Facing Blend

XAML Fest – A Review

I don’t like giving bad reviews, but when I sent my email in RSVPing a chair at an event called, “XAMLFest” I was expecting to have so much XAML that I’d feel as if I was being assaulted with confetti thrown everywhere – XAML confetti.  Unfortunately, that’s not what we(myself and the other attendees) got.  Instead, we experienced a whole lot of WPF and Silverlight, and I’d gauge about 1/3 of the entire thing was XAML, and most of that third was in the second day.  So for those who did not return after the disheartening first day, they missed out on the bulk of the XAML related content.

If you’re interested in more details, please read on:

Yesterday evening was the ending of the 2 day event, XAML Fest.

This 2 day event boasted through its name a full 2 days of XAML in concentrated form.  After personally attending this event, I’d like to propose a change to the name to “WPF Fest” or something to that effect.

The first day primarily focussed on the model of M-V-VM.  There are links all over the web regarding this, so if you’re curious about this, a google search will guide you in the right direction.  The first day we were knee-deep in c# between the constructors, creating multiple new classes which referenced each other, and having these tie into 5 lines of XAML.  By the end of this day, I was thoroughly frustrated.  Not that I don’t enjoy more information, alternative ideals, and learning more C#, but I’m at this point wondering why this thing is being called “XAMLFest”.  I will mention that towards the end of day 1, there was a bit more touched upon by way of walking us through the interface of Expression Blend and the construct of XAML files.

The second day was Silverlight centered and in as much, quite a lot paralleled the first day, however, there was a considerable level of XAML done in comparison to the first day, including the integration of our silverlight application with a 3rd party control called Blacklight, which is a very nice set of controls made available for download on Codeplex that really were pretty awesome.

After lunch, we dove a lot deeper into the workings of expression blend, customizing buttons and other controls which come with expression blend.  We challenged the blend presentor with questions that he wasn’t exactly comfortable with, but showed us regardless.  The interaction and enjoyment from those in the room definitely escalated during this part of the event, and from there on that tone continued to the end.

So at least it ended with a bang.

I would like to mention that it was definitely worth attending.  There were a few things that I discovered I was doing (as usual) the more difficult way.  Now I have a bit of restructuring to do in a way of preserving the integrety and bringing down pageload time – 2 things that I am always trying to improve upon.

If I were to letter-grade this event, I’d give it a C+

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