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Silverlight 3

March 21, 2009

The beta of Silverlight 3 is out (http://silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight3/default.aspx), and I have to say, I’m fairly impressed by what is in there. My favorite feature is the OOB (Out of Browser) capabilities that are built-in. Sure, this is essentially a click-once implementation on steriods, but that fact that it works on both Windows and OS X makes be happy (for those that don’t know, I use OS X a lot at home).

I’ve been working and planning a cross-platform app for a good amount of time now. I have prototypes of various pieces of the application, but in order to truly be cross-platform I’ve had to use C++ and OpenGL (yeah, there are other options, but this is one of the easier for me). I don’t really want my app to be a web-application, however, SL 3 is making me re-consider a lot about the project.

Now one of the requirements of my project is to be able to rendering large numbers of 3D models on screen… this is one of the possible deal breakers for me. SL 3 still doesn’t “support” 3D, but all that really means is that I need to write the library or make use of existing ones like Kit3D (which I’d love to check-out, but codeplex.com is down and has been down for the whole day, COME ON MICROSOFT!).

Another possible showstopper is the lack of local file system access. One of the limitations of the OOB is that you get an isolated storage area under the web context. This is possibly the most crucial piece. I have been thinking of ways around it though, network storage is a possibility (haven’t validated it is actually supported in SL 3 yet) and might actually be an interesting workflow with the project.

Well… that’s all for now. If you haven’t checked out SL 3 yet, go check it out. It’s looking pretty sweet. 🙂

(fine print: I work at Microsoft and I also work on products to build Silverlight apps.)

Categories: Programming
  1. Benny
    March 25, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Hey David,

    Don’t have anything to say about Silverlight. Just wanted to thank you for the intro to C#. Really loving the sweetness of all the syntactic sugar 🙂

  2. March 25, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Hey Benny, glad you are liking C#. It’s a pretty useful language.

    I’ve been looking into functional programming a bit more, but I must be missing something as they are confusing me… I get the basic premise, so maybe I’ll try some of that style in C#.

  3. Benny
    March 25, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I think functional programming confuses everyone who is trying to learn it (kind of like the jump program from The Matrix: everyone falls the first time). It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever learned, either in or out of school. I still distinctly remember going nuts when we were given an assignment to implement a Ocaml “compiler” that can translate a program in a toy functional language into C code, which meant it must be able to do things like closure conversion, A-translation, and function-hoisting (words burned deep into my psyche). Nearly drove myself insane trying to wrap my mind around those concepts. Kudos for tackling this very difficult paradigm!

  4. March 25, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Now the choice is between learning Haskel or F#… I’m leaning toward F# as I can use VS for it…

    edit: I guess OCaml is another choice if I’m going to put F# in there.

  5. Benny
    March 26, 2009 at 10:03 am

    I think having a good IDE you’re comfortable with helps a lot when working with difficult stuff like this. If F# let’s you use VS, I say go for it 🙂

  6. March 27, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I’m actually going the Haskell route for a couple of reasons.

    1. It’s a pure functional language.
    2. It runs on both OS X and Windows.

    Currently working through some reading and attempting to make a tic-tac-toe game. I’ll post my results when I’m done.

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