Posts Tagged ‘Silverlight’

I could say, that June is my favorite month as it is the invitation for summer. Yet this year, June seems to have past in a second. I have been to Istanbul, attended the Yazgelistir Summit, got caught in some crazy rainy weather, which was then followed by “get fried in the city” temperatures; met with family+friends over nice tea and Turkish coffee, got one year older, travelled back with 3+12 hour flights, attended right away SoCal CodeCamp in San Diego and *blink* – it is already July. I actually had an unbelievable, happy and exciting start to July, but more about that in my upcoming posts!

Recently I have published a series of mini-reports about the Yazgelistir Summit on SilverlightShow. During the event, I also got the chance to interview Daron Yondem, who is a Microsoft Regional Director for MEA, currently a Silverlight MVP and also the lead for INETA Turkey. If you haven’t already discovered the report series; why don’t you check them out?

Yazgelistir Summit Report Series: Keynote

Yazgelistir Summit Report Series: Presentations

Yazgelistir Summit Report Series: Daron Yondem Interview

Part1: Daron on Silverlight activities in MEA, Silverlight 4 and Windows Phone 7 Series

Part2: Daron Yondem on upcoming Silverlight releases, the Silverlight community in Turkey and SilverlightShow

It was great to have a chance to come together with the Microsoft developer community in Istanbul and get a glimpse of their networking activities and project plans. Today we may just keep track of each other’s work and activities overseas, tomorrow we may be designing and building software together. The world is truly getting smaller.

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If you are new to Silverlight, you will soon discover, that there is a sea of information out there, which may seem overwhelming at first. I have put together an updated “Get Started with Silverlight” section on SilverlightShow, which aims to be a guide for your learning and resource discovery process, so that you don’t get lost on your path to Silverlight. The information is mainly focused on Silverlight 4, yet you will find resources and links, which will help you while working with any version of Silverlight.

The article is build on the following main sections, which you may also check out separately for a quick hint or pointer:

What is Silverlight in brief?

Developer/Designer Tools

Silverlight Tools available on Codeplex

Additional Silverlight Developer Tools

Frequent stops for any Silverlight Developer/Designer

Silverlight’ers Blogs

More SilverlightShow Article Series

Why don’t you check out the updated “Get Started” section and let us know, what you think about your new guide?

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The last stop of  .NET Rocks! Visual Studio 2010 Road Trip was in Atlanta on May 7th – and now the roadtrip is officially over. The roadtrip took Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell, from DotNetRocks, all over the place; from Mountain View (CA) to Atlanta (GA). I got a chance to attend the Redlands event on April 22th, but did not have time to share a blog post until today.

The Redlands event took place at Esri with many attendees ranging from the Inland Empire and LA area, despite the unusual rainy SoCal weather! During the event Richard Campbell demoed interesting Web load testing capabilities of Visual Studio and Carl Franklin talked about Silverlight 4’s new features  and multimedia. They also demonstrated the BING Silverlight 4 application, put together by the Microsoft Bing team, which tracked the DotNetMobile throughout the roadtrip in real-time.  You should definitely check out the app features, which include Twitter and Flickr integration and lots more.

Their rockstar guest was Scott Stanfield, the founder and CEO of Vertigo Software, Inc., an award-winning design and development firm that uses the latest Microsoft technologies to redefine the user experience for the Web, mobile and multi-touch environments. Vertigo’s most recent projects include the Silverlight HD video player for NBC Sport’s Sunday Night Football Extra, Silverlight HD video player for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, HD Silverlight live streaming player for the Presidential Inaguration of Barack Obama in 2009 and the Hard Rock Memorobilia Silverlight Deep Zoom application. Scott Stanfield shared the story of how he started out his career, his company Vertigo and also his historical perspective around Visual Studio .NET. You can listen to the .NetRocks show #546 here.

You can check out the rest of my photos from the event on flickr.

A few personal notes on “Tech Celebrities”

When a friend asked us about the event and the event hosts, we tried to outline the .NetRocks podcast as a weekly talk show about Microsoft .NET technologies and Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell as some kind of “tech celebrities”. Our friend seemed pretty surprised… Actually, a while ago, I would have probably have had the same reaction. I would have stated in astonishment – “Celebrity geek? Wait a minute  – there must be a mistake”. Well; I am happy that I had to change my mind after regularly attending tech events and user groups here in SoCal as well as MIX09 and MIX10!

On the same day of the Redlands event, Vertigo announced that their work on Sunday Night Football Extra for NBC Sports has been nominated for an Emmy.

So, now we are not just limited to the possibility of becoming tech celebrities in the tech world, we might even get official recognition from the Art scene and dream of giving the first “geek” Oscar acceptance speech?! Well, there is still lots of time until the 2011 Oscars; Hollywood here we come!

This all just sounds too dreamy; but isn’t imagination the first sparkle for any success? Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. (Henry David Thoreau).

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In the first post of my “Windows Phone 7 Design Notes” series, I tried to provide a general introduction to the Metro design language and share links of text and media resources, which you may find useful if you wish to dive deeper into the design concepts behind Windows Phone 7.

This article is going to be a bit lengthy, as it includes my personal impressions on Metro and its type-centric design features plus a recent typography project, which actually sparked the idea to write this series.

Metro + Adrian Frutiger

While checking out the recordings and presentations about Windows Phone 7 design, some distinctive facts about Metro, which rely upon beautiful typography and simplicity in design, brought Adrian Frutiger to my mind, who once said:

If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch, it has to be the wrong shape. The spoon and the letter are tools; one to take food from the bowl, the other to take information off the page… When it is a good design, the reader has to feel comfortable because the letter is both banal and beautiful.

First of all, a few informative details about Adrian Frutiger.

Adrian Frutiger is one of the most prominent typeface designers of the 20th century. Although being best known for creating the typefaces Univers and Frutiger, he has also created logos, signage, corporate typefaces and corporate identities for various publishers and industrial enterprises. I am only going to highlight Univers and Frutiger due to the context of the post, yet a few other of his famous typefaces are OCR-B, Versailles, Linotype Centennial, Avenir, Vectora, Linotype Didot and Rusticana. What is most stunning about his career is that it spans the hot metal, phototypesetting, and digital typesetting eras.

When Adrian Frutiger created the Univers typeface, it was accompanied by a unique classification system to eliminate naming and specifying confusion. He eliminated everything except the essential forms of letters. He was concerned with legibility and the shapes of the letterform. Originally his design included 21 variations of the Univers. Type design may sometimes simply be presented as art. But if you just take the time to check out the Univers numbering system, which is used to create variety in letter weight, width and position, you would discover, that the entire design process is done with such mathematical precision that type design suddenly resembles a well calculated engineering project or a software project with thousands of unit tests.

The Univers typeface has been extensively used for the Montreal Metro, the San Francisco BARTFrankfurt Airport , the Walt Disney World road system and some London boroughs streets. Akzidenz Happen and Univers is easily confused with sans-serif typefaces Helvetica and Akzidenz Grotesk. If you want to get some historical facts on sans-serifs, check out the “The History of Linear, Sans Serif Typefaces” article by Adrian Frutiger.

In the early 1970’s, Adrian Frutiger created a Univers font variation for the Paris metro. He also worked on a “way finding” signage alphabet for the Charles de Gaulle International Airport. The result was a distinctive and modern typeface with a legibility at various angles and sizes. This particular typeface was later renamed and released by Linotype in 1977 as Frutiger.

I was planning to share a short video with Adrian Frutiger here, however most media content is in French or German (or rather Schweizerdeutsch). You may check out photographs and highlights of his life in an online photo gallery provided by Linotype. But I have also discovered an original presentation by Mark Simonson, who gave a talk about Adrian Frutiger at TypeCon in 2006. The presentation includes various snapshots from Adrian Frutiger’s rarely found book “Type Sign Symbol“, outlining the analytical side of making letters. The latest book on Adrian Frutiger’s work is Adrian Frutiger Typefaces, which is a pricey yet complete guide with good reviews.

Let’s bring some of Adrian Frutiger’s ideas and Metro together:

Metro and airport system signage may be one of the inspirational sources in Metro’s thought process, but it surely is not the only characteristic, which Metro design principles share with Adrian Frutiger ideas on design.

In case, you are interested in further info on signage typefaces, you can find out more about public signage typefaces here and check out a list of typeface used for Metro signage here.

List of Metro Principles:

  • Clean, Light, Open, Fast
  • Celebrate Typography
  • Alive in Motion
  • Content, Not Chrome
  • Authentically Digital

The list plus colors can be found in the MIX10 session “Windows Phone UI and Design Language“. My notes focus on principles 1-4.

Metro Principle: Clean, Light, Open, Fast

  • Feels Fast and Responsive
  • Focus on Primary Tasks
  • Do a Lot with Very Little
  • Fierce Reduction of Unnecessary Elements
  • Delightful Use of Whitespace
  • Full Bleed Canvas

Adrian Frutiger always emphasized the duality of black and white (whitespace). He took his teacher Alfred Williman’s “Do not apply black but cover up white, so as to make the light of the white sheet active” as a mantra. For example, Univers is a sans-serif designed to create comfortable white space between letters, so it is calm and easy to read. (Adrian Frutiger’s Methodology, LinoType)

Adrian Frutiger: “The black-white contrast soon came to play an important part in my professional life. I remember the fascination which I experienced on first seeing the sign of wisdom of the Tao Te Ching, the perfect representation of duality with its black and white fish bladder signs united within a circle. I owe another realization to an engineer in Paris, who explained to me the binary calculating method of computers: one and zero, black and white. For me, the black-and-white contrast conveys the absolute construction of an image. Taking black away means adding white. ” (Adrian Frutiger Traces, LinoType)

Metro Principle: Celebrate Typography

  • Type is Beautiful Not Just Legible.
  • Clear, Straightforward Information Design
  • Uncompromising Sensitivity to Weight, Balance and Scale.

Adrian Frutiger has a lot to say about legible and beautiful typefaces, as his work is a perfect reflection of these typographic elements:

“From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader.” (Adrian Frutiger on Legibility, Linotype)

“Typography must be as beautiful as a forest, not like the concrete jungle of the tenements … It gives distance between the trees, the room to breathe and allow for life. The same holds true for type. If it is set too narrowly, it can no longer be recognized as type. You need to leave space for the reader to breathe.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)

This quote does also relate with the “reduction of unnecessary elements” in the first Metro Principle.

Metro Principle: Alive in Motion

  • Feels Responsive and Alive
  • Creates a System
  • Gives Context to Improve Usability
  • Transition Between UI is as Important as the Design of the UI
  • Adds Dimension and Depth

Unlike any other type designer, Adrian Frutiger has created typefaces with a diverse set of functionality such as typefaces for books, typefaces for departure schedules or typefaces for signs in public spaces. He took various factors into consideration, so that his letterforms remained legible and his designs could be easily recognized even in difficult conditions such as poor lighting or when the reader is moving quickly past a sign.

The same is true about any kind of UI, if directives are not clear at first glance, they will only confuse the user, instead of clarifying and providing orientation.

Adrian Frutiger: “Type must be recognizable within fractions of a second.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)

Metro Principle: Content, Not Chrome

  • Delight through Content Instead of Decoration
  • Reduce Visuals that are Not Content
  • Contents is the UI
  • Direct interaction with the Content

Adrian Frutiger’s take on the significance of content is very clear:

“Type and design which is too overbearing is not fulfilling its purpose, because it is distracting us from the contents.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)

“Type must be open and clear! It must be adapted to our lives. Type is the clothing a word wears, so it must be subordinate to the content.”

My Interactive Typography Book

I have a deep appreciation for visual arts and talent in digital design, yet a few years back I would not have known this much about design concepts and typography. I started reading books and took design classes throughout 2009. Still I strongly believe, that beyond theory + training you have to constantly feed your soul with diverse inspirational sources to reach a genuine and authentic level of style and creativity.

After sharing this much information about Adrian Frutiger and linking it to Metro, or vice versa, it may come as no surprise, that I worked on a typography project focusing on Adrian Frutiger. A few months ago, I put together a typography book for the typeface “Univers“.

My book show-off definitely deserves some interactive features; posting some static images will not do the the hard work justice! That’s why I decided to display the book with a Silverlight Page Flip application to make browsing through the pages a much more fun and unique experience.  Note2Self: It might also be a good idea to start some work on porting it to a WP7 app.

The book size, front/back cover images, vertical numeric borders, text content, page order etc. are all output of my creative thinking and design aspirations. As a developer, I enjoyed every minute of this design project, I hope the end result reflects my joy and excitement about typography, design and  Silverlight as well.

I have also an accompanying presentation for this typography book project, if you would like to read the details about the project objective, demographics and design features.

With all the information presented in this 2.post, I am not trying to draw a conclusion or make a ground-breaking discovery. I just wanted to share my personal reflection on Metro and Adrian Frutiger, which I hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know, what you think about the post and book design.

SideNote for the developer audience: As this post was mainly focused on design and typography, I did not include any information about the Silverlight application. I am planning to share very soon some of my notes on the numerous Page Flip techniques/apps as well as Silverlight Controls I came across, while working on this application. If you would like to add a pointer to your app, send me the info and link, so that I can check it out, if I haven’t already!

(*The SlideShare plugin does raise a Javascript error in IE8, however the slides are displayed without any problems.)

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Being the SilverlightShow Eco Contest Community winner, I got the chance to meet up with the SilverlightShow team at MIX10 for the first time. Upon their request, I published Mix10 insider reports and I also helped out with two interviews; the first interview with one of the Silverlight MVP‘s of the year Laurent Bugnion and the second interview with Microsoft Expression Studio/Silverlight  Technical Evangelist Adam Kinney.

I need to thank the SilverlightShow team for making MIX10 even more exciting than it already was through these mini-interviews and reporting tasks. Then, I would also like to send big thank you’s to Laurent Bugnion and Adam Kinney, who took the time for our interviews during their crazy busy MIX10 schedule.

Laurent Bugnion’s Interview: We talked with Laurent Bugnion about the Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight announcements at MIX10, his new book “Silverlight 4 Unleashed” (the sequel to his first book Silverlight 2 Unleashed), Silverlight adoption in Europe, the SilverlightShow EcoContest and much more. I witnessed his MVVM talk at MIX10, which he gave to a super-crowded room, so you don’t want to miss this interview!

You can watch Laurent Bugnion’s “Understanding the MVVM pattern” video online now and find the sample code from his MIX10 talk on his blog.

Adam Kinney’s Interview: For Adam Kinney’s interview, I tried to focus on Microsoft Expression Studio and the design aspects of Silverlight. He shared with us detailed information about Project Rosetta website, which currently focuses on relating Flash concepts to Silverlight, and .toolbox, which is a fun online learning environment, where you can learn about basic design concepts as well as the fundamentals of creating Silverlight applications using the Expression Studio tools.

Adam Kinney’s “Flash Skills Applied to Silverlight” talk was a continuation of Project Rosetta and provided lots of useful bits for designers and developers; you should definitely check out the online video.

For the second interview, I had my camera with me, so I got a nice picture as a reward for my endless list of questions.

Note to self:

I discovered tech interviews through channel9 and TechZulu and watched quite a few of them, yet I have never done any  myself. Based on my own critical observation, I need some practice there with interviewing skills! But without trying, there is no chance to detect mistakes and identify chances for improvement. Therefore I will simply stick to the “practice makes perfect” plan and save my harsh self-critiques for later. Besides all the critique, it seems the first-time interviewer did her research and got some good questions ready!

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I am happy to announce that my SilverlightShow ECO Contest entry received the highest average community rate to my surprise and I am going to MIX10!  I wanted to add the MIX10 badge to my blog, once my event registration was complete, as I was still in some sort of astonishment.

There are very interesting contest entries; you definitely need to check out the app gallery. Congrats to the 1st prize winner Daniel James for his Carbon Counter app and the 2nd prize winner Levente Mihály for his EcoLight! app!

Now that there is only a week left to MIX10, I am very excited about the keynote, the sessions and all unexpected announcements. There will surely be surprises!

I have to thank SilverlightShow and Telerik for their awesome prizes and instant answers for all my questions. A special thanks to the International Year of BioDiversity (IYBD) Logo Review Board, whom I contacted to use their logo in my application. But most of all, a big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me!

See you at MIX10!

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The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. There will be worldwide celebrations throughout 2010 to increase the understanding of the importance of biodiversity in sustaining life on Earth. I have worked on an application, that is a little Silverlight guide to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity and submitted it to the SilverlightShow Eco contest today!

The application includes various animations, accompanying music files and information about biodiversity and the actions you can take to protect the Earth’s diverse eco-systems. A WriteableBitmap was my best friend, when I tried to dissolve the Earth in space to show that “there is no other place to go“! A Silverlight Bing Map control proved to be very easy to integrate and customize, when I wanted to display the worldwide biodiversity events in 2010. There is also a counter like the one on the Countdown2010 site, which shows how many days are left to the end of 2010 to work towards the 2010 Biodiversity target.

Here is the link to my entry; please vote for my little biodiversity guide! Watch it in the “full screen option” to see the layout in its original size.

I hope you enjoy the application and get a few informational hints about biodiversity and what individual tasks we can undertake to value and safeguard it.

Let’s end this eco-geeky entry with an irrelevant message:

Happy Valentine’s day! ♥

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