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!