UK Tech Days

Microsoft UK Tech days (day 3)

by Peter Daukintis

I am planning to attend days 3, 4 and 5 of MS UK Techdays; here are some of the notes I scribbled down at day 3:

Silverlight 4.0

Silverlight 4 release date was confirmed to be 15th April.

A nice session by Mike Taulty covering many aspects surrounding SL4 including tooling support, associated frameworks, functional improvements and additions.

Some of the highlights included:

Tooling – VS2010 & Expression Blend 4 (beta). VS2010 gets a new designer and improved databinding support. Blend gets enhanced triggers, actions and behaviour support. Support for MVVM including ActionCommand will allows triggering of a command, create sample data from a class. Also, a pretty cool feature and one I’m looking forward to playing around with is the ‘fluid layouts’.

  • Implicit style support has been added – can dynamically switch style dictionaries.
  • Proportional column sizing supported by Datagrid.
  • MEF support, Printing, webcam, more OOB support (e.g. access to My Documents..), right-click support.
  • Check out pivot + SL4 (LiveLabs) – Beta released next month
  • FIFA England world cup 2018 bid site to be released in a few weeks – really cool feature where you can submit photo of yourself for inclusion in deep zoom image.
  • Scott Guthrie announces plans with Intel and Broadcom to bring Silverlight to consumer electronics (set-top boxes, TVs, etc.) via ‘system on a chip’; more info here Silverlight for SOCs beta is planned to be available by the end of 2010. See the keynote video here
  • Toast notification support.
  • Fast prototypes in Sketchflow – Ebay and autotrader apps built quickly.

Internet Explorer 9

  • New Javascript compilation model, SVG support, <link to preview here>
  • Html5 vs Silverlight (standards based vs innovative).

Windows Phone 7

  • Strong design language. Strong hw specs – 3 button
  • X-Box live services integration. Office integration incl sharepoint
  • It is a zune also!

Expression Blend

Michael Koester gave a good presentation on Blend and design in general. He showed some of the features of Blend including the illustrator and photoshop import which retains layer, text and vector information. He showed converting vectors into controls by selecting a rectangle from an imported Photoshop layer and right-clicking ‘make into control’. He also covered behaviours and how they can be dragged onto ui elements e.g. dragging a mousedragbehaviour onto any element will enable it to be dragged around on a canvas using click-drag.


  • Better tooling support
  • Slimmed-down web.config
  • snippets (javascript, html, etc.) also snippets are context dependent
  • Improved javascript intellisense, better, faster
  • Output caching:
    • Provider model for caching so can provide custom caching
    • Finer grained control over what is cached
  • Compressed session state

Custom web.config transforms – used to transform web.config into dev/staging/production configuration files.


TextBoxFor, DisplayFor, EditFor, etc.. strongly typed helpers which make use of custom templates to render.

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