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 Thoughts on Web Development
Menus, mouseovers, and the IPhone Thursday, January 31, 2008 6:16 PM

So, I've been thinking about getting an IPhone or a Tilt. I went down to the AT&T store yesterday. It was the first time ever that I was in a phone store that didn't have a zillion people in it. I was left alone with the IPhone for 45 minutes . What a great interface and device - but more on that later. It came as a bit of surprise to me when I browsed to the LimberTech website and tried navigating around using the menu. I never thought about it before but mouseover's won't work on a touch screen type of interface because when you press your finger on the menu item, it means to select it. There is no notion of hovering over a link. I'm not sure there is a way to do a popup menu'ing system on the IPhone. I'll have to do a bit of research to figure that one out.

I almost walked out with an IPhone. I had my credit card out and they had brought a box up from the back. However, I came to an abrupt halt when I found out there was no way to use the phone as a modem for the laptop. I just took for granted that you would be able to hook the phone to the computer and use the EDGE network for data access. But the salesperson said that you couldn't do that because the IPhone "wasn't a true PDA". So I had them put the IPhone back and went to look at the Tilt.

The Tilt certainly didn't wow me like the IPhone did. But I was still blown away by the device. While the interface isn't anywhere near as tight/nice as the IPhone, it seems like the features might be a better match for me - re: Outlook integration and better support for IE.

Technical|WebSite
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Cool Silverlight 3-D Engine Friday, January 18, 2008 1:22 PM
I just ran across a link to a site which has a very cool Silverlight 3-D Graphics Engine. Check it out - http://www.markdawson.org/kit3d/.
Silverlight
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Why Silverlight? Thursday, January 10, 2008 3:35 PM

Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in from Microsoft for delivering the next generation of Rich Internet Applications (RIA). Silverlight is nom de development for the platform to deliver these applications. While Microsoft has made some mis-steps along the way, Silverlight represents a qualitative step forward in the evolution of web applications.

Silverlight is based upon XHTML, Javascript, and XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language). Once the Silverlight "player" plug-in has been installed on the client the client has only to:

  1. Load a web page (XHTML)
  2. Run a small bit of Javascript for invocation of the plug-in
  3. Play the XAML in the plug-in

One advantage of this model over other RIA technologies like Flash or Java Applets, or ActiveX is that the XAML is simply a fire-wall friendly, text-based XML file which is well defined and can be easily audited for security purposes. XAML also allows designers, using a tool like Microsoft Express Blend to deliver designs which can be directly delivered to the browser. In the past, designers might have been constrained by a developer as they incorporated the designer's work into the application.

Technical|Silverlight
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Silverlight Thursday, January 10, 2008 3:32 PM

Over the last couple of weeks I've been excited about a relatively new technology from Microsoft called Silverlight. For me, it seems like an excellent way to bring cross-platform, cross-browser animation, vector graphics, and media to any web page. I've never felt really comfortable with CSS, Javascript, DOM, and Flash. For some reason, I understand Silverlight better. It just seems to make sense. When I started programming web applications, I used some html, asp script, and CSS. I never really felt comfortable with the architecture aspects of the applications. When ASP.NET came along, it was infinitely more appealing to me due to greater support for development tools. It allowed me to create applications I felt were much better architected. In a similar way, I believe Silverlight allows for a better application develop experience. As a side note, it also allows for a better design experience through the use of a designer tool like Expression Blend and Expression Web.

Silverlight makes use of a small-ish download (1.4mb) of what amounts to an ActiveX control. This control works in conjunction with Javascript and XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language to create a Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform. I believe Silverlight allows for the development of the next generation of  great web applications.

ASP.NET|Silverlight
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