Silverlight/Flash performance (and a bit of fanboyism)

Today I was doing some research on performance of Silverlight vs. Flash. There are several aspects to this – first I looked at the pure performance comparison of the different engines. I found this site that is actually quite interesting and compares all the existing RIA environments (not just SL/Flash/Flex) by running the same app and comparing the frame rates (FPS) that can be achieved:

But of course raw performance is only half the story – the other half being the ease of use and maturity of the platform, the development tools and the interaction and workflow between team members (designer > developer). Now here it gets pretty quickly into the realm of personal preferences, and this often mutates into outright fanboyism and simple bashing of the competitors’ technology. We all know the endless Mac > PC wars that never seem to go away. The same is emerging for Silverlight vs. Flash. Here are some quite interesting blog posts that focus on the pros and cons of Flash and Silverlight – I especially enjoyed the multitude of comments – some with merit some others just flamebait. Nevertheless, an interesting read:

Now, my personal opinion is that both platforms have their pros and cons. SL is by no means finished yet and I think it is an impressive product with a lot of benefits and it certainly will get traction. Rather than mindless bashing, the better way would be to look at both offerings, evaluate their possibilities and mix and match to use the best of both worlds. Nobody says that you should drop Photoshop in favor of Designer – this is a gray area and not black and white. Also true is the fact that MS has historically been very developer-centric and is just now adressing the designer target group and getting into that mindset – and this is a really new field for us where we still have a lot of work to do. Just my 2 cents …

Cheers
Koestie

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MIX 08 Registration now open!

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MIX 08, the conference that covers everything next web will take place March 5-7 2008 in glitzy Las Vegas. This is a great event where you can catch up on the latest Microsoft technologies and also see what others are doing with Silverlight and Expression – highly recommended! Here is what the people at Microsoft say:

Now in its third year, MIX is an intimate opportunity for cutting-edge technical, creative and business strategists to engage Microsoft in a conversation about the future of the web. Come explore the latest wave of opportunities and help redefine the boundaries between: content and commerce, PC and TV, Windows and the Web.

If you register before January 15 you can get a $200 discount on the admission price. So don’t wait too long! http://www.visitmix.com/2008/index.html.

Also very interesting is http://sessions.visitmix.com/. Here you can watch the recorded presentations from the previous MIX events – so you can check out what it will be like before booking.

I’ll be there as well by the way … woohoo :-).

Cheers
Koestie

Free Expression Web eBook

UPDATE – thanks for the comment, I have changed the post accordingly – actually, it came to me too late that deep-linking directly to content  on other sites is not very good form … so apologies for that & please get the book on the web site.

If you are building your web site with Expression Web, you might be interested in this free eBook by Microsoft MVP Tina Clarke. The book shows you how to implement and use Dynamic Web Templates in Expression Web:

Free Expression Web Dynamic Web Template Ebook By Tina Clarke Microsoft MVP – FrontPage.

How to make DWTs and prepare your site.

  • Do you want to spend less time adding new menus and content that appears on every page
  • Would you like to be able to change your template in a few minutes?
  • Do you find the maintenance of your site tedious?

If so get my free Expression Web Dynamic Web Template Ebook and learn how to change your site into any easy chore today.

 The book is offered as an .exe file (no PDF or text) with an included reader. Get it here …

Cheers
Koestie

Build a streaming media Vista sidebar gadget with Silverlight

Wow, I have been searching for a tutorial on how to build a Vista sidebar gadget in Silverlight for quite some time now (I think that the small screen real estate you have at your disposal when designing a sidebar gadget is the ultimate test of a designer’s creativity) – and just now I found this great webinar that not only shows you how to build a Silverlight gadget but throws in streaming media as well! Just perfect, take a look if you are into sidebar gadgets. Click here …

TechNet WebCasts – served by Silverlight

Microsoft EMEA has launched a new webcast portal – TechNet Spotlight, based entirely on Silverlight. Spotlight offers great content and presentations from MS events world wide recorded in high quality video. This is a great place to brush up on some of Microsoft’s latest technologies – and it looks good, too. Link: TechNet Spotlight.

WPF & Expression video tutorials

Head over to http://www.contentpresenter.com/ and check out their range of video tutorials. They can be downloaded for offline viewing and run approx. 15 minutes per video. Topics covered include:

  • Building an Interactive 3D Video Player
    Learn how to use the 3DTools library to place 2D controls onto 3D meshes while keeping their interactivity intact.
  • Reflections in Visual Studio and Blend
    Learn how to use Visual Studio and Blend together to easily create live video reflections for your applications.

And more. Short and sweet.

Cheers
Koestie

PAINT.NET – a great companion to Expression Design

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Expression Design is a great application – and it is often being seen as Microsoft’s competitor product to Adobe’s Photoshop. Well, personally I do think that this is a misunderstanding – for one, you cannot buy Design on its own, it is only included in the Expression Studio SKU and, most important, Design is a vector graphics program at heart. If you are using Expression Design to do photo manipulation or bitmap work, you should also take a look at a freeware application called PAINT.NET that offers a lot of the functionality of Photoshop. I find this application to be a great companion to Expression Design. Do not let yourself get fooled by the name Paint, this has nothing in common with the Paint that is included with Windows – PAINT.NET offers an advanced feature set including layers, curves, color correction, filters and more. Sadly the only thing it does not offer is a feathered selection :-(. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth a (second) look! Check it out here: http://www.getpaint.net/

Cheers
Koestie