Silverlight Controls

Check out these Silverlight control examples for both JavaScript (v1) and C# (v1.1) by Tim Heuer. I hate code behind, specifically the Flex implementation of the idea of separating your View from its implementation. The idea is you layout your GUI in MXML, and code it’s functionality in ActionScript. Gross.

However, I have an inkling most traditional programmers love it specifically because when it comes to Design vs. OOP, they’ll side with OOP. Not to mention .NET I think… like… works this way, hehe. I side with Design because of my Flash background. Either way, after seeing the example code in these posts, I have a much better appreciation for code behind and how it relates to Sliverlight’s implementation. Specifically how the View’s GUI layout is done in XAML, and that XAML can be used in both Design and Blend. Hotness.

If the Adobe CS suite would ever catch the heck up, we could be doing stuff like this. Imagine it:

– Designer makes comps in Photoshop or Fireworks
– Designer can animate and layout screens in Flash
– Flex or Flash Developer could then program ActionScript around those screens.

Vice-versa, the designer could design around the programmer’s implementation of screens. Agency vs. software shop work-flow, but either way. For now, us in the Adobe camp muddle through our production art / break up, and can only look on with envy.

Via Russell Myers.

5 Replies to “Silverlight Controls”

  1. Why is it, that you “…hate code behind, specificially the flex implementation…”? What should we know about it, that is bad and how can we do it better?

  2. Ultimately I think the majority of points Jesse makes are things that will really work to the advantage of Microsoft in a web world that seems to be aiming more towards the Flash market. Microsoft still is a late comer to the market and in my opinion this much is obvious with their 1.0 version. It really wreaks of the problems that plagued ASP 1.0 (referred to generally as ASP Classic).

    What you’re really seeing with Microsoft’s current Silverlight 1.0 and Silverlight 1.1 Alpha are simply extensions of the .NET platform. The challenge here is that there aren’t a lot of designers and UI people (those currently involved with both Flash and Flex) in the .NET environment. There is still a lot of work left to be done even in these pilot releases: code hinting, expanded control sets and further customization of objects to name a few.

    If you’re interested in just a brief overview of Silverlight, try Shawn Wildermuth’s general overview (

  3. Nice, “tell it how it is” Jesse. What MS lacks in the creative sector they can certainly balance with their knowledge of coding platforms and authoring environments. One of the main focuses with the tools here was a complete designer – developer workflow, so much so that they took coding OUT of blend (which was originally catered for when they bought the original tool – cant remember the name now).

    I also agree that they’re going to have a job pulling the wealth of experienced designers over particularly those experienced in the RIA area and especially because of no tools support on Mac.

    For me, I’m just happy to have the choice, I’m still a Flash/Flex fanboy but I’m also a big fan of .net so enjoy the range of tools!

  4. Jesse,

    A little late to post on this, but thought I would comment. As you probably know Adobe announced “Thermo” at MAX last week, which does exactly what you describe… and amazingly it is built on Flex. Adobe is getting the message, and it appears this should be a huge step forward to smooth out the currently clunky workflow from designer to dev. The challenge I see microsoft having (and I come from a strong MS background) is that they have NEVER gotten UI right, with the possible exception of Windows Media Center – so no matter how easy they make the workflow I don’t see them ever wining over the design community.

  5. I played with Blend 2 September Preview and Design over the weekend to create a video player for a work project. One thing I noticed is even after my 3rd use of beta software, it just works. No crashes, good experience.

    Second, Blend needs a ton of work from a feature standpoint. I am very biased by After Effects, Director, Flash, and Flex but that still won’t make me lower my expectations. I think with some hard work, Blend 3 could be a nice tool. I don’t know what’s worse; Flash’s project panel or Blend’s solution panel… I guess Flash’s because no one else uses it. At least Visual Studio can share solutions. Regardless, adding files, etc. is a joke; why not just make it a directory of files and call it a day? Bleh. Really frustrating to “get an image in blend” dear God….

    Design really needs better integration. Simply exporting to XAML isn’t enough. I mean, it’s nice my design is converted, but what happened to my drop shadow? The “how do I get this into my Blend project” is merely because I’m ignorant and still a n00b to Blend. Regardless, I’d prefer to edit my XAML directly. Not sure what the Design Blend integration story is yet.

    Overall, once I got comfortable, it’s easy to do Silverlight 1.0 stuff. Sadly, I think everyone and their mom, you included, will all be doing C#. Screw that dude… 100 line video player does NOT need to be done in a strongly-typed, industry standard language such as C#. JavaScript for a lot of this stuff is definitely good enough.

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