Now sitting here at LAX and reflecting over what we have experienced during the PDC 2008 the last few days. We learned a lot about technical stuff and what’s growing up in Redmond, but I think the most important stuff is what’s happening to the software business in large. With Windows Azure as the first large scale service host and with the number of online services that Microsoft will release in the upcoming years we have a real challenge to adapt to these new business models.
When .NET 2.0 was introduced, quite a long time ago, the whole System.Xml namespace was re-written, due to the poor performance of the System.Xml implementation. Despite the fact that the CLR 2.0 has been around for a few years there are still implementations using CLR 1.x and especially the XSL transformation bits, since that part is completely re-written and marked as obsolete. But note that they are only being marked as obsolete!
A few months ago I wrote about the Architecture Journal Reader, a great demonstration app for a “occasionally-connected” Windows Presentation Foundation, WPF, application. I asked for source code and more samples like this, and sometimes dreams come true. Today Tim Sneath announced the public availability of a News Reader SDK and a Syndicated Client Experiences (SCE) Starter Kit and source code for it. At the same time the team created a MSDN Magazine reader application using the starter kit.
Microsoft has released a new Windows Presentation Foundation demo sample that is a reader application for The Architecture Journal. The Architecture Journal is a quarterly online magazine focused on IT-architecture and contains nice articles and gives you some good reading. It is available online and as PDF (why not XPS?). The Architecture Journal Reader is a WPF sample, very much like the New York Times Reader that was one of the first killer-apps for WPF, that you can use for offline reading of The Architecture Journal.
This part of the Dissecting XPS series will introduce the XPS parts of the Microsoft.NET 3.0 framework and where you should look to get started creating XML Paper Specification documents. Windows Presentation Foundation, WPF The XPS classes is a part of the Windows Presentation Foundation, WPF, and is found under the System.Windows.Xps namespace. The Open Packaging Convention classes, used to manipulate the packages is found under the System.IO.Packaging namespace. To get you started with creating XPS documents with the .
I initially had some trouble installing Microsoft Silverlight on Windows Vista. It all installed perfectly without any warnings (not during setup nor in the Windows logs), but I could not get the Silverlight 1.0 beta applications to run. I guess that it had something to do with having installed WPF/E betas installed. To get it to work this is what I did… 1: Start a command prompt using elvated privilegies
This part in the Dissecting XPS series will take off were we ended part 3, by looking into how the actual content is marked up. The content is contained in the FixedPage element and it is marked up by three different elements the Path element which specified a geometry filled with a brush the Glyphs element which represents text the Canvas element which groups elements together The Path element The Path element is used to specify a geometry shape and optionally fill it using a brush.
Just a few days ago Microsoft Epression Blend RC was released and now Expression Design beta 2 is available for download. The first beta of Design was a real disappointment for me, since all pixel editing and all Live Effects was removed. Beta 2 is still only vector editing but the Live Effects are there. The focus seems to be the Design/Blend/XAML/WPF integration to start with, which is fine but the technical previews of Design (then called Interactive Designer) really had it wen you could combine vector and pixel layers.
Today I start my two weeks vacation and I thought I should summarize this year. The year of 2006 has been characterized, for me, as the year of Betas and Technology Previews. I have been trying to involve myself as much as possible in the all the goodies flowing out of Redmond. Microsoft has released numerous amount of new applications and upgrades. Internet Explorer 7 The new version of Internet Explorer is the application this year that will have most impact in the short run on users.
I have created a free web application that converts an RSS feed into an XPS document at http://www.rss2xps.com/. You are free to use it and test it. The application is in beta and will continously improve over the time. I would appriciate any feedback or feeds that will not just work. Update: if the .com address does not work for, you can use http://www.rss2xps.se/ instead.
The Panel is a site, by Microsoft, with projects focused on the Windows Vista Presentation Foundation and XAML. The site will feature applications and source code for these techniques to show how you can design and implement nice applications for Windows and Live Gadgets. Currently there are some Live Gadgets available as well as a nice 3D RSS Reader called UniveRSS. Feeds are displayed as rotating boxes in a “galaxy” in which you can move around.
Microsoft today announced huge changes to the Microsoft Expression suite. Expression Studio Expression Studio is a new member of the Expression suite and is a suite of tools for building web sites and Windows client programs and rich media content. The Expression Studio consits of the four core Expression products; Web, Blend, Design and Media. Expression Design Expression Design, formerly known as Graphics Designer, has come in yet another CTP. The big news here is a complete new user interface, at first glance it looks much better than the old one.
The Microsoft.NET Framework 3.0, or just .NET 3.0, has been released by Microsoft as well as the Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET 3.0 and the .NET 3.0 SDK. The downloads are available for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista where applicable. The .NET 3.0 is .NET 2.0 extended with new technologies such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows CardSpace.
XPS (XML Paper Specification) is an electronic paper format and is competing with Adobes PDF. Since Microsoft is forced to withdraw the function of publishing to PDF from Office 2007 the XPS will be more widely adopted. Read more about it here; Adobe PDF vs Microsoft XPS. Windows Vista will include a XPS reader, but if you already now get XPS files you can download either the WinFX runtime components or the XPS Essentials Pack (beta).
There are a lot of downloads today; the new CTP of Microsoft Expression Graphics Designer was announced today. You can download it here. There are also a new CTP of the Interactive Designer. I did some initial tests by exporting images to Gif and Jpegs - and it seems to work much better now, great!!! Remember to download WinFX Beta 2!