really very impressive. I hope to have download links for both the demos and slides on my blog very soon (just as soon as I can get clearance from MS). Stay tuned.
Thanks again to everyone that stopped by the Telerik "micro booth" today and for those of you that attended my session. I hope you were able to learn something about Telerik, Silverlight, or both. And with this event in the rear view mirror, that about ends the Fall Speaking Tour. Enjoy your time with family this holiday season and stay tuned for our Winter and Spring events schedule soon!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Real Lessons from Real End Users

As many of you know, before joining Telerik, I was a customer (and a MVP). I met Telerik while developing a hosted web application (or SaaS, if you will) for managing career fairs, and I picked Telerik's tools for my UI development since they were (and still are) the easiest to use on the market. When I joined Telerik, the application lived on, and from time to time I like to visit with my customers and participate in end user training sessions. I did just that this evening with one of our bigger customers, and to my surprise I was reminded of two very important "end user rules"- two rules I think we as developers all forget too often:

  1. Rule 1: Training and Re-Training is critical- Whenever you develop an application that has "features," innevatibly some of them get overlooked or forgotten. While talking with "real end users" tonight, I asked them to describe some of the problems they've faced running career fairs in the last 6 months. At least half of the problems they described were already addressed by features in the software system that were either A) overlooked, or B) misunderstood. Now, I understand that some features get burried and I could have guessed some of the features they'd miss. But some of the features seemed obvious to me. "You mean you didn't notice the big button that says "Solve My Problem" when you logged-in?" I thought. As developers, we tend to overlook the "obvious," especially in systems we build ourselves. It doesn't come natrually to us that users might not be aware a feature exists, especially if we think the feature is very cool. Simple "reality checks" with your "real end users" (or REUs going forward) can save you support time and the users lots of manual work (because they will finish their task, they just won't use your "helpful" feature).
  2. Rule 2: Just because you don't get complaints, doesn't mean it's not broken - Later in the training tonight, while still asking users to list their problems from the past 6 months, one user said, "Oh yeah, and I get these error messages all of the time." What? We had never received any angry emails from this user. "You have?" I asked. "Yes," she replied, "I just figured I was doing something wrong." In the developer community, I think it's really easy to forget this fact about REUs. If they hit an error in your application, they are very likely to think it's their fault and not report the problem (often out of fear of sounding dumb). As developers, this concept is foreign since we are accustomed to firing-off bug report emails whenever we hit any problems (real or percieved) in the applications we use. REUs are different. This rule highlights the importance of having good, uncluttered error reports that you review proactively for problems and the value of occassionaly asking your users what problems they're having. Not only will that improve your customer service reputation, it will help you fix problems before they start costing you business.
And while these rules are derrived from application development, I think they are also true for the RadControls (though Rule 2 probably doesn't apply as strongly to you helpful developers). Since our product teams see the controls everyday, and since I've worked with them for so long, things to us often seem "obvious." Of course RadGrid can bind to web services! Of course you can use the RadEditor image editing classes outside of the Editor! Of course RadCombobox works when JavaScript is disabled! Obvious to me. New to you? As we approach 2009, I want to make sure everyone knows about all of the features in the RadControls that are designed to make your developer life as easy as 1-2-3. Unfortunately, I can't gather you all in a room and get your feedback, but I'd love to hear it! What have you had trouble doing with the RadControls in the last 6 months? Send an email to todd.anglin@[the company I work for].com and help me make the misunderstood or overlooked features of the RadControls obvious! Maybe I'll post a follow-up, "Real Lessons from Real Developers"...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: Back from Vegas with News

Wow! It has been a long time since I've managed to just bring you some news announcements from Telerik. Hopefully you've enjoyed the updates from the last couple months on the road- from DevReach in Bulgaria, PDC in LA, and most recently DevConnections in Las Vegas. To help close-out the Fall Travel, I've compiled a short video montage of some time in Vegas to open this Telerik Watch Minute. For more "helpful" Vegas video, don't miss the interviews I did with Miroslav from the Telerik Silverlight Team and Lini from the Telerik ASP.NET Team. Also in this video, I cover a few highilghts from the last month, inlcuding Telerik's big Q3 2008 release, the introduction of a new Learning Guide, and the availability of our RadGridView for Silverlight CTP (and soon to be beta). Enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

IE8 will not arrive 'til early 2009

Here's a quick newsflash: the next major version of Internet Explorer will not be shipping this year and instead will be shipping sometime in early 2009. In a short blog post this Wednesday on the IE Team blog, Dean Hachamovitch (IE GM @ MS) laid-out the high-level road map for IE8 and how we'll get from today's beta 2 release to the final product. Essentially, the road map looks like this:

  • Today: Beta 2
  • Q1 2009: Public Release Candidate (RC1)
  • Late Q1/Early Q2 2009: Release to Web (RTW)
So, anybody expecting to get IE8 before the end of the year- or even very early next year- can put those dreams (or dreads, as the case may be) on hold for a while. This week's announcement is a little surprising since I think many industry watchers (self included) thought Microsoft would ship the final IE8 version before the end of the year to try to keep pace with Mozilla and Firefox. But as Eric Lawrence (also from MS) said in the comments: "The IE team's goal is to deliver a quality IE8 as soon as possible. Providing exact dates is always problematic; no one wants to ship with nasty bugs just to meet a self-imposed deadline. Keep in mind that we support IE for up to 10 years after its release, and sometimes those extra few weeks save ~everyone~ a lot of pain later." Let's hope that statement is true and the version of IE8 that ships next year is as "painless" as possible. For Telerik's part, we will obviously provide full support for IE8 as soon as it ships, and even today you'll find near complete support for the beta versions of the browser.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Random Online Utility: WhatTheFont

I think I'm going to start a new series on Telerik Watch to highlight my favorite (usually free) ROUs, or Random Online Utilities. You know the ones. The little online utilities that only do one thing but do it so well that you can't imagine working without them. Take for example the utility that someone in Telerik pointed me to today called "WhatTheFont." As the name implies, you simply upload an image that contains the font you're trying to decipher, help the online tool recognize your letters, and then it's off to the races providing you with likely font matches. And it works! I used it today to figure out the font used in Telerik's Sitefinity logo. Now, this probably isn't a tool I'll use often, but it's definitely cool to know there is a tool out there that can help solve the infamous "what font are they using" question when the time comes. Hopefully this will come in handy next time you face a similar dilemma. Stay tuned for more "Radom Online Utilties" over the next few weeks and months. In the mean time, what little ROUs do you find essential (or just plain cool)?

RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX Q308 SP1 released today

In our relentless pursuit to deliver improvements for our RadControls, today Telerik shipped the first service pack for the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX Q3 2008. Usually, our goal is to ship SP1 about a month after an official release, but due to a few important post-release issues reported by you (our brilliant customers) we have released SP1 a little faster. Like all other service packs, this release focuses mostly on bug fixes and CSS tweaks, but there are a few notable new features in the release to look for:

  • The "Register Handler" SmartTag option now adds sections to your Web.Config for both IIS 5/6 and IIS 7 (in other words, it registers the handlers/modules in both system.web and system.webServer)
  • New NoRecordsTemplate and AlwaysVisiblePager for RadGrid with client-side data binding
  • RadInputManager now supports server-side and client-side disabled styling
  • Multi-day appointments in RadScheduler month view now render as a single elements (vs. single elements per day). Month view also now supports a new rendering mode to "auto expand" to content size (vs. being a fixed height).
  • New OnClientLoad property added to RadSpell
  • Server-side memory performance of RadTreeview node searching significantly improved
You can find the full release notes for the Q3 2008 SP1 release on the new and then download the new bits right away. Enjoy the fixes, the new helpful features, and stay tuned for the Q1 2009 Road Map coming very soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sitefinity Watch launched by Gabe Sumner

As everyone knows, several months ago I sought-out some of the brightest minds and best communicators to join the Telerik Evangelism ranks. Among the guys that joined our team is Gabe Sumner, the Telerik Developer Evangelist focused on our Sitefinity CMS product. Today Gabe launched a brand new blog dedicated to keeping you up-to-speed on all Sitefinity related news called Sitefinity Watch (you can guess where the naming inspiration derived). On this new blog (which runs on Sitefinity, of course), Gabe will bring you all the news you need to know to be fully informed about Sitefinity and the .NET CMS environment in general. He'll update often and the content is must read for anyone working with .NET CMS tools, especially Sitefinity.

Update your RSS readers now to subscribe to his new blog and stay tuned for the new content to follow. Also, don't forget to follow the other Telerik Evangelist blogs:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: First look at RadFileExplorer

While in Las Vegas last week for DevConnections, I had time to create one more video with the Telerik crew visiting from our Bulgarian HQ. This time I chatted with Stoyan (a.k.a. Lini) Stratev from the Telerik ASP.NET Team about the new RadFileExplorer control added to the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX in Q3 2008. Now, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't notice this new control in the release. It was added very late to the Q3 builds, and it's really more of a Rad "composite control" (in other words, it's made from a few existing RadControls) than a new "fresh brewed" control. As such, it's demos are tucked away in the RadEditor online demos and they may have escaped your attention during our release week. Nonetheless, this is a very usefull control for scenarios when you need to enable an online file browser experience, and Lini and I give you a complete introduction in this video. I hope you enjoy the new control and the quick video introduction!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: Telerik drag and drop manager for Silverlight

In this special edition of Telerik Watch Minute shot last week at DevConnections, I took a minute to talk with Miroslav Paskov from the Telerik Silverlight Team. Miroslav is one of the developers responsible for creating the new RadDragAndDropManager found in the RadControls for Silverlight, so I thought it would be cool if he could quickly tell us a little about how the new Manager should be used. And he did just that. The interview is about 7 minutes long and in it we see how the RadDragAndDropManager works, what code is required to add drag/drop to any Silverlight item, and how to handle drag/drop events. If you're curious to know more about this control and want to know how to get started with drag-and-drop in your Silverlight applications, check out the video!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Register for new MSDN Developer Conference today

Have you heard? Microsoft is starting a new conference that is aiming to bring the "best of PDC to your backyard." The conference, dubbed "MSDN Developer Conference" (or MSDN DevCon for short, or MDC for really short), is kicking-off on December 9th in Houston and then making 10 other stops around the country, ending in San Francisco in late February. The sessions for all MDC stops are the same, and the topics cover everything from Oslo to Windows Azure to Silverlight to WPF and ASP.NET vNext road maps. If you are interested in learning more about what Microsoft introduced at PDC, the MDC events are definitely the best way for you to get your information. The conference isn't free, but the registration fee is just $99 (about 1.5 technical books worth, as DevLink would say). Think of the fee as a barrier to make sure the events don't sell out to people that don't plan on attending. Beyond that, you can register online to save your seat at any of the 11 city stops. If you do register, do my North Houston .NET User Group a favor and use the RSVP code "NHDNUG" during registration. And one last note: if you are in the Houston or Dallas area, I will be speaking at both MDC's in those cities. I'd love to meet you if you're a Telerik Fan, so that's even more reason for you to register today and come on out to MDC! Register for MDC now

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Telerik WPF charting and gauges on Channel 9

While at PDC last week, Vladimir Milev and I had the chance to spend about five minutes with Adam Kinney from Microsoft to show-off Telerik's new 2D and 3D charting engine for WPF. Adam caught the entire exchange on video and that video is now live for your viewing pleasure on Channel 9. If you haven't been paying attention, as part of Telerik's Q3 release, Telerik shipped a brand new charting engine for WPF that enables you to do some pretty cool data visualizations. You can animate your chart loading, build 3D charts (even using your own 3D models), and, of course, render all of the different chart types you typically need in an LOB app. We also shipped new XAML-based RadGauges for WPF and Silverlight that enable you to easily add gauge visualizations to your projects. You can download all of this stuff now by visiting the new A video is worth 10,000 words, though, so check out the video on Channel 9 or catch an embedded version after the break!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meet Telerik at DevConnections Las Vegas

It should be obvious by now, but Telerik is full force at Fall DevConnections 2008 in Las Vegas. We've got "the booth" all setup and ready to rock the sponsor expo later this evening, and we'd love to meet anyone in town for the conference. At the booth, we'll be showing-off lots of new functionality that shipped in our recent Q3 2008 release, including our brand new OpenAccess ORM. We've also got a crew of developers from the Telerik product teams here, so if you want to meet the guys that actually put in the hard work to make your developer life easier, stop by booth 113. Oh, and back by popular demand, we've got plenty of .NET Ninja and Geekette shirts to hand out at the booth in addition to some cool .NET Ninja posters you can take home to proudly decorate your cube. It's going to be a great week of demos, .NET, and Vegas fun, so if you're not here, you're missing out. But...since we know not everyone can make it, keep your browsers locked-in on Telerik Watch for more updates and a link to another live feed from our booth! We'll do our best to bring a little bit of DevConnections to you online.

LIVE from Vegas DevConnections GuNote

That's right, it's time for another live blog of a Guthrie keynote. I'm all settled in at the Vegas South Pacific ballroom, I've got a full charge on my MacBook Air, and I'm ready to bring the updates as they happen. I don't expect anything new during this keynote (especially since PDC was last week), but who knows? Get ready with your F5 keys and we'll get started here in a few minutes! Click on to read live blog of GuNote 7:59: John Mayer is playing over the PA. Interesting choice for a developer audience... 8:02: Scott is on stage getting ready, but Mayer is still blasting. Looks like we're going to get a bit of a late start. 8:07: Music is down and it's time to start! Scott is getting things kicked-off with an overview of the next hour. Says he's going to focus today on products that are going to be shipping over the next couple of months and things that are coming next year (ASP.NET 4, VS 2010). Says we'll also see brand new "never before seen" demos of VS 2010 web development features. 8:08: Listing products shipped this year: IIS 7, Win Server 2k8, .NET 3.5, VS 2008, Silverlight 2. Not a bad list, especially considering that .NET 3.5 was more like a major version of .NET. 8:12: Time for the first demo. Scott's going to show ASP.NET Dynamic Data. He polled the audience (of at least 1,000 devs) and asked how many people have played around with Dynamic Data- one (!) person raised their hand. 8:14: Building a LinqToSQL data context for his Dynamic Data demo. I'm surprised he's still demoing LinqToSQL given the recent news that it's more or less a dead-end product in Microsoft right now. Demos like this aren't going to help people make the transition to EF... 8:16: He's now showing the Dynamic Data site running. Reaction from audience is weak (no applause or "ooohs", actually). Not sure if that's because people still don't understand Dynamic Data (even after seeing it) or they just don't want it. 8:20: Done with Dynamic Data. Now talking about the new charting controls Microsoft is shipping for ASP.NET. Free for both ASP.NET and WinForms. Supports both 2D and 3D charts. Looks just like Dundas charts...oh wait. Guthrie is now going to show-off the process for building a chart in ASP.NET. People got excited about seeing these demos. 8:23: Ah! It happened. People clapped for the charting demos. Really, with MS shipping these charts for free now, I think they're about to kill much of the 3rd party market for ASPNET charts. 8:24: Moving on. Scott's now talking ASP.NET MVC. He's still stressing that MVC is not a replacement for WebForms (anybody who thinks MVC is replacing WebForms is wrong). Another audience poll, too. How many people have played with ASP.NET MVC- about 20 hands went up. 8:26: No MVC demos today. Seems he recognizes that it doesn't appeal to the broad audience. Moving on to talk about ASP.NET AJAX and jQuery. 8:28: Just reviewing recent changes to ASPNET AJAX (back/forward button support, script combining, Astoria, etc.). Also talking about the jQuery choice and why MS partnered with that project. Showing jQuery IntelliSense screenshots (no live demos). Yet another audience poll. How many people are already using jQuery- at least 150 to 200 hands. 8:32: Demo time! Showing a ASP.NET MVC application that is pulling photos from Flickr based on a supplied tag. Using jQuery AJAX and JavaScript to power much of the UI binding. Very simple demo that shows some of the power of jQuery for client-side programming. 8:36: Shifting gears now. Done talking about what's shipping today, now going to talk about the future. First-up in the future, ASP.NET 4. 8:37: Reviewing details that were discussed at PDC. ASPNET 4 is going to give developers control over ClientIDs, is going to give better control over ViewState (turn-off at page level, then enable individual controls), is going to include URL routing (a la MVC), and is going to enhance features in Dynamic Data (such as enabling Dynamic Data off of business objects), and a new distributed caching model (i.e. Velocity). Guess the news here is that Velocity will ship as part of .NET 4. 8:40: Moving to talk VS 2010 improvements. VS 10 is going to ship a number of "code improvements" (such as new WPF-based source code editor, better snippets support, better code analysis). Also a number of improvements for web dev, including better AJAX Intellisense, better design-time rendering, and better SharePoint dev support. 8:42: Scott just showed the new web.config model that is going to make it easy to manage settings per dev environment. You can now easily have "Web.Debug.config," "Web.Release.config," and "Web.Staging.config" (or whatever) and your VS will automatically consume or package the correct web.config depending your environment. 8:44: VS 2010 demo time! Jeff (last name?) from the VS 10 team is on stage to do the demo. Is starting by showing us code completing of IntelliSense (type two characters, hit tab, VS completes entire tag with runat="server" tag already done for you!). Another example, add a control validator, VS will automatically fill-in all required properties and try to auto fill the ControlToValidate property. Also showed new "Surround With" feature- highlight some code, right-click, select "Surround With," choose what you want to wrap the code with. 8:49: Time for a demo of how many keystrokes new VS features save. They're cranking-up some music. Jeff's now trying to complete page using IntelliSense of VS 2008. He's got 60 seconds on the clock. And he's off! Time ran out, he didn't complete the page, and 232 keystrokes when time ran out. Now time for VS 2010. Eye of the Tiger music starts. And he beats the clock! With 132 keystrokes he finishes the page. Very cool demo and proof of how much time the new code features of VS 2010 could save. 8:53: Jeff is now showing a TDD approach to developing a MVC site with VS2010. VS 10 will make it easy to refactor classes out of your unit tests (or anywhere in VS, for that matter). Type a class name (even if it doesn't exist), VS will auto-add to IntelliSense and give you quick action for generating a new class. Basically, VS will be building-in support for some of what tools like ReSharper do today. 9:00: Jeff is still doing his TDD demo. He's written a test, used it to create his MVC controller (via the VS 10 refactoring features), and now he's going to create a UI. Showing new "Add View" command in VS 10 that will automatically create new MVC ViewPage for a controller. Cool feature, but no reaction from crowd because (remember) no one is using MVC. 9:04: And Jeff is finally done with the TDD demo. Overall though, a cool look at what's coming in VS 10. Definitely going to be a worthwhile upgrade for web developers! Now back to Scott to wrap things up (I think). 9:06: Scott is talking about the VS 10 shell and how it is going to be built in WPF. Promoting the benefit of this transition, such as multi-monitor support, higher performing UI, and, of course, deep customization support. He's now going to show the WPF Editor Comment Extension he demoed at PDC (i.e. using MEF, he's going to build a class that re-visualizes comments in the source code editor). 9:11: Continuing to talk, now about the ".NET Continum." In other words, time to talk Silverlight. Overviewing Silverlight 2's features and some of it's "selling points." Listing all of the big examples of "real" Silverlight use (such as the Olympics, Netflix, etc.) 9:16: Now talking about the UI control story for Silverlight. Talking about MS' goal to ship hundreds of rich UI controls "out of the box" with Silverlight. Not showing any new UI controls, though, or demos. VS 10 will have drag-and-drop support for Silverlight, design-time data binding support, and all the other goodies devs need to be productive developing for Silverlight. 9:18: Scott's now going to wrap-up with some Silverlight demos (guess I spoke too soon a second ago). First Silverlight demo, the Hard Rock Memorabilia Deep Zoom demo (first shown at Mix in March). Scott did just say the Hard Rock Deep Zoom app is "dynamic" and powered by SQL Server. I find that interesting since I wasn't aware you could dynamically build Deep Zoom tiles outside of the Deep Zoom Composer. Fact check needed... 9:21: Now showing the popular Silverlight Patient Journey Demonstrator demo app. Google it and you can play with the demo, too. 9:22: Final wrap-up slide. MS is aiming to improve web development by providing greater productivity, flexibility, and power. Think their offerings today are great; think the future "gets even better!" 9:23: That's it! Music is up and Scott is done. Thanks for tuning-in. Hope you enjoyed the coverage. Stay tuned for more updates from DevConnections this week.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: OpenAcess ORM Fetch Plans

In this third and final (for PDC) interview with Jan Blessenohl (OpenAcess ORM Team Lead), I ask Jan to show us how we can optimize the SQL queries OpenAcess produces. One feature that many ORMs provide, including OpenAcess, is Lazy Loading- or the concept of only loading objects when you need them in code. This is great for many scenarios as it saves you from loading more data than you need, but there are scenarios when you want to tell your ORM to load more agressively (for instance, when displaying data in a grid). In this video, Jan demonstrates how to create OpenAcess ORM Fetch Plans that enable us to easily optimize the SQL queries OpenAcess generates without requiring us to change the actual code of our query or object at all! So if you already understand the basics of forward mapping and reverse engineering, this video will help you go to the next step of optimization.

Telerik Watch Minute: OpenAccess ORM reverse engineering

Here's another great introductory video to Telerik's new OpenAcess ORM product. In this special edition of Telerik Watch Minute, I sit down with Jan Blessenohl (OpenAcess ORM Team Lead) and take a look at how you can use OpenAcess ORM to reverse engineer an existing database in to business objects (vs. the forward mapping approach we looked at last time). In this 13 minute video, Jan shows us everything from creating a new project to reverse engineering your database to merging database changes to existing objects to using your reverse engineered objects in an ASP.NET application. It's a great primer on the subject so I hope you enjoy! [Production Note: I regret that I have to keep making these "production notes." I guess it's more difficult than I anticipated to staff a booth, attend sessions, and shoot videos at PDC. As such, this video was recorded with a heavy "light filter," producing a grainy looking, dark video. Apologies. The next video fixes the problem and I promise I'll try to ensure these mistakes don't happen at future events!]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Q3 2008 released! (update)

My second big news item for the week (which most of you have probably already caught by now): the official Q3 2008 release is now live! This is a big release for Telerik- much bigger than Q2- and it includes a lot of new stuff, too much to really cover in a single post. Not only does the Q3 2008 release introduce Telerik's brand new OpenAccess ORM product, it also includes the first official version of our RadControls for Silverlight 2, our brand new charting engine for WPF, among many other new controls and enhancements. Layer that with our just launched redesign and you can see why this has been such a busy week! In the past, when I covered Telerik releases I could easily give you the highlights for the release because I only had to cover the RadControls for ASP.NET. To do the same now requires me to try to bring you the highlights from the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX, WinForms, Silverlight, WPF, Telerik Reporting, and Telerik OpenAccess ORM! Clearly the challenge has grown. Still, for those of you looking for the Q3 highlights, here you go:

  • New! Telerik OpenAccess ORM product
  • New! RadControls for Silverlight 2 (including RadDragAndDropFramework and RadNavigation)
  • New! 2D and 3D charting engine for WPF
  • New! RadGauges for WPF and Silverlight
  • New! RadScheduler for WPF and WinForms
  • New! Rich Text support in WinForms controls
  • New! WinForms theme color blending
  • New! RadInputManager for ASP.NET AJAX
  • New! 750+ page (free) book on RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX
  • New! Reporting rendering engine (beginnings of cross tab support coming in Q1)
  • Significantly improved rendering and performance in RadScheduler for ASP.NET AJAX
  • Significantly improved client-side data binding for RadGrid for ASP.NET AJAX
  • UPDATE: How could I forget?! New support for ASP.NET MVC in the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX!
And that really just scratches the surface. For a complete overview of all the changes in each product line be sure to check out all of the release notes (I'll provide links below). This has been a banner year for Telerik and I think this release is a great way to close it out. We hope you enjoy the new bits and are as excited as we are to continue innovating in Q1 next year! Release Notes for the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX Release Notes for the RadControls for WinForms Release Notes for the RadControls for WPF [Notes Pending] Release Notes for the RadControls for Silverlight Release Notes for Telerik Reporting Release Notes for Telerik OpenAcess ORM

New Telerik website now live, Running on Sitefinity

As you may have noticed by now, I've been a little quiet on the blogs this week. The reason: this is an extremely busy week. Not only are we still wrapping-up our content from PDC and preparing content for DevConnections, we're also making some HUGE public launches. First-up among those launches, after years of planning and preparation, the new is now live! And while that might be a big enough announcement in itself, it gets bigger. The new is running entirely on Telerik's own Sitefinity CMS 3.5 SP1! First things first, though. The new has been completely redesigned with the goal of making it as easy as possible to find content on the site and (for active developers) easy to use all of our support resources. The new website has been in some form of planning for well over a year and we appreciate everyone's patience as we limped along on the "old site" for longer than planned. I think you'll really enjoy the new site's layout and features, especially the heavily updated account page and simplified forums! One of the coolest things about the new site, though, is that it is a huge case study for Sitefinity. is obviously a very high-traffic site with hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the globe. Running on Sitefinity has helped us not only prove the capability of the Sitefinity platform, but it has also forced us to build-in the "real world" performance improvements the plaform needed to host huge sites. It's EYODF at it's best. The end result is a great looking (and easy to manage) and tons of performance imrpovements in Sitefinity 3.5 SP1. As with any new site, though, our work is not done. We're working quickly to optimize performance on production servers and squash any reported bugs. We also have some more new "sub sites" to role out soon for blogs and videos, so stay tuned for even more updates. Until then, enjoy the new site and let us know what you think!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: Augmented reality WPF demo

Every now and then, our developers like to build something that's just "cool". Something that pushes them to learn and implement new technologies. For the PDC 2008 Show Off competition, the crafty WPF developers at Telerik built a very interesting "Augmented Reality" demo. Much of the demo simply shows-off the cool interaction between physical world and virtual WPF-based assets, but it also gives us a chance to highlight a few RadControls for WPF in action. Hope you enjoy the quick demo and more importantly enjoy the RadControls!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: Interview with Jan Blessenohl, OpenAccess ORM

While at PDC 2008, I had the fun opportunity to sit down with some of the Telerik product team guys and put them on camera for you to meet. First up for your viewing pleasure is OpenAccess ORM Team Lead, Jan Blessenhol. In this short(ish) 20 minute interview, Jan explains to us what OpenAccess ORM is, why it's unique, and then does a live demo showing us how OpenAccess' basic Forward Mapping features work. If you're interested in knowing more about Telerik's new ORM product, this is a great place to start. And I also need to make a quick production note. We had a couple of "glitches" in this recording that I reget. First, the audio for much of the video is much poorer quality than it should be because I forgot to record the microphone in my hand. Second, the lighting was bad and I forgot to pull-out the 'ol camera light. Finally, the HDD recorder battery died during the shoot so we had to "append" the ending- as such, it looks a little different that the rest of the video. I apologize for all the tech trouble and hope you can still enjoy the video. Expect better quality next time!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: Special PDC Edition

I only have a few minutes before running to the next PDC party, but I wanted to share with you a quick video live from PDC 2008. We've got a lot more video content on the way, but for now, enjoy the introductions to the Telerik Evangelism crew and even the Team Lead for Telerik's new OpenAccess ORM product. Plus, don't forget you can watch PDC live at Telerik's booth during the show's expo hours!

LIVE from PDC 2008 Keynote 2 (Sinofsky, Guthrie, Treadwell)

Welcome back for another live blow-by-blow account of a PDC 2008 keynote. Today's keynote promises to be much more interesting and developer friendly than yesterday's as ScottGu, Steven Sinofsky, Ray Ozzie, and David Treadwell take the stage. We're in our seats and things should get started soon, so settle-in and get ready for the updates. 8:29: Things are about to get started. They're making the announcement and dimming the lights. 8:32: Here we go. Exciting .NET and Windows video is playing. Much higher energy than yesterday already! Video is showing-off a lot of MS partner apps built using .NET, WPF, WF, etc. 8:35: Video's over, Ozzie is taking the stage. Already promising some "surprises" today. Also reviewing what was introduced yesterday and reminding us of yesterday's announcements. Calling yesterday a look at MS "backend" innovations, today will be a look at "frontend" innovations. 8:37: Ozzie is reflecting on how important "personal PCs" have become to everyday life and business. Starting to build the case for how WIndows has always been able to flex and adapt to the times. Saying Windows is ready to adapt to the Internet focused era. 8:40: "It's our objective to make the connection of the PC, Phone, and Web more valuable than the sum of their parts." Ozzie is now describing the advantages of PCs for delivering applications. Says real value has been delivered b/c PCs enable people to combine their apps for increased functionality. "The advantage of the PC will always be it's ability to enable consumers to richly create and consume information." 8:42: Now moving on to describe the advantages of the web for delivering applications. "The web's unique value is it's ability to assemble the world's people...and enable people to connect and share." 8:43: Finally, the advantage of the phone. "The phone is always with you and ready for your spontaneous actions." "The phone's most unique value is it's ability to handle your spontaneity." 8:45: Ozzie is saying the next gen MS services and platforms will tie all three platforms together to deliver a better unified experience. "We're investing to make Windows the best way to build applications for PC, Phone, and Web." Talking about Windows taking on a more "appliance like behavior" for downloading and handling applications. 8:47: Saying we're going to see today how MS is going to make web apps "installable" and enable devs to take web apps offline. That should be cool. "We're proud of where our Windows platform is going." Ozzie is wrapping-up his intro and getting ready to hand-off to the other keynote speakers. 8:50: First up, Windows 7! Steven Sinofsky is now on stage. Showing us the outline for his segment. Includes path to RTM at the end. Stay tuned! "We're going to show you how Win 7 brings you a personalized experience, how it's enables you to find and organize data, and then how it enables you to connect to devices." 8:51: Julie Larson-Green is now on stage with Steven to do the first demo of Windows 7. Everybody just perked-up! 8:53: Julie is showing us the new Windows taskbar and new way Windows manages windows. Similar to VS toolbar docking but for actual application windows on the desktop. You finally have the ability to re-order applications on the taskbar! Finally. 8:55: Now showing the new Windows Explorer. Content is now organized in "Libraries." Libraries can span USB drives, external drives, other computers, internal storage, etc. Explorer more tightly integrates search (looks a lot like Firefox inline search). 8:57: New networking tech called "Home Group." Enables all Win 7 and printers in your house to automatically connect. Just connect to your network and you'll be automatically connected to all devices on the network. Sounds a bit like Bonjour from Apple. 8:58: One observation: searching for files is happening lightening fast. Not the same search and wait experience of Vista. Wonder if that will be the case with "real" non-demo files. 9:00: Julie is now showing us some integration between a Motorola phone and Win 7 using the new "Device Stage." It's like the Vista "Welcome to Vista" window customized/tailored for specific devices. Explorer now shows unique icons for each device type (like showing an actual Motorola ROKR icon in the explorer). 9:02: Showing new theming mechanism for Win 7. Just an enhanced version of what exists in Vista. Also adds support to save and export themes to share with others. 9:04: Next, System Tray. Win 7 gives you complete control over System Tray. Only icons you put in Sys Tray will be displayed. You can rearrange, remove, etc. Pop-up alerts now all routed to Windows Action Center. You control which alerts you want to allow to be displayed in System Tray. 9:05: Now showing Windows 7 touch support. Using an HP Touchsmart PC. Win 7 automatically translates touch in to mouse features for programs that don't understand touch commands. Programs that are programmed to recognize gestures can do more with touch commands. IE 8 supports touch "flicks" for navigation, for example. The new Windows 7 Paint (the one with the RibbonBar) also supports touch for "finger painting." 9:10: Showing the globe multi-touch app (seen before on Surface). Looked very jumpy. Not sure if that's the HP fault or if Win 7 is still struggling to accurately process multi-touch. Guess we'll find out soon. 9:11: Julie is done. Back to Steven. Introducing the new Windows Live Services concept. Guess we'll hear more later from David. 9:14: Sinofsky is starting to talk about the transition from Vista to 7. "We got a lot of feedback at the RTM of Vista. A few blogs. Some news. Oh yeah, and some commercials." That got a light chuckle from the audience. 9:15: Still defending that MS was pleased with progress of VIsta, but acknowledging they've learned some key lessons: Ecosystem readiness (didn't give 3rd party enough time to prep for Vista)- not a problem in 7 b/c it's compat with Vista Standards- Talking about work MS has done to embrace standards in IE8, WordPad (OpenXML), etc. Compatibility- Talking about UAC. Says MS went too far (at least as far as developers are concerned). Says even though transition was hard, it moved the ecosystem forward. Scenarios- Trying harder in Windows 7 to make "key scenarios" better (like home networking) 9:20: Listing new features in Win 7 for developers: Ribbon UI, Jump Lists (right-click menus in new taskbar area), Libraries, Multi-touch/Ink/Speech, DirectX (what Sinofsky calls MS' modern view of GDI) 9:24: Time for a video! Showing Autodesk case study and how they've used multi-touch to enhance their software. Pretty short. Pretty bland. Just showing reverse-pinch zoom and multi-touch rotation. 9:27: Windows 7 is focusing on "fundamentals." Decrease memory footprint, disk I/O, and power consumption. Increase speed, responsiveness (especially in Start menu, Taskbar), and scale (ability to use up to 256 processors). Steven is now going to do his own demo. Starting by showing us he can run Win 7 on a net tablet (note: demos are not running on the PC he showed). 9:31: Can now use BitLocker protection on removable memory sticks. Showing that you can create VHDs natively from within Windows Disk Manager (that got a big applause from the audience). Can even mount and boot from VHDs (again natively) with Win 7. 9:33: Improved support for managing multiple monitors and high-DPI screens. Very tepid audience applause. You can now use shortcut to zoom Windows (similar to ZoomIt utility). Improved support for connecting to projectors (via WindowsKey + P shortcut). Support for multi-monitor Remote Desktop (huge applause for this feature). 9:37: Time for path to RTM talk! First, pre-beta for everyone in audience today. Pre-beta is "M3" build. Path from M3 is M4, Beta, RC, RTM. Beta is going to ship early next year (2009). Will be broadly distributed. Will be looking for lots of feedback (via Feedback tool). 9:41: Sinofsky is not committing to -any- new info about when Win 7 will ship. Just repeating "3 years after Vista GA." That's a bummer. Wrapping-up the Win7 talk now. Leaving us with the "Window's 7 Seven Calls to Action." 9:45: That's all for Sinofsky. He's handing things of to The Gu who is now taking the stage. 9:46: Starting with interop talk. Saying that they're making it easy to blend managed .NET code and native C++ code. Releasing an update for MFC in Win 7 and better support for large code bases and parallel processor programming in VS 2010 (now the official name). 9:48: Reviewing the .NET 3.5 SP1 and what that shipped. Saying .NET 3.5 SP1 will be built-in to Windows 7. Not .NET 4? 9:50: Scott is now doing a demo. It's a photo viewer application (a la Picasa). He's going to add more functionality to it taking advantage of Windows 7 features. Starting by adding a ribbon (this is a WPF app, by the way). MS is shipping a new WPF RibbonBar control this week, too. Not sure how this is Win 7 specific. Really just looks like a WPF demo, so should work in Vista or even XP. 9:53: Okay, here's some Win 7 specific functionality. Adding "Jump List" support. Simply requires defining tasks in your App.xaml file. The tasks show-up when you right-click your program in the Windows Taskbar. Seem very easy to implement. Just as some contextual short-cuts for your app. 9:54: Now showing some WIndows multi-touch. Again, multi-touch looks very jumpy. Starting to look like multi-touch (at least on the HP) is not nearly as smooth as on the iPhone or on Surface. Just showed multi-touch support working in photo app. Didn't show any code for how you handle custom gestures. Simple gestures (like finger clicks) work for free. 9:57: Shipping new WPF toolkit today. Includes a WPF data grid (finally!). RibbonBar shipping this week will be CTP. Will work on XP, Vista, and Win 7. 9:59: Starting to talk .NET 4. Going to ship Deep Zoom support for WPF (didn't see that coming). Going to enable you to run multiple versions of CLR code at the same time. More talk about strong interop support in .NET 4. A nod to MEF (the Managed Extensibility Framework). Finally, much improved tooling in VS 2010. And for those that haven't yet heard, VS 2010 will be built in WPF and support multi-monitor setups. 10:02: Scott is going to do a VS 2010 demo now. All PDC attendees are getting a VS 2010 CTP this week. Demo is showing how you can leverage new VS 2010 WPF rendering to create a richer visual experience in the code editor. By simply creating a class, he can extend VS with WPF to make the formatting of code comments much richer. Pretty good audience reaction to the comment formatter (or "ScottGu Mode" as he's now dubbed it). People are loving this new customizability of VS. 10:05: The extensibility framework that makes the extensibility of VS 2010 possible will be part of .NET 4 (MEF). Can be used in your own apps. 10:07: Time for a partner demo. Nick Lansley from Tesco (a large global grocery company) is going to show a "Next Generation Grocery Shopping" experience. Demo is running on HP Touchsmart PC again. All touch interaction. 10:09: It's really not (just) a grocery shopping app. It's being described as a "family hub" application. Share calendars, notes, -and- build grocery lists. Showed how you can use the web cam to scan a product bar code and find products. While it looked a little demo slight of hand, people loved the idea and gave it huge applause. 10:13: ScottGu is back on stage. Talking about improvements coming in IE8 and ASP.NET. Most of this you've already seen or heard about (like Dynamic Data, MVC, jQuery, and REST support). He's spending a little time now talking about jQuery. Announcing the official release of the jQuery Visual Studio IntelliSense support. Download it today. 10:15: Talking next version of ASP.NET. Most of this was covered in yesterday's ASP.NET 4 break-out session, and most of this content is not new. You've seen a lot of this online before (like the new ability to control ControlID, improved ViewState handling, better CSS support, etc.). Says the Velocity distributed caching support will be provided in .NET 4, too.

10:18: On to Silverlight. Announced this morning a new IIS feature called IIS Smooth Streaming (a video feature). Netflix launched today their new Instant View feature running on Silverlight that works on both Mac and PCs (good news for all you Netflix users out their on Macs). Shipping Silverlight Toolkit this week, too (includes Chart, Treeview, and about 10 more basic controls).
10:21: WYSIWYG Silverlight editing coming to VS in VS 2010. Scott also just dropped the bomb that they're about to show (later today) how you can run Silverlight outside of the browser (start the Adobe Air comparisons).
10:23: And with that, Scott is done. David Treadwell is now on the stage to talk about Windows Live Services (which I think will really focus on Live Mesh). He's starting with an overview of what Live Services are and the different Live Service types (like Identity, Directory, Search, etc.).
10:27: David's content is dragging a bit (especially after the excitement of Steven and Scott's presentations). People are starting to stream out of the keynote. Plus, it looks like the keynote is going to run long (supposed to be over in 2 minutes). We'll stick through it all to bring you full coverage.
10:32: Finally we get to Live Mesh. Says this week MS will start talking a lot about how devs can use Mesh Services to enhance their own applications (basically providing sync support). Today they're also announcing the "Live Framework," the way you'll access all Live Services (including Mesh). David's inviting Ori Amiga from Live Services team at MS to show us a demo of enhancing a Windows app (same photo app from the GuNote) with Live Services.
10:35: Ori is showing some C# code for using Live Services. Seems straight forward enough. Even showing some LinqToLiveServices. The root is a reference to an instance of the "LiveOperatingEnvironment" class. People are mildly impressed with the demo.
10:37: Showing how syncing automatically syncs data between two PCs (in this case, changing some meta data on a photo object) and from his phone to the PC (in near real time). Pretty cool- audience was pretty impressed. Ori definitely saved this segment of the keynote.
10:39: Next up, Anthony Rose, Head of BBC Online Media is taking the stage to show us how to "Live Enable" a web application. Showing the BBC iPlayer and a new proof of concept version that uses Silverlight and Mesh to deliver media content to all your devices automatically.
10:42: iPlayer using integration with Live to get Live Messenger friend list and Mesh infrastructure to deliver content, share preferences, notify friends of new content you're watching. Basically, Mesh enables BBC to focus on the content experience and leaves the complicated networking tasks of distributing content and notifications to MS and the Mesh layer. Mesh will even remember how much of a video you've watch on your phone and sync the video on your PC to that point so you can resume watching. People liked that idea.
10:45: BBC is done. David is back. Keynote is now running 15 minutes late. David is quickly wrapping up. Download the Live Framework CTP later today at Mac version of Mesh client launching today, too.
10:47: Another (!) demo. This time a guy from the MS Office team. Going to show us how Office 14 is using Live Services to enhance the Office experience.  Announcing today that MS will be shipping Office Web apps with Office 14. Will be lighweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoin, and OneNote.
10:49: Office Web Apps will make it easy to view and collaborate on Office docs online. Changes made in Office (proper) automatically sync (again in near real time) to the Office Web version.
10:52: It's not clear if Office Webs will enable you to create new content. Also not clear what they're using to build Office Web Apps (Silverlight? ASPNET AJAX?). Office Live Workspace look a lot like Google Docs dashboard (and SharePoint). And some clarification arrives- they -are- using Silverlight and they are enabling (at the very least) document editing online.
10:55: The Office Web Apps really do look a lot like the desktop counterparts. Pretty impressive.
10:58: Office Web App demo is done. Ray Ozzie is back to wrap things up and end this fun (but long) keynote.
I think that's most of what's going to be covered today. I hope you enjoyed the coverage!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Visit the Telerik PDC!

I said last week that we'd be bringing PDC to you in a way we've never done before, and today we've flipped the switch. We know many of you can't make it to LA for PDC, but we don't want you to miss out on the fun at the Telerik booth. So for the entire PDC Expo, we'll be streaming LIVE video from our booth! It's almost like you're at PDC in the Expo Hall hanging out with us in our booth...almost. Okay, so it's not as good as being here, but we think it's a cool way to help you experience PDC 2008 and kill some time at work (not that any of you would do that...of course). Enjoy the live stream from PDC and watch for some more video updates soon.

LIVE from PDC 2008 Keynote

It's finally here! After being cancelled last year, Microsoft has put together a PDC show that promises to make-up for lost time. With some people calling the new technology that Microsoft is introducing this week as big as .NET was back in 2000, there is no question that the developer excitement at this event is high. So sit back and get ready for a week's worth of live PDC coverage, starting with today's keynote. We're settled-in with the 6500 other PDC attendees and they're getting ready to start the show. Enjoy the coverage and stay tuned for more updates as the week goes on!

8:33 AM: People are still streaming-in. They've announced that we're about start. Some very bland electronic music playing- no Guerillas here.

8:37: Here we go! Ray Ozzie is on stage to get things kicked-off. Talking about how transformational the tech Microsoft is introducing is going to be. And now thanking us for being here, blah, blah...

8:39: Ray is trying to relate with the audience. Talking about how he used to be "one of us." Making the case for choosing Microsoft. Essentially, an elegant way of saying "no one ever got fired for picking Microsoft." Covering all of the things MS has done over the years in response to new tech/platforms (i.e. devices, mobile, etc.) and building the case for how MS is going to do it again for the era of services. Very clear the key message for PDC is going to be Software + Services (with heavy emphasis on services).

8:44: Ray is painting the picture for how the web has become central to business (foundation for buying in to services and the cloud). Trying to suggest that in today's global, connected environment, it's just too expensive (for many companies) to build the infrastructure they need. Main point: the cloud is a significantly new approach to infrastructure and is not some trendy term being assigned to the way things are already being done today.

8:50: Now saying MS has accumulated lots of experience and expertise in building and managing services in supporting their own global business. Point is to suggest even though MS is new to providing "external IT" services to devs, they're not new to managing them.

8:53: Wow! A keynote mention and nod to Jeff Bezos and Amazon for their cloud services. Ozzie says MS and others will be standing on Amazon's shoulders as they move in to cloud services.

8:54: And the first "announcement"! Windows Azure. A new cloud OS, i.e. Windows in the cloud. Tepid reaction from the crowd. I think people didn't know how to react.

8:55: Azure will be like Windows in the sense that MS will treat it like a platform and embrace 3rd party development on top of it. Ray just suggested the groundwork being laid for cloud computing today is going to set the stage for the "next 50 years" of software development.

8:57: You do not run Azure on your own PC/servers. Runs in MS datacenters (it's a service). Being released today as a CTP. Looking for feedback to buildout service features going forward. Ozzie says Azure will be the "highest availability" and most "globally friendly" version of Windows.

9:00: The Azure Services Platform is made-up of Live, .NET, SQL, SharePoint, and Dynamics CRM Services, all built on top of Azure. New .NET logo, by the way! Looks like a blue wave or spiral, or something abstract like that.

9:02: Demo time. Amistad (something incredibly hard to say and spell) from MS is now on stage to go in to more details about how Azure works. People are cracking-up at his bright red shoes.

9:07: Amistad (sp?) is still covering Azure detail. Too much detail for a keynote if you ask me. He's also just reading his cue cards- not very well prepared to be a keynote speaker (at least that's the what it sounds like).

9:08: So, while Amistad is still covering the ins and outs of how MS has built a network capable of delivering the Azure service, let me make a programming note and mention that I'm low on laptop batt (forgot to charge last night after the PDC parties). So if live updates stop, fear not. I'll keep writing and post the updates as soon as we get back to the booth. Now back to listening to Azure details...

9:11: Okay, now a demo! Stephen (something) from MS is on the stage and is showing us a "Hello World" app for the cloud. It's an ASP.NET app that he's going to run on the cloud.

9:13: There will be a "offline" replication of the cloud that can run locally on your dev boxes for testing/debugging (with all services available in the cloud). Enables familiar VS debug experience. When ready to publish, you "Publish" in VS (creates some meta data and a code package) and then deploy via a "Development Portal" MS website. for a live demo.

9:16: Jonathan Greensted is now on stage to how off a new app his company has built running on Windows Azure: It's a Silverlight app that enables you to track people via bluetooth (I think). It's not clear yet how they're using Azure.

9:19: Okay- a web service layer is running on Azure that all Bluehoo clients communicate with. Showing us how easy it is to scale service. Just "upgraded" Bluehoo from 2 instances to 20 via a simple configuration file change. Says that's all they need to do to handle the PDC load that's about hit (we'll see)! You can download Bluehoo later today.

9:22: Amistad (I know that's not his name) is now back on stage. Summarizing Azure and wrapping up his segment.

9:24: Bob Muglia (from MS) has taken the stage to talk about the Services stack on top of Azure. Starting with another history lesson of computing...

9:28: Okay folks- hit the battery wall. Check back soon for more updates. I promise I'll get a full charge for the next keynote!

12:05 PM: Recharged, so let me fill you in on the last portion of the keynote (you really didn't miss much):

  • Shawn Davison, VP at Red Prairie, demoed a new Contoso app that was running on Azure and consuming Microsoft Workflow Services. The demo was okay, but not particularly impressive for a keynote.
  • Microsoft made it clear they're EYODF (Eat Your Own Dog Food) with their new services offering. Showed a demo of a new version of System Center (codenamed "Atlanta") using some of the MS services. You can see a live demo at
  • More MS guys going on and on- Oslo was only mentioned in passing. Someone compared the significance of the launch of Azure to the launch of Windows NT in 1992.
  • Key theme of Software + Services is "Power of Choice"
Really, it wasn't a great keynote. Many of the MS speakers were reading directly off of the teleprompters (literally waiting for their next line before talking) and overall there wasn't much energy in the keynote presentations. A bit of a slow way to start the big PDC week. Tomorrow's keynote should be better, though, with ScottGu and Steven Sinofsky taking the stage to (presumably) talk .NET 4 and Windows 7 (among other topics). Keep it tuned here for the live coverage.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sneak Peek Telerik PDC Badge: i am .NET Ninja

If you're attending PDC this year, one way you can participate in the fun is by collecting and sporting "custom badges." Adam Kinney announced the new Microsoft "initiative" (technically called "PDC Badges") on his blog a few weeks ago and described it like "Xbox Achievments" for a conference. Basically, it goes like this:

  • Your PDC badge holder has room for an extra badge below your name tag
  • You can collect badges from different places for doing different things during PDC
  • You can display your badge of choice proudly in your PDC badge holder
  • At the end of PDC, you have a cool collection of badges to show-off on Flickr
Telerik has decided to get in on the fun and offer a very exclusive PDC badge, only for the most worthy of PDC attendees. Based on the popular Telerik ".NET Ninja" t-shirt (which we will also be giving away at PDC), the "i am .NET Ninja" badge will truly be the badge to collect and show-off in your PDC badge holder. To get yours and tell the world your are a .NET Ninja, stop by the Telerik booth (#401) and we'll welcome you to the dojo!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Join Telerik at PDC 08

Your next chance to meet with the Telerik crew is just around the corner in the sprawling metropolis of LA. Telerik will be in full force at PDC 2008 and we'd love to meet some of you at the event. Telerik is a Gold Sponsor of PDC 08, so we'll have another big booth on the expo floor. We'll be located in booth space 401, but you can just look for the booth where all the .NET Ninjas are gathering and you'll be able to find us. At the booth, we'll be showing demos of many of our Q3 release features, demos of our new OpenAccess ORM product, and we'll be playing some games to give away 5 full subscription licenses! For my part, and the part of my Evangelism Team, we'll be working hard to bring you live updates from the show. I'll try my best to bring you some more keynote live blogging, shots from the expo floor, early reactions to all of the big MS "announcements" (Olso, .NET 4, Windows 7, etc.), and even some regular video updates. We also have a very special tool in the works that is going to put you at PDC like we've never done before, so stay tuned for the reveal and keep your RSS readers locked-in here for all the latest news from PDC!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Telerik Watch Minute: Special Edition from Bulgaria

Even with the .NET speaker circuit "Fall Travel Season" in full-swing, I'll still work hard to bring you regular Telerik Watch Minute updates. This update comes live from Sofia, Bulgaria, home to DevReach 2008 and Telerik HQ, of course. While I usually like to mix a little news with some code updates in TWM, this past week has just been packed with news, so I needed the full "bite size update" to cover all of the important items. From the official release of Silverlight 2 to the release of Telerik's Q3 2008 beta for the RadControls to OpenAccess ORM, even at a fast clip this week's update need a full three minutes to cover it all. So get ready for a lot of info, enjoy the change in scenery, and then watch for new updates from PDC in about a week! Click here to watch at native HD size

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ASP.NET MVC Beta now available

This is a busy week for Microsoft releases. With Silverlight 2's official arrival still hot out of the oven, Microsoft appears to have today released the ASP.NET MVC Beta. I say "appears" because none of the "big" MS bloggers have yet to comment on this release. In fact, as of this moment, the Beta is not even announced on CodePlex. Fellow Telerik Evangelist Kevin Babcock pointed the release out to me, and sure enough, it's live and ready for downloading on Microsoft's servers. This is the sixth "release" of the fledging MVC framework, and with it we get slightly more polish than what Preview 5 provided. Among some of the changes from Preview 5:

  • TempData is now interfaced so different TempData providers can be used (and so TestData can be more easily tested). The default TempData provider is backed by ASP.NET session.
  • Fixed OutputCacheFiltering so that it works correctly in authorization scenarios (i.e. the user is always authenticated for methods with the Authorization attribute).
  • New namespace created for HTML helper methods: System.Web.Mvc.Html
  • New default model binder added to handled complex model types (saving you the need to create lots of custom binders).
  • Template now creates a Scripts folder by default to store all JavaScript files
For the complete list of changes in the beta, be sure to read the helpful 14 page release notes. No word yet on when we can expect the final release of ASP.NET MVC, but enjoy the beta bits. Maybe we'll get more details at PDC in a couple weeks.