Archive for May, 2007


World changing products…

Often when watching a movie, particularly Sc-Fi you’ll see a piece of technology and dream of a day when it will become real. It’s normally something so different, so mind blowing and to put it bluntly, so damn cool that if you’re watching on DVD you have to hit the rewind button even though it ruins the flow of the movie.

This happened to me when I first watched Minority Report. The way Tom Cruise can manipulate data on the ‘data window’, a flick of the hand, a drag of the finger just blew me away.

Not for one second did I think that less than 5 years later I’d see that vision become a reality – yet – that’s what has happened today with the announcment of Microsoft Surface, a WPF and Vista based interactive… well, interactive surface!

Users can actually grab digitial content that is displayed on the surface,  moving and interacting with it using touch and gesture – I won’t waste any more words simply go along to the web site and take a look.

This really is the age of the Rich Interactive Application (RIA).


BBC demonstrates Web 2.0 project

During the keynote on the second day at Mix07, Microsoft’s 72 hour discussion held yearly in Las Vegas, the BBC demonstrated what for many was one of the highlights of the show.

This was an extremely complex project in terms of the make up of the team as it comprised people from five companies, Microsoft, BBC, Siemens, Ioko and AKQA, on top of this the time scale for delivery was very demanding with only a 3 week window in which to pull the whole project together. 

Three weeks, five companies, a new team, a new technology and no set brief at the start of the project, a huge timezone difference, as the designer was actaully in Singapore due to another project commitment – the project had all the signs of a roadcrash!

Taking all this into consideration I think one an amazingly aspect of this project is that it was actually completed a little ahead of schedule.

This was only possible due to two things. Firstly it goes without saying the talented design and developer team that worked on the project (well done guys – great job), but secondly, the really flexible way the Silverlight, XAML, JavaScript combo allows the work to be broken down and shared around the team. One developer acted as the hub of the team, the designer and two other developers fed into him. This allowed the designer to concentrate on the visuals, the two developers to concentrate on hooking and writing the JavaScript to provide the interactivity, and the third ‘hub’ developer to actually wire it all up in Blend and Visual Studio.

The final thing to bear in mind when you look at the video is – this was NOT Silverlight 1.1 Alpha with the built in CLR, that would have been too easy 😉

This project was built using the Silverlight 1.0 Beta using Javascript to provide the interactivity… personally I think this is great, as it really shows off some of the potential of the technology even in its first iteration.

You can find further information here at the BBC website

You can also view the BBC section of the key note: BBC keynote

Enjoy 🙂


Convert Flash SWF to XAML (WPF, Silverlight)

Electric Rain have produced yet another outstanding product… Harmony.

Harmony allows for the conversion of SWf files into XAML, which can then be utilised as part of either a WPF desktop application or Silverlight browser application.

This first version of Harmony is concentrating on the animation aspects of the SWF file and the great news is that it will not just be doing a simple frame by frame conversion, it will instead focus on shape definitions to keep the XAML file well written and compact.

You can view the full announcement at the Electric Rain website.