Monday, June 30, 2008

Understanding RadControls WebCast follow-up (update)

Last Thursday, I hosted a WebCast called "Understanding the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX," and despite a few "technical problems" the event was a huge success! If you were among the over 600 people that showed-up for the live event, thanks for tuning-in. Hopefully you were able to take away some new knowledge about the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX despite the fact that our huge crowd seemingly destroyed the WebCast provider's ability to host live demos. Needless to say, I'm really sorry the live demos didn't work during the presentation and I'll apologize one more time to those of you that feel you got the 'ol bait and switch with the webcast. Rest assured we'll do a follow-up with live demos soon!

In the mean time, the resources from the presentation are now available for download. Below you can download the slides from the presentation and all of the answers to the questions asked during the event. I spent the weekend answering all 120 questions (6,000+ words), so the Q&A document is a great resource to review if you have any Telerik questions. The on-demand video should be online soon, too, so I'll update this post with a link as soon as it is ready. Once it is live, you'll be able to relive all of the awkward system failure over and over again. Yay...

Download slides from webcast

Download complete Q&A PDF
View on-demand recording of WebCast [UPDATE: Just sign-up to watch on-demand]

Friday, June 27, 2008

Telerik Social: new ways to connect to Telerik community

With the introduction of our new Technical Evangelist, Kevin Babcock, Telerik has entered a whole new realm of community involvement: the oft hyped and always time sucking world of social networking. Recall my announcement a few weeks about about Telerik's new Facebook page that allows you to become an official Telerik "fan." We recognize not everyone does Facebook, though, so now we're extending our involvement for those of you not on the Facebook in to other social networks, enabling you can stay current on Telerik happenings and stay connected with other Telerik developers without leaving the comfort of your social network.

Facebook not your thing? How about LinkedIn? We now have a new LinkedIn group just for Telerik developers. I always use LinkedIn as my more "professional" social network, so this is a good place for you to connect with other Telerik developers is a "professional" capacity (where FB may be more of a social connection).

Not in to those social networks? Do you twitter (or is it tweet)? Then make sure you subscribe to Telerik's new Twitter feed. I'm still not sold on Twitter, siding more with Stephen Forte on this issue, but I know tons of you love it. So feed your addiction and follow us. Maybe one day I'll eat crow and twitter myself, but for now, I'll leave it to Kevin and Telerik.

And there you have it. A veritable cornucopia of social networking outlets that can keep you engaged with Telerik and its community. Get plugged-in and start connecting with developers around the world.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Telerik Trainer released

At long last, the amazing new Telerik Trainer is available for public download! If you've been following along, then you already know most of what there is to know about the tool itself. If you're just tuning-in, go back and read my complete "Telerik Trainer Sneak Preview" for all the details. With today's release of the Trainer, we're also publishing almost 30 video tutorials- the files that Trainer consumes. These packaged files include everything you need- video, code, and trainer manifests- so just download the tutorials you're interested in and load them in Trainer to get started.

We'll be continually releasing new tutorials for the Trainer over the weeks and months to come, so check back often for new content. In the future, you'll be able to download new content directly from within the Trainer, but for now you can find tutorials on the Trainer download page. Be sure to download a few and start giving us your feedback (and bug reports) so we can improve this new training tool.

Also, on a technical note, the Trainer download page currently requires you to log-in to your account before you can access it. This requirement will be fixed tomorrow, so we apologize for the temporary inconvenience. Other than that, enjoy the Trainer and let us know what you think!

Reminder: RadControls webcast today!

Hopefully you've already reserved your seat and made plans to attend today's live webcast, but if not, it's not too late. There are still seats available and a few hours to go before we kick-off the "Understanding the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX" webcast. We'll get the show started at 12 noon (EST) today and the webcast will run for about an hour. At the end, I'll take an extra 10 to 15 minutes to answer your questions, so if you have them, bring them.

If you absolutely can't attend the live event today (you just have to attend the office birthday lunch), I will be making this webcast available as an on-demand resource. Look for the link to the video in my follow-up post, along with links to slides and code.

For everyone else, sign-up now and I'll see you online in a few hours!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Optimization Tips: Series changing channels

Much like the complexities of a broadcast TV network, sometimes popular shows get shuffled around to better align with the interests of the network. So it will be with my ongoing Optimization Tips blog series. From now on, all future posts in this series will be posted on my blog (yes, I have another blog there- subscribe now, if you haven't). With my access to the blogs restored, I'll return to trying to post more technical Telerik content there and more general .NET and Telerik news here. All of you still refusing to subscribe to RSS feeds, now might be a good time to subscribe to at least two.

To usher in the change, I've posted a new installment in the Optimization Tips series on the blogs. The latest installment shows you how to optimize custom skins for the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX by turning them in to WebResources that can be combined by the RadManagers. We already know the positive effect combining has on page load time, so it is critical we apply it to our applications wherever possible. As a bonus, I've also created a cool new skin for RadTabstrip that you can download along with the associated Photoshop source!

Thanks for bearing with me during this programming change and enjoy the latest installment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RadWebinars: Telerik Reporting (2nd chance)

If you missed the first RadWebinar on Telerik Reporting and have been mourning the missed opportunity for bargain live training on Telerik's reporting tool, fret not. You've been given a second chance. The training experts (and Telerik super-partners) at Falafel are running a second Telerik Reporting training session next week. For those of you that missed the original introduction of RadWebinars during TechEd, here are the essential details:

  • Live online training (not self-paced videos)
  • Interactive sessions (you can ask questions and get answers)
  • Easy access (All you need is a PC and phone)
  • Complete PDF courseware included (120+ pages)
  • Just $99
To attend the July 1st (one week from today) Telerik Reporting training, reserve your seat now before they're all gone. The first Reporting training session was a big success, so we expect demand for these webinar seats to remain strong. And these training sessions are not available for download after the event. The interactive training is a key part of this learning resource, so to get the training you must attend the live event.

Watch for more RadWebinars covering different Telerik tools in the near future and don't miss your (2nd) opportunity to get Reporting training next week!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Service Pack 2 released, Firefox 3 support delivered

While I did my best to keep you "in the know" while away on vacation last week in the Colorado Rockies, a few important updates had to wait for my return to the office. Key among those is the announcement of the new Service Pack 2 release for the Q1 2008 RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX. The 2nd and final service pack release for the Q1 2008 controls is mostly a roll-up of hotfixes fixing issues reported since SP1, but, as usual, there are some new features in the release, too. Highlights:

  • SP2 delivers full support for the just released Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 browsers
  • New load-on-demand caching support and client-side events in RadCombobox
  • 20+ fixes in RadGrid and in RadEditor
  • New perf optimizations in RadEditor (dialog rendering, shared tools)
  • Problems with RadManagers fixed (gzip, medium trust)
  • New support for custom spell providers in RadSpell
If for no other reason than to support the latest releases of two popular browsers, you should download and prepare to deploy this service pack to your projects. Firefox 3 did introduce some bugs due to changes in the way client-side events are processed, and SP2 addresses those. For a complete overview of the fixes in this release (2008.1.619), check out the release notes.

And that's about it for Q1 2008. With Q2 2008 quickly approaching (currently targeting a late July release), there will be no more service packs for Q1. The next release will be a Futures release that will preview some of the enhancements coming in Q2, so look for that to drop in the next few weeks. Otherwise, enjoy the updates and be sure to keep sending us your honest feedback.

Join me for live webcast this Thursday

Looking for something to do during your lunch this Thursday? Why not join me online for a live webcast! This webcast, titled "Understanding the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX," will be a fun, hour long session that seeks to do two things:

  • Introduce people to Telerik and the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX
  • Demo some tricks that will help you maximize the RadControls in your projects
If either of these scenarios sound interesting to you, then sign-up now and come join the fun. The webcast will start at 12 noon (EST) and I'm planning on leaving 15 minutes at the end of the session for answering questions. So even if you're not interested in the topics I'm covering, the live webcast is a great place to ask your questions (though I don't guarantee a live answer).

There is also a remote chance that I won't be able to do live demos on Thursday, so if that's case, plan on some follow-up videos to bring you the live demo action. Hopefully we'll be able to resolve the problem with our webcast provider and you'll get the full live experience, but I just want to put the warning out in case there is a problem. Hope to see you Thursday!

Reserve your seat for the webcast now

Friday, June 20, 2008

Telerik Trainer sneak preview

telerikTrainer One of the big things we announced during TechEd a couple of weeks ago is a new training launching next week called, quite clearly, the Telerik Trainer. This custom built WPF application has been designed from the ground-up to deliver the most advanced and effective self-paced training available on the market today. The application combines a video player with synchronized highlights, topical table of contents navigation, and a cool code launching feature that opens code files (again, sync' d with the code being talked about in the video) in Visual Studio and automatically navigates to the relevant file and line number. No more searching for code while watching a training video! With this player and the training "episodes" that we release for it, it will be easier than ever to quickly learn how to use the RadControls.

To help you prepare for the release of Telerik Trainer, I've prepared a complete photo gallery of the Telerik Trainer interface that highlights a number of its key features. The gallery is completely narrated, so be sure to browse and read the image captions to get the most out of this resource. For those of you that don't have time to browse the gallery, here are some of the cool things you'll find in the Telerik Trainer:

  • Episodes are entirely self contained- code, video, and tips. Just download an episode, open it in the Trainer, and you're ready to go
  • Episode sizes are kept low by automatic caching of the RadControls- the Trainer automatically loads the necessary Telerik assemblies
  • The Trainer runs on XP and Vista
  • Most episodes contain C# and VB code and work with both VS 2005 and VS 2008
  • The Code button automatically lights-up when the video is talking about a code snippet
  • The Code button tooltip shows the code the that will be opened on mouse hover
  • The Trainer automatically launches VS and opens code files to the correct line when you click the Code button
  • The Trainer can be resized or run in full screen to fit your work style
  • The table of contents enables you to easily skip between topics in the video
  • When you first load the Trainer, an introduction video helps you understand how the tool works

And that's just the tip of the ice burg. You'll find many helpful features in the Trainer that enable you to learn quickly, and this is just version one. We're already busy working on enhancing the Trainer to be even more advanced in the future. But your feedback is critical! Watch for an announcement next week when we launch the Trainer and then download it and let us know what you think. We hope you find it helpful and another reason to feel good about your choice to partner with Telerik for all of your .NET UI and developer tool needs.

View Telerik Trainer Gallery

Survey Says: You enjoy the outdoors


This survey is getting a little old, so it's about time I reported on the results. Several weeks ago I asked you to indicate how much time you spend outdoors during an average week, giving you the choice to self-report anywhere from six hours plus to "I never leave my computer." I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Over 45% of you indicated that you spend more than six hours outside every week! It's very good to know that the readers of this blog are staying healthy and breaking away from their computers to spend some time outside. Now, I allowed a pretty broad definition of what "spending time outside" means, so some of you may simply be adding-up the time you spend walking from house to car to job to lunch and back again versus actually engaging in some outdoor activity. Not the best way to count your outdoor time, but definitely better than nothing.

Speaking of which, nearly 29% of you are spending less than two hours outdoors every week. That means, on average, you're spending less than 20 minutes outside every day. I'm no fitness guru, but I know we could all benefit from a little more exercise and little more fresh air in our busy digital lives. At Telerik, we stress healthy living as much as possible since "studies" (don't ask me which) show that healthy living leads to more productive thinking and more creative ideas. So if you're hitting a road block on your next project, try putting down the keyboard and spending a few minutes outdoors. It may be just the thing you need to build the next great software product with Telerik's tools!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Meet Kevin Babcock, Telerik Evangelist

There is a new face at Telerik, the US wing of Telerik at that, and his name is Kevin Babcock. Kevin is our freshest Technical Evangelist and we are very excited to welcome him to the Telerik team. He recently graduated from Texas A&M University (whoop!) in Computer Science, but before going to school he served in the US Air Force for about 6 years. Aside from being a great mind and an engaging personality (why do you think we hired him?), Kevin is hitting the Technical Evangelist field with a running start. As a student, Kevin was Microsoft's Student Partner at Texas A&M, meaning he was Microsoft's peer liason to the 30,000+ students at the University. And inbetween graduating and starting with Telerik, Kevin even had the opportunity to sit down and interview Scott Guthrie for about 90 minutes. Not a bad way to start! You can catch the recorded interview for yourself on Channel8.

So, next time you're at a conference, stop by the Telerik booth and introduce yourself to Kevin. He- and I- would love to meet you. If you can't make the conferences, then at least add Kevin's new Telerik blog to your readers (those of you that subscribe). We look forward to getting Kevin plugged-in to the Telerik Community, so look for him everywhere soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Firefox 3 released, Next gen browsers arrive

As you may have noticed, the blog has been a little slow this week. Reason: I'm "camping" at 9,000 feet (about 2.75 km) in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I use the word "camping" loosely because it's cabin camping with (amazingly- and new this year) WiFi access, so it's not really "roughing it." And while I'd be perfectly content to leave the laptop in the bag and enjoy the mountain air, I figured WiFi in the mountains is a sign that I should give you, dear readers, at least a couple of posts to read this week. So...

Did you hear the news? Yesterday the Mozilla Foundation officially released Firefox 3. That brings an end to the 50 beta/RC releases and ushers-in the beginning of the "next generation" browsers (IE8 being the other "next gen" browser waiting in the wings to hit the world late this year, maybe early next). If you haven't been following Firefox 3's development, you may have missed what's new in the junior release. Among the key improvements:

  • Better performance
  • Better performance
  • Better performance
Sure there are some other UI improvements in FF3- a new address bar, a new bookmarking system, and an updated chrome- but they are all insignificant when compared against the performance improvements in this new version. In my own tests, the FF3 betas loaded pages many times faster than FF2, so this version should be a welcome change for developers concerned about page performance.

I've been using FF3 full time for several months now and I find it to be every bit as good as FF2, especially now that the add-on developers are starting to update their tools to work in FF3. The most critical developer add-on- FireBug- was updated several weeks ago to work with FF3. Others, like YSlow, are also starting to support FF3, and I expect a tidal wave of support in the next couple of weeks.

The only serious problem I know of in FF3 is that it is occasionally crashing when certain plug-ins are used on a page, like Silverlight 1.0 and Java Applets. If you're a developer using either of these technologies, you may want to do some regression testing with FF3 right away to make sure your users don't experience trouble with your application. Otherwise, this is a good, if only incremental, update to Firefox that you should adopt right away.

And, of course, Telerik is fully supporting FF3 now that it is out. Any lingering problems with the final release of the browser will be addressed this week in a quickly approaching SP2 for the ASP.NET controls.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Telerik TV Episode 2 live, Shane Redlick guest

As promised, the second episode of Telerik TV is now live! In episode two, Carl Franklin sits down with Shane Redlick from Consilium Solutions Corporation to take a look at a web-based sales team management application called (quite simply) Simple Sales Tracking. The site was built using Telerik's RadControls extensively- everything from RadChart to RadEditor- and it's another great example of how Telerik's controls are being used in the real world. Once you're done watching this episode of Telerik TV, you can even take the Simple Sales Tracking app for a test drive yourself via the freely available online demo.

On a production side note, the Silverlight Media Player currently hosting the online episodes is not (yet) compatible with Silverlight 2 beta 2. If you have that version of the plug-in installed, you'll need to download the WMV for now. We're working on updating the site with the latest version of the player, so soon the order of the universe will be restored.

Enjoy the new episode and look for another soon. Also, don't forget that your app could be featured on Telerik TV. If you're interested, click the "Submit My App" button on the Telerik TV website.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Become an official Telerik fan!

I've said it before, but it's worth saying again: one of the best aspects of a show like TechEd is getting a chance to meet Telerik's "fans." What (or who) is a Telerik fan? These are people that go beyond being loyal customers and transcend in to a realm of zealous enthusiasm for Telerik's products. These are the people that really help Telerik continue to drive forward and disrupt the status quo in the .NET UI components and developer tools market. These are my kind of people.

If you consider yourself a Telerik fan, we've got a great new outlet for your enthusiasm and a new way for you to connect with other Telerik fans! We've created a special Telerik page on Facebook that allows anyone to become a Telerik fan. You simply add yourself as a fan and then enjoy the community of like-minded Telerik fans from literally around the globe. We'll be adding photos from events and periodic announcements to our page so you're always tuned-in to the latest Telerik happenings without leaving the company of your social networking friends. Plus, you can even post your photos of Telerik at events, so bring your pics and join us for some fun on Facebook!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TechEd 2008 Wrap-up (with a twist)

TechEd 2008 has come and gone, and now that I'm back and settled in the office, I figured I ought to provide some wrap-up remarks- like every other TechEd blogger out there. I know, I'm not original. But with that confession, let's see if I can make this wrap-up post different from many of the others you've read.

Most wrap-up posts seem to follow this pattern:

1. Gushing thanks to those that visited the booth
2. Comments about how great the show was
3. Tantalizing promises of better things to come in 2008

Let me just get those out of the way by saying, ditto.

Now, on from there. I have a couple of interesting insights regarding TechEd 2008, a random tidbit from the MS Silverlight Team, a photo gallery to share, and Roy Osherove's TechEd 2008 version of "Every Build You Break."

First, the insights. As many of you may know, TechEd 2008 was a unique show. It was the first TechEd to split developers and IT "Pros" (I think the term should be applied loosely), creating two (theoretically) smaller back-to-back, one-week events instead of a single massive event. In theory, this change was supposed to improve the quality of TechEd for developer focused companies, like Telerik, and better match attendees with the available sessions and sponsors. And while I definitely agree that all of the conversations at this year's TechEd were better than last year (no more, Me:"We develop .NET UI components and developer tools." Attendee:"I'm not a developer." Me:"'s a t-shirt" exchanges), the overall energy of TechEd has definitely changed. There's just something about 10,000+ geeks in one place that strangely energizes people, and that was missing for the TechEd Developer Week this year.

So is the change good? I think the jury is still out. For developers, the change makes TechEd feel like a slightly bigger DevConnections (albeit with much better MS participation and a much better keynote). For companies that want to reach both audiences, it makes TechEd a serious endurance marathon as they camp out in Orlando for two solid weeks. We'll see if this new format survives for a second year, but if you attended the show and want to have a say, let Microsoft know what you thought of the change.

Next, a random tidbit from the Sivlverlight Team. After attending yet another Silverlight session where the demoer implemented their own boilerplate class to support the mouse scrollwheel, it struck me that I should ask the Silverlight Team if we could hope to see this seemingly obvious code baked-in to Silverlight 2 before its release. Unfortunately, I got a pretty non-commital answer at the show, but with the promise of follow-up. I'll try to get a definitive answer from the Silverlight Team soon. Until then, plan on rolling your own scrollwheel support.

Finally, a photo gallery and a video. For the gallery, hit up my Picasa Web Gallery (complete with picture captions so you know what you're looking at) to see pics of the show, the Universal party, and the Telerik crew. For the video, check out my new "Every Build You Break" YouTube clip. This is actually my first contribution to the great time suck that is YouTube, so I apologize in advance for contributing more meaningless dribble to the Interwebs. I think you'll enjoy the video and the song, though- it is very "geeky" humor.

And that about wraps it up! I hope you found this TechEd wrap-up post sufficiently different from others you've read and I hope you enjoyed my TechEd coverage. I'll try to provide even better coverage at future events, so keep it locked-in here for all the fun.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Silverlight 2 Beta 2, Telerik RadControls for Silverlight CTP released

Why make two posts for big announcements when you can combine and kill two birds with one stone? "For better blog stats," shouts the fellow blogger in the back of the room. True, but blog stats be damned. This is big news and I want to bring it to you as directly as possible.

First, as you may have heard by now (or assumed based on my TechEd coverage), the second beta for Silverlight 2 has been released. This beta continues to drive towards the first official release of Silverlight 2 (can we call it Silverlight.NET?) and brings some much needed improvements to the plug-in. Among the new features are additional built-in UI controls and improved WPF compatibility, but (as usual) the best place to get a complete run down on the features is ScottGu's blog. A refreshed version of Expression Blend 2.5 has also been released, so be sure to grab that, too.

Next, Telerik has also released its first set of downloadable controls for Silverlight 2! The RadControls for Silverlight 2 CTP is our first preview of what we're doing in the Silverlight space and it includes a number of controls:

  • RadMenu
  • RadUpload
  • RadTreeview
  • RadCube
  • RadNumericUpDown
  • RadProgressBar
  • RadTabPanel
  • RadMediaPlayer
Many of the controls are new and have no matching "default" in the Silverlight platform. Others extend the default features to provide richer UIs and easier development- similar to what we've been doing for years with ASP.NET. These controls will launch officially with our WPF controls in the Q2 release, and by then a few more controls will be added to the mix:
  • RadPanelBar
  • RadWindow
  • RadCombobox
  • RadSlider
  • RadCalendar
  • RadDatePicker
By the end of the year, you'll see even more in our Silverlight suite (including a powerful DataGrid control). And even better, all of the controls that we ship for Silverlight will have near identical equivalents in the RadControls for WPF! Our Silverlight and WPF teams are literally sharing the same code-base, so aside from a few UI tweaks for the WPF and Silverlight environments, the APIs for the controls will be 100% the same. UI code reuse sound good to anyone?

For complete details on our Silverlight CTP, check out a post from the RadControls for Silverlight product team. You can also check out live demos of the controls and download trial versions to play with. Then keep it locked-in here as we inch closer to the Q2 release and prepare to launch what is quickly becoming the most complete and tightly integrated WPF and Silverlight UI control suites.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Announcing Telerik Trainer, RadWebinars

When you're faced with choosing between 3rd party developer tools, what are the most important factors to consider when making your choice? Features? Price? Licensing model? Support? All of these clearly play some role in the decision making process, but I'd argue that when it comes to developer tools support- before and after the purchase- are of unique importance. Unlike other software products or services you might buy, 3rd party developer tools (like the UI components sold by Telerik) are completely worthless until you can figure out how to use them. The tools may have all the features and power in the world, but if you can't figure out how to harness them in your applications you could likely care less.

Point: When it comes to developer tools, their ability to help you build better applications is only as good as the available support and training.

Teleirk has long covered you on this front better than anybody else in the industry- UI component vendors or otherwise- but we're not content to stop there. At TechEd this week we announced two brand new training resources that are going to help you learn to maximize the value of the RadControls better than ever.

First, Telerik has announced that it is partnering with Falafel Software to deliver regular RadWebinars. These online classes will cover a range of topics, from RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX to Telerik Reporting and from beginner to advanced. They will be taught live by the training experts at Falafel (that means you can ask questions) and they will only cost $99. If you're interested in joining the first class on Telerik Reporting, sign-up now because the seats are almost gone!

Next, we have also announced the introduction of an amazing new tool we're calling the Telerik Trainer. This WPF training tool is easily the most advanced self-paced developer training tool I've ever seen and I think it is going to set a new standard in learning tools. We haven't put the Trainer online yet, but soon you'll be able to download it and see the training goodness for yourself. The best way to describe it for now is screencast tutorials on steriods- but that really fails to convey all of the features. Stay tuned for more details and a link to download the Trainer very soon.

With these new learning tools added to our already vast collection of videos and documentation, you should have no trouble learning how to completely maximize the benefit the RadControls can bring to your projects. We all hope you enjoy the new tools!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Silverlight 2 UI controls article published

Interested in getting started with the UI controls that are built-in to Silverlight 2 (beta 1)? Want to know how all of them work and nuances involved in using them? You don't? Then this post is wasting your time and you are officially un-cool </jest>. For everyone else, I want to bring your attention to a big article I recently wrote for ASP Alliance. Titled (quite plainly) "First Look: Silverlight 2 UI Controls," the article covers in detail all of the UI controls built-in to the first beta of Silverlight 2. My goal was to provide you with a comprehensive look at the UI tools inlucded in the box so you can quickly transition from the familiar ASP.NET or WinForms development you're doing today. Even if you've never dipped your toe in the Silverlight pond, you'll find this article very helpful in getting you familiar with Microsoft's newest .NET UI platform and its tools. If you're looking for a more basic introduction to Silverlight, check out my Silverlight 1.1 Alpha Short Cut on O'Reilly or my recent Silverlight 2 Deep Dive slides.

But since the article is soo complete (about 7000 words), I won't bloviate here. Jump over to ASP Alliance and give it a read if you're interested and watch for updated versions as the Silverlight plug-in matures.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Day One at TechEd 2008, WPF Gauges announced

TechEd 2008 is officially underway. The shiny Telerik booth is once again standing tall the expo floor, the demo videos are rolling, and the people are flocking to grab their swag. If you're in Orlando and at TechEd, definitely make sure you stop by our booth (#1101) and get your free .NET Ninja or Geekette t-shirt. For everyone else, stay tuned this week and I'll try to bring you regular updates from the floor (as promised). Hopefully you've already seen my coverage of this morning's Gatesnote- his last public speaking engagement as a full-time Microsoft employee. There wasn't much new shared in the keynote, but we did get official confirmation that Silverlight 2 beta 2 will be available by the end of the week. That's good news for you Silverlight fans out there.

Also, continuing on my promise to deliver exciting Telerik announcements this week, we've officially revealed that we're working on a gauges product for WPF. There are not many details to share on this project at the moment (sorry), but I can say this:

  1. The work on this product is already underway and the data visualization experience of the team building these gauges is incredible.
  2. You can count on Telerik to begin shipping gauge components towards the end of this year, starting on the WPF platform.
If you're looking for another good reason to download our RadControls for WPF beta and starting the process of WPF application development, add Telerik gauges to your list. For now, it's back to the TechEd booth activity. Look for more updates and more announcements as the week goes on- there are still some really fun ones left.

LIVE from Bill Gates TechEd Keynote

Bill Gates at TechEd

8:30 AM: They're starting right on time! No keeping Mr. Gates waiting, I suppose. TechEd 2008 video running, talking about global technology

8:32 AM: Bill's taking the stage to a polite applause. No standing welcome (a little surprised).

8:33 AM: Bill talking about new TechEd format. Thought only 4,000 developers would come to first week. Actual numbers are closer to 6,000.

8:34 AM: Bill talking about how this is his last public speaking event as a full-time MS employee. Will be transitioning to part-time in July. Says he's not sure what it will be like, but he has a video that shows what his last day will be like. (It's the same video we've seen before, but a "Director's Cut" as Gates put it.) Video time...

8:38 AM: Video is actually pretty different from old video- and very funny! Bill is really willing to self-deprecate (with half the celebs in the world) for his retirement. Interesting moment with Jayz: Bill to Jayz- "You can unretire?"

8:43 AM: And the celeb parade continues...Tony Blair, all the US presidential candidates, Bono, Warren Buffet, Al Gore, Matthew McConaughey...

8:46 AM: Bill's back on stage.

8:47 AM: Now he's walking down memory lane and trying to set the stage for where developers will head in the future. He suggests there are two key factors involved in future development trends. The first is hardware improvements (primarily multi-core processing). A "Technology Megatrends" slide is on the screen behind him.

8:50 AM: Bill thinks one of the biggest changes coming to PCs is a change in interaction (how people interact with the PC). He thinks the current aging keyboard/mouse model is facing a revolution. Touch panel, pen capability (Ink), voice/speech, and vision are all "natural interfaces" he thinks will change the way we interact with PCs.

8:53 AM: See's a future where desks have computers in them, not on them. Thinks future whiteboards will be smart. Ultimately, tying this all back what MS is doing to support these features in Windows so devs can write a new generation of application.

8:56 AM: Now talking about how MS is innovating in 4 "key" areas relevant to developers- Presentation, Business Logic, Data Access, and Services.

8:57 AM: Presentation: talking briefly WPF and Silverlight. Thinks full 3D worlds will be mainstream this decade. Really?! Thinks their past failures were primarily due to poor performance, inadequate infrastructure. Says IE8 Beta 2 is due in August. He's clearly reading talking points for IE8- he's obviously not that involved with this project anymore.

9:00 AM: Demo time! Bill's inviting S. Somasegar (SVP Developer Division) to the stage to talk about Silverlight.

9:03 AM: Showing a Silverlight application called Crossfader. It's supposed to be an immersive social networking application. The idea was to create a "conveyor belt" of social media. Great moment- Somasegar gave us a regular 'ol Steve Jobs "Boom!" while showing-off Crossfader's video zooming.

Silverlight Crossfader

9:04 AM: Moving on to show-off Visual Studio and Expression Blend workflow.

9:11 AM: Silverlight announcement! Silverlight 2 Beta 2 will be launching by the end of this week. SL2b2 will still ship with a commercial go-live license (as expected) and they've also confirmed that the Olympics site will be running on SL2b2.

9:13 AM: Bill's back. We're moving on to the business logic layer.

9:14 AM: Now welcoming Brian Harry (Tech Fellow, Developer Division) to the stage to talk about VSTS and his vision for its future. He's showing the Woodgrove Bank demo app and talking about VSTS' support for helping people understand applications (Architecture Explorer, Architecture Layer Diagram,).

9:19 AM: Showing-off Architecture Validation feature of VSTS- ability for VSTS to validate that your code is consistent with your defined architecture. Supposed to help avoid people making architectural problems. Now moving on to talk some VS for DB Pros- it can do DB2 development from the VS IDE! Yay...

9:24 AM: Battery getting critically low..."live" blog may become "previously recorded blog"...

9:25 AM: Bill's finally bank on stage and we're moving on to data access layer talk.

9:30 AM: Okay, my ThinkPad died. Now we're on the MacBook Pro. Let's hope this lasts. Dave Campbell is on stage now talking about SQL Server 2008. Demoing SQL Server's new spacial type used in conjunction with the Live Earth APIs for WPF. SQL Server 2008 has full time zone support- maintains time zones internally and can do time zone translations.

9:33 AM: Talking SQL Server Data Services. Says it's a REST-based application (I think he means his demo). Uses LINQ query syntax (essentially LINQ in the querystring). I'm sure DBAs are going to love this approach to accessing data...

9:36 AM: Still talking SQL Server 2o08 features. Probably nothing new if you've been following SQL Server 2008's development. Starting to wrap-up and summarize. Says SQL Server 2008 will be available in a "month or two." That's news if it's true.

9:37 AM: Bill's back. We're moving-on to our forth topic: Services.

9:38 AM: Says that MS data centers will house millions of servers in future- vs. hundreds of thousands today- to support the services future. Investing a lot in building a cloud service you can use reliably in your apps.

9:40 AM: I guess we're done with the 4 areas. We've just transitioned to talking more broadly about the future of application development. Talking about declarative modeling langauge- says a CTP of the oslow (spelling?) work will be available this fall.

9:43 AM: Another guest, Tandy Trower (GM of Robotics Group at MS), now on the stage. Bill says robotics in an infancy similar to PCs 20 years ago. Thinks MS can do a lot to help propel robotic development.

9:45 AM: Tandy talking about MS Robotics Studio. Bringing out "some friends" on stage- uBot5 (a.k.a. the Ballmer bot). Bot drove out on the stage with Ballmer's face and screaming "Developers, developers, developers..." Classic. Unfortunately, the PhD they brought out to drive the bot totally forgot his lines. Awkward...

9:49 AM: uBot giving Bill some kind of message- oh, it's his XBOX Live lifetime subscription (video reference). These robotics guys totally weren't ready for the stage...back to the labs, guys.

9:50 AM: Bills arrested the stage again and he's now wrapping-up today's topics. And he's done. That was quick.

9:51 AM: Looks like there is going to be some Q & A with Bill on stage. I'm going to run to the Telerik booth, though, so if you want to see the questions and answers, look for the keynote video online soon.

That's it. Hope you enjoyed the live coverage. Stay tuned for more TechEd updates as the week continues.