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clip_image001_2 Since I’ve started talking about Sliverlight and analytics yesterday I thought this is probably the best opportunity to mention Silverlytics (Silverlight + Analytics).

Built by Location3 Media an interactive marketing company, Silverlytics is a multitenant Windows Azure-based analytics service that uses Microsoft Live Labs Pivot for its data visualization.  All of its data is collected from Service Oriented Analytics behaviors in Silverlight applications. 

The Windows Azure platform is perfect for web analytics because of its scalability and global reach while Pivot provides a very cool way to slice, dice, and understand the data.  Location3 Media is the company behind this and is looking for people who are interested in beta testing the service.  Go to the site to learn more and try it out.

The most exciting aspect of this though, is that the Pivot control will be available for Silverlight this summerso any website could use Pivot in their Silverlight application.  To see the potential of Pivot, take a look at Gary Flake’s TED talk from earlier this year.


A common misunderstanding and argument I get, for not building web applications using Silverlight technology, is often, the lack of a way to keep stats of your application traffic. So I thought this worth a blog post in order to put a few things right and let people know that there is actually a solution they could use. This solution is Microsoft Silverlight Analytics Framework.

Microsoft Silverlight Analytics Framework is a codeplex based open source Extensible Web Analytics Framework for Microsoft Silverlight Applications. It addresses the challenges of tracking Silverlight applications by enabling it in a number of scenarios like the out-of-browser and offline application ones. It supports the usage of multiple analytics services

simultaneously without impacting the application performance. What’s more you can use Expression Blend to visually implement tracking of your application and do A/B testing. Last but not least the framework supports a number of components built by various analytics and control vendors in Web, video and rich client scenarios such as ComponenentOne, Telerik, RadControls, Smooth Streaming Media Element, and Microsoft Silverlight Media Framework Player 1.0.

If you want to find out more about the project visit the project home page and see a video of the framework presentation from the Mix 2010 conference in Las Vegas where the framework was introduced and released on March 15, 2010.


This weekend I got the chance to speak about IE8 and the future (the next version IE9) in a different event from the ones I’m used to speak, MediaCampAthens.

mediacamp3

MediaCampAthens intends to bring together new media enthusiasts, explorers and professionals to share the current state and their visions for the future of the web, arts, new media, interactive advertising and marketing throughout one day. MediaCampAthens hopes to unlock the potential of new opportunities within the new media industry in Athens. Topics may include – but are not limited to – Web 2.0, entrepreneurship, design, interactive advertising, wi-fi, mobile media, business/marketing perspectives etc.

The event has more likely an open space format in a way that the attendees decide what they want to hear and discuss.

Although the attendees didn’t come from the Microsoft camp (if you get my drift :D) they seemed pretty interested, un-bias, and eager to learn how they can promote their sites and services using IE8 features, like web slices, accelerators and Search providers as well as see what’s new on IE9 with the IE 9 platform preview.

For those of you that didn’t get the chance to be there here is my slide deck.


A few months back I’ve started working with Giorgio Sardo on a Facebook IE8 Web Slice.

In fact there were a few people that already were aware of that and have been bugging me for the download link 😉 since my TechEd 2009 interview and my IE8 talk at Microsoft Dev Days where I’ve shown just a glimpse of it.

Well your wait is over, yesterday Microsoft officially released a set of very useful IE8 addons that target Facebook at the IE addons site that include the Facebook Web Slice.

WebSlice

I can’t tell you how excited and happy I am to see this going live. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!


TechEd_Europe_Blog_L_MVPs Wow these are great news, I’m going to participate at TechEd Online TechTalk series this year. I’ m going to be interviewed be Giorgio Sardo on how to build an IE8 Web Slice. The official description of the talk is

Are you interested to light up your site on IE8? The MVP Konstantinos Pantos will share his experience building a web slice; we will also talk about some handy tip and trick for building compelling accelerators and visual search providers for Internet Explorer 8.

Pretty excited about that, can’t wait…


So it’s time for me to reveal what I’ve been up to for the past 6 months. As some of you may already know, I moved to a new start up company about six months ago, called Metadata (I know the site isn’t quite ready yet, but we focused on the product instead of the site), where I was assigned the task of designing and building a solution for Content Management. The company business strategy required a product that would satisfy the needs of every possible client ranging from small companies that need simple websites to large news portal organizations with real publishing needs and companies with e-commerce needs.

So let me talk a lit bit about what we’ve build so far and begin by letting you in on the 5 pillars we used to design the system:

  • Ease of use. Build a system that would increase its users productivity by reducing the time needed to operate it.
  • Configurable. Build a system that could be easily configured to feet every customer’s specific needs.
  • Modular. Build a system with the core CMS functionality and extend it by using various modules.
  • Secure. Build a secure system.
  • Performance. Build a system that is fast.

We’ve decided to follow the content – presentation separation principle. That way the content editor doesn’t have to worry about how its content is going to look on the site (at least in most of the cases), the content can be easily reused, the whole site can change by simply changing the appearance (themes, templates) and the content can be used in other types of applications (PDA’s, WPF, Silverlight… 😉 and so on) as well and not just websites.

MetaCMS and MetaCMS built websites use the latest Microsoft technologies. We’ve used LinqToSql as our ORM, .Net Framework 3.5 sp1 for its MVC Routing Feature, ASP.NET Ajax extensions, Silverlight, and Microsoft SQL 2008.

ArchitectureA MetaCMS website doesn’t have any physical pages (aka aspx files) instead a Runtime engine is responsible to built page instances using available templates and controls and apply themes. That way the whole page structure and appearance can change at runtime. Controls. Using a Parameter system that we’ve built each control is associated with specific content and is responsible to present it to the page instance that it’s placed. But other mini applications – modules can also be placed on an instance of a page.

Except from the runtime presentation engine, MetaCMS offers a number of services as well. So in it we’ve built an advance caching mechanism capable of automatic Cache Item invalidation Synchronization between web farm nodes, Logging service that can be configured with different types of logging sinks, Auditing, Messaging service that allows communication with a user using various platforms (email, Newsletters, sms etc.) and many more.

MetaCMS

Also during the past five months we’ve developed a number of modules that add more functionality to the MetaCMS core some of which are:

  • Polls
  • Comments/Opinions
  • Publications
  • StockMarket
  • Events
  • EShop
  • Business Directory

This Friday, the first site, built using our platform went live. www.progreece.gr is an e-commerce solution built in co-operation with www.in.gr and is dedicated on selling organic food but that’s not the only one we’ve been working on… you’ll just have to wait a bit longer to find out more…


Most of the people I meet have this idea that they have to either buy or find an open source third party component, or (even worse) use flash, when it comes to drawing graphs for a web application or site. So I’m guessing that most people don’t know that the Data Visualization Group within the SQL Server Reporting Services Team has created stand-alone ASP.NET and Windows Forms Chart Controls for the .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008, similar to what has been already available as built-in chart functionality in SQL Server Reporting Services 2008.

Free ASP.NET Chart Controls

There are several links to get the “full package” for these free chart controls:

  • First, you can download the ASP.NET and Windows Forms Chart Controls for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 here.
  • Then download the Language Pack for the Free Microsoft Chart Controls here.
  • Download the Microsoft Chart Controls Add-on for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 here. This package provides Visual Studio toolbox integration and IntelliSense for the ASP.NET and Windows Forms Chart controls.
  • Last but not least, download the documentation and API for the free ASP.NET and Winform Chart Controls here.

You can also check-out some samples for the Microsoft Chart Controls as well as discuss them in the forums.


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chrome1Just a few days after Microsoft released IE8 Goggle retaliated by releasing their browser, Chrome. After installing it my first impressions are:

  • Extremely clean and streamlined UI
  • Nice source view and developer helpers
  • Nice download manager
  • Extremely fast page loading
  • Great JavaScript performance

What’s missing (in my opinion):

  • Grouped tab browsing
  • Web Slices
  • Accelerators

To conclude, I thing IE8 is a more feature complete browser according to my standards and although it’s beta has more rendering problems than chrome has at the moment, I’m sticking to IE as my default browser.

UPDATE: It doesn’t support Silverlight arghhh!!!


Yesterday I had the chance to talk at a DotNetZone event about Building Rich Internet Applications using Silverlight 2.0. It went very well, people seemed to have an active interest on this new Technology and anxiously looking forward to build real word applications (like this healthcare one announced yesterday by Tim Sneath) with it.

My session was quite long (2.5 hours – thankfully no one slept during it ;-)) so I had the chance to talk about almost all of Silverlight’s features and give a lot of demos, after all events like that, where you speak to developers, is all about demos right 😉 The topics that I covered were:

  • An Introduction to Silverlight
  • Core UI Features
  • Controls, User Controls
  • Styles and Templates
  • Networking
  • Data
  • Linq
  • Isolated Storage
  • Browser Integration

You can find all the source code from the presentation demos as well as the ppt here:


I’m also planing on uploading my session recording (yes I’ve recorded the whole thing 😉 I just need to find some space and bandwidth on the web.

Stay tuned!