Silverlight 2.0 Immersion Begins

I have the opportunity to immerse myself in Silverlight 2.0 for a week or two.  The immediate objective is to replace a bandwidth-intensive custom Community Server form with a Silverlight 2.0 version.  The long-term objective is to move the interactive quality of the apps I write to the next level.

It’s difficult for freelancers like me who live and die by the billable hour to dedicate blocks of time to get up to speed on new technologies.  There’s no corporate training support structure and there are only so many billable hours in a day.  Before going the Silverlight route I roughed up a prototype for my client using a 3rd party control for an expense and functional baseline.  It was 80% of the way there, but the last 20% would have sucked up development dollars in deciphering the API and writing javascript functions. And then in the end, all you’ve got is a 3rd party control, not a game changing set of capabilities that Silverlight 2.0 makes possible.  To make the decision to go with Silverlight a no-brainer I proposed a reduced hourly for the project’s first Silverlight app.  My client could more easily justify the investment, and for me a reduced hourly took the pressure off delivering the final product with the usual promptness.

Immersive periods in new technologies are psychologically difficult.  With so many new concepts in Silverlight 2.0 I’m pushing hard to get past the “most ignorant developer in the world” stage to start feeling good about myself again. (This is not a good time to base your sense of well-being on your work.)  Silverlight.net has been an incredible resource, with its videos and screencasts, many of which have accompanying code for download.  Tim Heuer, Jesse Liberty and Mike Taulty have done an excellent job putting great learning material in the Silverlight.net Learn area.  To make the most of it I’ve acquired a new [NordicTrack] routine of putting my laptop on the Ski Machine’s reading rack instead of a book and sticking my Zune earbuds into the laptop.  Man oh man, the time speeds by on the Ski Machine while you’re watching Silverlight videos!

I only became seriously immersed with Silverlight 2.0 over the weekend, with yesterday and today officially kicking off Silverlight 2.0 Immersivity.  I actually learned a few things along the way which I’ll blog about in the days and weeks to come.  My Silverlight app focuses on the new DataGrid, so that’s what you’ll be hearing more about, as well as data binding and editing issues, and integrating Silverlight 2.0 with Community Server.  So far we’re displaying data on the Silverlight 2.0 Datagrid retrieved from a Community Server project .asmx Web Service.  And here it is!

 

Okay, I’m still in “most ignorant developer in the world” stage, but it’s a start.

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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.