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Visual Studio 2010, .NET 4.0 & Silverlight 4.0 RC links

A few weeks ago Visual Studio 2010 & .NET 4.0 (CLR, BCL, WPF, WCF, EF, …) release candidates have been released. Last week during the MIX ’10 conference Silverlight 4 & WCF RIA Services v1 RC have been set online. Also a first community preview of Silverlight for Windows Phone 7 has been released. So it’s time to roundup all download locations and links to useful articles, blog posts, videos, samples, …

Visual Studio 2010

.NET 4.0

Entity Framework 4.0

WPF 4.0

WCF 4.0

WIF

Silverlight 4.0

Windows Phone Tools

What’s New in the Base Class Libraries in .NET Framework 4

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LINQ AsHierarchy() improvements

A few months ago I published an article about my LINQ AsHierarchy extension method. This extension method can be used to convert a flat collection of records to a hierarchical structure of nested collections.

I got a lot of enthusiastic responses and questions and so I decided to improve this technique a little further. So I added a Parent reference in the HierarchyNode object and the AsHierarchy() method has been extended with RootID and MaxDepth parameters.

I also wrote a new article which describes these new features and demonstrates how to use the LINQ to Objects and the new LINQ to SQL AsHierarchy extension methods. Check it out at my personal website:

http://www.scip.be/index.php?Page=ArticlesNET23

First preview of the WPF DataGrid

Some weeks ago Microsoft released the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and Visual Studio 2008 SP1. In addition to the service pack, the WPF DataGrid CTP has been made available at the CodePlex website.

According to the info at the CodePlex WPF Toolkit page:

The WPF Toolkit is a collection of WPF features and components that are being made available outside of the normal .NET Framework ship cycle. The WPF Toolkit not only allows users to get new functionality more quickly, but allows an efficient means for giving feedback to the product team. Many of the features will be released with full source code as well.

A DataGrid is an essential component for many applications and I’m glad to see that Microsoft is releasing a first version of such a component. The new WPF DataGrid is looking quite good with support for styles and templates, reordering and resizing columns, cell editing, multi column sorting, multi row selection, freezable columns, …

There is no full support for filtering and grouping. Of course you can use CollectionViews to filter or group data but it is not interactive like (WinForms) grids from Developer Express or other thirdparty vendors. Hopefully this will be introduced in the final or future versions.

I like this first DateGrid CTP and hope it will encourage people to start using WPF when developing desktop applications.

More information about the new WPF DataGrid can be found at:

Vincent Sibal already created a small sample application that demonstrates all the features. Check it out!

Generic custom WPF/Silverlight value converters

Data binding is one of the most powerful features of WPF/Silverlight. It allows developers to achieve more with less code. However, when building user interfaces with WPF/Silverlight, you often need to code a little bit in the form of custom value converters. Value converters fill the gap between the way data is stored in your classes and the way that this data will be displayed in your WPF window or Silverlight page. A common mistake made by people who are new to WPF/Silverlight is to implement custom value converters for each and every binding that requires one.

Of course value converters can be generalized an re-used. While developing with WPF for several months now, I have been implementing a library of generic custom value converters. Today I have posted a new article which contains the source code of my library of generic custom value converters and it will demonstrate in which scenarios you can use them.

Here is the table of contents of the article which is posted on my website:

UI automation with the WPF UIAutomation framework

A few weeks ago I posted an article about White, an open-source framework to automate Windows applications. Now I found out that the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) also provides a new Accessibility API called Microsoft UI Automation.

WPF UIAutomation is a framework from Microsoft to automate Windows applications. I’ve written a new article which will demonstrate a lot of its features (invoking button clicks, focusing controls, entering data, sending keystrokes, subscribing to events, …) and compare it with White.

Read the whole article on my website www.scip.be

Amazing Silverlight demo

A few days ago the Microsoft Health Common User Interface team released a great Silverlight 2 (beta) demo.

Whether or not you’re involved in the healthcare sector, the Healthcare Demonstrator is a great showcase of the power of the new Silverlight technology. Silverlight enables designers and developers to bring state-of-the-art user experiences to the web. These 3 applications demonstrate some new ideas and it is great for learning and thinking about future developments. It is the most amazing Silverlight/WPF demo I’ve already seen and you really need to spend at least 10 minutes at this website.

Finally I would like to refer to an older WPF demo application which was released in the summer of 2007. The Family.Show WPF application from Vertigo is also a very good example how to create compelling and great looking user interfaces with the latest Microsoft technologies.

UI automation with the White framework and UISpy tool

This weekend I posted a new article which covers the most important features of the open-source White framework and the Microsoft UISpy tool. White can be used for UI automation and my C# .NET application demonstrates how to automate the Windows calculator by sending keystrokes, clicking on buttons and menus, pressing function keys, accessing textboxes, …

The whole article can be found on www.scip.be