Monday, November 28, 2011

Q3 2011 Webinar Week, This Week!

I know. I've been a bad steward of TelerikWatch this year. Well off my normal pace of 200+ posts per year, TelerikWatch has been silent much more than normal. That's not for lack of activity and change at Telerik. Far from it! In fact, it's precisely because there is so much happening at Telerik that TelerikWatch has suffered. That said, let me address the news of the moment...

The Telerik Q3 2011 Webinar Week begins today!

Unlike the Webinar Weeks from the last few releases, this time we're doing things a little differently. With more than 12 products to talk about, we needed a new format that would let us cover more topics in fewer days, so with Q3 2011 there will be multiple webinars today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. The full schedule for the week looks like this:

Date Time Topic
Monday, Nov 28 9:30 AM Kick-off, Webinar Week Overview
11:00 AM Silverlight & WPF
12:30 PM Data Tools
Tuesday, Nov 29 9:30 AM Windows Phone
11:00 AM AJAX & MVC
12:30 PM Tools for Better Code
2:00 PM Test Studio
Wednesday, Nov 30 9:30 AM Preparing for Windows 8
11:00 AM Putting It All Together
12:30 PM Sitefinity 4
Thursday, Dec 1 11:00 AM Kendo UI Launch Webinar
(All times Eastern Standard Time)

To register for any (and all) of the webinars, just visit and use the super-simplified registration form. One form submission is all it takes to register for the entire week (if you have the time).

Since the schedule is kind of complex, and since a few of these events need some more explanation, you should plan on joining me, this morning (Monday) at 9:30 AM Eastern. I'll cover the entire schedule and explain in more detail how the week is going to work.

Each webinar will also raffle away one Telerik Ultimate Collection ($2000 value)! The more webinars you attend live, the more chances you have to win. We'll email winners within 24hrs of the event and post the winners to Twitter (@telerik).

That's pretty much it. Of course, all of this is happening because of the Telerik Q3 2011 release two weeks ago (which I assume you've downloaded by now!), and I'm very sorry I haven't blogged more about that yet on TelerikWatch. Make sure you catch all of the release coverage on the Blogs.

For now, we've got a full week of live web events for you to enjoy. It's not too late to register or to attend more webinars for more chances at prizes. I hope to see you online this week!

Register now for the Q3 2011 webinars

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When Should You Use Metro, Version 2


During my busy week at the Microsoft BUILD conference, I cranked-out a quick and rough decision tree designed to help you decide which Microsoft platform you should use for app development: Silverlight/WPF, HTML5, or the new Metro/WinRT. The chart proved to be very popular, so I thought I'd revisit the decision tree and with the benefit of more time to reflect, produce a new, more complete version.

Thus, I present version 2 of the "How to Pick Your Platform" chart.

What's Different?

In the original chart, the first question I made you answer was, "Do you need to support Windows 7?" It's a fair place to start given that everything new introduced at BUILD is Windows 8 only. There is no path for Metro back to Windows 7 (or Vista and XP, for that matter).

But in today's world, Windows is not the only relevant OS in town. We've been trained through years of Windows dominance to think building for Windows is building for the biggest audience, but we need to update our thinking.

Yes, Windows remains the dominant desktop OS. The problem is that many people are now doing more "computing" on non-desktop devices, like iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and (for now) Blackberry. In this realm, Microsoft (and Windows) is just one OS choice among the pack.

So the first question shouldn't be about which version of Windows you want to support, it should be about your desire to build software that targets the broad marketplace of devices and operating systems.

With that change, if you answer out-of-the-gate that you want to build an app that can reach iOS, Android, and Windows, the decision is easy. Use HTML5 and JavaScript for your frontend (perhaps using PhoneGap to leverage more native device features), and any server technology you prefer for your backend (including ASP.NET). (This is the type of app scenario perfectly served by the JavaScript/HTML5 Kendo UI framework.)

Silverlight, WPF, and WinForms

In the first version of the chart, I oversimplified the choice of Silverlight/WPF if you decided to build Windows apps that support all versions of Windows. I've expanded that decision tree in version 2.

As part of that expansion, I also reintroduced WinForms as valid platform choice (because it is).

I was reminded during the BUILD week after visiting with a customer that WinForms is still hugely active as a Windows development platform. Of course, I knew that from Telerik's own experience with growing WinForms popularity, but it doesn't get talked about often enough. We've all be talking XAML for the last 3 or 4 years, but WinForms has continued to get work done. It was good enough to solve business problems in 2001. It still remains good enough to solve many business problems in 2011.

So while Microsoft is spending time with Windows 8 trying to win the minds of consumers, the business app story marches on with Silverlight, WPF, and WinForms. Pick between these platforms the way you always have and the apps will work Windows 8 through Windows XP.

The only new "edge" for Silverlight is that your skills building those apps will more quickly translate to Metro if you decide to build Metro apps in the future.

Metro App Types

Another "enhanced" decision point in the chart is around deciding if your app belongs in Metro or in the "standard" Windows desktop mode (assuming you're already targeting Win8). With the support of a great new blog post from Telerik EVP Doug Seven, you can now decide if your app fits one of the five Metro app scenarios:

  • Data Snacks
  • Social Networks/Mash-ups
  • Content/Media Apps
  • Casual Games
  • Graphical Games

Metro in Windows 8 is not appropriate for every app.

Clearly, missing from Doug's classification are any business app scenarios. This is intentional. Business apps still belong in desktop Windows, even with Windows 8. And if you start building for the desktop, the platform decision is back to Silverlight, WPF, and WinForms.

Three Flavors of Metro

Finally, assuming you answer all of the questions correctly to lead you towards building Windows 8 Metro experiences, I expanded on the process of selecting the proper "flavor" of Metro. Generally speaking, there are three flavors of Metro, all underpinned by Windows Runtime (WinRT):

  1. XAML + C#/VB WinRT
  2. HTML + JavaScript WinRT
  3. DirectX + Native Code WinRT

You can theoretically use any of these options for building any Metro app, but realistically, some are better suited for certain tasks than others.

Most obvious, native code and DirectX. I guess you could build a Twitter app with Native Code, but why would you? You'll waste way more time coding than you'll gain in performance, so probably not the best choice. Instead, this raw, on the metal option is generally best reserved for rich, immersive games.

After that, it becomes more a matter of choice.

Blend 5 and Visual Studio vNext provide similar design and debugging experiences for .NET and JavaScript, so at some level it comes down to your preferred language and team skills. Microsoft is writing many of the built-in Metro apps with HTML/JS (like the Windows Store and Metro Mail), but my guess is that the community at-large will do lots of Metro development with XAML.

Don't Get Overwhelmed

Choice is good to a point. Too much choice is paralyzing.

With the introduction of three new ways to build apps for Windows, you may feel like you're trying to pick between a billion new and "old" ways to build for Windows. Don't panic. Just use my simple chart, and your decision is easy. And no matter which decision you make, Telerik will continue to make you a .NET Ninja Rockstar with industry leading tools and support.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How to Pick Your Platform: Silverlight, Metro, or HTML5

While Windows 8 is ushering in an exciting new model for Windows development called "Metro style apps" that run a new "unified" Windows Runtime (WinRT), it's not necessarily the right choice for all new Windows software development. In fact, there are a lot scenarios where it's not a good choice.

In this over-simplified decision tree, I try to provide some crude logic for how to pick between your platform options. Clearly, there are many nuances not covered in this tree, but I'll work on expanding the "logic" to make it more bullet proof in the coming weeks.

The first decision is the most important, though: Do you need to continue building apps that work in Windows 7?

If your answer to this question is "Yes," Metro style apps and WinRT should not be on your radar. These are Windows 8 only technologies, and there will be no backport layer that will let you run Metro apps on Windows 7.

That means any project that has as a requirement "Support Windows 7 clients," should only be considering WPF, Silverlight, WinForms, and "web" technologies (HTML/JavaScript + their server-side counterparts, like ASP.NET). It's that simple.

IF, however, you want to put apps on the Windows Tablets that will start shipping late next year, and IF you accept that these apps will only run in that Windows 8 Metro environment, then you should start digging-in to and learning WinRT.

For everyone else, don't lose sight of reality. And reality in a Windows 7 world (that will still work in a Windows 8 world) means Silverlight, WPF, and HTML5. (And, of course, Telerik is already armed with all of the tools you need for today's reality, and we're preparing tools for tomorrow's Metro option.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Still Missing In Action at BUILD (Day 2)

Yesterday I summarized a few important topics that were auspiciously missing at Microsoft's BUILD conference after the first day of sessions and keynotes. Now as Day 2 nears its end, I thought I'd revisit some of yesterday's observations and see if those topics are still missing. With both keynotes now done, it's pretty safe to assume missing topics now aren't going to get much attention at BUILD 2011.

Not Missing Anymore
A few things that were missing yesterday did make appearances today:

  1. WPF
    Half of the existing XAML story started to pop-up today. While it didn't make the keynotes, Soma and ScottGu talked about WPF and pending improvements coming in .NET 4.5 during Channel 9 interviews. So rest easier. WPF is not dead and not stagnent. It's evolving along with .NET.
  2. ASP.NET
    While I didn't list ASP.NET yesterday, the astute commenters pointed-out that ASP.NET didn't show-up yesterday. That changed today, along with the appearance of ScottGu during the keynote. Lots of ASP.NET MVC demo love shown today, so again, rest easy ASP.NET (MVC) developers.
  3. Steve Ballmer
    Steve was almost a no-show again today, but in what was one of the bigger "surprises" of the week, Ballmer showed-up at the end of the keynote to finally lend the needed "weight" to Microsoft's announcements this week. (Meanwhile, no Steven Sinofsky today.)
Still Notably Missing
While a few things did show-up today, many important topics are still missing in action:
  1. Silverlight
    WPF showed-up today, but Silverlight is still painfully absent. True, Silverlight 5 is still coming and Silverlight will continue to work in Win8 via (non-Metro) IE10. But little is being said about what happens after SL5...
  2. Partners
    The only partner to make a keynote "appearance" in 2 days of keynotes was Viper SmartStart, and even this was via Microsoft proxies (and it didn't really involve Win8). It's plain to see that the Microsoft Win8 "cone-of-silence" reached far and wide, but hopefully Microsoft re-engages partners more deeply now that the Win8 cat is out of the bag.
  3. Windows Phone
    Still no focused Windows Phone talk today. Ultimately, it's only disappointing because it means the rumored idea of writing one app for Windows Phone, Windows Tablet, and maybe even Xbox is still just that: rumor. WinPhone does get some session coverage this week, but no major announcements or changes to the story.
  4. Nokia
    If there is any hardware device vendor you'd expect Microsoft to be working super closely with for both phones and tablets, you'd probably think Nokia. Unfortunately, not only did Nokia have no presence at BUILD, but the Developer Preview hardware was delivered by Samsung, not Nokia. Sure, Nokia is probably heads-down on making successful WinPhones, but an exciting Nokia device would have really helped put the BUILD enthusiasm over the top.
  5. Guidance
    There is a LOT of new stuff for developers this week, but at the same time, none of the old stuff is obsolete. You can still use the WPF and Silverlight you know and love in Windows 8, side-by-side with the new WinRT model. When should you use one or the other? What type of XAML is Microsoft going to evolve long term? That's up to you to figure-out this week. Fortunately, when it comes to tools, Telerik is prepared to support any future path you choose. And we're already starting to help you with guidance, too, with posts like this from Telerik EVP Doug Seven on Silverlight and WPF.
And, of course, all of the other things I listed yesterday remain MIA: Office in Metro, acknowledgement of XAML for older versions of Windows, plug-ins for immersive IE, shipping timelines, and Xbox.

Answers and Questions
For all of the answers BUILD provided to long running summer questions, it also created many more. Additional answers will continue to flow from info shared during BUILD this week, but this is just the beginning to a long journey. 

Windows 8 and the related Metro style apps are in Developer Preview today. We are many months away from BUILD technologies even being officially available, let alone broadly deployed.

So, take a deep breath! Remember that this is a future focused conference. Your world does not change.

Over the next few weeks and months, Telerik will work hard to help you understand the Windows 8 information, but we will also help you continue to focus on the here-and-now. You have software to write, you need tools, and that doesn't change while Win8 continues to bake. Stay tuned to Telerik and we'll help you be successful today and tomorrow.

BUILD Day 2 Keynote: What You Need to Know

With the California sun now rising in the sky, it's time for another fresh day of BUILD and the all important Day 2 keynote. Like yesterday, rather than compete with the live video stream, I've real-time condensed today's keynote in to the key moments you need to get the overall jist of what Microsoft shared. This isn't a blow-by-blow blog of the keynote, but if you spend 5 minutes reviewing this post, you'll know what you need to know from the second BUILD keynote.

Key Keynote Moments

  1. Windows 8 Tablet Distraction
    Not explicitly said or part of the keynote, it's worth noting that much of the audience seems to be distracted by their shiny new Win8 tablets this morning.
  2. Devices + Cloud
    Here is one of the "missing" elements from Day 1: extended talk about the cloud. In the opening of Day 2, Microsoft spent some time talking about building apps for Windows devices (Phone, Tablet) that are deeply connected to the cloud (Azure services). But not much Azure really demoed until much later in the keynote.
  3. Visual Studio 11 Features
    As part of Jason Zander's demo of building apps with the cloud, a handful of VS2011 features were introduced, like a new and improved image editor, new baked-in power tools, and improved debugging tools for working with DirectX. (He'll cover way more of VS2011 in his sessions today- find the session recordings.) VS2011 Developer Preview will be available today, along with Windows Azure SDK Toolkit.
  4. Scott Guthrie returns to the stage in trademark red polo
    Scott may now be CVP for Server & Tools, but he's still rocking the ASP.NET demos people have made him popular. Scott showed-off some cool new tooling for ASP.NET MVC 4, such as a "design view" for ASP.NET MVC, auto-minification of CSS and JS, and async features from .NET 4.5. If you missed ASP.NET or .NET 4.5 talk on Day 1, this covers it.
  5. OSX and iPhone emulator take the stage
    Small moment, but it stands out. As part of demonstrating some of the new things in ASP.NET 4.5, like jQuery Mobile, ScottGu did the unthinkable and showed the iPhone emulator running on a Mac. Good to see Microsoft acknowledging the world around them today.
  6. TFS running on Azure as a service
    Like TFS? Good for you. Microsoft showed more today of TFS running in the cloud on Azure. Formally called, Team Foundation Service running on Azure.
  7. Something for Windows IT Pros
    It's easy to forget as a developer that there are non-developers at BUILD. Microsoft addressed this crowd today with demos of new Virtual Machine Management tools and other Win8 server features. But I doubt you're an IT Pro if you're reading this blog...
  8. Windows Azure Credential Service
    Nice easy way to log-in using popular identity providers (Facebook, Google, Live, etc.) with just a few lines of code (seems to require WinRT). Makes single-sign-on across Windows 8 devices "fluid" process.
  9. Viper car security device connected to the cloud
    What makes this demo interesting is that it's the FIRST in two-days that involves an external Microsoft product. No partner on stage, but an external company nonetheless. Demo showed how the car device can send data to the Azure cloud and then visualize on the web and Phone.
  10. West Coast Customs CEO takes the stage
    Microsoft is going to (read: not done yet) build a car with West Coast Customs. It will be part of the TV show, so watch for it in the future.
  11. [THE SURPRISE] Steve Ballmer takes the stage!
    Just when everyone thought the Day 2 keynote was over, Steve Ballmer shows-up and takes the stage. Probably the biggest surprise so far of BUILD! Steve spent about 20 minutes reinforcing the Microsoft big picture for Windows 8, Azure (cloud), and Phone. Steve brought a much needed sense of "reality" to everything being talked about at BUILD, acknowledging that MSFT has a lot of work ahead of it to make Phone and Win8 successful. Good way to end the keynotes.
Who Was On Stage?
Unlike Day 1, where Sinofsky more-or-less ran the entire keynote, today was a revolving door of presenters. For your easy reference, here's who we saw:
Final Thoughts & Reactions
If all of the talk about a new "bold" version of Windows was making your head spin, today's keynote was like Advil, reminding developers that all of the things they've loved about the evolution of Microsoft's server technology and tooling (.NET, Visual Studio, Azure, Win Server) are still happening. While Windows 8 is cool and introduces some interesting new concepts, if you're in an environment locked-in to Win7 (or older), you may have felt a bit left-out on Tuesday. After today's keynote, you should feel better, with familiar faces like ASP.NET, jQuery, and even Windows 7 taking the stage.

Now, off to the overloaded schedule of individual sessions to learn more, get more reactions, and ask important questions.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BUILD Day 1: What wasn't said?

Silence speaks volumes. While there is coverage ad nauseum about what Microsoft did say at today's opening keynote and following sessions, there is much less attention on what's not being said. True, there is another keynote scheduled for tomorrow, and presumably many additional topics will be covered (like tooling and ALM), but certain important topics are conspicuously absent from the Day 1 conversations.

The Missing Topics

  1. Silverlight and WPF?
    It's clear after today that Metro style XAML apps are Microsoft's vision of the future, but what does that mean for the future of Silverlight and WPF? Of course, SL and WPF as we know them now will continue to run in Windows 8, but will they continue to evolve? Microsoft is risking another WinForms-like messaging challenge by choosing to mostly ignore Silverlight/WPF rather than address them head-on.
  2. Xbox & Phone
    One of the more extreme things rumored to make an appearance at BUILD was Xbox integration with with the new Windows Runtime. Or more broadly, a story that tied Windows desktop, tablet, phone, and Xbox together with one model. Unfortunately, both Phone and Xbox are no-shows so far, so it's all PC and tablets with Win8 right now.
  3. Shipping Timeline
    While not entirely unaddressed, the "there is no target date" for shipping Windows 8 message is a bit unsettling, too. Heading-in to BUILD, there was a lingering rumor that Windows 8 would be near or at beta now, with a possible goal of shipping Windows 8 tablets for this holiday season (or very shortly there after). Instead, with a pre-beta Developer Preview delivered, we're left to assume Windows 8 many not be fully ready for RTM until mid- to late-2012. So while everything being talked about this week is cool, it's almost a year away from GA. Which is a bummer, especially as other tablets march on.
  4. Expression Web
    One of the more interesting tooling demos in the keynote was a new version of Expression Blend that targets HTML and CSS design. What wasn't mentioned is how this expanded Blend focus impacts the existing "web product" in the Expression suite (Expression Web). Is Expression Web replaced by the new Blend? Pushed in to a smaller corner for the remaining Front Page-like dev fans? Mums the word for now.
  5. Office Apps for WinRT
    Given how important Office is to Windows (it's the 2nd major financial pillar at Microsoft), its absence, even as a simple preview, is also noticeably missing at BUILD. I guess the Win8 "cone of silence" extended fully to the Office team and they haven't had a chance to build Office versions for Win8 yet. Office will most definitely find its way to WinRT (Sinofsky is an Office alum, after tall), but its absence this week only signals a longer road to RTM ahead. Can you really ship Win8 without Metro Office apps?
  6. Plug-ins in Immersive IE
    We know HTML5 is a first class citizen in Win8, but how does Silverlight carryover to the new Metro version of Internet Explorer? Early demos of immersive suggests it doesn't. In fact, no plug-ins work in the immersive IE. Plug-ins do work in the "classic" view IE9/10, but if you thought you could run a Silverlight app in Metro-mode via the browser, think again. No Flash. No Silverlight.
  7. Older Versions of Windows
    What older versions of Windows? If you are at BUILD, apparently there are no older versions of Windows. Everything related to WinRT and Metro are Windows 8 only. There will be no backport of the new runtime for Windows 7. It makes sense, but does that signal a future of multiple app implementations if you want to support Windows 8 + Windows 7 (and older) + other platforms?
  8. Steve Ballmer
    Quick: Your company is about to introduce a "bold" new "reimagination" of the your flagship product. Who do you send to introduce this product to the world? Of course you send the directly responsible VP, but don't you also send your CEO to make an appearance? Under any other circumstance perhaps Balmer's absence at BUILD is a non-issue. But given the long running rumor of Sinofsky as CEO-in-waiting, no Balmer makes this feel even more like the Sinofsky Show.
Don't get me wrong. There were some great and exciting announcements today. I covered some in my original keynote blog post, and the press and thoroughly covered the rest. It's easy to look at what was said and report it.

But it's just as important to step back and reflect on what we were not "supposed" to think about in the face of the flashy demos and free tablets. What do you think? Are all of these non issues? Are there other important topics missing in the BUILD conversation so far?

Top 10 Moments from BUILD Day 1 Keynote

When a keynote is being streamed live to the interwebs, there's really little point in live blogging. Back when I first started Telerik Watch, live streaming events were very rare, so live blogs made more sense.

That said, if you're like me, sometimes you don't have time to suffer through a 90 minute event just to catch the few bits of interesting news. What you really want is a summary that tells you everything you need to know to capture the overall jist and important news in a few short minutes.

Thus, this post.

Rather than bring you blow-by-blow typed updates as the BUILD Day 1 keynote unfolds, I instead provide an "instant summary" for your easy digestion. I present the "Top 10 Moments" of the first BUILD 2011 keynote (in chronological order).

Top 10 Moments (from my point of view)

  1. Windows 7 usage is now greater than Windows XP
    Good (small, but genuine) applause from crowd. And good to know on the eve of Win8 that the WinXP anchor is dissolving.
  2. Core performance of Windows 8 will be solid (focused on fundamentals)
    First big applause of the keynote. Sinofsky showing-off the performance of Win8 dev preview, consuming nearly half the memory of an equiv Windows 7 setup.
  3. Picture Password
    This "Windows Shake" demo of Windows 8. Unlock your (touch) PC by tapping and swiping on a picture.
  4. Sinofsky takes another dig at Chrome
    "I can't imagine anything better than a 'chrome-free' browsing experience." Haha. Ha.
  5. You Pick the Language you want to build your apps (XAML Lives!)
    XAML fans breath a sigh of relief. New Windows Runtime (WinRT) introduced to support Metro apps that use XAML OR HTML + JavaScript/.NET/Native Code. Unified runtime.
  6. Expression Blend for HTML & CSS
    Huge positive reaction for a new version of Blend that will support HTML and CSS editing.
  7. Windows Store with easy deployment tools from Visual Studio
    One-click deployment of HTML (and XAML) apps to Windows Store from Visual Studio. Transparent app review process. Microsoft will share app approval review tools so everyone can check their own apps before uploading. Windows Store app is built using HTML + JS.
  8. Metrofication of Silverlight XAML apps 
    A new namespace redirects, a handful of build forking for new Win8 APIs, and Silverlight runs natively in new Win8 native XAML. Bringing Silverlight to native Win8 XAML is going to be (at least by keynote demo claims) easy. Same for Windows Phone - one line code change.
  9. Lightning fast Windows 8 cold boot demos & power management
    People loved watching PCs of various specs boot in less than 10 seconds. Big rig booted near instantly. Lesser machines booted closer to 10 seconds. All machines have new "Connected Standby" mode that does an impressive job sipping power when in standby mode (similar to what the iPad does to last forever on standby).
  10. Windows 8 tablet giveaway. The BIG moment.
    As expected, Microsoft announced the giveaway of the Samsung Windows Developer Preview PC, to which the audience provided the expected cheers. Includes Intel Core i5, 1 year of free AT&T 3G, Wacom digitizer, dock with USB port, and on and on...Loaded with Win8 Developer Preview.
  11. [BONUS] Sinofsky shows Windows 8 in normal "professional" use (keyboard/mouse)
    Sexy new task manager, using mouse and keyboard, new control panel (metrofied), one-click PC refresh and reset. Gives a good 20 or 30 minute overview of using Windows through a range of scenarios. This is really what you might consider the "everything else" section of the keynote (multi-monitor support, Explorer changes, updated magnifier, and so on).
  12. [BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE] Sync and Live Apps for Metro Windows
    The Windows Live apps you know now rewritten in HTML and JavaScript for Metro with some Windows Live syncing to manage your settings and preferences. Expanded and more useful SkyDrive for accessing files remotely via Live.
  13. [WHY NOT, ONE MORE] College Interns wrote all of the demo apps for Win8 Preview
    All of the demo apps in Windows 8 were created by Microsoft's college interns. 17 teams, 2 to 3 devs per team, 10 weeks. Microsoft is trying to appeal to the college developer in a big way.
Release Path: Preview (today). Beta. RC. RTM. Then GA. Driving by quality, not by date, so no official release date today. Developer Preview will be "managed" by Microsoft and updated during preview phase. Preview build available tonight at

Final Thoughts and Reactions
What can I say? They keynote largely delivered on expected announcements and was in-line with well established rumor.
  • XAML survives and thrives (stop worrying)
  • HTML/JS are added as new dev models with new and improved tooling (Blend/VS)
  • WinRT provides a new unified API for JS/.NET/Native code apps
  • Metro styling is everywhere and Metro apps are 1st class experience (but not only experience)
  • Win8 hardware is cool and power savvy (and equally ARM and x86 friendly)
  • All BUILD attendees get a Developer Preview tablet
Nothing really came-in as surprising, but Windows 8 features and hardware definitely showed very well. The opening of the keynote was a little rough, but Microsoft found its groove and delivered some exciting news that I think developers are eager to dig-in to.

Of course, Telerik was already well prepared for today's news. We've been preparing all summer for this and we are already prepared to deliver the tools you need for today and tomorrow. Learn more about Telerik's commitment on

What was missing today?
  • Azure
  • Office (no Metro Word...yet...)
  • LightSwitch
  • Silverlight the plug-in (mostly)
  • Partners!
  • In-depth look at new Win8 tools or app runtime
We'll probably get a lot of that tomorrow morning. For now, it's off to sessions and lunch to see how everyone feels about the keynote. What did you think of today's keynote? Are there other "top" moments from the morning?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

HTML5 overload at DevConnections 2011, October 31 to November 3

I am honored to be a speaker for the 2nd time this year at DevConnections, speaking at DevConnections Las Vegas October 31 to November 3rd. At this fall's conference, I will be presenting a lot of content on for ASP.NET developers on HTML5. A lot. Specifically, I'll be doing one full-day pre-con all about HTML5, CSS3, and related web technologies, and then two additional HTML5-focused sessions during the conference. If you're an ASP.NET developer looking for a way to quickly get started with HTML5, this is the perfect conference.

HTML5 Pre-Con Workshop (Monday, Oct 31)
If you are a ASP.NET developer ready to start really working with HTML5, this is a full-day pre-con you don't want to miss. I'll spend a day taking you from "What is HTML5?" to teaching you the essential ins and outs that will help you start adopting HTML5 immediately for website and app development, for both desktop browsers and devices.

A full overview of the workshop is available on the DevConnections website.

Unlike other conference sessions, you must register separately for the pre-con. So if you think the idea of Las Vegas + HTML5 + some really fun learning sounds like a good idea, be sure to include the pre-con in your registration! It'll be a great way to kick-off your week.

Questions about what the workshop will cover? Feel free to contact me or ping me on Twitter (@toddanglin) and I'll be happy to help answer questions before and after the event.

HTML5 Sessions
After the workshop on Monday, I'll be doing two additional HTML5 sessions during the week:
  • Tips & Tricks for Adopting HTML5 Today (Wed, Nov 2 @ 10 AM)
    This is an intensely practical session. If HTML5 seems like a lot of hype to you, like something that's not ready for real world browser use, this is a must-see session. We'll examine the different strategies and techniques that the ASP.NET developer can employ to begin adopting HTML5 and CSS3 today while still maintaining broad browser compatibility. This session is full of practical tips and examples you can begin applying to any HTML5 work you're doing (or want to be doing) now.
  • Doing More with LESS for CSS (Wed, Nov 2 @ 2:15 PM)
    I love this session, and audiences that have attended this session in the past love it, too. LESS is a simple framework that extends the power of CSS to give the language all of the things we wish it had out of the box: variables, nested-rules, mix-ins, and even operations. The cool thing is that this is 100% usable today without an ounce of concern -- LESS outputs plain-old-CSS (POCSS).  This is a huge timesaver for developers adopting CSS3 rules, and a great way to improve CSS maintainability. The session will also introduce ways to easily work with LESS in Visual Studio, as well as ways to quickly deploy in ASP.NET. You'll be disappointed if you skip this session. I promise.
HTML5 Jumpstart
In case you're not seeing the writing on the wall, HTML5 (and related technologies, like CSS and JavaScript) are becoming increasingly important for all developers (not just "web" developers) to learn and master. 
  • Microsoft is backing HTML5 with features in ASP.NET. 
  • Google is backing HTML5 with Chrome OS and the Google Web Store. 
  • Apple has always been a strong proponent of HTML5 (heck, they own 
  • Facebook is rumored to be betting on HTML5 in a major way with a new app platform. 
  • And Amazon recently showed their faith in HTML5 by launching an HTML5-powered Kindle app and music service.
The entire industry seems to understand the importance of HTML5. Do you? Don't get behind and attend my DevConnections HTML5 pre-con workshop and sessions this November!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Windows 8 Isn't for Desktops

Windows 8 Tablet Concept/Mock-upWith BUILD just around the corner, opinions are running high about what next week's Windows 8 unveil will bring. But here's a thought:

Even if Windows 8 is the most awesomest OS you've ever seen, who's going to buy it?

Of course, you, dear geek reader, don't count. You, like me, like to live at the cutting (sometimes bleeding) edge of everything. So outside of developers and geeks, who is the customer for Windows 8?

It Isn't Business

We can safely assume Microsoft's bread-and-butter business customer is not going drive record sales of Windows 8. For starters, much of what's new in Windows 8 is focusing on consumer value and experiences. The new immersive tile UI is cool, but it's probably not what a business wants to put in-front of its call-center/task-driven/Office-addicted employees. In fact, many businesses still would be content with Windows XP if it wasn't now (or almost now) unsupported and unavailable on new PCs, so even the modestly improved "Classic Shell" in Win8 (i.e. Win7-like explorer) offers little incentive to upgrade.

In fact, Windows XP plays a big role in the problem facing Windows 8.

As reported today by Gartner, businesses are suffering "upgrade fatigue" having just finished major upgrades to Windows 7. Due to the utter disaster that was Windows Vista, most businesses skipped that version and upgraded directly from Windows XP to Windows 7. In fact, by Gartner's reporting, 80 percent of companies upgraded from XP to Windows 7. That's an amazing accomplishment for Win7, but a big problem for Win8.

What has Microsoft inadvertently taught companies? You can upgrade your OS every 10 years. No need to incur the pain and costs of upgrading every 2 to 3 years as business used to do in the 90s.

Add to that the slowing hardware cycles in business (which often help usher-in new OSs) and increased push to virtualize the desktop, and it's clear business is not likely to help Windows 8.

It's Isn't Consumers

So if business isn't the customer, it must be consumers, right? Microsoft certainly seems to hope so with a big emphasis on consumer features in Windows 8. But do consumers (non-geek) really buy Windows anymore? Do they buy any operating system, for that matter?

Unlike 1995, when people stood in line to buy copies of Windows 95, the OS in 2011 is a commodity. It's an invisible layer that just comes with a PC, phone, or tablet. With constant crashing and BSODs a thing of the relative past, people have forgotten about the plumbing layer that makes their PC tick.

No, consumers don't buy Windows. They buy new computers, and an OS comes with the computer. But unfortunately for Microsoft, the sales of new computers are starting to fall-off, too. So the primary well through which new versions of Windows are pushed to consumers is starting to dry-up, with the consumer flocking to "cool" Apple hardware and tablets.

And like business, the family PC is lasting longer than it used to these days. Gaming has largely moved to the console (for which Microsoft is getting its share via the Xbox), and browsing the web, checking email, or creating a Office doc just doesn't need more megahertz.

Tablets or Bust

If the neither business or consumer customers are interested in buying an OS, then it's fair to conclude that Windows 8 is not for desktops. Sure, it will trickle-out to desktops via new computer purchases and the lagging corporate giant finally upgrading from XP, but the success of Windows 8 will not come from its traditional home on PCs and laptops.

For Microsoft and Windows 8, it's tablets or bust.

Think the new Metro Tile UI looks a little crazy on a desktop? Fine. Microsoft doesn't care, because it has clearly been designed to make the Windows tablet experience more exciting. You already know what you're going to get (and likely what you want) on a desktop with Windows 8: a lightly improved version of Windows 7. But on a tablet, everyone is ready to be wowed with something radical (and not in the deflating "WOW Starts Now" Vista sense).

That said, consumers still don't buy operating systems.

In this era of tablets, shoppers do not go in search of an "iOS tablet" or an "Android tablet" (see: Google Buys Motorola). Instead they buy the iPad, the Motorola Zoom, or the Samsung Galaxy. They buy the experience, software + hardware.

Who Will Control Microsoft's Fate?

Based on this complete analysis, the success of Windows 8 is going to come down to the hardware Microsoft can bring to market for Windows-powered tablets.

Traditionally, with the exception of Xbox, Microsoft leaves hardware manufacturing to partners. And so far, there's no reason to think Microsoft won't continue to rely on this model with Windows 8 and tablets. But given the unbelievable importance to Microsoft of a successful Windows 8 tablet, which will depend in large part on hardware, is Microsoft ready to leave its fate in someone else's hands?

Look left or look right and Microsoft's peer competitors are all controlling software and hardware:

  • Apple with iOS and the iPad
  • Google with Android and (acquired) Motorola hardware
  • Amazon with custom Kindle Android and assumed tablet hardware

Is it time for Microsoft to pivot and take control of the entire experience? Will Microsoft follow the Google model and acquire a major hardware partner (I wonder who that would be…) while still licensing the OS to the remaining partners?

If there's one announcement not widely rumored for BUILD, I would predict it will revolve around this very issue. And since Microsoft isn't likely to depend on the same partners that have failed to help Windows Phone, maybe BUILD will bring the introduction of the Windows Tablet (Designed by Microsoft in Washington. Assembled in China.).

We'll find out in a few days. Either way, Windows 8 isn't for desktops, it's for tablets.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Post-PC Era is a Myth: Relating the Evolution of Cars to Computers


Cars (or more accurately, motor vehicles) have more in common with computers than you might think. In fact, comparing cars and computers can help settle one of technology's current contentious debates: computer form factors.

Everyone today is raging over the idea that new form factors like tablets and netbooks are the harbingers of the PCs death. Depending on who you talk to (or have to listen to), there is always some new form factor is definitely going to kill another.

"Tablets are replacing laptops."
"Netbooks are the new notebook."
"Phone is the only computing device you need."
"The PC is dead."

It's all nonsense. Nonsense is normal in technology conversation, but a shocking number of decision makers and journalists seem to be buying-in to this notion that we're in the "Post-PC" era. Let's set the record straight.

Evolution of the Car & Computer (in America)

In the beginning there was the Model T, and it came in any color you wanted (as long as that color was black). For cars, Ford's Model T was the IBM PC of it's era. Not the first car, but the first car that brought the technology to the masses, much like IBM did in 1981 with the 8088. Sure, there were cars and computers before the Model T and IBM PC. But just as massive, inefficient steam engines had to give way to internal combustion to propel cars to the people, so too did computers that filled rooms have to give way to the digital desktop.

Early cars and early computers offered little choice for the masses. As their value was more widely recognized, though, the need for new types of cars and computers became clear.

For cars, people recognized that a better form factor was need for doing work. Something less oriented towards carrying people, and more oriented towards moving stuff. Enter the truck. For computers, in a similar vein of needing better machines to focus on work, we introduced servers.

Having proven value for home and work, cars and computers were asked to do more.

Trucks were good for local work and transport, but if something needed to move a long distance, or if cargo was particularly large, we needed a bigger truck. We needed a Semi-Truck (or Tractor Trailer). Big business had the same problem with computers. Powerful server computers were useful, but we needed something beefier, more efficient for the data center. We needed mainframes.

Meanwhile, as society progressed and moved from country farms to cities, car owners started to crave a form factor that offered more than simple utility. They wanted something fast. Something fun. Something designed for driving, not for hauling or ferrying passengers. The result was the introduction of sports cars. Fast, fun, and focused on the driver. Computers made a similar transition as people, now addicted to computing, wanted to take it with them everywhere. The sports car of computers is laptops.

Finally, wrapping-up our brief run through history, we reach an era where new sensitivities are at play.

Fuel is not cheap anymore, and people are starting to think about using form factors that deliver better value. People want cars and computers that are friendly on the wallet, the environment, and even more suited for active, urban lifestyles.

If you're hip, your car is a Smart car and your computer is an iPad.
If you're a geek, your car is a Prius and your computer is a netbook.

Durable Form Factors

One thing we can learn from cars is that the world is big enough to support multiple form factors. In fact, the world needs multiple form factors to accommodate all of the different ways cars are used. Trucks didn't replace cars any more than sports cars replaced the family sedan. Each delivers distinct value, and for some people, that means owning multiple car form factors to cover all motor vehicle needs.

Let's break down the unique value some of the most common car form factors provide:

  • Basic Car/Sedan: Your all purpose car. Good for moving people. Come in variety of sizes (2-door, 4-door, SUV), shape, and power. Some are good enough for basic work; some are just good enough to move you around.
  • Truck: Your simple work vehicle. Better for stuff than for people. If you don't do any work, you probably don't need one.
  • Semi-Truck: Essential for big work where a personal truck just doesn't cut it. Usually owned by businesses, not individuals.
  • Sports Car: For people that just need to drive. Sometimes enough to replace all other cars, especially if you don't need to share your ride with many passengers. If you occasionally need a car for moving stuff or people, this may have to be a second car.
  • Hybrid/Small Car: Gets you from point A to B efficiently. Makes the most of a little gas. Good enough as an only car for some people, but you're up a creek if you need to haul anything. Still proving itself as a viable form factor on the market, but quickly becoming more popular.

Mapping Form Factors: Cars to Computers

The comparisons between cars and computers are so good, it's scary. Let's start by breaking down computer form factors in a similar fashion to cars:

  • Desktop PC: The all purpose computer for consumers. If you need a PC that's equally ready to edit some family videos as it is to browse the web and edit documents, this is the choice. Available in a huge variety of sizes, shapes, and price points.
  • Server: Need a computer that can just serve web pages all day? Need something to hold your source control? You're probably a professional (or professional hobbyist), and you need a computer for hauling bits. You don't need the "all-in-one," you need the 12-core tower.
  • Mainframe: When petaflops are your goal, mainframes are your computers. Certain computing tasks, usually the domain of big business, need a big mainframe for the most efficient processing.
  • Laptop: Good as primary computer for some, but often owned as a second computer to a "all purpose" PC. Laptops can pack all the punch of a PC, but the compact power comes at a premium. Laptops are a bit harder to share as a family computer, but are great for the computer users on the go.
  • Tablet/Netbook: Offering the ultimate in mobility and battery life, tablets are great for consuming digital information. If you need to do a lot of content creation, though, tablets strain. Tablets (and netbooks, to a lesser degree) have quickly become a popular computer form factor, but they are still proving their long-term market viability.

By now, the comparisons should be clearly forming in your head:

  • Basic Car = Desktop PC
  • Truck = Server
  • Semi-Truck = Mainframe
  • Sports Car = Laptop
  • Hybrid = Tablet/Netbook

Whether we're talking cars or computers, each form factor has a place in the world and a group of people that will continue to depend on it.

The "Post-Sports Car" Era

We don't see the media hailing the "Post-Sports Car Era" now that there are new smaller, greener car form factors. We don't see anyone claiming "the Truck is dead."

With cars, which have been part of our lives for nearly 100 years, we know that we need these different types of cars to accomplish different tasks. The introduction of a new type of car doesn't mean the end of what came before.

It's time to learn that lesson with computers.

The introduction of tablets and netbooks will no more kill the desktop PC than laptops have managed to do in their lifetime on the mass market. Will the new form factors change the PC landscape? Yes, definitely! More Americans buy cars than trucks today, but the truck remains a vibrant component of auto sales. The PC may be shuffled and re-balanced with these new form factors, but it will not go away.

Developer Impact

If this is not the "Post-Anything" era, what does that mean for developers trying to write software for computers? Depending on your temperament and situation, it means one of two things:

  • OPPORTUNITY: Different computer form factors have different software needs, which means more opportunity for developers to create more software. If you can embrace the opportunity, equip your toolbox with essential tools, then there is money to be made. The only question is if you'll choose to specialize (like a BMW Mechanic) or be a jack of all form factors.
  • MORE WORK: More form factors does mean than you cannot write software once and be done. Just as the markets for trucks, cars, and hybrids are unique, so are the needs for different computer form factors.

Optimist or Wendy Whiner, developers should prepare for a long-term future filled with different "classes" of computer form factor. Good tools are a way to simplify development targeted at multiple form factors, such as the new Kendo UI tools that can help simplify HTML5 development for touchscreens and keyboard/mouse input. But tools or not, developers would be foolish to buy-in to the notion that any of the common computer form factors on the market today will be "post" any time soon.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that tablets are the death of the PC and we're entering the "Post-PC Era," just remind them that there are still trucks and sports cars on the road.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vote for Telerik in DevProConnections Awards

DPC_VoteNow-2011It's that time of year again. It's time to vote for your favorite Telerik products in the DevProConnections Awards (formerly the aspnetPRO Readers' Choice Awards). This year Telerik is nominated in a staggering 20 categories, a testament to how comprehensive Telerik's approach to software development solutions has become. From Visual Studio add-ins like JustCode to automated QA tools like Test Studio, Telerik is building best-of-breed solutions to help you and your team build better software, faster.

Here's what we need from you:

  1. Visit the DevProConnections Awards Survey
  2. Vote for "Telerik" anywhere you see us nominated!

It's that easy, and we really appreciate the support. Take two minutes and cast your votes today, and then be sure to ask your co-workers to do the same. Who doesn't like helping Ninjas win in online polls and surveys?!

Click here to begin casting your online ballot

If you'd like to study your ballot first, here's the full rundown of Telerik's 2011 nominations:

# Category Telerik Product
01. Add-in Telerik JustCode
02. Charting & Graphics Tool Telerik RadChart for ASP.NET AJAX
03. Community Resource Telerik Community Site
04. Component Set Telerik Ultimate Collection
05. Content Management System Telerik Sitefinity
06. Forum Application Telerik Sitefinity Forums
07. Grid Telerik RadGrid for ASP.NET AJAX
08. Memory Management/Profiling Telerik JustTrace
09. Navigation Control Telerik RadMenu for ASP.NET AJAX
10. Online Editor Telerik RadEditor for ASP.NET AJAX
11. Printing Reporting Tool Telerik Reporting
12. Project Management/Defect Tracking  Telerik TeamPulse
13. Scheduling/Calendar Tool Telerik RadScheduler for ASP.NET AJAX
14. SharePoint Development Tool Telerik AJAX Controls for SharePoint
15. Silverlight Product Telerik RadControls for Silverlight
16. Testing/QA Tool Telerik Test Studio
17. Training Telerik Training
18. Utility Telerik JustDecompile
19. Free Tool Telerik JustDecompile
20. Best Vendor Support Telerik

Got it? Good. Quickly vote before you forget!

Vote for Telerik in DevProConnections Awards 2011 Now

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Understanding the Microsoft Shift on Silverlight and HTML5

evolution-windows-html_xamlAs the old proverb goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. That must be Microsoft’s mantra as it prepares to unveil a new strategy for Windows development at BUILD. It’s hard to fathom that only four years have passed since Microsoft originally introduced Silverlight, but in that short period the world- and Microsoft- have clearly changed. With the rising HTML5 sun on the horizon, Microsoft is signaling a new dawn to its legion of developers.

Microsoft overstepped with Silverlight and HTML5 is the correction. A careful study of Silverlight’s roots makes this clear while simultaneously underscoring the close relationship HTML has with modern Window’s development. No observer of Microsoft history should be surprised by the coming changes to Silverlight or HTML5 in Windows 8.

Let me explain.

The Roots of Silverlight

Rewind your mind to 2003. Windows code named “Longhorn” is generating waves of excitement, showing-off the beautiful successor to XP and promising futuristic new ways for storing files and… a brand new Windows graphics subsystem, codenamed “Avalon.” Avalon eventually progressed to what we know as WPF, but what you may not know is that Avalon’s roots are actually in the web.

Prepare to have your mind blown.

Michael Wallent is not a name you may recognize, but you’ll definitely know the products he has been responsible for during his tenure at Microsoft: Dynamic HTML (IE4), IE5 & IE6, WPF, and ultimately the roots of Silverlight. His background with Internet Explorer and HTML are supremely interesting when overlaid with the foundations of WPF (aka Avalon).

In what should be required viewing for anyone looking to understand Microsoft’s Silverlight story, Michael expounds on the background of Avalon to Tim Sneath in 2006. From the Channel 9 video (emphasis mine):

Michael: “So we finished-up with IE6 in 2001 and we had this real choice: this ‘web-thing’ is really taking-off and we want to make sure we build a platform for that. But we’re not really sure Trident (IE) is going to do it for [Microsoft] because of the scalability issues. And because the programming model between [JavaScript] and C++ is dramatically different and fraught with security issues. And [Trident] just doesn’t scale to meet the problems we needed to solve. It doesn’t do a great job with media. It does an okay job with UI stuff. But we felt in many ways we were limited with [what we could do with Trident].”

“So we said, “Hey, we’re going to start this new project, code named Avalon.” We started it towards the end of 2000, beginning of 2001 to try to build a web client platform that was a follow-on to Trident, but something that was modern that we could really build Windows on top of, not just “dancing hamster” websites.”

Wait, what? That’s right! The roots of WPF are in a project that originally aimed to create a new, modern web client that Windows could be built on. HTML5 in Windows 8 is already sounding less crazy. More from the interview:

Tim Sneath: “When you started Avalon, was that really your goal to replace or supplant the web as we know it today? Or was it a contextual background [for the project]?”

Michael: “You know, “replace” is such a nasty word. I think what we were looking at at that time was that people wanted to build richer applications. And there wasn’t really a good way to do it. HTML is great for a lot of stuff. Nobody loves HTML and dynamic HTML more than me…but the fact is, there are some types of applications that you see people today where they fall off a cliff…what can we do to create a better seamless experience?”

I think the market recognizes that HTML is good for some stuff, and then to go to the next step, you need other runtimes, because these HTML runtimes, coming from their SGML background, only can do so much. And you can’t push them too far or you’re not going to get a great user experience.”

Okay…so Avalon didn’t exactly aim to “replace” the web as we know it, but it clearly had the ambitions to take the web further. In fact, Michael goes on:

Tim: (paraphrasing) To go back to the genesis of Avalon, how did it incubate from that stage of recognizing the problems with HTML to a team of 100?

Michael: “Basically what happened is that we had a set of really smart folks working on Internet Explorer, and another set of smart folks working on the internals of Windows itself. And we merged those two teams together to create the Avalon team. So we thought it was the best of Windows, best of the web.”

And the veil continues to lift. The roots of WPF (and ultimately Silverlight) are in a project that literally merged Internet Explorer devs with Windows client devs, with heavy influence from HTML. And who had to bless this radical new “integrated platform” (Web/Windows) approach? Who do you think? From the video:

Tim: “Who did you have to persuade to build this team? What kind of buy-in did you have get internally to turn this in to a reality?”

Michael: “Basically, Bill [Gates].”

Tim: “You went and pitched him?”

Michael: “Many times. Many times. We effectively had a charter when we merged the Trident team with the User and DUser teams together to build the Windows platform.”

That explains (in part) why there were no new versions of IE for five years after IE6. It also underscores how significant this new “integrated” (web and Windows) platform decision was 10 years ago. It required approval from the top.

Digesting the Avalon Background

What do we ultimately learn from the Avalon interview with Michael:

  1. Avalon (and in turn WPF and Silverlight) has strong connections to HTML and the web
  2. Avalon was created because IE6-era HTML couldn’t meet the needs of Microsoft to build Windows (especially around media)
  3. Avalon was hugely impacted by Microsoft’s new (at the time) bet on managed code (.NET), which is one of the primary reasons Avalon did not use XHTML for markup.
  4. Windows, at least in concept, is built on an “evolved” web client platform

Bottom line: The Windows we know today already is heavily inspired by the web and HTML. The idea of Windows 8 integrating HTML5 for Windows development is nothing new. It’s just a new take on a 10-year-old concept.

The Silverlight Connection

When Avalon became WPF and shipped with Vista, Microsoft ushered in its rich new “evolved web client” platform for Windows development. That made sense.

Then Microsoft introduced WPF/e (e = everywhere), aka Silverlight. What started as a “merged” platform that combined the “best of the web with the best of Windows” was coming full circle in Silverlight and preparing to (in Microsoft’s view) replace the web as we know it (borrowing Tim’s words).

But the web of 2007 was very different from the web circa 2001 that inspired the roots of Silverlight. Browsers were evolving again. Standards were rapidly evolving to eliminate long-standing shortcomings. And perhaps most importantly, internet access was beginning to shift from Windows/Mac PCs to a world of multi-platform devices being lead by the iPhone.

Rather than read the writing on the wall and return to the tried-and-true Microsoft strategy of “embrace and extend,” Microsoft plowed ahead with their own custom approach to web application delivery.

Fast forward a few years and we find a developer community confused by the relationship of WPF to Silverlight. We find a Microsoft recommitted to the web via a reinvigorated IE development team. And we find a world where plug-ins are increasingly taking a backseat role to web application development.

Enter HTML5

Imagine how Windows might be different today if HTML5 had existed at the time of Avalon’s design. Given that the creators of Avalon were so inspired by the web, had the web of 2001 looked more like the web of 2011, maybe Vista would have ushered in an even more web-like development model that’s now being assumed to be part of Windows 8. And if that had happened, the conditions that created Silverlight would have never existed.

That’s not to say that XAML would never have existed (though clearly it would have evolved differently). What Michael says is true: HTML is great for some stuff, then other runtimes are needed to go further. Windows still needs its rich, native development environment. XAML provides that, and it will in Windows 8 and probably Windows 9.

What we don’t need is a replacement for the web. Michael knew better than to call Avalon a replacement, and Microsoft has now learned that lesson with Silverlight. Instead, with Windows 8 and HTML5, Microsoft is returning to the “embrace and extend” strategy that has served it well over the years, and re-calibrating what it means to create an OS that merges “the best of the web with the best of Windows.”

HTML5 in Windows is Not Radical

Despite the media and developer reaction to the early Windows 8 discussion of HTML5, the idea of Windows embracing web technologies for native client development is not radical. As you’ve seen in my documentation of Avalon’s evolution, the idea has been floating around Microsoft for at least a decade, and arguably for even longer than that (many of the anti-trust claims against Microsoft revolved around their deep integration of IE in to Windows in the early ‘90s).

Windows 8 and HTML5 are simply a re-focusing of this long-standing strategy, and it represents a “correction” by Microsoft to properly acknowledge HTML5 as the technology for the web, and XAML as the technology for Windows.

Microsoft “overreached” when it tried to make its “native” platform technology an equally suitable cross-platform, cross-device, “web replacement” platform. There are simply too many platforms and devices for Microsoft to attain that position. Instead, in September Microsoft will re-cast XAML as the solution for when HTML5 is just not enough, while simultaneously embracing more of HTML5 for “near native” Windows development.

Telerik Insurance

It goes without saying, but Telerik is insurance for perceived risk in Microsoft platforms. If XAML continues to be the platform that makes sense for your applications, Telerik will continue to be the premiere provider of XAML tools. If HTML5 and JavaScript make more sense for your next generation of “Windows” development, the new Kendo UI framework is worth investigation. Either way, Telerik, to paraphrase a customer, has your back.

Microsoft can’t replace the web, but that’s okay. With renewed clarity on where “native Windows development” and “native web development” meet, Microsoft and Windows 8 promise to usher in an era of clear developer direction and simplified Microsoft development decisions. Ultimately, what should now be obvious is that the “grand shift” Microsoft will discuss in Anaheim is nothing new. And with that perspective, you can start planning for the future with more confidence while Microsoft does a quick “take 2” on merging the web and Windows.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Telerik batch installer script for Q2 2011

powershell-telerikReady to update your dev system to Q2 2011 bits from Telerik? Not ready to manually run 12 different MSI installers? No problem. I've updated the simple PowerShell batch installer script that will perform the following actions for you:

  1. Locate and uninstall any previous Telerik product installs
  2. Locate and install any Telerik MSI installers downloaded to your system
    • By default, the script looks for installers in this path:
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Telerik\Downloads\Q2 2011

That's about it. Plain. Simple. Saves you time, and in about 20 minutes or so (for a system with everything) Telerik installed, you'll have all of the Q1 2011 bits uninstalled, and all of the Q2 2011 bits installed. You can learn more about the original script and how to execute it with PowerShell in the original blog post from late 2010.

What about a "unified" installer from Telerik that can do this (and more) for you? It's in the works, so stay tuned. In the mean time, enjoy the Q2 2011 bits and updated batch installer!

Download the updated Q2 2011 batch installer script (ZIP)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Q2 2011 has arrived!


Time flies when you’re having fun, producing best-in-class software. Four months have quickly passed since the official Q1 2011 release, and today it's time to welcome Telerik’s Q2 2011 release to the world! Telerik's second major release of 2011 is loaded with improvements across the board, shipping updates for 14 different products today. It's a feat of incredible planning and process (thanks, TeamPulse!) to consistently ship simultaneous updates on this scale, not to mention incredible, high-quality product engineering.

With Q2 2011, Telerik solidifies its position as your developer toolbox provider for any development platform future. Whether you choose to invest in XAML, AJAX, HTML5, or WinForms, Telerik provides a toolbox that has what you need. Here are some of the ways we're helping you embrace the future in Q2 2011:

  1. XAML: New Metro Theme for Silverlight, WPF (and WinForms) Controls
    As Microsoft's Metro UI increasingly becomes the new "standard" for Windows experience, you need tools that help deliver that experience to customers. With the new Metro theme for the RadControls for Silverlight, WPF, and WinForms, you can start building those experiences today and begin impressing customers (even if you're sticking with the tried-and-true WinForms platform).
  2. HTML5: New HTML5-powered Data Visualizations
    Introduced in the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC, Telerik is re-investing in data visualization for ASP.NET MVC with the new HTML5-powered Charts. Rendered with SVG and VML for broad browser compatibility, the new Charts help you easily adopt HTML5 without worrying about older browsers.
  3. DATA: New OpenAccess ORM Profiler
    With this release, we're helping you eliminate the ORM "black box" by providing the new OpenAccess ORM Profiler. This standalone tool makes it easy to see and understand the SQL generated by an OpenAccess application, and quickly tune OpenAccess for maximum performance. Just another example of how Telerik goes beyond the basics to address all the challenges of software development.

Of course, there is much, much more happening in Q2 than these three highlights. Other significant things you'll find in Q2 2011:


  • Official v1 release!
  • New Post-Beta Features: Support for IIS Express, Compare Snapshots, Auto-update support (so expect more improvements to keep coming)


  • Milestone Beta 2 release!
  • New Since Beta 1: Decompiling to VB.NET & MSIL, Extract Resources, BAML to XAML


  • 6 new quick hints, 4 new code generation features, 3 new code nav features, 2 new refactorings, (and a partridge in a pear tree…)


  • 2 New Controls: RadImageEditor & RadWebAlert
  • 4 new common skins


  • 1 New Control: HTML5-powered Chart
  • 3 new common skins
  • Major improvements to Grid client-side features (sorting, paging, filtering, grouping)

XAML (Silverlight/WPF)

  • 7 New Controls: BreadCrumb, ImageEditor, PropertyGrid, PersistenceFramework, TreeMap, PivotMap, & DataServiceDataSource


  • 3 New Controls: Chart, Calendar, & BusyIndicator
  • New "ToDo" sample app with source


  • 3 New Controls: ListView, PropertyGrid, RichTextEditor (Beta)


  • New Profiler (of course)
  • New ADO.NET API (very cool - join the webinars to see it in action)
  • Updated VS wizards and Fluent Mapping API


  • Huge optimizations for huge reports

And even that is just scratching the surface! Check-out more by visiting the official "What's New" landing page on

Clearly, Q2 2011 is a huge release, but by now I hope you've come to expect this from Telerik. No tools provider works harder to ship three major, high-quality updates every year, and we thank you, our passionate customers, for helping us continue to reach new levels of success.

Next Steps

Now that Q2 2011 is here, we need you to do three simple things:

  1. Download the Q2 2011 bits from and start enjoying the improvements
  2. Register for the Q2 2011 Webinar Week (starting on Monday) to learn more about Q2
  3. Tell a friend about Q2 2011 on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook!

Enjoy the release and stay tuned for more Q2 2011 news and updates.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Q2 2011 Webinar Week Info

q2-2011-webinar-weekWith the arrival of Q2 2011 comes the need to master a whole new round of Telerik product updates and new controls. Fortunately, there is a Webinar Week for that, packed with 10 live events designed to help you quickly navigate what's new. Each event focuses on a different area of the Telerik Toolbox, except the Friday event, which will help connect the dots between Telerik products and show you how everything can work together to build more "real world" applications.

The Q2 Webinar Week kicks-off on Monday, July 18 at 11:00 AM Eastern. Every day, except Friday, there are two webinars: one at 11:00 AM, and another with new content at 2:00 PM. All webinars are being recorded, too, so if you can't attend one of the live events, you'll be able to get the recording on Telerik TV.

Here's the schedule for the week:

MONDAY, July 18

  • [11:00 AM] What's New Q2 Overview & Data Tools
  • [02:00 PM] What's New for Windows Phone

TUESDAY, July 19

  • [11:00 AM] What's New for Web Developers (AJAX/MVC)
  • [02:00 PM] What's New in Telerik Test Studio


  • [11:00 AM] What's New for XAML Developers (SL/WPF)
  • [02:00 PM] What's New for Desktop Developers (WinForms)


  • [11:00 AM] What's New for Productivity Tools (JT/JC/JM/JD)
  • [12:00 PM] What's New in TeamPulse R2 2011 Beta [*Bonus Event]
  • [02:00 PM] Introduction to Sitefinity eCommerce

FRIDAY, July 22

  • [11:00 AM] Putting It All Together: Evolving Conference Junkie

Fortunately, we've also finally created a way to enable you to register for all of these webinars with a single registration form! No more repetitive registrations. Just visit the Telerik Webinars page, check the boxes next to the webinars you want to attend, and then submit the common registration form. Boom! You're registered for the Q2 2011 Webinar Week.

We can't wait to show-off all of the new stuff so you can start using it in your projects. Register today and we'll see you on Monday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Slides from My Summer HTML5 Sessions (so far)

html5-megaphoneIt's been an unusually busy summer for me and conferences. Where I normally take a break from conference travel, I found myself spanning the United States in June, with quick stops at the SoCal Code Camp in San Diego, the huge ASP.NET Users Group in Dallas, and the inaugural MADExpo in Virginia. Fortunately, at each stop the focus of my sessions was the same: HTML5.

I've been "preaching" and teaching HTML5 concepts for nearly 2 years now, so it's fun to see the industry catching-up. It's always a good feeling to be ahead of a curve instead of behind it! But if you're just jumping in to HTML5, don't dismay. It's still very early in the HTML5 technology curve, and getting started now will set you up to be an expert as the technology matures.

For those of you that attended my sessions at any of the conferences this summer, thanks for choosing to attend! Hopefully you got some value out of our brief conversations and are now energized to learn HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. As promised (albeit a bit belated), slides from those sessions are available below. Enjoy the resources and stay tuned for more more HTML5 content in the very near future!

(Oh! And don't forget about and @htmlUI. I'll be updating this resource significantly very soon, so bookmark for lots of great HTML5 resources.)

The Rich Standard: Getting Familiar with HTML5

Doing More with LESS for CSS

HTML5 for Tablets and Mobile

HTML5 and CSS3 Techniques You Can Use Today (v2)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

JustDecompile continues to evolve

JustDecompileIt's only been a few weeks since we introduced the JustDecompile beta to massive online audiences, and in the time that has passed JustDecompile has been downloaded thousands of times. The early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we're happy that the community is as excited as we are to rethink the free .NET assembly browser and decompiler. You can join in the conversation and share your ideas by visiting the official JustDecompile UserVoice page today.

JustDecompile has already been updated a few times since the original beta, adding new functionality, improving performance, and refining decompiled code output. This is an ongoing process, but we hope that the early and frequent access to new bits helps you get the most out of JustDecompile and encourages you to stay engaged in the beta.

Latest Updates

This week, JustDecompile received another round of updates, building on the improvements introduced around the time of TechEd. Full release notes are available online, but I thought I'd highlight some of the things now in JustDecompile that were not in the original beta release:

  • Support for decompiling to VB (in addition to C#)
  • Support for processing variable names from PDB symbols (when available)
  • Ability to customize code viewer fonts, colors, and sizes
  • Support for viewing (and saving) assembly resources
  • Tool tips that display the full type name
  • Better decompiling support for:
    • nested types
    • anonymous delegates
    • lock statements
    • yield statements
    • generics
  • Improved installer

Clearly, this is all in addition to work on memory optimization, and lots of little things being done to improve the product. In the list above, four of the major items (all italicized) are a result of direct feedback through UserVoice! We're listening and improving quickly based on your input, so don't miss your chance to help shape the JustDecompile roadmap.

Custom Colors

One of the new features in the latest release is support for customizing the Code Viewer fonts, colors, and sizes. JustDecompile now provides a simple, interactive dialog, complete with a color picker, for customizing the colors for various code "tokens," along with support for adjusting the font and font size. There are two themes built-in to JustDecompile today: the default and a theme called VibrantInk (essentially, a dark background theme).

Any customizations you make to the theme are saved in the JustDecompile settings file (located in the JustDecompile AppData folder). So, while today's beta lacks the ability to easily add or share custom themes, you can directly modify the Settings.xml file to directly "import" your own custom theme.


For an example, I've created a simple theme that simulates the code viewer stylings of Reflector 6.5 (yellow background, Segoe UI font, etc.). You can use this "theme" by simply replacing the <CodeViewSettings> XML in your settings file with the following:

File: C:\Users\{your username}\AppData\Roaming\JustDecompile\Settings.xml

<Name>Key Word</Name>
<Name>Write Usage</Name>
<Name>Read Usage</Name>
<Name>None Usage</Name>
<FontFamilyName>Segoe UI</FontFamilyName>


Reflector Lists

One final JustDecompile highlight. If you've built-up a library of Reflector assembly lists over the years and want to bring those over to JustDecompile, one of the Telerik product team devs has created a simple WPF tool to help you do just that. You kind find the simple import utility on his blog and start enjoying your Reflector lists in JustDecompile today.

Keep enjoying the JustDecompile beta and stay tuned for more updates. Another refresh is just around the corner!