The Weather Channel Makes My Spring With Internet Explorer 9 Pinned Mode

by dboynton 3/18/2011 8:58:53 PM

I live in St. Louis, which means I am sort of manic about the weather, especially in the Spring. We get massive storm systems moving through this area and I like to be prepared for them. I have long relied on The Weather Channel’s web site, http://www.weather.com to get timely news on what’s going to hit us and when.

I was surprised this morning by a fluke shower, and by “fluke” I mean I wasn’t expecting it. So I jumped only TWC’s web site using the newly installed Internet Explorer 9 RTW and saw the most interesting notice on the screen:

image

Weather.com now checks to see if you’re running in IE9 pinned mode or not. If you’re not familiar with running a site in pinned mode with IE9, think about how you can pin your favorite applications to your Windows 7 taskbar, making them easy to get to when you need them. Since users, more and more, are using web applications as much, if not more, than locally installed client applications, it only makes sense that web pages should act the same way as local applications. Thus, IE9 pinned mode web sites. How cool is that? I could go into details here on how to enable IE9 pinned mode implementation and discoverability for a site, but my friend and colleague, Jon Box, has already done so on his blog.

So, I dragged the IE9 tab to my task bar and pinned the site and, low and behold, It got the following when I right clicked on the hi-res favicon:

TWCJumpList

The first set of items under the Tasks section head are part of a static jump list. Amazingly, any web site can implement a list like this by adding a meta tag for each item in the list. They look like this:

<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Some Task;action-uri=/SomeTask.html;icon-uri=/favicon.ico"/>

That’s it. Pretty easy, right? Add up to five of these to make your list and users can immediately get directly to important resources on your web site with one right-click and one left-click. This is something you can add to your web site today with minimal effort and testing, since browsers ignore HTML tags they don’t recognize, especially meta tags.

The really cool part of The Weather Channel web site’s pinned mode is the section about the static jump list items, the section called Recent Searches. This is an example of a dynamic jump list because it is generated based on real-time data as opposed to static information in HTML. Here they simply replicated the same functionality I would receive from clicking on the Find Weather search box at the top of their web site:

image

Thus, without having to write any new functional code, The Weather Channel was able to give me the ability to check my local weather with two clicks and no typing.

This is the real power of these new features of IE9. You get the same presence and access as your favorite Windows applications, but in this case, they’re your favorite web sites. You get access to what you want, when you want it, with few clicks. That’s what I call a win in my book.

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FTW! (For the Windows, that is...)

by dboynton 12/13/2010 11:56:17 AM
WPF XAML Document

+

Silverlight

+

Internet Explorer 9 Beta

=

Windows 7

What do WPF, Silverlight 4, and Internet Explorer 9 have in common? No, that's not a riddle. Really, it's not a riddle. They are all FTW. What I mean by that is they all offer developers unique ways to exploit the power of Windows 7, such as integrating with the taskbar, leveraging jump lists, or offering the ability to exploit multi-touch or hardware sensors.

FTW?
And why am I even talking about this? Well closely following on the heels of our Windows Azure Boot Camp announcement, we are gearing up another boot camp series: For the Win: Window 7 Development Boot Camp. This new series of events will include evangelist-led presentations by none other than the purely awesome Jennifer Marsman as well as hands-on labs to help you really dig into developing client-centric applications using WPF and XAML, Silverlight, and Internet Explorer 9 (yes, client-centric integrations from your web site with just a touch of HTML5).

What's Covered?
Jennifer will cover application compatibility and transitioning your application to Windows 7, leveraging the Windows taskbar and jump lists, exploiting the taskbar and jump lists from your web site using IE9, taking advantage of new sensor, location and multi-touch functionality, and creating Silverlight 4 out of browser applications. Each boot camp will last a full day, starting off right at 8am local time, include lunch, several sessions and a couple of hands-on labs to help you really get a feel for how to take advantage of Windows 7 capabilities in your applications.

So, yes, this is a BYOL (bring your own laptop) event. Windows 7 is required, as is several other pieces of software: Visual Studio 2008 or 2010, Windows API Code Pack, Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers, IE9, and Silverlight 4.

What Cities?

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Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360 Launch Event in St. Louis November 22nd

by dboynton 11/16/2010 12:26:57 PM

image 

It’s been a big month for Microsoft’s Consumer Products group. With both Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Kinect launching just a couple of weeks apart, There is suddenly a lot to learn before the busy holiday shopping season kicks into full swing.

In St. Louis, Microsoft is here to help! On the evening of November 22nd, we’ll be hosting a launch party for Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Kinect at the Microsoft offices in Creve Coeur. You’ll get an insider’s look at Windows Phone and the many unique experiences it offers in the mobile device space. Besides the usual cadre of Microsoft experts, we’ll also have representatives from AT&T and T-Mobile on hand to perform demos of their respective devices and answer your questions. We’ll also have Xboxes setup so you can experience Kinect first-hand.

Pizza, soda and beer will be provided and everyone who registers to attend the event will be entered into a drawing to win and new Xbox 360.

This should be a fun evening. Register today and I’ll see you there.

Event Details:
Date: November 22, 2010
Time: 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
Location: Microsoft Office, 3 City Place Dr., Suite 1100, St. Louis, MO 63141

Online Registration Required! 

 

image  image  image

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Code Work-Around Now Available for Critical ASP.NET Vulnerability

by dboynton 9/20/2010 9:05:00 PM

On Saturday, Microsoft released a security advisory for all versions of ASP.NET. As with all security issues, it is important for system administrators and developers to take the necessary steps to ensure their data remains safe. This particular vulnerability could allow an attacker to request and download files within an ASP.NET application, like the web.config file. Obviously, this is a file often containing sensitive information. A patch for this vulnerability will be available soon, but for now, developers can implement code to ensure that their applications are safe.

For a full description of the vulnerability and what you need to do to protect your application, please check out ScottGu’s blog post on this issue.

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Security | ASP.NET

Seats Still Available for Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp

by dboynton 7/28/2010 4:37:00 PM

image Be a part of one of the most anticipated releases from Microsoft since Windows 7! Over the course of the next two months, Microsoft will be conducting a series of Windows Phone 7 Bootcamps around the country, many of which will be held in cities here in the mid-west.

These bootcamps will get you on an inside track on how to be part of the step of Microsoft’s mobile strategy and get hands-on training for building Silverlight-based applications. These free, live learning sessions explore the latest tools, discuss tips and technologies and provide access to Windows Phone 7 experts. Specifically, you’ll learn about:

  • The Windows Phone 7 platform
  • Building Silverlight applications for Windows Phone 7
  • Submitting your application to the Windows Phone 7 marketplace

The best news: There are still seats available for these events. Click on the registration link below for the city closest to you and register today!

clip_image001Location/Registration

clip_image001[1]Date

Cincinnati, OH

July 29

Minneapolis, MN

August 3

Dallas, TX

August 4

Indianapolis, IN

August 5

Overland Park, KS

August 5

Columbus, OH

September 7

Waukesha, WI

September 14

Grand Rapids, MI

September 14

Little Rock, AR

September 15

Cleveland, OH

September 15

St. Louis, MO

September 16

Southfield, MI

September 21

Austin, TX

September 22

Des Moines, IA

September 23

Tulsa, OK

September 28

Memphis, TN

September 29

Houston, TX

September 30

Knoxville, TN

September 30

Chicago, IL

October 8

Downers Grove, IL

October 20

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Winchester Ammunition Builds Cool IE8 Web Slice with Silverlight and SharePoint Server

by dboynton 6/25/2010 10:40:15 AM

Winchester Web Slice Last week I talked about a cool web slice Hallmark Cards developed to let you track important events in your Facebook friends’ lives. Well, this week I have another cool web slice, one developed by Winchester Ammunition (a division of Olin Corporation) out of East Alton, Illinois. This web slice is significant because it uses Silverlight to deliver a rich experience while leveraging SharePoint Server to host and manage the content of the web slice.

You see, late last year, Winchester launched the new version of their public web site on top of SharePoint Server. They’re leveraging primarily the content management and search capabilities on winchester.com. When they looked at how to deliver content to their IE8 web slice, they wanted to reuse as much as they could. So, working with Aspect Software (formerly Quilogy of St. Charles, Missouri), the hooked their Silverlight client for the web slice, which was custom built for the 320x240 web slice pane, and hooked it into the RSS feed, product catalog and streaming media areas of the winchester.com web site.

The result is a rich, intuitive application that allows Winchester’s customers to connect to important industry news and product information whenever they like without interrupting what they’re currently doing in the browser. This is a win for the customer, but a win for Winchester as well. By the user installing the web slice, Winchester wins much sought-after real estate in the browser and has a place to connect with their customers as often as they like.

Check out the Winchester web slice on the IE Add-ons Gallery. Even if you’re not a hunter or shoot for sport, it’s a good way to look at an new and innovative way to leverage rich content delivery to connect with your customers.

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ARCast.TV - UI of the New Era, Designing for Multiple Devices

by dboynton 6/21/2010 3:45:00 PM

clip_image001Computer screens in laptops, desktops and phones are now the targets for application developers yet they represent challenges as the resolution, size, among other factors.

In this episode, Director of User Experience at Infragistics Dr. Komischke  describes how using Fluid UI allows organizations and developers design in the new era of user experience.

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When You Care to Send the Very Best...Use the Hallmark Reminders Web Slice

by dboynton 6/21/2010 12:26:00 PM

Hallmark Cards released a new web slice for Internet Explorer 8 to the IE Add-ons Gallery last week that will make it extremely simple to remember the birthdays, anniversaries and other raisons de célèbre in your life. This slick little slice integrates with your Facebook friends list and provides you with a list of the next ten special events coming up. From the web slice, you can write on your friend’s Facebook wall, send them a Hallmark E-Card or even order them a “print-on-demand” card that you can design and that Hallmark will print and mail for you.

From the technological perspective, web slices are not difficult to develop. They are built just like any other web application, but they are tagged in a web page by a specific set of HTML that tells IE8 that this content is “sliceable.”  In this case, the web slice is obviously integrated with the Facebook API, but another interesting feature is that the slice will also call out major holidays and integrate them into the list. This is provided by a secondary service, showing you how you can build really useful mash-up style applications leveraging multiple background services. Rather than dive into the details of how to develop add-ons for IE8, I’ll refer you instead to my colleague, Jon Box’s, blog. Jon has written several extremely useful posts over the past twelve months showing how to not only build web slices, but accelerators and visual search providers as well.

From a business and marketing standpoint, IE add-ons make all the sense in the world. I mean, the Hallmark web slice is a great example of providing not only a cool and useful application for customers, but it also lives in the link bar inside the browser, allowing their customers to check on their special events at any time, regardless of the web site they are currently on. It provides a very non-obtrusive way to provide your company’s specific products and services to customers while maintaining brand ubiquity in a piece of software in which users spend the good majority of their time each day: The web browser.

The best way to get the web slice is to visit the IE Add-ons Gallery. Since you need to connect the slice with Facebook, there is a two-step installation process, but it’s pretty easy and intuitive. I’ve been using it since it was released last week and I find myself checking it every day. See what you think.

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SOA | Social Networking | Web Standards

Carve a Halloween Pumpkin with Silverlight 3

by dboynton 10/30/2009 3:51:08 PM

image In the spirit of the season, I thought I would share this very cool Silverlight 3 application developed by Archetype. It’s an application that lets you virtually carve a pumpkin and then share it with your friends. The cool technical part is that it is built in Silverlight 3 and is hosted on Windows Azure!

Try it out here.

Have a fun and safe Halloween, everybody!

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MSDN and TechNet Live Present: Highlights from "The New Efficiency" Launch

by dboynton 10/30/2009 11:38:00 AM

imageWhat’s that? Couldn’t make it to one of the regional launch events for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010? Never fear. Your second chance is on its way.

Microsoft recently announced that it will be holding two “best of launch” events in the central region over the next couple of months featuring content from the so-called “New Efficiency” launch events. The content will be for both developers and IT professionals. These events will focus on:

  • Windows 7: It simplifies everyday tasks, improves productivity and works the way you want it to work.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2: It delivers new functionality and powerful improvements to the core Windows Server operating system to help organizations increase control, availability and flexibility for their changing business needs.
  • Exchange Server 2010: Achieves new levels of reliability, reduces cost and drives productivity.
image image image

These events will be held in Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE. To register for these free events, use the links below:

TechNet Events Presents >
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
SESSIONS INCLUDE
  • Introducing to Windows 7
  • Introduction to Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Introducing Exchange Server 2010

 

Date/Location?registration
11/11/2009 Des Moines, IA
12/3/2009 Omaha, NE
MSDN Events Presents > 
1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
SESSIONS INCLUDE
  • Taking Your Application to the Next Level with Windows 7
  • Light Up Your Application with graphics, Multi-Touch and Ribbon on Windows 7
  • What’s New and Changed in Windows Server 2008 R2?
Date/Location?registration
11/11/2009 Des Moines, IA
12/3/2009 Omaha, NE

And what launch would be complete without some great giveaways? Register and attend the event for you chance to win:

  • Netbook! Dell Mini 10 – US $329.00 ARV
  • Zune! Zune HD – US $289.00 ARV
  • Games! Halo 3 ODST for Xbox 360 – US $49.99 ARV
  • Books!
    • Windows 7 Inside Out – US $49.99 ARV
    • Introducing Windows 7 for Developers – US $39.99 ARV

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Architecture | Events | Windows 7

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Denny Boynton Denny Boynton
Microsoft Architect Evangelist by day, wannabe rock 'n roll star by night! Want more? Here's my bio.

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