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  • Microsoft WebCamps Brussels - Summary

    Posted on January 30th, 2011 Thibaut 5 comments

    WebCamps

    Last Monday was organized the Microsoft WebCamps event in Brussels. Dedicated to Web developers and UX designers, this one day event enables you to stay up-to-date with the latest stuff. Topics covered included HTML5, jQuery, ASP.NET MVC 3, … And I’m going to share some of my notes here.

    Opening keynote

    By Scott Hanselman

    • Presentation of WebMatrix and the Razor syntax. For “get it done” developers who want, for example, to install and configure a website powered by a CMS for some customer in only a few minutes
    • jQuery adoption is so big that Microsoft continues to invest into this library : jQuery UI will also be part of the .NET framework
    • Presentation of the new features of ASP.NET MVC 3. ScottGu has written some very interesting articles on the subject, be sure to check them out if you’re interested in MVC 3
    • NuGet is a very powerful package installer. With just a few commands, install nInject, Entity Framework, … Time to learn PowerShell has come ;)

    How about HTML5 today ?

    By Katrien De Graeve

    • Slides of the presentation
    • Use shims to use HTML5 today (the JS script to make IE recognize the new HTML5 tags)

      <!–[if lt IE 9]>

      <script src=”http://html5shim.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/html5.js”></script>

      <![endif]–>

    • Use a reset CSS (typically to make some of the new elements display as blocks
    • Download HTML5 instellisense for Visual Studio
    • Use Ray Bango’s templates for Visual Studio
    • CSS3 : more control over color (RGBA, …), borders and shadows, fonts (use FontSquirrel to integrate custom fonts on your website)
    • Use IE9 developer tools (F12) to change the document mode (to IE8, IE7) to test against previous versions of browsers
    • Modernizr : great JS library enabling you to target specific browser functionality in your stylesheet, so you can take advantage of HTML5 and CSS3 while having a compatible site for older browsers
    • <video> tag : different codecs supported by browsers. Be sure to create multiple encodings of the same video (by using VLC Media Player for example) or provide a fallback in Flash or Silverlight.

      <video controls>

          <source src="foo.ogg" type="video/ogg">

          <source src="foo.mp4">

          <object/> <!– Silverlight or Flash –>

      </video>

    • Canvas : drawing using JS. Example of application : Pirates love Daisies, a game written using Canvas.
      Pirates love daisies
    • Use Ai to Canvas to convert Adobe Illustrator files to a canvas compliant format
    • Canvas (bitmap) != SVG (vector)
    • General guidelines :
      • Use feature detection VS browser detection. For each new version, browsers implement more and more the HTML5 spec. So browser detection isn’t a good approach at all
      • Start using HTML5 now ! Don’t wait for the spec to be complete (you would still be waiting for the CSS2 spec to be complete then…)

    Come in as a jQuery zero, go out as a jQuery hero

    By Gill Cleeren

    • Intro of jQuery (selectors, plugins, …) : I’m not going to rewrite the complete course here, just google, the web contains loads of tutorials about that hot subject

    OData : open data for the web

    By Scott Hanselman

    And that’s it ! Have fun playing with that exciting stuff ;)

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  • ReMIX10 : summary

    Posted on October 3rd, 2010 Thibaut No comments

    ReMIX10

    Last Tuesday, I assisted to the 2010 edition of the ReMIX, reedition of the popular MIX event. As usual, two tracks were available : web developer and UX. My current focus being Silverlight, I assisted exclusively to the UX track. Below, you’ll find my notes about the sessions.

    Opening keynote

    IE 9

    Silverlight 4

    Windows Phone 7

    • Silverlight & XNA support
      • Silverlight : for applications
      • XNA : for games
    • Free version of Blend dedicated to Windows Phone development
    • Demos of games on the phone. Companies such as Fishing Cactus presented their games for WP7

    Natural interface

    Session #1 : design venture

    • Prensented by Georg Petschnigg from Microsoft Pioneer Studios
    • Bringing design and business together
    • 2 points :
      • technology knowledge (languages, tools, …)
      • open vision on the world, cultures, etc to be creative and to innovate
    • Innovation process :
      Innovation process
    • From insight to core idea :
      • What’s unique about you
      • What does the world need
    • Observe people, their habits : find new ideas and ways to improve
    • From core idea to product : the three reads in industrial design
      • Eye : what you see
      • Touch : material, feeling
      • Use : does it suits my needs ?
    • Translate them in software :
      • Form (eye) : look & feel
      • Touch : controls
      • Use : features
    • Three reads of industrial design are from top to bottom (first attracted by what you see, then you touch it and use it if you like it)
    • Three reads of software design are from bottom to top
    • Importance of visual designers now : with all new rich web technologies (HTML 5, Silverlight, …), your product can be beautiful, more simple, and visual designers can add “life” to it
    • Passion is key to outstanding quality work. Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel). You must have a “soul” in your work, enjoy people you’re working with to be great at creating and innovating

    Session #2 : UX Superpowers with Expression Blend 4

    • Presented by Arturo Toledo (Microsoft)
    • MVVM support
    • New pixel shader effects
    • New shapes (clouds, comics bubble, …)
    • Path layout : items added and layed on a path (one of the best features of Expression Blend 4, see example below). Items automatically arranged as they are added/removed, can be animated along the path, …
      Path layout
    • Examples of applications using path layout : organic menu, etc
    • Lots of demos of the new stuff

    Session #3 : Windows Phone 7 design principles

    WP7

    • Presented by kat Holmes and Karen Davis (from Microsoft WP7 team)
    • Design principles for WP7 : colors, information architecture : remain consistent with Microsoft guidelines, use of Blend for WP7 is strongly suggested so you work on the base of these guidelines
    • Presentation of the two main screen layouts for WP7 :
      • Panorama : when your content is not best suited to be redueced to fit screen size : keep it large
      • Pivot : more traditional layout, where all information can be on one page
    • 3 key points for WP7 development :
      • Personal : familiar and thus easy to use
      • Relevant : don’t overdo, focus on content
      • Connected : compliment, don’t duplicate existing features or applications

    Session #4 : a website life, from sketch to publishing

    • Presented by Arturo Toledo (Microsoft)
    • WebMatrix : 3 tools :
      • IIS Express (instead of Cassini : no more bad surprises because Cassini was different than IIS)
      • SQL Server Compact : local, file-based DB
      • ASP.NET Web Pages (new script syntax : Razor)
    • Concept of code helpers. Eg : @Twitter.Profile(”ThibautVS”) displays a list of my tweets
    • Can run SEO reports, giving you hints on how to improve your search engines friendliness
    • Most of the presentation consisted of coding examples using the new, powerful Razor syntax.
    • More information in this MSDN article : How WebMatrix, Razor, ASP.NET Web Pages and MVC fit together

    Conclusion

    It’s always nice to participate to such events because it enables you to maintain a vision of the Microsoft technologies landscape. Then you can pick up what you’re interested in and start a deep dive into it. That’s exactly what I’m doing with Silverlight 4, Expression Blend 4 and HTML 5. See you next year ;)

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