Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MIX Sessions Recap for Day One

My first day of MIX was an exciting one. I expected the keynote would cover the non-Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 topics so contrary to the reports of "oh no" you'll invariably hear, it only served to stretch my own excitement as I look forward to today's keynote and what it will have to offer. I already reported on the keynote, so I thought I'd share a bit about sessions.

The first session I attended was HTML5 for Silverlight Developers. It was very eye-opening to me. The speaker had experience on both the Silverlight product teams for earlier versions and the phone, as well as more recent tooling for HTML5 so he spoke from a position of authority. It turns out there are far more similarities between the two than I expected. The comparison, however, also served to draw out the fact we'll hear time and time again: the lack of good tooling for HTML5.

The most interesting part for me was when he designed a full path in Expression Blend, then took the path expression and pasted it into SVG and demonstrated the same drawing in HTML5. That was very interesting, as well as some tools and plug-ins that would generate the code from existing products. He also provided a large chart comparing features between the two ... for example, SVG mapping to XAML, Timer vs. DispatcherTimer, etc. I enjoyed the session and learned quite a bit.

My next session was a Deep Dive MVVM with Laurent Bugnion. Laurent did a great job because there was a ton of information to pack into only a very short window of time. While there were some things I didn't necessarily agree 100% with on the approach, the point wasn't about a debate around "what's the pure or right way" but instead, "here is your tool box and these are the challenges people claim to face, so here's a way to solve them." In that sense I think the talk drove home that you cannot overcomplicate matters and sometimes it's OK to have a little code behind (yes, his demo had code behind!) He managed to hit most of the questions people tend to ask about MVVM with a solution within the framework.

The final session was Pragmatic JavaScript, jQuery, and AJAX with ASP.NET. It was again a very informative session. I learned new ways the Microsoft tools support jQuery and even help provide support for extensions, intellisense, and more. He also tackled some various challenges you might face such as long-polling and how to resolve it using the combination of jQuery and the ASP.NET tools. At the end of the meeting I felt like the open web (meaning tags and JavaScript) looks very fun again and I want to get more involved with it in addition to Silverlight.

As fun as that day was, I know this day will be even more exciting. Stay tuned on my twitter feed (@JeremyLikness) as I report from the keynote floor for what I expect to be some amazing announcements in the Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 space.


Jeremy Likness