Shawn Wildermuth

Author, Teacher, and Filmmaker
.NET Foundation Board Member

The Blog

My Rants and Raves about technology, programming, everything else...


New Cities and New Courses

My company, AgiliTrain, has created its spring schedule and we are happy to announce that we’re going to be expanding with new courses and new cities. Let’s take the courses first.

After much consideration, it seems to me that 2012 is going to be all about XAML *and* HTML5/JavaScript. With this in mind we’re focusing on our two new courses:

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The Case of the ModelBinding Failure

I wasted an evening last night on a simple bug of mine. I was writing a simple HTML data entry page. I was using JSON + $.ajax to POST data to a ASP.NET MVC controller and it used to work. But for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Let’s start with some background.

In ASP.NET MVC3, they made a change to make the JsonValueProviderFactory part of the ValueProviderFactories so that data that comes in as JSON can be mapped to model classes automatically. See this Phil Haack post for how that works:

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Essential Windows Phone 7.5 Ships

A long labor of love of mine has finally been birthed. My Essential Windows Phone 7.5 book is now available for Kindle. You can also pre-order the physical book from Amazon or directly from Pearson. While I’ve been assured that the book is printed, sometimes it can take some time to make it into the retail chain for different outlets. To clear up some of this confusion I thought it would be helpful to tell you how you can get the book depending on which retailer you go with:

Because the book is done printing, some of the retailers that are selling the physical book may ship early so if you want the physical book, pre-ordering is still the best option. If you want to get a hold of it now, Kindle is the way to go.

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What I've Been Doing...

SYILogo

It’s been a long nine-months and I am excited to be able to talk about what I’ve been working on for the first time. I am working with a small team of people to build a new set of products. But unlike what I’ve been doing in the past, this new set of products is not for developers...

The target of my new project is people who like tattoos (and other body modifications). I found that there wasn’t a good way to share tattoo pictures on the web and on Facebook. That’s what I am tackling. By the end of the year I will be launching this new web application to help people do just that.

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I Love Music...but not iTunes

ralph-ipodI buy a lot of music. I am not a hoarder like some, but I have 100GB’ish of MP3s. I don’t go around and ‘borrow’ friends collections just to up my count. What I do is buy music…just not at brick and mortar stores.

While I could go on about how iTunes on Windows is a bad piece of software, that’s not what I care about. It’s the DRM. I pave my machines constantly and I have my music on a lot of devices at once. Music Match sounds like a good idea, but Apple has burned that bridge with me a long time ago so I won’t harp on it. But as a consumer of music (and someone who wants to support the artists), what do I do?

Buying Music

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Using MVVM on the Web with KnockoutJS

As most of you know, I have been in the Silverlight space for quite a while. (And to be clear to the chicken-little amongst you, no I am not leaving the Silverlight community.) I’ve been building a web application for consumers so that HTML + JavaScript represents the right solution to building a project like we’re building (more on what I am building in the near future). 

One of the things I wanted to be able to do is to build longer-lived pages where it made sense without having to resort to post-backs or hacked together JavaScript. In fact, what I really wanted was a client-side ViewModel (e.g. MVVM) for my web page. After looking at several of the existing frameworks for the job, I settled on KnockoutJS as a great solution. The currently released version (1.21) is a good solution, but the developers of the framework have released a Beta (1.3Beta) version that greatly simplifies what I needed. If you want to follow along, make sure you download that version here.

To get started, I simply have a database of Xbox games (yeah, I know). I am using ASP.NET MVC3 for the web part. I’ve got a single page that contains a drop down of genres and a REST-call from the MVC Controller that returns the games for a particular genre. You can look at the code if you’re interest in that part of the story. I am going to focus on the client-side JavaScript.

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40,000 Apps - What Does It Mean?

WP7MarketplaceSo the Windows Phone Marketplace hit 40K apps. What does it mean to the platform? There are a number of articles out there that talk about the 40,000 apps and compares them to other platforms but I think they are missing a key differentiator.

Articles like the PC Magazine article point to the fact that Apple got to 50K in one year (faster than Microsoft) and that it took Android in 18 months (a tad slower than Microsoft). But to me the real remarkable news of this milestone isn’t the speed…it’s the size of the marketplace for that is astounding in my opinion.

Let’s look at the numbers. According to Garner, the 2011 Q3 numbers indicate that the worldwide market share for smartphones is (see Table of the report):

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What Win8 Should Learn from Windows Phone

windows8As many of my readers know, I’ve been neck deep in the Windows Phone. More recently, I’ve been digging into Windows 8 development as well. On my most recent trip, I spent quite a bit of time with the BUILD tablet. Good news is that it’s a pretty good piece of hardware. Even though it’s not ARM, I am still getting a good four hours of battery life. This version of Windows 8 is early but I do think there are some things that Windows 8 should learn from what they’ve done with the Windows Phone. Here is a short list of what I think the team should look at on the phone:

In-App Back Button

On the phone, the back button represents a major way to navigate in an application. In Windows 8, you can swipe back but that doesn’t take you back to the last page in an application, it takes you to the last Metro-style app. I know you can swipe up to show the ‘ApplicationBar’ and it can have a back button, but I think this is a mistake. The phone learned that users want a single back button that works everywhere…it’s more intuitive.

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Blend for Developers Course Now Available!

If you're a XAML developer and have proudly stated that you hand-code all your markup, it’s time to learn how to be more productive. I’ve authored a new course for PluralSight. If you have a subscription, you can view it my new “Blend for Developers” course now:

Hope you enjoy the course!

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New Article on Software Development

My new article disruptive technologies is now available on Software Quality Connection.  If you’re an organization or developer who are worried about what is coming next, my “Which Platform is Next: All of Them” may be a good read for you.

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