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Adding some style to the loading screen…

There is a simple little feature available in Silverlight that I think everyone should use, or at least more or less everyone. It is the possibility of adding a custom loading screen that will be shown while the plug-in downloads the Xap. It is simple to implement and gives your application that little extra to make it stand out. If you look at Flash for example, you will see that every Flash application has its own loading screen. During the time that the application downloads, you can display how much has been downloaded, but you can also give the user something to look at or even do. My favorite loaders the ones that gives you a simple game to play with while the application loads. This however, is only useful if the application is really big. And in that case, I would recommend splitting up the application in smaller pieces and load them on demand. Anyhow, how do we do it?

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Posted: Aug 31 2009, 07:33 by ZeroKoll | Comments (0) |
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Adding transitions when changing DataContext

I have several times gotten in a discussion regarding the visual aspects around changing the DataContext. That sounds like a really interesting discussion, doesn’t it…? Well, why is it a discussion at all, why is it something that I even bother writing about (just wait until you see the amount of code I have written as well)? Well…as you might have noticed in my previous posts, data bindings are very central in Silverlight development. At least if you do it like I do it. And that means that we work quite a lot with the DataContext of different controls. And out of the box, changing the DataContext will update all the binding, which is exactly what we want. But what happens when we DON’T want the change to be instantaneous? What if we want to add some form of transition? Well…as far as I know, you are %$@ out of luck. That is why I decided to try and build something that can do it for us…in a nice re-usable package…

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Posted: Aug 25 2009, 10:13 by ZeroKoll | Comments (2) |
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Live Writer plug-in for code snippets

I just remembered that I just HAVE to recommend this great plug-in for Windows Live Writer. It is the plug-in I use to add code snippets to my blog posts. There are a few things design wise I would probably want to be able to change. For example being able to turn off the scrollbars and show all the code formatted straight up in a nice way. But except those minor things, it is a great plug-in. You can find more info about it here and download it here.

If you know any REALLY good plug-ins for code blogging, don’t hesitate adding a comment about it. I’d love to find more goodies…I just don’t have time to go looking for them…

Posted: Aug 25 2009, 10:10 by ZeroKoll | Comments (0) |
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Using DataTemplates in custom controls

I found this question on the Silverlight forum today (it might be “the other day” since I don’t know if I will even be able to publish this today) that I wanted to answer by creating a post. Why not just point towards someone else’s blog? Well…I tried that…but I couldn’t find one by doing a couple of simple Googlings (I love that new word…I will keep it and nurture it)…so I came to the conclusion that if it is that hard to find the information, it needs to made more available…on my blog…

So..what was the question? Well, the guy wanted to know how to use templates in a custom control. That sounds like a pretty simple request. There has to be lots of information available about this…well…not really apparently. In general I would recommend reflectoring it, but in this case I felt it was better to explain. So here we go…

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Posted: Aug 03 2009, 13:26 by ZeroKoll | Comments (10) |
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My thoughts about Expression Blend 3, aka Blend rant

I want to start off this blog post with saying that I love Expression Blend! I have only used Blend 2 SP 1 before today, but I love the idea, the interface and the program in general. But in Blend 2, there were a few things I missed. The most obvious flaw in Blend 2 is the missing intellisense. It also expected me to do ALL my coding in VS, which to be perfectly honest is a good thing. Coding should not be done in Blend. Blend is the tool for the interaction designer, or possibly the “devigner” and not for the developer.

But this is where I start getting a little ambivalent. I want to be a good developer and say that that is the way that I generally do my Silverlight problems. The developer doing the coding in VS and the designer doing the layout on Design and then the interaction designer/”devigner” putting it all together in Blend. Unfortunately that doesn’t add up in my world…sorry Microsoft…I love the idea, but in my world it doesn’t work, even though I wished it did.

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Posted: Aug 02 2009, 10:07 by ZeroKoll | Comments (3) |
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Bindings, the glue that connects the view to the viewmodel part 2 (and apparently a bunch of data validation information)

Welcome back! Or possible Welcome! Sort of depends on if you saw my previous post… Anyhow, you have probably figured out that it is time to go on with even more binding information. In the previous we looked at the basic binding syntax and functionality. So, what’s left? Well, a bunch of small, medium and large details…

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Posted: Jul 27 2009, 12:33 by ZeroKoll | Comments (0) |
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Bindings, the glue that connects the view to the viewmodel part 1

If you have read anything I have written in the past, you are probably familiar with the fact that I am a huge fan of MVVM. There will have to be a lot of convincing before anyone gets me to switch pattern when working with Silverlight. There are several things one must learn and understand before one can use MVVM well.

There is the obvious part of learning the actual pattern and how it works. Learning how to build a good viewmodel, which is dependent on the data model and time and other circumstances. I know that there are a lot of people out there, especially bloggers, that will tell you that you have to build something according to this or that and be a true purist to be a good developer. However, a lot of these people forget that most of us do actually have clients that don’t feel like spending 2 months or $10.000 just to get it to be a perfect solution. In most cases one must adhere to this and make the best of the situation.

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Posted: Jul 23 2009, 08:59 by ZeroKoll | Comments (2) |
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HtmlPage.PopupWindow is flawed in IE

Or at least in IE 8. I haven’t been able to try this in IE 7 or even the dreaded IE 6, but it is flawed in my browser. If you try opening a new window by calling HtmlPage.PopupWindow and try to have it resizable it does not make it resizable. (BTW, Silverlight calls the property Resizeable, while Live Writer tells me it should be spelled Resizable…hmm…I’m Swedish, but that gives me mixed signals…)

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Posted: Jul 17 2009, 06:12 by ZeroKoll | Comments (2) |
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Silverlight 3 issue with transparency and effects

I had this application that I had built for Microsoft while Silverlight 3 was still in beta. And then when SL  3 went RTW, a feature stopped working. Or as I found out, stopped working partly. After a bit of fiddling, I found a way around it, but it is still annoying. This is the story of finding my first Silverlight 3 RTW issue…

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Posted: Jul 17 2009, 05:32 by ZeroKoll | Comments (2) |
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www.office2010themovie.com is now live

The last week and a half, I have together with a handful of people at Intergen, built a new Silverlight site for Microsoft. I call it a Silverlight site instead of a Silverlight application, since it is actually an entire site. We created the whole experience inside Silverlight instead of having Silverlight “islands” on AJAX/HTML page. The project has been intense and fun. It is kind of interesting to see how much you can get done in such a short timeframe.

On Thursday the 2nd we had more or less nothing but a few line drawings from our design guy Dave. At the end of Friday, we had a skeleton, that is a more or less fully functional site without any layout. ListBoxes on a white page just showing that the data was coming from over the wire from our WPF services.

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Posted: Jul 14 2009, 09:14 by ZeroKoll | Comments (1) |
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