“Silverlight in a day!” a huge success

Well we’ve just held our first ever training day! Actually it was the first free Silverlight training day in Australia!

Forty keen students rocked in to Cliftons in Melbourne for a day of intensive boot camp style Silverlight training.

Check out the pictures

We took some great shots of the day in action, see them here.

Training format

The format for the day was each student had a copy of the labs, the starting projects and a completed copy to review. An instructor then ran the students through each and every step of every lab. No “do it yourself” labs here…

We had three instructors – myself, Phil Beadle and Mahesh Krishnan. Shane Morris (UX Evangelist) from Microsoft was also there to help out. Each of us who weren’t presenting were available to help one on one with the students.

Introduction to XAML and Expression Blend

The day started off with Mahesh running the class through XAML and how damn cool it is. He then guided them through their first Expression Blend experience. I was very impressed with how fast they picked up the technology, a testament to themselves and the Silverlight platform and tools… within one hour they had made their first running applications. Mahesh then ran through the Silverlight layout controls (Grid, StackPanel etc.).

Networking, data binding and media

Next up Phil took the class out of Blend land and in to Visual Studio land. He taught them how to use Windows Communication Foundation services from Silverlight… it was great to see working network calls and data showing up in their Silverlight applications so quick! This lab also introduced the class to some basic data binding. Phil then introduced the class to the powerful media capabilities in Silverlight.

Templating, the VSM, more data binding and the HTML DOM Bridge

After lunch I took over and started with templating and the Visual State Manager. We made a cool glassy button. Then we added some state changes with the VSM to demonstrate hover and click states. Damn the VSM is cool for designer developer workflow.

After this I took data binding to the next level. The class learned how to do more advanced OneTime, OneWay and TwoWay data binding, about INotifyPropertyChanged and ObservableCollection. They also discovered IValueCoverter.

To round out the day we looked at the HTML DOM Bridge. We covered DOM manipulation, events, calling JS from Silverlight and vice versa!

Through the sessions we talked about the Blend design time experience (and design time data) and designer developer workflows.

Wow what a lot of content for one day! To help alleviate the learning curve and to help it all sink in, the class were given a copy of the labs to take home with them.

Lab Availability

The SDDN will make these labs available through the site soon – along with videos of our instructors running through them!


Well, in true SDDN spirit we gave away and king’s ransom of prizes! We gave away five Expression Studio’s, 42 T-shirts, 5 Silverlight Lanyards and a PGR hoodie! Best of all we gave away our second VSTS with MSDN Premium subscription worth $19k! That’s almost $50k of schwag in two meetings!

More sessions please!

The resounding feedback was that they loved the day and want to see more training events like it… and for this to happen we need feedback people! Leave comments on this blog, or mail to the SDDN info address. The more feedback we get then the more possibility we have of getting sponsorship to cover the costs of days like this one.

If you would like to see classes on more advanced topics like ADO.NET Data Services, MVVM, testing etc them please let us know also… we need feedback and visibility before we can get funding to put on things like this!

Speaking of costs…

A big call out to the guys at Microsoft for fronting up with the cash to allow this day to happen. The Cliftons training rooms are the best in class and they come with an appropriate price tag…

Thanks to Joerg Lindner from Microsoft for making all this happen. Also a special thanks for Shane Morris for a) opening up doors and b) coming along on the day to help out… We really appreciated it (as did the class)!

Also thanks to Readify for helping us manage the room booking.

MIX conference report

Phil and I are off to the Microsoft MIX conference in Vegas next month so we will be holding out next meet in late March / early April with all the juicy details. I might use the 30 hour round trip flying time to get the SDDN site up to scratch (and even add RSS!).

Now to record some lab videos…

5 thoughts on ““Silverlight in a day!” a huge success

  1. Awesome work, Jordan. A lot of people attending the event actually don’t realise the amount of work needed to get an event like this organised.

    I certainly do and although Phil and I helped, you did the bulk of the work. We certainly appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into it to make it a big success πŸ™‚

    Enjoy your trip to Vegas. I am jealous πŸ™‚ Wish I had managed to convince Management to send me to Mix…

  2. Cheers to Jordan and the team, I learnt loads and the labs were incredibly useful. JS -> Silverlight -> JS, how cool is that.

  3. Hey Ian,

    Glad you enjoyed it! Calling C#/VB.NET code that runs on the client from JS is serioulsy cool πŸ™‚

  4. Guys! This training event was just awesome! I really liked it and learnt a lot from it.

    HTML DOM Bridge was my fav. bit because I already have all my websites in .Net using MS Ajax and jQuery. With the bridge, I can use my existing Ajax / jQuery / javascript library during the transition from Ajax to Silverlight. Also, I believe most of the web projects will be Hybrid Ajax / Silverlight websites rather than a monolithic silverlight app. HTML DOM Bridge was the “bridge” I was looking for πŸ™‚

    At our organization, we were about to go with Adobe CS4. But thanks to this training, I managed to convince the management to get Expression Studio and stick to .Net for our RIA projects πŸ™‚ Hurray!

    I am glad I was one of the lucky few (around 40) out of 250+. Definitely we need more such sessions (and now advanced level as well). This will help convert Adobe Designers and Action Script Developers to .Net and also retain existing .Net talent.

    Because of a training session like this, even if just 2-3 people (or their organization) embrace Silverlight, then I guess Microsoft will more than just recover the cost of the training session. So, I hope Microsoft will sponsor more of these training events (Shane! are you listening? πŸ™‚ )

    Although MS Ajax 4.0 with client side data components looks very promising (whenever it is released), we seriously want to develop our line of business applications in Silverlight. Looking forward to attending a “LOB Apps with Silverlight” training session if Shane can get MS to sponsor the event πŸ™‚ (even if partially).

    Kudos to Jordan, Shane, Mahesh and Phil.



Comments are closed.