Silverlight 4 beta and my disappointment with the WebBrowser control

Silverlight 4 logo by Tim Heuer So as most of you probably know by now, Silverlight 4 has been announced and a beta is already released, you can head off over here to find out what’s new and to download the bits you need like Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2, etc. One big warning though, if you have the Silverlight 3 SDK installed on your machine, uninstall it before installing Visual Studio 2010 as it might barf the Visual Studio 2010 installation.

So one of the features I’ve been eagerly awaiting in Silverlight 4 is the new WebBrowser control. Yeah as strange as it may seem I want to embed some web content in a Silverlight control. Well not a control as such but more a Silverlight application. And I’ve managed to do it since Silverlight 2 by creating iframe elements in the underlying HTML DOM and absolutely positioning them over my Silverlight control, all from within the Silverlight application. This has however one major limitation – you can’t put Silverlight content on top of the HTML iframe unless its in a seperate object element which doesn’t exactly suit my needs.

Silverlight 4 WebBrowser doesn't play niceAnd it turns out that the Silverlight 4 beta WebBrowser control suffers the same horrible fate, as you can see in a screenshot of a quick test application on the left. Except it has another awkwardness to it – it has to be run out of the browser as well. Looks like I’ll be sticking to my iframe approach for in the browser and consider using the WebBrowser control for out of the browser only.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do like the new control, but I would like it to be even better. If anyone on the Silverlight team reads this, please make the WebBrowser control a proper Silverlight control that can have pure Silverlight controls over it.

Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 released

image If you are a developer using Visual Studio 2008 and have tried to install SQL Server 2008 on top of it, you might have noticed that it doesn’t want to install. According to KB956139 Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 is a required if you intend to use certain features like the the SQL Server Management Studio.

The good news is that Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 has been released to MSDN. It weighs in at a hefty 831MB so hopefully it will have lots of cool stuff and performance improvements not to mention support for the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 release that has already shipped as part of SQL Server 2008.

Visual Studio 2008 released

Yeah its official, Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 was officially released today. You can read Somasegar’s announcement post over here. If you have been chomping on the bit waiting for the release then head on over and download 90-day trial editions, the Express editions and the full ISOs which are available to MSDN Subscribers from here.

Congratulations to the Visual Studio and .NET Framework teams, they have certainly delivered great product this time around.

[tags]Visual Studio 2008,Orcas[/tags]

Expiring VS2008 beta 2 VPCs

Sometimes Microsoft knows how to screw things up. Not only were the Visual Studio 2008 (code-named Orcas) Beta 2 Virtual PC (VPC) images rather excessively large for the average South African developer to download and too big to fit onto a single DVD for community distribution, but now they are expiring on the 1st of November 2007 as well.

Now I was kind of expecting an new release candidate build to emerge for download sometime soon but it seems that the Visual Studio team has no such intention and has instead released updated beta 2 VPC images. Its not clear at this stage as to whether you need to just download the base image or whether you need to download the entire set of VPC images again. Either way the Visual Studio team lied to us when they said we just needed to get the base images once:

These downloads are differencing disks. To use them, you must also download Visual Studio Code Name Orcas Base Image contains the OS and is a one-time download for all the Virtual PC images that lay on top of it.

Why can’t Microsoft simply release a patch for the base image extending the lifetime of the Windows 2003 operating system? Why do they need to release complete new images? I don’t expect that many South Africa users will continue testing the beta 2 bit any longer if release to manufacturing (RTM) is so close. Sorry Microsoft, you’ve just totally screwed up in my humble opinion.

[tags]Visual Studio,South Africa,rant[/tags]