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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Trying Silverlight Demos

The cool thing with Silverlight is that it’s so easy to deploy: Simply put the files on a web server, and anyone in the world with a Silverlight-capable browser can see the applications.

The applications developed by Microsoft for demo purposes are also available online. Additionally, third-party developers can also publish their own sample applications to the Silverlight.net website. As mentioned previously Microsoft used two demo applications when they first introduced Silverlight to the public: the Chess application and the Silverlight Airline sample.

Playing Chess Against Silverlight

At the time of writing, the Chess demo (see Figure 1.4) is not available yet for Silverlight 2. You can, however, see a video illustrating this application at http://on10.net/blog/tina/Microsoft-Silverlight-Chess. Also, keep checking the Silverlight.net gallery where the demo and its source code should be posted soon.

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4 Chess application

In this application, you get a chance to play against the machine: The Human button is selected on the bottom. On the top, you can choose to play against another human (booooring), against JavaScript (remember, JScript is Microsoft’s name for its implementation of the technology) or against .NET.

The implementation for the chess engine is exactly the same in JavaScript and in .NET. So the most interesting thing to do in that application is to let JavaScript play against .NET:

  1. On top, make sure that the .NET button is selected.
  2. On the bottom, select the JScript button.
  3. Observe how both engines are playing against each other. The most interesting data is the number of nodes per second calculated by each engine. This is an indication of how fast each engine can process data. Typically, .NET calculates approximately 1,000 times faster than JavaScript!

Running this application always leads to the same result: .NET wins over JavaScript, because it is just so much faster. This is a good proof (if it was needed) of some of the advantages we will encounter when we use .NET for advanced calculations instead of the JavaScript engine.

Planning Your Trips with the Airline Application

The airline application shown in Figure 1.5 was also shown on stage at MIX07 and presents what could be an airline reservation system in the (near) future. Here too, the demo is not yet available for Silverlight 2 at the time of writing but should be updated soon in the Silverlight.net gallery. A video showing this application is available at http://on10.net/blogs/tina/Microsoft-Silverlight-Airlines.

Figure 1.5

Figure 1.5 Airline application

  1. Click and hold the departure city. Then, still holding down the button, move the cursor to the target city. You can release the mouse now.
  2. Select a date for your trip in the Calendar on the right.
  3. The system calculates a number of possible itineraries for your trip. They are shown under the map. Pass your mouse cursor over one itinerary to see it drawn on the screen, and to see a small plane fly from city to city.

This example is interesting, because strictly speaking, Silverlight doesn’t offer new functionality here. Online reservation systems are already available today. However, the user interface is better with Silverlight and makes the user experience better and more attractive.

DeepZooming into the Hard Rock Café

At MIX08, probably the most exciting demo was given by the Hard Rock Café and its memorabilia collection of rock souvenirs: How would you like to be able to see high resolution pictures of all the souvenirs normally exposed in various Hard Rock Cafés around the globe (see Figure 1.6)? Even better, how would you like to be able to select them by artist, year, type, and so on? And the most awesome feature of all: Zoom smoothly into the pictures until you are able to see every detail, like small scratches or a handwritten dedication on a guitar! Navigate to http://memorabilia.hardrock.com to try it yourself.

Figure 1.6

Figure 1.6 Hard Rock Memorabilia

This application is enabled by a feature introduced in Silverlight 2, named DeepZoom. A very high resolution picture is prepared by a tool and divided in multiple, lower-resolution pictures. A Silverlight control is loading these images dynamically (according to the level of zoom chosen) and displays them. Additionally, you can pan the image simply by clicking and dragging the mouse, with a lifelike movement. All these seemingly very complex features are made rather easy thanks to Silverlight 2 (though one should not underestimate the value of the developers and designers having created this application!).

Finding More Demos

Many more samples and demos are available online. Make sure to browse through the Silverlight.net gallery and play with demos to see what Silverlight can do at http://silverlight.net/community/communitygallery.aspx.

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