Thursday, January 28, 2010

Public Information Tracking System now live on

If you've been around Telerik for any amount of time, you've probably had this thought: Telerik is awesome, and their support is uber-awesome. I just wish I didn't have to bother them to keep-up with different issues and feature requests they're working on. I wish I could just track bugs and features on my own. And it would be super cool if I could get automatic notifications of changes to the issues I care about! Or something like that. Your wishes have been granted with the release of our new Public Information Tracking System, or PITS. PITS is a Silverlight-based tool that is connected directly to the Telerik Team Foundation Server, where internal teams log and update all of their work items for the various Telerik products. That means PITS gives you a direct look at our plans and progress as we work on improving and enhancing the tools from release to release. It's an unprecedented level of transparency for a software company, but we are that committed to delivering the best possible support communication. The version of PITS you see today is technically a "preview," and more features are planned for the "official" release, such as issue filtering, grouping, and better integration is the existing support ticket system for issue submission. Still, in today's PITS you can:

  • View Open, In Progress, and Resolved issues for all products for the current cycle
  • View details for each "issue" (an issue can be a bug or a feature request)
  • Add issues to your "Tracked Issues" to receive auto updates on status changes
  • Directly download fixes to resolved issues
  • Vote for open issues! (more on this in a second)
  • Comment on and discuss issues
  • See charts showing issue progress over time
PITS is built with the RadControls for Silverlight, so it's also a great showcase of a truly smart use of Silverlight for a LOB application scenario. Don't miss the RadTileView implementation! Try minimizing and maximizing the different tiles to see how the data presentation dynamically changes. By far one of the cooler features! Finally, don't miss your chance to let your voice have an even louder impact on our product plans. We always listen to customers, but in the past, customers rarely get to see what other customers are saying. With the new PITS voting system, you can publicly vote for the open issues that you think are more important than others. We'll be using this feedback to directly prioritize our TFS work items, and it will now be clear if you're the only person who wants a feature or if it's a feature that everyone wants (i.e. votes are public). PITS is an incredible tool and it's available to all customers. Check it out and let us know what you think. We have lots of great improvements planned, but we hope you enjoy this new level of involvement in the Telerik development process!

Join Prism webinar today @ 11 AM Eastern

After a missed week (recovery from WAM), the Weekly Webinar is back at its normal time this Thursday today! Today's topic is Prism, or more accurately, the Composite Application Guidance from Microsoft. Prism is Microsoft's next generation framework for building highly-maintainable, loosely-coupled XAML applications, and almost any Silverlight or WPF application can benefit from using this tool. Our resident CAB expert, Robert Shoemate, will be hosting the webinar this week, and he'll be providing an extra layer of insight for WinForms developers trying to make the switch from CAB and SCSF to CAG and WPF. The event kicks-off at 11:00 AM Eastern (8:00 AM Pacific, 4:00 PM GMT) and, as always, it will be recorded and posted to Telerik TV for those that can't attend the live event. Register now to get your log-in details for the webinar and don't miss your chance to start improving your XAML skills. If you're a .NET developer, these are pretty important skills to sharpen these days! Next week's webinar? I'll be covering web asset optimization with the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC (and maybe some other cool MVC topics, too!).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WAM 2010 Wrap-up

It's been over a week since I posted the "wrap-up" thoughts from Day One of our 48-hour WAM weekend. So I think it's time I provide some follow-up "event wrap-up" thoughts and comments. First, let me say that I had every intention of blogging more during the event. But after 40 hours of head-down programming and a few hours of sleep, the mental clarity to blog drifted away. Hopefully you kept-up with the action on the Telerik Facebook page where I posted some exclusive video updates. One update in-particular captures the hazy sensation of developing on a lot of junk food and little sleep! Team Telerik did an incredible job, though. I set an ambitious set of goals for 48-hours of requirements gathering/planning/design/implementation, and the team rose to the challenge. It helped that our charity, We Help Ourselves (new website will be live very soon), also had ambitious requirements. In a single weekend, we delivered a platform that empowers their non-technical staff members to completely control the WHO website- from page content to email templates- while simultaneously automating two of their most critical business processes. Like I said: ambitious. We owe much of our success to the Sitefinity platform and OpenAccess. These tools gave us the head-start we needed to focus on development instead of infrastructure. In fact, Sitefinity powered many of the weekend's charity website re-builds. No fewer than 10 teams (out of 20) used Sitefinity, and all seemed to achieve high degrees of success. I think there were even a few teams so discouraged by their first CMS platform choice that they switched to Sitefinity half-way though the weekend. That means they built their sites in just 24 hours! Needless to say, it was an exhausting event, but well worth the effort. I will be blogging over the next few weeks in more detail about the process we used to achieve success in 48 hours, which will hopefully produce some guidance that will help you be successful on your next project- which you hopefully have more time to complete! Want to try your hand at this event and give back to your local community? Look for a Give Camp near you (only Dallas- the original- uses the We Are Microsoft name) and get involved. If you use Sitefinity, let us know so we can feature your story and results!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

WAM Update: Close of "day" one

We Are Microsoft is underway and "day" one is drawing to a close. It's 6:30 AM local time now, and we've been going hard since 3:00 PM yesterday. We're excited by our progress and the advantage that Sitefinity has given our project, but we know much work remains if we are to satisfy all of the goals of our charity. Just to keep you, dear well-rested reader, up to speed, here's the last 16 hours in summary:

  • About 2 hours spent covering WAM "basics" in the previously blogged kick-off meeting
  • We then spent a solid 2 hours talking with our charity (WHO) and refining their requirements
  • Over a 45 minute dinner break (of cold pizza), we turned the refined requirements in to an action plan
  • We reunited with our charity to present our plan of action, cover last minute details, and then it was off to the races. Time: 9:30 PM.
  • From 9:30 PM to what is now closer to 7:00 AM, we've been doing everything from designing CSS to building HTML to building custom Sitefinity user controls and modules to integrating 3rd party services (like Kimbia, a new service our charity introduced us to that helps with accepting donations)
And that's day/night/morning one! Well, other than the blogging and videos, of course. There are already 3 or 4 exclusive videos on the Telerik Facebook page from WAM, and many more will come before the weekend is done. Check 'em out and stay tuned for more updates.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Charity Weekend Kick-off

Team Telerik is in Dallas and getting ready to kick-off a weekend of intense charity and web development. As I type, the kick-off meeting is underway and more than 75 developers are being prepped for what lies ahead. In a few short minutes, teams will break, meet with their charities, and start the 48-hour push to the 2:00 PM Sunday delivery.

Team Telerik is here serving double triple duty:
  • We're training the many teams using Sitefinity CMS
  • We're capturing lots of video for Telerik TV and Facebook
  • We're building a site for a charity!
Our 5-person team will be blogging throughout this process, capturing the process of building a website from beginning to end with Telerik's tools. We'll publish these posts over the next week so you can learn from (and critique) our process.
And remember: we'll be capturing special video content exclusively for our Telerik Facebook page! If you're not a Telerik Facebook Fan, this weekend is a great time to become one so you can enjoy our extra content.
That's all for now. I'm off to find some caffeine and start the development clock.
[P.S. Most of us are on Twitter, too. Follow my weekend updates @toddanglin.]

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Telerik Charity Weekend (this weekend)

Team Telerik (literally) will be participating in the "We Are Microsoft" Charity Challenge Weekend this weekend in Dallas, Texas. We Are Microsoft is the original Give Camp. In short, it's like Habitat for Humanity for developers, where developers contribute their time "doing what they do"- writing software. Here's how it works:

Teams of developers volunteer to build websites for charities. The challenge starts on Friday afternoon and ends on Sunday. In that time, teams must build a complete website for their assigned charity and then demo it on Sunday for a chance at winning prizes.
It's a weekend of caffeine, sugar, snack food, no sleep, and lots of developing.
I know. A normal weekend for many developers, but let's assume this is a more intense, focused weekend of the aforementioned vices than other developer weekends.
This year, Telerik is not only sponsoring the event and providing training to the many developers using Telerik tools and Sitefinity CMS, we are also participating as a development team. We will be building a new website for WHO (We Help Ourselves), an organization that provides education to children to help them avoid becoming victims of abuse.
We will be chronicling our adventures of building a website in 48 hours with Telerik tools in blog posts that will be published next week. We will also be capturing some of the process on video that will be exclusively published to our Telerik Facebook page. Become a fan of Telerik now on Facebook to keep-up with our video journal!
It will be a great weekend of giving back to society, and Telerik is proud to contribute to this charitable effort. Stay tuned for our flurry of updates this weekend, and forgive us in advance if the sleep-deprived, caffeine-stoked posts are not perfect!

Getting ready for Q1 2010 Telerik bits

Time marches on. The year 2009 is now soundly in the review mirror and it's time to start looking ahead to 2010. The first major event of the year- the event I know you've been building your entire schedule around- is the Telerik Q1 2010 release (planned for March 2010). This is going to be an exciting release cycle. Trust me.

I can't share everything now (clearly), but you can start to get a glimpse of what's coming by looking at the recently updated road maps for the Telerik developer products. The Silverlight, WPF, and ASP.NET AJAX road maps are currently live, and others for Reporting, WinForms, and ORM will be coming soon (I've got some "inside" reports in this post, though). In the mean time, here are some highlights:
  • New Controls! - Filter: A stand alone filter UI control that can be used with Grid and ListView - AsyncUpload(!): A async file upload control from Telerik (i.e. upload with no postback)
  • (Some) Cool Enhancements (there are many) - RadCaptcha: Audio CAPTCHA support - RadEditor: RTF & PDF import/export - RadGrid: Improved filtering UI, new Rating column - RadScheduler: Auto UI for indicating "out of view" appointments - Out-of-the-box JavaScript IntelliSense (for VS 2008 & 2010) - New common skin: Windows 7
  • General Improvements - Major focus on streamlining control templates, minimizing assembly size (SL), streamlining/simplifying control templates, and improving animations/transitions (i.e. a major "improve what you've got" release) - SL4 beta support (this release will still be primarily SL3, though)
  • New Controls - (Beta) RadEditor for SL & WPF(!): based on SL4, early preview (this control will grow in 2010) - (Official) RadMap for SL & WPF: Official release of control intro'd in Q309 - Transition control: new tool for making animation configuration easier
  • (Other) Major Improvements - RadGridView: Built-in paging UI - RadChart: New optimizations for handling millions of data points - RadScheduler: New UI virtualization for better handling of many appointments
WinForms will be getting a radically improved (all new, in fact) Visual Style Builder and a revamped data engine for the RadGridView. The road map will be updated soon, and a beta of the Q1 work will even be available early next month!
Reporting is focusing on some major improvements to the data engine, too, and it will move rendering of Silverlight reports from the server to the client (making performance of that viewer better because only data will travel the wire). Improved chart data binding in reports is also expected.
ORM has a very cool road map. I can't reveal much here right now, but stay tuned (sorry). It should be worth the wait.
The other developer tools- MVC and JustCode- are being updated, too, obviously. Both are betas, though, so they don't have formal road maps at this point. JustCode is being constantly updated, so you can join the beta if you want to keep-up with its progress. MVC is focusing on adding data editing support to the Grid, along with providing the necessary UI Extensions for supporting data editing (like a Calendar/DatePicker).
See. It's going to be a big Q1. First beta (WinForms) drops in a few weeks, so start making time now.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

First webinar of the New Year this Thursday at LIDNUG

Now that the holidays are winding down and work is starting to wind back up to its modern, frenetic speed, it's time to get back to business. And that means it's time to attend another webinar! But before I get to the details...

Happy New Year! Hopefully by now you've seen the Telerik 'Happy Holidays' video on Telerik TV. If not, check it out for a quick New Year's message. Everyone at Telerik is very excited about the possibilities 2010 presents and I know you are going to be very happy to see some of the new and improved products we're working on. Keep your RSS reader's locked-in to Telerik Watch for all the latest and greatest, and for even faster updates, follow @toddanglin and @telerik on Twitter.
This week I'll be doing the first webinar of the year at the LinkedIn .NET Users Group (or LIDNUG). LIDNUG is one of (the?) largest DNUGs by membership count, and all of their meetings are done virtually through Live Meeting. At this meeting, I've been asked to provide a quick lap around the Telerik developer tools. We're obviously doing a lot these days, so it's easy to miss something that could be saving you time. This webinar/meeting will try to draw your attention to our various tools for developers, highlighting how they save you time. If you're interested in Telerik and ways to save time, this event is for you.
Register for the LIDNUG meeting now and then join us on Thursday, January 7th (tomorrow) at 11:00 AM PACIFIC (1:00 PM Central, 2:00 PM Eastern).
Oh! And I'll be giving away 2 Telerik Premium Collection licenses, too, making this also your first chance to be a winner in the New Year.