Silverlight MEF: Custom ExportProvider for Attached XAML Exports

I’ve been enjoying learning more about the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) and exploring various ways to integrate it with applications. After toying with MEF on Silverlight for awhile, I began to wonder about using it to export/import UI pieces or even define data elements in XAML. After a tweet to @gblock confirmed there was not…

Tools We Use

Inside Wintellect, we’ve been having a big email chain about all the tools all the technical folks use. Of course, we all use Visual Studio, TFS, and have read Hanselman’s phenomenal Tools List, but our question was what are the tools each of us used on a daily basis to solve real world problems and…

Silverlight 4’s New Commanding Support

One of the exciting new features in the Silverlight 4 beta is a pair of properties added to the ButtonBase and Hyperlink classes named Command and CommandParameter. These properties represent the first real support in Silverlight for commanding, which is primarily beneficial to to Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) applications. MVVM has long been popular among WPF developers…

MEF: Build a Plugin in Under 10 Minutes

In preparing for an upcoming talk I’ll be giving on the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF), I wanted to demonstrate how fast and easy it is to use in a sample, reference application. This application creates a dynamic plugin. I first link a plugin and show it active, then I create a second plugin and show…

Silverlight 4’s New Drag-and-Drop Support

Another new feature of Silverlight 4 that will enable developers to build richer UIs is drag-and-drop file support. In Silverlight 3, you had to pop up an OpenFileDialog to allow the user to select files from the local file system and make them available to a Silverlight application. In Silverlight 4, OpenFileDialog still works, but there…

Silverlight 4’s New Clipboard Support

Among the many new features coming in Silverlight 4 is clipboard support. A new class named System.Windows.Clipboard provides three static methods for accessing the system clipboard: GetText, which retrieves text from the clipboard SetText, which places text on the clipboard ContainsText, which indicates whether the clipboard currently contains text In the Silverlight 4 beta, only Unicode text…

Silverlight 4’s Improved Element Data Binding

Earlier this year, I wrote about Silverlight 3’s new element data binding feature, which enables XAML elements to be bound together declaratively. I also bemoaned the fact that the target of an element-to-element data binding had to be a Framework-element derivative. Good news! Silverlight 4 fixes this by extending element data binding to DependencyObject derivatives.…

Silverlight 4’s New Implicit Styles

Silverlight 4 introduces a boatload of big-ticket features such as printing support, webcam and microphone support, and support for elevated trust in out-of-browser applications. It’s also chock full of minor improvements that fly lower under the radar. One of my favorite features in this category is support for implicit styles. In Silverlight 3, there was…

RIA POCO DomainService with Existing Business Applications in Silverlight

Your boss suddenly decides that Silverlight is the “next big thing” and asks you to begin converting your line of business application to use the new features. Being a solid architect, of course, you have already built a nice application that is structured in layers. You have a data access layer that abstracts persistence behind…

PowerShell Script for Setting VS 2010 Symbol Paths

Edit (July 7, 2010): Get the latest version of this script here.  A while ago, I wrote a PowerShell script that sets up the _NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable as well as Visual Studio 2008 so all the debuggers or tools that access symbols you use to shared the same symbol cache. Numerous people said they found…

Silverlight 3, RIA services, and Resource (RESX) Files

One of the advantages of using RIA services is that you can build your domain entity tier independently from the rest of the application tiers and then wire it in as needed, whether as LINQ or simple POCO classes. If you decide to annotate your entities with resources, it can get a little dicey. Most…

Getting Silverlight Applications Ready for the Real World

As I continue to work on a reference project (basically building my portfolio site out in Silverlight) I keep going back to what it takes to put a Silverlight application “out there.” When is it really “code complete?” There are tons of blog posts and articles about unit testing, frameworks, line of business, etc, but…