FacingBlend.com in silverlight!

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FacingBlend’s Silverlight page is LIVE!

Click here to view

Since yesterday, I’ve had several emails asking questions regarding this release, so I thought I’d share a bit.

Most websites that I’ve seen around which had displays of Silverlight use weren’t as artistic as I thought a site could be.  Expression Blend is a very powerful tool, and like most tools, if you really play with it, you can find that you can do almost anything if you just play with it long enough and tailor things to fit what you want, but… I’m not seeing that being done!

So I wanted to create a silverlight website that really pushed hard and heavy on the “pretty” side.  I wanted it to use my favorite color, green ( no relation to the current popularity with “going green” ), but still have a little “windows vista /7” glassy watery look/ feel for the background.  The centerfocus on the site isn’t really the content, its on the background which is done entirely in XAML.

That’s right – the pretty thing that appears to be raster based, is 100% xaml.

Now, I wasn’t really going for a “portfolio” either – this is my personal website.  My play-thing over the web, so I stayed away from the typical “portfolio” feel.  I’m having fun here.  I feel like I’m playing when I’m working in Expression Blend, and I really wanted that to show in the design.  I think my absolute favorite part is a little geeky.  Even the icons are done in Xaml and I think there’s just something awesome about that.

The Toybox itself was what pulled back my timeline a bit.  What to put in there?  What to NOT put in there and how the heck do I want to organize it?

Well, I kept not having time to work on this and it sat on a back burner not  being worked on for months.  I seriously had this nearly done back in December of 08, but I got stuck working on a few other things and having a blast with my family and helping out with a logo for the company, Seovian (which you can find in my galleries here on my blog).

I then was pushed by 2 different projects that I’m working with to upgrade to Silverlight 3 and with that, I forced everything aside, brought Facing Blend in Silverlight back into the forefront and finished the entire Toybox in 3 days(in my spare time).

I still look at this stuff and have to remind myself that I actually did this, all on my own, that I’m not looking at someone else’s work.  I still can’t believe how much I’ve learned in such a short amount of time.  Maybe it’ll sink in a few years from now, but until then, I keep getting deeply involved in design work and when I come “out of it” and look at the whole picture, I am impressing even myself.  2 years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed that I could do what I just released.  It just blows my mind.

ASP.net hosting – post Vista installation

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Crazy thing that I’ve been putting off diagnosing – the inability to debug/test without debugging since the installation of vista on my home PC.

I could debug on my other computers, so I just would switch to them, but today I finally decided to see what I could do about the issue.

What I was experiencing was somehow a sort of lack of connectivity to the host, even though it was on something similar to: Localhost:50234/default.html

Cannot connect to self?  That’s odd.

My thoughts were beginning to come around to the memory of the initial setup of the development tools onto the computer.  The .net framework was already part of the installation which had a 2-sided thought process to me, that’s either really cool or really not so cool.

Everything else installed cleanly without issues, so I just moved along.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there’s something to the installation that is not included by default with windows vista – and that would be some of the base administrative tools, including IIS for local hosting of web services.

Sure enough – I am finding that I need to add that as an additional feature.

So if you are having the same issue where you are testing your silverlight application or ASP.net site from Visual Studio, and IE reports that it cannot connect, then head over to the control panel, open the programs and select the “Turn Windows features on or off” and get IIS.  While doing that, don’t forget to enable various features, such IIS Management console, WWW Services, and the various IIS6 management settings.  Just selecting the box for IIS won’t install the necessary items needed for serving localy hosted ASP.net services.

 Update: I still wasn’t able to get anything to run from Visual Studio.  I could go straight to localhost/ and see that IIS 7 was running, but anything at all run using the ASP.net Dev Server would return a failed connection attempt.  *sigh*

Finally I located information regarding a recent response made by Microsoft to a high threat trojan.  Their response was to wipe out the IP address information of the LocalHost.

So to fix this, I located and modified the hosts file.  In most computers, this should be in %windowsdir%>system 32>drivers>etc>hosts.  Updated it in a notepad entry and added the local host IP back to this file to result in as instructed by Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center’s article.

Testing… YAY!  My silverlight apps now run!

Randomness! Canvas properties

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As mentioned before, I’ve finally begun to go through Jeff Paries’ book on Silverlight 2, Animations, and I’m going through chapter 1.  In a nutshell, chapter 1 is a crash course on Blend 2, Codebehind, Silverlight and XAML.  The author at one point is describing the properties of a canvas and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the 1 property which to me stands out like a sore thumb.

As described in his chapter, Canvases can have properties  such as background, height, IsHitTestVisible, Left, Name, Opacity, Tag, Top, Visibility, and Width.

Most of them seem pretty standard, right?  But what about IsHitTestVisible? 

Seems a bit like an oddball.  Like having a basketball player standing among a group of japanese martial artists.

I'm not the engineer

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Its been about 2 weeks since I completed Victor Gaudioso’s book on Blend 2 and just after I wrote the review on his book, I blogged that next on the order of business was to start going through the newly released book by Jeff Paries, Silverlight 2 Animation – and then I ran into computer troubles.

If you’re actually interested in reading me blogging while pulling my hair out, by all means, look through the archives.  I think I blogged about it enough.

This blog posting is to say that finally, I’m able to begin going through this book by Jeff Paries (YAY!).

Before even getting to numbered pages, I’m reading the “Who this book is for” and am wondering.  He mentions that this book is intended for web developers – developers being the key word here.  As much as I enjoy getting my hands dirty in code, I wouldn’t really consider myself to be a developer.  I can comprehend code, I can tinker around with things or make things work, but to me, a developer is a whole lot… I don’t know.  I just don’t consider myself to be a developer.  I’m the half-and-half.  I do some cool, clean and shiny looking design work and tie it together with things that have already been created, and tinker until it works the way I want it to.  So where there are 3 parts, the pretty picture, the engine behind it, and the pieces that make the pretty picture interact with the engine … I am the one that usually is creating the pretty picture and putting in place the stuff that makes that pretty picture talk w/ the engine.  I’m not the engineer.

So hopefuly, I won’t get completely lost while going through this book.

We shall see.