Presenting Rx and Windows Phone 7 at Mix

Slalom Consultant Jim Wooley

Slalom Consultant Jim Wooley is a frequent speaker, member of the INETA Speaker Bureau, MVP, and author of "LINQ in Action". He is always striving to stay at the forefront of technology and enjoys the thrill of a new challenge.

I’m happy to have been selected to speak at MIX this year. This is an exciting conference combining developers and designers and focusing on increasing application User Experiences. The focus of my talk will be to show some practical uses of Rx in the context of the Windows Phone 7. If you’re going to attend MIX, I would love to see you at this session. Otherwise, the sessions are typically recorded. I’ll add a link to the recording once it becomes available. Here’s the session description as it’s listed on the Mix website:

Rx: A Library for Managing Asynchronous Data and Events in your Windows Phone 7 Application

Lagoon B on Tue, Apr 12 3:30 PM4:30 PM

How do you manage the dizzying array of input sources, ranging from traditional UI events and external service requests to new user interface touch gestures and device sensor detections, while keeping your Silverlight and Phone applications responsive? In this session, you’ll discover how the Reactive Extensions (Rx) library simplifies the programming model by letting you declaratively compose increasingly complex Jim Wooley at MIX11asynchronous operations over these diverse data sources. We will demonstrate some practical uses of Rx for Windows Phone 7 by building a dice playing game including responding to user interactions, creating gestures from the device’s sensors, and making Asynchronous service calls. In the end you’ll learn how to coordinate pushing data around using Rx.

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Five great things about developing for Windows Phone 7—and five things that should be in the next release

Slalom Consultant Rob Howard

Rob Howard is a software developer and part of Slalom's National Mobility Team charged with putting emerging technologies to work in business.

In the past few months I’ve gotten a chance to write a couple of applications for Windows Phone 7.  Some of the concepts in the development environment, both new and old, were executed very well.  I was able to create some powerful features in these apps that would have been difficult for other mobile platforms.  Here is a list of five of those things that I would like to give the people on the Windows Phone 7 development team kudos for:

Portability of Skills

Anyone that has written code for the web in Silverlight should be able to easily read and implement a Windows Phone 7 app.  Since many of the same controls are used, one doesn’t have to learn a new UI API to work on phone development.  Also, with the inclusion of Expression Blend, skills that a designer has used in UI customization for WPF or Silverlight are valuable in Windows Phone development.

Networking combined with Data Serialization

It is almost a given that an application that one would write for a mobile phone will need to use network resources.  Windows Communication Foundation is included in the Windows Phone 7 libraries along with a loaded HttpWebRequest.  When used with the DataContractSerializer classes, fetching and parsing data from the cloud becomes a simple implementation where it can be very complicated on Read more of this post

A Microsoft Renaissance

Slalom Consultant Greg Martin

Greg Martin is a member of the Slalom National Mobility team which incubates emerging technology solutions in areas such as mobility, user experience and alternative application hosting.

It seems to me that Microsoft is going through a bit of a renaissance as of late.  Microsoft is a company that I feel no matter where your technology preferences lie, you’ve got to give them their due respect for, frankly, creating the industry we work in everyday.  Over the last 10 years or so it has seemed to me that Microsoft hasn’t been able to catch a break in a world of Googles and iPhones, but here we are in 2010, and to me, it looks like they are turning it around.

Search

Google hasn’t had much of a competitor in the search space for a while, and I’ll admit, when I first heard Microsoft’s latest effort was going to be called “Bing” I assumed it was yet another re-branding effort that wouldn’t amount to much.  Well I was wrong about that, at least if you look at their market share numbers which have been increasing steadily since launch.  I use Bing Travel all the time, I had been a fan of the technology since it launched originally as Seattle based startup Farecast, and their iPhone app is really quite good.

Windows

Windows Vista received a lot of criticism when it launched.  Many IT departments simply refused to adopt it, sticking with their tried & true Windows XP.  Windows 7 appears to have Read more of this post

Silverlight’s Grid Control

Slalom Consultant Marc Schuricht

Slalom Consultant Marc Schuricht is a Denver based software Solution Architect with over 12 years of professional experience in IT projects ranging from configuration and change management to custom enterprise application development.

With the direct integration of SharePoint with Silverlight, Silverlight now becomes an extremely flexible and viable tool for enhancing SharePoint’s default user interface.  With my current project, I have especially found that the Grid control with Silverlight 3.0 presents significantly better than SharePoint’s SPGridView control, which is how we used to have to display custom data to look like a SharePoint list.  As with any new technology, however, there are some pitfalls which I can hopefully shed some light on.

1. Grouping
Ever since SharePoint 2007 first came on the scene with its native ability to configure grouped tables within a grid control everyone has been trying to add this functionality to customized data, whether that was using third party controls or trying to retro-fit SharePoint’s SPGridView.  With Silverlight 3, this becomes trivial.  There are two classes which are necessary to implement this functionality.  1) PropertyGroupDescription 2) PagedCollectionView.  The PagedCollectionView object is instantiated with an IEnumerable source.  Once instantiated, one or more PropertyGroupDescription objects can be added to the collection of PagedCollectionView.GroupDescriptions.  The PropertyGroupDescription is instantiated with a string for the field name on which to build groups.  Therefore, if your underlying object has a property called DueDate, by instantiating your PropertyGroupDescription with the parameter “DueDate”, your grid will automatically group by that field.  Here is an example for those who don’t like to read: Read more of this post

Slalom launches new USOC Pressbox on SharePoint 2010

Joe Davey shares this exciting news in the following guest post…

Slalom redesigned the PressBox in collaboration with Microsoft for the U.S. Olympic Committee, utilizing SharePoint 2010, Silverlight, and integrating current social media tools. This portal is the generally available to the public, however, the magic is in the capabilities it brings to the media. A “virtual press room”, the PressBox gives journalists a truly rich experience and real-time access to athlete information – with broader event coverage, live Twitter feeds, and more comprehensive article lists and featured news.

Some features of the new site are:

  • Interactive article/athlete view and search tools
  • Athlete information presented on interactive “cards”
  • Twitter feeds, Facebook links and the ability to share content using the latest social media tools
  • Article editing tools that enable content authoring and formatting by members of the press and national governing bodies
  • Resource lists such as phone, contacts, file downloads, pictures and video

Check out the PressBox online at: http://pressbox.teamusa.org.

- Joe Davey

Prototyping Made Easy

Former Slalom Consulting Practice Lead Peter Tweed

Peter Tweed was a Practice Lead for Technology Enablement in Slalom Consulting's San Franciso office when he wrote this post.

by Peter Tweed

So I blog a good amount about Silverlight. I think it’s a great technology with a lot of power and very easy to develop in to deliver world class rich internet applications.

But there is a tool that is in the toolbox for a Silverlight developer that can and should in my opinion be used by a wider audience. Packaged up with Expression Blend 3 is a capability called SketchFlow. This is a tool whose sole purpose is quick prototyping of user interfaces for applications.

SketchFlow lets the user build screens with all the available controls for Silverlight or WPF, integrate navigation between those screens (e.g. click on a button and display another screen), and implement animations on a screen to provide demonstration of what UX experience can be developed. On top of that, a style is provided in Expression Blend for use with SketchFlow that deliberately makes the controls and pages look like they are drawn in pencil, so that someone viewing it “should not” believe it’s a finished application. This would be a good solution in itself and a useful tool for Silverlight and WPF projects to prototype a Read more of this post

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