ENGINEER'S BLOGS

Future of Silverlight: is this technology outdated already?

From the times of release of Silverlight 2 in 2007, Silverlight was one of Microsoft's highest-prio technologies and has grown into a powerful framework allowing effective cross-platfrom development of rich Internet application using such well-respected tools like Microsoft Visual Studio and such popular languages as C# and XAML. On the other hand, there are limitations to this power.

Monodroid: new perspectives for cross-platform mobile development

Recently, our company needed to port a .NET project on Android and iOS in the future. To save customer’s money, I tried to look for a solution that will reuse already existing code.

Xamarin provides MonoDroid and MonoTouch technologies, which allows you to write applications for Android and iPhone on C#. MonoTouch is already proven technology existing since 2009. MonoDroid is its logical continuation. I closely followed the technology and in the end it came out in April 2011.

Sounds good and exactly what my customer wants, isn’t? Because of the novelty of MonoDroid technology, it is used in only a few applications. For this reason, it is necessary to examine very carefully the pros and cons of this technology. Let's get started.

Working with WCF RIA Services JSON endpoints: some helpful hints

It is well-known that WCF RIA Services can be used for dealing with data not only from Silverlight client. It is possible to call the same DomainService's methods from other non-Silverlight code, for example from jQuery. There is a couple of very helpful tutorials on how to deal with JSON endpoint (for example, articles by Joseph Connolly and by David Rousset), we just wanted to elaborate on some topics that were left beyond the scope of this articles.

Securing entity properties with WCF RIA Services

Although WCF RIA Services provides a pretty good way to support entity-level security, property-level security is not among the list of features of this framework, so you'll need to do some custom additional work to make your application support it. Of course this problem was discussed by the community before, but existing approaches are not without problems, so I guess there's nothing wrong to return to this discussion and show how this task may be solved in a simple and efficient way.

Triggers with nested bindable collections - improved version

This is an improved version of solving nested collection's DataContext problem described in previous article.

Triggers with nested bindable collections

Although triggers in Silverlight 4 are bindable, it seems that there are problems with binding of its nested collections, as it was noticed also on a thread on Silverlight.net forums. However, collection binding may be useful when you want to create a functionality with infinite number of parameters defined in XAML. Here we discuss possible methods to overcome this limitation.

Specifying collections as data source in Design view

One of the nicest design-time features of WPF and Silverlight is the ability to specify data in design time, allowing your designers to work with controls already filled with data without starting the whole application. However, there's not much hints on how to work with it for slightly more complex and non-trivial scenarios, for example when binding to a collection.

DataGrid highlighting behavior: version for Silverlight 4

Silverlight 4 allows data binding for any DependencyObject, so DataGrid highlighting behavior from one of my previous articles could be written for Silverlight 4 much easier, without the help of BindingListener class. In fact, the previous version won't compile for Silverlight 4 at all, because the whole Expression Blend samples library does not work for Silverlight 4 and is no longer supported. Much simpler and elegant version of DataGrid highlighting behavior is in attachment.

Flex\Flash\AIR vs Silverlight: conquering the land of RIA

We live in interesting times. Rich UI web application development with next generation user interfaces are in increasing demand, and so the great RIA war rages on, with Adobe and Microsoft as major players competing for market prevalence. The competition can be beneficial, as it forces both companies to deliver new versions of their products more quickly, and with increasingly impressive features. This competition, however, also has downsides. It forces companies to rush and sometimes deliver features in raw and incomplete form. They often focus more on new features than on polishing the existing ones. As a result, the changes occur so rapidly that keeping up with the latest developments is nearly impossible. That is why new articles comparing and contrasting the current state of their systems are always useful. Indeed, many such articles have been written before (for example this one or this one), but they quickly become outdated and occasionally fail to include an important topic.

DataGrid highlighting behavior

Yet another attached behavior for Silverlight 3 that may be quite handy - one that dynamically highlights text inside DataGrid. It does not require changes in DataGrid itself - just attach the DataGridHighlightingBehavior to your DataGrid and tell it the substring you want to highlight, it'll do the rest.

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