T-Shirt from Silverlight DevCamp

Today was the SilverlightDevCamp in Downtown Chicago at Clarity Consulting. It was a day that was jam packed with learning about Silverlight. We had a very good mix of people that had some real deep knowledge of Silverlight and a lot of people who were enthused about Silverlight and wanted to learn more. In unconference style we starring a few minutes late, ran long on a lot of the sessions, had several sessions added and removed during the day and were still talking Silverlight over 2 1/2 hours after the event was supposed to end.

A quick recap of the sessions

Overview of SilverlightRyan Powers of Clarity Consulting kicked off the event by giving an overview of Silverlight. The organizers of the event got feedback from the San Francisco Camp that we ought to start off with a session that covered the basics of Silverlight.

Deep Dive into Silverlight Application - Jon from the Revere group gave a great demonstration of a real world application that they are building for a customer in Silverlight 1.1 (and yes he knows that it is not a supported platform yet, but they needed the capabilities that the .NET CLR provides).

Silverlight Games and Graphics - this was a really cool topic that centered on high end graphics and gaming on Silverlight.

Silverlight in a data driven world - Tal of the Centare Group walked us through a very cool sample application to select beers. The application is a sample built by Centare to demonstrate what you can do with data driven applications. They are planning to put the application up on the Internet and to release the source code so that the community as a whole can learn from their efforts.

Silverlight and Facebook - Ryan Powers gave his second talk of the day around how you can embed a Silverlight application on the Facebook platform.

Adobe Flex / AIR - Zach Stepek gave us a look at the Flex and AIR platforms. He did a very good showing the power of the Adobe platform and even gave us some insights about how Adobe has dealt with some of the issues that Silverlight is facing (like using cross domain policy files to limit service calls).

MVC in Silverlight - Gilbert Corrales had a very interesting talk about building Silverlight 1.0 applications with object oriented techniques and component development. Even more amazing was that he built his first commercial application using open source tools on the Mac OSX platform.

Silverlight / Twitter - Dave Bost walked through his SilverTwitter application.

“What about Design” Closing Remarks - Chris Bernard, the Microsoft Central Region User Experience Evangelist, closed out the day by giving us a quick overview of design process. Chris was the first person of the day that did not start out their presentation by saying “I am not a designer”. 🙂

What I learned

There is a new version of Expression Blend available for download (September Preview) - download here. I think the notification is buried in the 1000+ e-mails I have back logged in outlook.

There is not as much excitement about the Silverlight 1.0 platform as I thought there would be (or that I think there should be). The 1.0 platform is a great way to get started on Silverlight and it is not just about video! JavaScript can be a rich development platform as Gilbert taught us during his presentation (more about that later).

People are really starting to think about serious business applications that they will build in Silverlight. I figured that we would see lots of Internet applications that are geared towards consumers before we would see real world business applications, but it seems that we will see business oriented applications at the same time as the consumer applications.

What’s Next?

SilverlightDevCamps are popping up right and left across the United States and I am sure we will see one outside of the US very soon. As for Chicago and the surrounding areas we will probably wait a few months before we have another SilverlightDevCamp. However, before we even officially kicked off the SLDC this morning several of the attendees asked if we could put together a similar event based around SharePoint. Dave Bost and I will probably spend a couple days recovering from this event and then work with the community to start planning that event. If you would like to help out, let me know! Otherwise, stay tuned for more details.

Special Thanks

The guys at Clarity deserve a big thanks for spearheading this event. Also everyone who participated in the event by giving a presentation or asking questions during the sessions are what makes an event like this great.

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