Sunday, January 28, 2007

Learning Windows Presentation Foundation

I'm working on a prototype of a touch screen application, and we've chosen Windows Presentation Foundation as the technology of choice to develop it.

I'm sort of leading the programmer’s team, so I figured I should become a referent in the technology, and decided to learn WPF as best as I could. I had no previous experience with flash or any similar graphical programming model.

I downloaded Microsoft Expression Blend (what's the deal with the black theme), the necessary extensions for Visual Studio, and the SDK for Vista. At the beginning I wanted to dive into samples (the complex ones) and code straight away, thinking hey this is just C# and some xml intuitive markup, right?

Well, true, but if you take into account that most "source code" is declared in xaml, meaning is not an imperative programming model you have to grasp, and that this xaml is meant to be edited in IDEs targeted for designers, with a totally different mindset, you'll find that you end up scuba diving in heaps of xaml of samples without advancing much in the learning process.

Ok, this is when I realized that I should start from the beginning (RTFM man) which in this case turned out to be the documentation that comes with the Windows Vista SDK. Starting from XAML Syntax.

After reading and understanding the basic concepts, like: attribute element property syntax, dependency properties, styles, control templates, controls and animations everything became much easier, I stopped feeling like I was struggling with the platform, and development started to flow.

Is like if someone took html and flash altogether, and merged them with a .net object model, which obviously for a .net programmer is basically great, since it can create flash-like user interfaces without leaving the dark side of the force.

In the bright side of WPF is the potential to create much better user interfaces, and user experiences (as they called them now), and the ability to integrate better the work of developers and designers since now both work on a same xaml artifact (talking of this, lack of Blend integration with VSS is an issue).

The downside is maybe the loss of productivity in programmers, the possibilities are greater but so are the costs. I've found myself working directly with xaml most of the time, and xml programming is verbose, plus Blend is still buggy (is ok, it's a beta).

It shouldn't be very difficult to create xhtml to xaml mappings and vice versa, I think there are some implementations out there of this, but I guess the challenge and the profit maybe, lies in the flash to WPF migration.

Wrapping it up, I've developed some samples and I'll be posting them in a WPF & XAML Samples blog I've created. Check it out!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Upgrading to Blogger Beta

I've finally upgraded my biggest, and most popular blog to blogger beta, with a new and updated version of the template. I've had to resort to all sort of html hacks to get all the features I had running up in the new version.

What is annoying me the most about the new version, is this:

Im getting it everynow and then, is anybody having the same problem?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Yet another hit counter, and visitors tracker

Last weekend I developed a modest hit counter, and visitors tracker for websites, and published it as a sourceforge project.

I´ve been toying with the idea for a year now, until I decided to do it. In fact the sourceforge project was created months ago, but went through a series of name changes.

Naming sourceforge projects is like naming a blog, it shouldn't be difficult yet I find myself pondering a lot about the most suitable name, thinking about the implicancies of every candidate, and what types of audiences it would bait.

Initially it was mean to be Website Detective, now it's just IntraNET Tracker. I'm not entirely happy with the final choice, it's just not catchy.

Anyway, if you need a hit counter for you intranet, or even for your site in the internet, and you have the infrastructure to host it in Windows based servers, then it may come handy.

ok, now go use it

ADSL ANTEL y Frank Sinatra

La gente de ANTELDATA el proveedor por excelencia de ADSL de Uruguay, brinda un servicio 24x7 de soporte para la gestión de reclamos.

Desgraciadamente tuve que utilizarlo por segunda vez en seis meses, el pasado viernes, dado que fallecio mi modem adsl. Mi experiencia anterior entre pitos y flautas me mantuvo una semana sin internet.

Algo que me parece muuy comico, al llamar al telefono indicado, cuando te dejan en espera, se escucha una tonada, que corresponde ni mas ni menos que a MI WAY de Frank Sinatra. Estamos de acuerdo que es muy comico. En plan, quejate todo lo que quieras, pero al final las cosas se hacen a mi modo, al modo ADSL Antel.

sin mas, salutes