Silverlight 2.0 Goodness - and IE 8.0 too!

May the Flying Spaghetti Monster touch you with his noodly appendage!
-- Pastafarian saying

** Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1 Plug in Runtime

** Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1 Tools for Visual Studio 2008 (Includes SDK - installs everything except Blend)

** Expression Blend 2.5 March Preview (handles Silverlight 2.0 projects)

** Expression Studio 2.0 Beta (includes Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design, Expression Media and Expression Encoder.)  This release continues to enable building rich client applications with WPF and also helps designers target Silverlight 2.0 for delivering stunning web applications.

** Silverlight 2.0 documentation and links to Quickstarts, etc.

All this stuff was just put out from MIX. Have fun! With version 2.0, now that I can use real .NET libraries in the browser, this is where I start getting seriously interested in Sillverlight. Once you get the bits installed, there is a very nice series of Hands On Labs that you can download for the fundamentals. I can virtually guarantee that if you go through the entire series of Hands On Labs, thoroughly read the accompanying Word documents, and "do the code" - you can get your head around Silverlight 2.0 in about 11 - 15 hours of study.

And to my friend and fellow MVP David Silverlight - I can only say, "Thanks for your tireless work, David!"

** Evaristo has links to all the MIX 08 WMV's including some 5 or 6 about Silverlight 2.0. The ones by Joe Stagner and Mike Harsh are absolutely smashing - download them right away before the links are gone! In fact, just in case, here's a repeat of the list:


Adding Instant Messaging to Any Site
Keiji Kanazawa, Nikhil Kothari
Advanced Cross-Browser Layout with Internet Explorer 8
Scott Dickens
Advanced Search Engine Optimization: Generating More Site Traffic from Search
Nathan Buggia
Bringing Hosters and Developers Together with IIS7
Robert Cameron, Tito Leverette
Building AOL's High Performance, Enterprise Wide Mail Application With Silverlight 2
Eric Hoffman, Marc Katchay, Stefan Gal
Building Applications and Services with .NET Framework 3.5
Justin Smith
Building Great AJAX Applications from Scratch Using ASP.NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008
Brad Adams
Building Rich Internet Applications Using Microsoft Silverlight 2, Part 1
Joe Stegman, Mike Harsh
Building Rich Internet Applications Using Microsoft Silverlight 2, Part 2
Joe Stegman, Mike Harsh
Creating a RESTful API with Windows Communication Foundation
Haider Sabri, Paul Walker, Viphak Lay
Creating Better User Experiences: Design Methods
Dan Harrelson, Kim Lenox
Creating Better User Experiences: Design Strategy
Dan Harrelson, Kim Lenox
Creating Better User Experiences: Information Architecture
Dan Harrelson, Kim Lenox
Creating Better User Experiences: Interaction Design
Dan Harrelson, Kim Lenox
Creating Rich, Dynamic User Interfaces with Silverlight 2
Karen Corby
Design at Speed of Light
Cinthya Urasaki, Daniel Makoski, John Reid, Tim Wood, Zachary Jean Paradis
Developing Applications with Microsoft Virtual Earth
Chris Pendleton
Developing Applications Using the Model View Controller Pattern
Scott Hanselman
Developing Data Driven Applications Using ASP.NET Dynamic Data Controls
David Ebbo
Developing with Windows Live
Angus Logan
E-commerce Done Right
Gerard Johnson, Matthews Rechs, Nicholas Rockwell, Steve Nelson
Encoding Video for Microsoft Silverlight
Ben Waggoner
Everything You Need to Know about Diagnostics and Debugging on Microsoft Internet Information Services 7
Mai-lan Tomsen Bukovec
Exploring Moonlight: Novell's Implementation of Silverlight on Linux
Miguel de Icaza
From Flash to Silverlight: A Rosetta Stone
Rick Barazza
From Long Tail to Fuzzy Tale: Why "Fuzzy" Is the New Clear
David Armano
Getting Clued In to Experience Management
Lou Carbone
How Design Impacts the Bottom Line
Dave Blakely, David Watson, Jason Brush, Jimmy Kim, Luke Wroblewski, Will Tschumy
I Wanna Go Mobile!
Chad Stoller, David-Michael Davies, Derrick Oien, Eric Breitbard, George Linardos, Michael Platt
Integrating Media in Silverlight Applications
Ed Maia
Integrating Your Site With Internet Explorer 8
Jane Kim
Internationalizing XAML Applications in Windows Presentation Foundation and Microsoft Silverlight
Ken Azuma, Laurence Moroney, Ted Kitamura
Introducing SQL Server Data Services
Nigel Ellis
Is Web 2.0 Sustainable? What business models will work?
Dave McClure, Don Dodge, Kimbal Musck, Robert Scoble, Ryan McIntyre
Keynote I
Dean Hachamovitch, Ray Ozzie, Scott Guthrie
Keynote II
Guy Kawasaki, Steve Ballmer
Making it Simple: Designer/Developer Workflow
Christian Schormann, Ken Azuma, Marcelo Marer, Mark Ligameri, Robby Ingebretsen, Robert Tuttle, Ryan Lane
Microsoft Expression Web: From Comp, to CSS, to Code!
Nishant Kothary, Tyler Simpson
Mobile Devices and Microsoft Silverlight: A Primer on the New Technology
Amit Chopra, David Kline
Monetization 101
Erynn Petersen
Opportunities and Challenges in Mashing Up the Web
Aaron Fulkerson, Andi Gutmans, Michael Scherotter, Sam Ramji, Shawn Burke
Overview of Microsoft Ad Formats
Alam Ali
Partying with PHP on Microsoft Internet Information Services 7
Drew Robbins
Real World Design: Working with Silverlight and WPF in the Design Studio
Beau Ambur, Chip Aubry, Chris Bernard, Nathan Dunlap, Rich Weston
Real-World AJAX with ASP.NET
Nikhil Kothari
RESTful Data Services with the ADO.NET Data Services Framework
Pablo Castro
Silverlight and Advertising
Eric Schmidt
Silverlight as a Gaming Platform
Joel Neubeck, Scott McAndrew
Social Networks: Where Are They Taking Us?
David Morin, Garrett Camp, Guy Kawasaki, John Richards, Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter
The Back of the Napkin: Solving Design Problems (and Selling Your Solutions) with Pictures
Dan Roam
The Business of Microsoft Silverlight
Danny Riddell
The Human Brain Relationship: Advanced and Adaptive User Interfaces
Ya'akov Greenshpan, Yochay Kiriaty
The Open Question
Andi Gutmans, Miguel de Icaza, Mike Schroepfer, Sam Ramji
Tools and Applications for Publishers
Rishi Bal
Touch Me: Where Are Interfaces Going?
Chris Bernard, Dale Herigstad, Daniel Makoski, Dave Wolfe, Doug Cook, Yoshihiro Saito
Understanding Microsoft Partner Programs for Designers, Developers, and Agencies
Bill Vlandis, Hakan Soderbom
Using Microsoft Silverlight for Creating Rich Mobile User Experiences
Giorgio Sardo
Virgins, Spaceships and Hob-nailed Boots!
Paul Dawson
Web 2.0 and Beyond: What Is the Business Reality?
Bryan Biniak, Chris Saad, Frank Arrigo, Loic Le Meur, Tim Kendall
Welcome to Internet Explorer 8
Chris Wilson
What Is the face of the next Web?
Anthony Franco, Chris Bernard, Garrick Schmitt, Mark Kurtz, Paul Dain, Tjeerd Hoek
What's New in Windows Presentation Foundation 3.5
Rob Relyea
What's the Secret Formula?
Dan Harrelson, Daniel Makoski, Jensen Harris, Mike Schroepfer, Nishant Kothary
Windows Presentation Foundation Using Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
Mark Wilson-Thomas
Working with Data and Web Services in Microsoft Silverlight 2
Eugene Osovetsky



Oh, and that's not all. You can get Internet Explorer 8 too.

Here is the Acid 2 test via Internet Explorer 8.0 (BETA 1):


Unfortunately, things aren't that simple. When I view our eggheadcafe.com home page with IE 8.0, the entire left - side treeview moves to the right and renders on top of the first column of our content!  When I view this UnBlog with IE 8.0, the browser BLOWS UP and the Visual Studio Debugger dialog comes up. I can only view it OK if I use the "Emulate IE7" button. Now I've got some client script in there but otherwise it's just a slightly modified Blogger stock template. These rendering anomalies don't happen with Minefield (FireFox 3.0 BETA) - the pages described render just fine.

What I Think

If IE 8.0 and Firefox 3.0 are both supposed to be standards-compliant, and one of them doesn't render my exact same page the same as the other, then who's to blame? It seems to me that STANDARDS AREN'T WORKING, period. And I say, they need to all get together and MAKE THEM WORK. They need to put their stupid egoes in their back pocket and MAKE STANDARDS WORK.

First of all, from a user-experience standpoint,  a browser should NEVER just "blow up" and have to be restarted because it cannot render a page correctly - under ANY circumstances. It should be programmed in such a way that it at least makes a "best efforts" stab at rendering what's been thrown at it. Yet, this happens to me with IE 7 regularly, and now it's happening with the IE 8 BETA.

I can predict a real web disaster coming as web developers and site owners scramble to figure out what settings to use to get "Standards Mode" or whether they want to use various directives (as I described in a recent post to choose "IE7 emulation mode"). I suspect that many web sites won't even bother to try anymore -- basically saying "Oh, no -- not again!"   Fortunately, there is plenty of time to figure out what to do -- but a lot of static sites that don't have developers available to "fix it"  may be disappointed unless somebody starts fixing things soon.

Things I've Learned About BETAs

Over the years, both before and after becoming an MVP program member, I've flirted with ALPHAs and BETAs far too much. Most developers (myself included) often don't heed the warnings about not installing BETA software on production machines. Then when they have problems or cannot uninstall the software, they raise High Holy Hell - but -- its your own fault. With the advent of VM technology, its a lot easier to spin up a Virtual Machine, install the BETA, and play around all you want without compromising your primary business OS.  MIcrosoft has also helped a lot by improving the quality of the BETAs so that they uninstall cleanly (although not always!), as well as providing VM images for developers to work with. But the most important thing is TIME. You can spend an inordinate amount of extra time fiddling with installation and tuning of BETA software - to the point where it really interferes with your regular work routine. And the amount of time that it takes just to install some of these bits has increased exponentially over the last 4 or 5 years. If you are gonna play with BETA software - you better fully understand the risks and the payoffs - especially within the context of your regular "for pay" real business work!

Have fun, but don't forget: "BETA" --- is BETA. So don't shoot the messenger when the fit hits the shan.