Archive for March, 2007

I’m going to Mix07 in a few weeks.  I’m looking forward to this conference, I heard good things about last years event.  I’m going as an attendee only.  I’m not on the speaker roster.  I have a number of unofficial functions to attend.  Should be a good time.

The new name for WPFe (update: new name is Sliverlight) will be announced at the conference.  I’m hoping for something with flair, a name both elegant and evocative.  Come on Microsoft, let’s drop the boring names please!  You won’t catch the attention of the artistic community with a name like Microsoft Web Graphics Engine 2007 –  Professional’


Rumors are starting to fly about other earth shaking announcements during the Mix07 week.

Ryan Stewart says Big Rumors for Mix

But recently, I’ve been getting rumors of bigger and bigger news coming out of MIX. It’s nothing I have concrete enough to talk about, but I’ve gotten bits of information from multiple sources that Microsoft is planning to make some fairly significant announcements.

What could it be?   A better AJAX?  Some new development tools for WPFe?  Adding support for Linux browsers?  3D support?  Microsoft is buying Adobe? 

Why not come to Mix07 and find out for yourself?


Walt Ritscher

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I’ve been traveling a lot the last month (the main reason why I haven’t posted much).   I could tell you some interesting travel stories, but lets just say the airlines tried diligently to thwart my travel plans.

Back in January I began scheduling my ‘WPF – Microsoft’s Magnificent New Graphics Engine” talk with user groups all over the US.  Each group I’ve visited has been receptive and curious.  The group leaders have been great hosts. It’s been a nice tour so far. Let me tell you about two nights that stand out in my mind.


The night started out wrong for me.  I programmed the wrong street into my Hertz rental car ‘NeverLost’ GPS system.    I wound up on S. Sam Houston Pkwy E instead of S. Sam Houston Pkwy W.  This was about ten miles from where I was suppose to be.  When I got to the wrong address I knew something was wrong, all I could see were a couple dusty and drab warehouses.  I pulled out my Motorola Q phone and found that I’d made a typo when entering the address.  Lucky for me, I always like to get to these events early so I still had time to get to the real site. I made it to the Microsoft building with plenty of time to spare. 

There were about twenty people in the room  when I arrived.  One of the user group board members told me (he was kidding) that he was expecting only a few more people to show up. I turns out he wasn’t serious but I didn’t know that at the time.   The meeting was in a big room with three screens.  Only two screens were working as they weren’t expecting a full house.  

A few minutes after I arrived people started pouring in.  There were so many people showing up that the group ran out of pizza.     We had to  scramble to figure out how to get the third screen working with my laptop before the meeting started. The flow of people was unstoppable, they keep coming until the room was jammed. Every chair was occupied, there were people standing in the hallway and packed shoulder to shoulder at the back of the room.

I was very pleased with my talk.   The audience was very lively, laughing at my travel stories and asking great questions.  A very good night.

Houston .Net User Group site

St. Louis

I arrived in St. Louis in the late afternoon.  My American Airlines plane, which was supposed to have arrived the previous day, is still broken and flightless  in Seattle with no planned departure time. Thanks to a good travel agent and Southwest Airlines I managed to book another flight into town.

I called Scott Spradlin, my host for the evening, to let him know that I was in town.   We met at the Microsoft building and I setup in the main event room.  The room had chairs for ~sixty attendees.  Scott told me that he’d had a lot of inquiries about the event and he was expecting a full house.  He was right!

About 20 minutes before the scheduled start time the room was full, there were no more places to sit and people were still coming.   Luckily for us, there was a folding divider door that opened into another room for extra seating.  They ended up with double the expected numbers (~125).

What a crowd.  There was one point in my talk, about halfway through, where I felt completely connected to everyone in the room.  To use a cliche: ‘you could have heard a pin drop’.  Everyone was focused and engaged.  Even though I had a two hour drive ahead of me I left the meeting brimming with energy and excited about the evening.

St. Louis .Net User Group site

WPF future

After each talk there have been insightful questions, and lots of discussion about WPF.   I had a great time at each meeting. So what do I think about WPF adoption in the .NET community?  I think the .NET developer community is ready for a new UI creation technology.  I think many companies are envisioning interesting ways to interact with their customers and WPF is a prime tool for doing so.

I’ve got more talks scheduled in the next couple months.  I’ll post the details later.  If you want to schedule a talk with your user group let me know  If I’m in your city later this year I try and schedule a talk.

-Walt Ritscher

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Flash is a great platform for building web-deployed games.  Flash can build other type applications too, don’t get me wrong, but games certainly helped Flash adoptions rates.  I’ve always said that adoption of any platform is aided by the perceived benefit to the customer.  If the consumer wants to play a cool game, or listen to a viral video bad enough, they will think nothing of buying or downloading the software.

WPFe(Silverlight) is still in development.  One goal of WPFe is wide distribution of the runtime to any consumers computer — regardless of customer OS preference.  That’s why Microsoft is building a runtime for the Macintosh.  Good games, built on WPFe(Silverlight), will help push adoption.  Who doesn’t like playing games on their computer?

Game of the Week

Magnet Game by Dennis Cronin

Play Game

Source Code

Perhaps good games will help adoption. That, and getting a better name than WPFe* .

* New WPFe name to be announced at Mix07

-Walt Ritscher

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WPF FAQ and Wiki

A new WPF site called WPF Wiki just went online. As of today there are about one hundred FAQ entries for you to peruse.  If you’ve got information you like to share in the FAQ, help them out!  




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Every couple years Microsoft sponsors the MVP summit.  Several thousand MVP are treated to a information packed week of technical sessions.   Most of these sessions talk about the new tools currently being developed inside Microsoft.  

I’ve been a MVP for a couple years now, and this is my second summit.   It’s a great event.  There is something going on twenty hours a day for four days.

Tonight is the regional dinners, where all the MVP’s from a region (mine in North America) meet each other.  Got to go eat! Later.

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I’m working in Houston this week.  John Ebeling contacted me last week and asked if I could give my one of my WPF talks at the Houston .NET user group.  I rarely pass up the opportunity to talk to a group of fellow developers about programming topics so I said yes. I’ll be giving my “WPF – Microsoft’s Magnificent New Graphics Engine” talk at 6:30PM.

If your’ e in the Houston area on Thursday March 8th, 2007 stop by and say hello.

Event details are here.



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The Game of Life WPFe application continues to the #1 article on the site.  Here’s a list of your February  favorites.


WPFe Example – the game of life

Comparing WPF applications and XBAP – What’s the difference?

WPFe – you ain’t seen nothing yet – Vista Simulator

WPFe Example – Virtual Earth overlay

Free WPF datagrid component from Xceed

What are the top five thing you want to know about wpfe

iPhone UI – WPF can do that!

WPF Sample – ColorComb

Infragistics releases beta version of their WPF toolset

Weathernews – Changing from Flash to WPF

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