Monday, June 22, 2009

Dallas TechFest Wrap-up, Slides and Code

With the weekend squarely in the rear view mirror, it's time to close the books at this year's Dallas TechFest. The event, which was held on Friday, was a full-day of not only .NET learning, but Java, Cold Fusion, Flex, and Ruby, all held in the setting of the beautiful Westin Stonebriar Resort. I never saw an official "numbers" report, but it looked like there were easily 250 - 350 people taking part in the fun (maybe even more), so by all accounts I think the event was a success. Both of my Silverlight 2/3 sessions went well, too. Aside from my ThinkPad giving me plenty of reason to think about shortening its life, the demos went well and the crowds got a good taste of SL3. In fact, Building Business Apps with SL3 was a standing room only session, so extra special thanks to those of you that came and stood through it all! Below you can find the slides and code from my sessions. Be sure you have Silverlight 3 installed to work with the code, and don't forget that installing SL3 means the end of your SL2 development. Until the tooling gets better, it's an either-or choice. Building Business Applications with Silverlight 2 (and 3) [Slides (PDF)] [Code (8MB Zip)] What's New in Silverlight 3? [Slides (PDF)] [Code (3MB Zip)]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Join me Friday at Dallas TechFest 2009

Another fun .NET event is coming-up this week, this time in Dallas (actually, Fricsco), Texas. That's right. It's time for the 2009 Dallas TechFest. This year's event is being held at the Westin Stonebriar Resort, this Friday, June 19th, from 9:00 AM 'til 6:30 PM. The event features 8 different tracks running all day covering not only .NET, but Java, Cold Fusion, Flex, and Ruby. Cost is $75 to attend, but apparently there are plenty of discounts available via the Dallas DNUGs. Not sure if there is still time to get a discount, but for the cost of a couple .NET books (as John Kellar would say), this event is still a great deal.

For my part, I will be doing two sessions in the Silverlight track:
  • What's New in Silverlight 3.0 (9:00 AM)
  • Building Business Applications with Silverlight (3:00 PM)
These will be great sessions for anyone interested in learning more about Silverlight 3.0 and/or how to use Silverlight to build buisness applications. If these topics interest you, register now for the TechFest and then come join the fun this Friday. Oh! By the way. I'll also be giving away Telerik Premium Collection licenses at my sessions, so even if you don't like my topics, don't miss the sessions for your chance to win!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Q2 2009 beta for ASP.NET AJAX controls now available

And just like that, the first taste of the Q2 2009 release is ready for your public consumption. Today we have published the beta for the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX Q2 2009. In the beta you'll find all of the new controls I described in the "Q2 Preview" and a number of additional enhancements I did not cover. To save you some time and clicks, here are direct links to some of the new stuff in the online beta demos:

  • RadListBox - Brand new control
  • RadCaptcha - Brand new control
  • RadBinaryImage - Brand new control (for displaying binary image data from database)
  • RadXmlHttpPanel - Brand new control
  • RadFormDecorator - New and improved rendering, heavily CSS-based (instead of JavaScript) now that support for IE6 has been "forked" (IE6 will still us JS-based approach)
  • RadGrid - New GridBinaryImageColumn (for auto displaying images from a database), Improved keyboard support, NestedViewTemplate relations support
  • RadScheduler - New "advanced templates in window" support (for display advanced appointment edit form in pop-up window instead of in-line)
  • RadCalendar - New screen boundary detection for Date/Time Picker controls
Check out all the online demos and let us know what you think of the new bits. This is obviously the beta build, so there will be improvements between now and the final release in July. If you find serious issues, though, or things you think we should address, let your voice be heard early so we can work on addressing things before the official release builds are produced.
You can find the full release notes for this beta online and you can download the beta directly from your accounts. Enjoy the beta and get ready for the official release in a few weeks!

Previewing Q2 2009 (update)

Summer is officially here, and besides bringing with it hot summer months, it also means its almost time for the Telerik Q2 2009 release. It's been about 3 months since the Q1 2009 release week, and we've got about a month to go before Q2 officially lands in July. As you may recall, Q1 2009 was one of the largest releases in Telerik history, with all 7 developer product lines getting simultaneous updates during the release week. The pace isn't letting-up for Q2, and this release is shaping-up to be even bigger than Q1.

To help you begin your preparation for the release, I want to draw your attention to some of the new things you'll find in Q2 and highlight some of my personal favorites.
RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX
The ASP.NET Q2 release is going to be big. It has been a long time since we introduced a new control to the ASP.NET AJAX suite, and in Q2, you're going to get 3 new controls!
  • RadListBox - After years of hoping for a control like this, our devs have tackled the problem and created a control comletely unique (but totally needed) by ASP.NET devs. The control enables easy drag-to-reorder, reorder with buttons, transfer item between listbox operations. Similar to what I described way back in 2006. You're going to like this one.
  • RadCaptcha - Trying to address the question, "If I'm building a website today, what controls do I always have to search for since Telerik does not provide them in my toolbox?," Telerik is introducing a basic CAPTCHA control in Q2. Version 1 will be relatively basic, but it will evovle with your feedback. At the very least, we'll all finally have a quality CAPTCHA in our Telerik toolboxes.
  • RadWebServicePanel RadXmlHttpPanel - A little more basic than the other controls, this panel will make it easy for you to update portions of your page using web services that do not execute the full ASP.NET page lifecycle. [Update: Control name changed from Road Map in beta release.]
The ASP.NET controls will also get a new installer in Q2 (goodbye full-screen installer), updated Visual Studio Extensions, and even more support for customizing skins in the Visual Style Builder. There will obviously be enhancements for all other controls, too, so like I said- big release.
RadControls for WinForms
The big focus for the WinForms controls in Q2 is improving core performance and a few new controls. To improve core performance, the most basic "RadObject" (the root of most visual elements in the WinForms suite) is being refactored, resulting in a number of benefits, not the least of which is substantial peformance gains. These improvements will benefit all.
In the new controls department, WinForms will get the final version of the overhauled RadDock (currently available as a beta), and signficant improvements/refactorings in RadScheduler, RadRibbonBar, RadToolStrip, and RadForm.
RadControls for Silverlight
Silverlight is becoming increasingly popular, so there is no shortage of new stuff in the Q2 release to satisfy the Silverlight demand. And with Silverlight 3 just around the corner, this will likely be the last release that only targets Silverlight 2- the next release will likely start targeting the SL3 platform and features.
There will be one new major control in Q2 for Silverlight: RadScheduler (currently available in beta). RadChart for Silverlight will get a pretty unqiue major improvement: 3D chart support. That's right. 3D chart support for Silverlight. Microsoft Expression Blend support will be improved in Q2, and, finally, the GridView will get some major improvements to support data editing and large data operations.
RadGridView for WPF
Since WPF and Silverlight share a common code base, it's only natural that controls that exist in the RadControls for Silverlight should have a counterpart in the RadControls for WPF. In Q2, we're making that story near complete with 5 new controls for WPF: Combobox, ContextMenu, Toolbar, Window, and the DragDrop Framework. It'll be easier than ever to write once, use twice.
The WPF controls will also be getting the same update to RadGridView that Silverlight will be seeing (remember, shared code base = sync'd evolution). RadChart will get some new features, too, like support for exploded pie charts and new skins. Really, other than the new controls, the RadControls for WPF and Silverlight will have "mirror" releases.
Telerik Reporting
While the Reporting Team is busy laying foundations for major improvements later this year, there are still some big improvements coming in Q2 2009. Most notable are support for a new data source that enables you to "push" database operations back to the database (and out of memory) to signficantly improve report performance, and improved support for binding charts in a report (removing the need for manual data binding). Also watch for some improvements to the wizards for working with tabular data (i.e. cross-tab reports).
Telerik OpenAccess ORM
Like the Reporting Team, the ORM Team is very busy building foundational improvements that are going to manifest in some major updates later this year. In the mean time, they have some great updates to ship in Q2 that will be very helpful if: A) you're developing with SQL Server 2000, or B) you're heavily using LINQ for your queries. Specifically, the Q2 ORM release will inroduce:
  • Support for SQL Server 2000 databases (support for SQL Server CE, VistaDB, DB2, SQLite, and Postgres will come later this year)
  • Improved LINQ support for features like grouping, joins, and dynamic (i.e. string-based) LINQ
  • Improved support for stored procedures in MySQL, Oracle, and Firebird
Telerik WebUI Test Studio
Telerik's newest developer tool, built in partnership with ArtOfTest, is also getting updates in Q2. One of the major things on the horizon for WebUI Test Studio is Silverlight support, but that support likely won't ship in Q2. Stay tuned for updates to the Q2 plans for WebUI Test Studio on the Telerik Blogs.
Add to all of this improved documentation, more new videos on Telerik TV, and new online demos, and this adds-up once again to be a record setting Telerik release. Hopefully there's something in there that will help make your life easier. Stay tuned for more details and more sneak previews of the Q2 bits in the coming days and weeks. July is a short few weeks away!

New Poll: Do you use Twitter?

With the annual C# vs. VB poll now done, it's time for a new poll, and this time I've got a fun question: Do you use Twitter?

I think there are many people in the tech community that assume everyone and their dog (literally) is actively engaged in Twitter mania. Yet time and time again, when I speak to audiences of "normal people" at different .NET events and ask them how many people use Twitter, I see one or two hands out of a group of sixty-plus. That lead me to really ponder, how many people really use Twitter? Is it almost everybody as the hype would suggest? Or is it simply a small, but vocal minority that promotes Twitter as the best thing since sliced bread? Hopefully the new survey running on Telerik Watch- and you- will help provide some insight.
There are four choices in the new survey for answering the question, "Do you use Twitter?":
  1. Regularly - This is for those of you that read and post updates to Twitter on a "regular" basis. This doesn't have to be daily, monthly, or hourly (as it is for some people). As long as you plan to post updates to Twitter with some frequency, this is you.
  2. Tried it, but quit - According to research, Twitter only retains 40% of its users month-to-month, suggesting that many people create an account, try Twitter, and then stop using it. If that's you, this is your choice.
  3. Never - If you either have no interest in Twitter or are actively choosing to avoid it, this choice is for you. If you choose this option, you've never created a Twitter account.
  4. "Read-only Mode" - This unique choice is for those of you that enjoy browsing and reading Tweets, but you never make updates of your own. If you use Twitter in this one-way "read-only" manner, select this choice.
For the longest time, I qualified in the "Tried it, but quit" or "Never" categories, subscribing heavily to Stephen Forte's op-ed on Twitter. As Twitter has evolved, though, and the need to participate on behalf of Telerik has increased, I have become a more regular user. In fact, you can find my updates at @toddanglin.
But very recent research from Harvard Business Review suggests that the top 10% of Twitter users produce 90% of all tweets. On top of that, the average Twitter user only posts 1 update for the lifetime of their account. Clearly, this is a survey of the broader, "general" Twitter crowd, so I'm very curious to see how the .NET crowd compares.
Vote now using the poll box on the right-side of Telerik Watch to let your voice be heard! (And don't tweet this post- that's sure to dramatically bias the results.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Survey Says: C# still more popular than VB

It's year two for the "C# vs. VB" survey and the results are in! Thanks to everyone that voted, we have an even larger sample set in this year's survey, and interestingly the results are pretty consistent with what we measured a year ago. As you can see from the summary chart above, when asked what .NET language do you primarily program with, just shy of 70% of respondents said C#, 30% said VB, and 1% said they used some .NET varient that was not C#, VB, J#, or Iron*(Ruby,Python,etc.).

Compared to the results from this same survey run almost exactly one year ago, C# saw a near 6% gain in popularity, VB saw about a 4% decrease, and J#- which clocked-in with 2% of the vote last year- fell off the map. Votes in the "other" category remained level at 1%.
The significance of this year's survey is that it gives us our second data point- enough to start defining a relative trend. Clearly the trend will become more meaningful as the years go on, but already we can start to defend with numbers the annecdotal trend that was suggested in last year's survey wrap-up: C# is gaining in popularity and VB is fading- but things may be much more "stable" than previously thought.
While C# did show a 6% increase in popularity, not all of those gains likely came from VB converts. More likely, especially with J# not represented in the results this year, C# is seeing gains from people switching from J# and Java to .NET. Further, if you accept a certain statistical "error margin" in these results year-to-year, you could make an even stronger case that the .NET community is "settling" in to a ratio where 30 - 35% of devs are using VB and 65 - 70% are using C#. I suppose we'll have an even better idea when we run this survey a year from now and see how things change over the next 12 months.
What I find even more interesting is the lack of people- as in none- that said they use an Iron language as their primary .NET language of choice. With as much buzz as the DLR community has had in the last year, I fully expected a statistical portion of respondents to be using DLR languages as their primary choice in 2009. According to this survey, it would seem DLR is still very niche, though, and has done little to erode C# and VB's dominance of .NET scene.
What do you think of these results? Do they seem right based on your own observations? Clearly these results are a snapshot of a small part of the .NET community, but since this suvey is defining a relative trend (to the results collected 1 year ago) they are more likely to be accurately reflecting velocity in the .NET community. Sound-off in the comments and check-back in a year for Round 3!
P.S. Don't forget to vote in the new "Twitter" poll running on Telerik Watch now!

Real sites running on Sitefinity

I don't cover Sitefinity often on Telerik Watch, but from time-to-time I do like to highlight all the fun things happening with Telerik's rapidly maturing CMS platform. For those of you not keeping-up with the Sitefinity news, Sitefinity is currently in version 3.6SP2 and the next milestone on its road map is a huge upgrade coming later this year that will be dubbed "Sitefinity 4.0." It is increasingly becoming a popular platform for .NET developers to build sites of all sizes, so I thought it would be fun to highlight a few for your viewing pleasure.
You can find Sitefinity powering everything from Kia Motors to Project (Red) to Atkins (yes, the diet). Check out some of the Sitefinity implementations from the list below:
And that's just the tip of the iceburg. You can find over 350 sites implemented using Sitefinity by browsing the Sitefinity Showcase Gallery. Sitefinity's flexibility is what really makes it powerful, so it really serves as an "accelerated development platform" for any ASP.NET developer that wants to build any site with powerful content control features. Browse the gallery to see a full range of examples of how Sitefinity is being used.
For more in-depth coverage of Sitefinity, don't forget to bookmark Sitefinity Watch. SW is managed by Telerik Sitefinity DE Gabe Sumner, and it's the best place to stay current on all your SF news. You can also keep-up with Sitefinity on Twitter by following @sitefinitywatch.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Telerik Sales Dashboard webinar wrap-up, Slides and Video

Miss today's Weekly Webinar? No problem. The on-demand resources are ready for your viewing pleasure both here on Telerik Watch and on Telerik TV. First, I'd like to thank those of you that took time out of your day to join the live event- hopefully we were able to answer your questions and you were able to extract some good learning. For everyone else, you missed a webinar that covered a lot. And since there is so much covered in this webinar, and since I know it can be challenging to decide if it's worth watching a 1 hour online video, here are some questions to ask yourself to help you make your decision:

  • Do you want to know how to build an application for Silverlight or WPF that uses "enterprise grade" patterns?
  • Do you want to see a "best practices" approach for structuring your Visual Studio solution when building a n-tier XAML application?
  • Do you wish you knew more about Microsoft Prism and how to use it?
  • Do you want to better understand what the MVVM pattern is all about?
  • Do you you want to see the "proof" that the RadControls for Silverlight / WPF have 100% identical APIs and can be easily used to build one application and target both the desktop and the web?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, this webinar has content for you. Check it out and then visit to learn more about the Telerik Sales Dashboard reference application. There you will even find links to explore the Silverlight and WPF versions of the Sales Dashboard on your own. Enjoy.
Write Once. Use Twice. Exploring the Telerik Sales Dashboard
[Slides (PDF)] [Sales Dashboard Source (External)]

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Build an application with Telerik RadControls, Win a pass to PDC

Now here's a deal for those of you looking for a budget friendly way to get to PDC in LA this November. INETA is running a new contest called the "INETA Component Code Challenge: Building .NET Applications with Reusable Components" and two lucky winners will get complete "scholarships" to PDC 2009 (including airfare, hotel, and conference passes)! All you have to do for your shot at the prizes:

  1. Build a .NET application using at least 2 components from at least 2 different approved vendors (such as Telerik and /n Software)
  2. Create a 3 - 5 minute WMV video of your app showing how you used components and why your app is cool
  3. Submit your video by August 25th to
That's it! Winners will be announced on September 14th, and even if you don't snag the grand prizes, 8 additional lucky runners-up will get "prize packs" full of licenses for .NET tools and components. For complete judging criteria and rules and all that biz, be sure to visit the official INETA Code Challenge website. So let's review:
  • Build a cool app with Telerik's components
  • Create a short video
  • Very good chance at winning airfare, hotel, and pass to PDC 2009
And to up the ante even more, I'd love to give you more reason to build a cool app using Telerik's tools. If you win the contest and build an app using Telerik's components, I'll personally take you out to dinner at PDC 2009 and feature your app on Telerik TV and Telerik Watch. If you record a video for this contest and use Telerik controls, be sure to send it to me, too. We'll award the best submission that we receive with a $50 iTunes gift card. PDC, prize packs, iTunes gift cards- what are you waiting for?! Build your cool app today and get those videos submitted.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Austin Code Camp 2009 wrap-up, Session slides and code

Sometimes it's just incredible how fast time flies. It's already been a full week since I spoke at the 2009 Austin Code Camp, so it's high time I posted my follow-up materials! In general, ACC09 was a great event. Both of my sessions were packed- standing room only- and the audiences were very engaged. For an Austin .NET community that occasionally gets a bad rap in Texas for not being as active as Houston or Dallas, this event was a strong showing- probably close to 250 to 300 people. As a reminder, I did two sessions, one on ASP.NET MVC and one on Silverlight 3. Both sessions seemed to go well except for an unfortunate Visual Studio gremlin with Silverlight 2 during the last session of the day. I suppose that's the end result of sleeping for 3 hours, driving to Austin at 5:00 in the morning, and then doing the last session of the day. Se la vie! The slides from both of my sessions and some of the code is available below. I say only "some" of the code because some it is not worth packaging- just simple demos created on the fly that don't offer much "after the fact" learning value. Even the code posted here is very basic- nothing special- so don't lean on it too heavily for learning. Enjoy the resources, though, and then get ready to come back out and hang-out with me at the Dallas Tech Fest in a couple weeks! ASP.NET MVC: Red Pill or Blue Pill? (Updated for MVC v1) [Slides (PDF)] [Code (ZIP)] (NOTE: Code includes updated RouteDebugger assembly for MVC v1) Building Business Applications with Silverlight 3 [Slides (PDF)] [Code (ZIP)] (NOTE: Code is for Silverlight 3 beta 1) P.S. As mentioned in my Silverlight session, here is a link to my Silverlight 2 Hands-On-Labs that guide you through the process of learning how to build business apps with Silverlight 2.

Weekly Webinar: Exploring the Telerik Sales Dashboard for Silverlight and WPF

This week's webinar is back in my court and the topic will be Telerik's new Sales Dashboard demo application. If you've not already seen it, the Telerik Sales Dashboard is a new "best practices" application that Telerik created that highlights the value of the common code base and shared API of the RadControls for Silverlight and WPF. It shows you how you can build an application with enterprise-quality patterns and practices that- thanks to the RadControls- can be easily targeted at WPF, XBAP, or Silverlight deployments. Among the things the Sales Dashboard shows you:

  • Using Microsoft Prism for application composition
  • Use of MVVM (Model View ViewModel) pattern
  • Using the RadControls for Silverlight, WPF
  • Reusing Silverlight app code in WPF (and XBAP)
  • Using Telerik OpenAccess ORM for data access
  • Exposing data to Silverlight/WPF through WCF services
In this Thursday's webinar, we'll explore this application, highlighting some of the unique aspects of its implementation that you can draw upon to build better XAML applications. We'll explain the basics of things like Prism and the MVVM pattern, helping you get up-to-speed on these popular XAML frameworks. Finally, we'll even build a simple Silverlight application and port it to WPF during the webinar to drive-home how easy the task is with the RadControls. Should be fun and information packed. The webinar is at the normal 11 AM Eastern, this Thursday, June 11th. It will be recorded and will be on TTV shortly after the live event. Register now to save your seat and I'll see you on Thursday. Register for Sales Dashboard webinar now

Friday, June 05, 2009

OpenAccess ORM book now available in print (update)

Like the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX books before it, Telerik OpenAccess ORM now has a complete learning guide available in print. Authored by the courseware master Noel Rice at Falafel Software, "Telerik OpenAccess ORM Made Easy" is over 200 pages of all the information you need to get started with OpenAccess ORM. Among the topics you'll cover in this complete guide:

  • Introduction to ORM and OpenAccess
  • Getting started with OpenAccess tools
  • Using OpenAccess in simple applications
  • Using OpenAccess in n-tier applications
  • Using transactions
But it doesn't stop there. The book also provides in-depth information on "advanced" OpenAccess topics, such as query optimization and complex mapping. You can view the entire table of contents in the book preview on So if printing the free PDF version of this book sounds like too much toner, this print version can be yours today for just $20. Enjoy! See OpenAccess ORM Made Easy on Lulu
UPDATE: The free PDF version of this learning guide is now available on

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sitefinity webinar tomorrow, Learn about integrating web APIs

It's almost Thursday, so it's Weekly Webinar time again. Tomorrow's webinar is coming from a new face (or voice, as the case may be) to the Telerik webinar scene- Joe Anderson, a Telerik Technical Sales Rep from Boston. For quite some time now, Joe has been deeply involved with the Sitefinity CMS platform and a passionate fan of finding new and creative ways to use Sitefinity. In tomorrow's developer session (this is no sales pitch), Joe will show you how you can easily integrate many popular web APIs with Sitefinity. In concrete terms, you'll learn how how to work with these APIs in Sitefinity:

  • Google Checkout
  • Amazon
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
Each API requires a slightly unique approach to integrate with Sitefintiy, and tomorrow's webinar should help you gain the high-level understanding you need to begin your integration. So whether you're eager to begin integrating these APIs with Sitefinity or you're just curious to see what you can do with some of the web's more popular free APIs, don't miss this webinar event.
Standard webinar times apply: 11 AM Eastern, Thursday, June 4th.