Friday, March 7, 2008

Mix08 days 2 and 3

Mix08 finished up today, lots more good stuff. especially want to call out the "Story of the Office Ribbon" presentation, the speaker (jensen harris) was awesome as he showed various Ribbon prototypes, and it was super-interesting to see the evolution and all the thinking that went into it. you can watch it here:

the ASP.NET MVC talk was also very interesting. MVC will live side-by-side with WebForms, and it gives a really clean (java) way to build test-driven web sites. it definitely has a future with us (it's in somewhat early beta now). you can watch or see slidedecks of it and others here:


What's New in .NET 3.5, Rob Reylea, MSFT
- hardware-accelerated bitmap effects
- performance improvements
o cold-startup speed improvements of 15-40%
- easier install process

AOL Silverlight Mail Client Lessons Learner, AOL
- poorly attended, bad speakers, AOL irrelevant to this crowd even with ~50 million users

Silverlight 2.0, Karen Corby, MSFT
- design-ability improvements from 1.0
o user controls (encapsulation, re-use)
- derive from UserControl
o events at element level, as opposed to application level
o tabbing works automatically (like it does in html)
- custom controls - derive from Control
o use generic.xaml to specify style and template
- Parts Model for template support (override visual tree) - easy way for template designer t o say "these are the parts i'm expecting"
o ElementParts
§ Named elements in template
o StatesParts
§ Storyboard that controls the parts
o specify [TemplatePart()] attributes for each parts element
- Blend 2.5 has built-in support to build UserControls from selected set of controls

Steve Ballmer Keynote
- he's crazy and he loves developers
- silverlight is part of msft's long-term vision of web/desktop fusion
o 1.5 million silverlight downloads (did he say per day? possible?)
- in response to msft's diversity of businesses: you either broaden or you become irrelevant
- heathfall -> msft investment in healthcare

Social Networks, panel with Garret Camp (msft live) Marc Canter, Allen Hurff (MySpace), David Morin (business sn), someone from Facebook
- openId - relies on URL, not consumer friendly
o major players (facebook, msft live) are watching, but not adopting
- facebook charges $.50/app install
- privacy is the biggest issue, bigger than security and pedophiles
- lack of data portability is major issue, users need to preserve anonymity at times and share data across the web at other times
- 4/10,000 click through an ad

ASP.NET MVC, Scott Hanselman, MSFT
- implemented using HttpHandlers and HttpModules
- release expected later this year/early next
- side-by-side with WebForms
o more control over <html> output
o makes possible unit testing and test-driven development
o SEO and REST friendly url structures
o ideal separation of tiers
- request engine
o "route" is determined (routes specified in Application_Start) from specified URL (by default "/Controller/Action")
§ routing engine handles friendly url parsing and is decoupled from MVC
o controller method is invoked
o controller optionally talks to model
o controller passes off something to view
o view knows what its getting and how to render it
§ view can spit out html (WebForm, xslt, etc.), rss, json, etc.
§ view engine can be replaced (e.g. NHaml)
- to test controller, use empty view engine that implement IViewEngine

The Office Ribbon, Jensen Harris, MSFT (
- easily the best presentation of the conference
- lots of prototyping; can we buy time in the UI lab?
- small buttons close to cursor or large buttons far away
- side vs. top
o people felt more comfortable on top in testing
o fear that sidebar would devolve into scrolling list
- evaluate
o longitudinal visibility - usage over time (i.e. 2 months, not 2 hours)
o feature affinity - how people use things together
o command loops - eliminate tab switches
o get fresh eyes!
o eye tracking - heat map, gaze tracking
- ask users where they think items should go
o some features like header/footer had 50/50% split
- iterate!
o account for iteration in dev schedule
o 5 major revisions, 4 later in the cycle
- when is a ribbon appropriate?
o real estate tradeoff, so make sure to take other things out
o lots of commands
o galleries, visual representations of features

Next Gen User Interfaces with WPF, Electric Rain
- workflow, design, build
o workflow = goals, foundation
o research, prototype, functional not pretty
- avoid monolithic specs in favor of rapid prototyping
o developers ask for product design specification when needed

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