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Archive for February, 2012

What the (near) future will bring: Summary (TechDays 2012)

Last week, I went to the main conference of TechDays (14 & 15 february) Belgium, Microsoft’s yearly event for IT professionals and developers.
Because I am a developer, I went to the developer track sessions.

TechDays 2012

I tried to wrote down a summary of some interesting sessions which I followed.

First of all, there was the keynote of Scott Gurie, his keynote was focusing on all items about Windows Azure. Briefly he explained what is Windows Azure, what can you do with Windows Azure and for what can you use Windows Azure. A recording of the keynote is already available on Channel 9.

There were many sessions about Windows 8 and developing Metro applications for Windows 8. For building these applications you can use your existing Silverlight or WPF skills (XAML + C#) or HTML (+ CSS) and JavaScript skills.

I went also to a session of Windows Phone 7.5: it was a session about advanced concepts for coding a WP7 app. Ben Riga said that Windows Phone 8 wouldn’t come soon (in the near future), but more details he couldn’t say…

There was also a very interesting session of Bart De Smet (The Future of C# and Visual Basic). In this session he showed a lot of code examples of C# 5.
You can summarize this session with one important sentence: C# 5 is focused on async programming, introducing a few new keywords in C# 5 for easily async programming like async, await,…
Here a small example:

public async Task<int> ExampleMethodAsync()
{
    // . . .

    // At the await expression, execution in this method is suspended and,
    // if AwaitedProcessAsync has not already finished, control returns
    // to the caller of ExampleMethodAsync.
    int exampleInt = await AwaitedProcessAsync();

    // . . .

    // The return statement completes the task. Any method that is
    // awaiting ExampleMethodAsync can now get the integer result.
    return exampleInt;
}

More examples, tutorials, downloads can you find on MSDN.

There were also sessions about Silverlight 5 from one of my college Kevin Dockx. He explained how you can set up an good architecture for building Silverlight applications in combination with RIA services. Also a session of  Gill Cleeren who has covered some advanced topics in Silverlight such as duplex bindings, sockets, MEF,…
Laurant Bugnion demonstrated the new features of his new version of MVVM Light framework which can also be used to build Windows 8 Metro applications.

TechDays 2012 was very interesting and instructive; hopefully I will be back  next year!

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Is Silverlight dead (or still alive)?

Is Silverlight dead or still alive, that’s the question of some developers, companies, project managers,… today.

Since Microsoft announced that Silverlight 5 is the last version of Silverlight there are many speculations that everyting is going to html 5…

In my opinion (at this moment :)), I don’t think that html 5 is an alternative for Silverlight 5…
Some of my arguments:

  • At this time html 5 is NOT cross browser, some features works in IE and some others in FireFox an so on, Silverlight 5 runtime is supported on IE, FireFox, Safari and Chrome (not officialy Opera).
  • I saw on TechDays 2012 that Microsoft uses Silverlight for his own products, some examples: Azure Management Console and Microsoft Intune.
  • Microsoft supports Silverlight 5 till 10/12/2021 (see here).
Last but not least, on Windows 8, you can build Metro applications, you can use your existing Silverlight skills (XAML + C#) for building these applications because the XAML for building the UI is the same (syntax, default controls,…) as in Silverlight applications.
For the HTML/CSS/JavaScript developers there is also support for this languages in Windows 8 for building Metro applications. For more information about building Metro applications, I suggest to look on the official Microsoft website, you can find there a lot of tutorials and example code.

Another interesting read of ‘The Future Of Silverlight’.

Do you have an other opinion (or the same :)) about the future of Silveright, feel free to write it down in a comment on this blog post!