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Introduction To Using RIA Services In Silverlight (Article 1 of 7)

Updated: at 11:18 PM

This series of video presentations goes through the process of building a Speaker and Sessions Viewer for Silicon Valley Code Camp’s data using Silverlight 4 and RIA Services (Using Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2).  It starts with a brief introduction of RIA Services and is followed by screen casts and blog posts the parallel each screen cast.

The actual presentation was done at the Microsoft office in San Francisco.

  Title Of Each Article Video Included With Each Post
Part 1 Introduction To RIA Services In Silverlight (This Article) 7 Minutes
Part 2 Basic RIA Services And DataGrid With  VS 2010 Tooling 14 Minutes
Part 3 Adding A DataGrid With Connect The Dots DataBinding in VS 2010 13 Minutes
Part 4 Adding a Navigation Page to a Silverlight Business Application Template 11 Minutes
Part 5 Adding Speakers Page Template With Converters In Visual Studio 2010 Beta2 11 Minutes
Part 6 Adding A Sessions Page That Includes a Query Parameter In Silverlight VS2010 Beta2 10 Minutes
Part 7 Basic Authentication and Authorization In RIA Services 5 Minutes

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I’ve heavily borrowed from Brad Abrams PDC09 presentation here and am very thankful for the help.  I’m personally very excited about the opportunities RIA Services gives us as developers to efficiently build powerful multi tier applications without compromise.

I’d recommend going to Brad Abrams PDC09 presentation mentioned above to get a better understanding of what Microsoft was thinking and its plans for RIA Services. The way I see it is RIA Services is built on the WCF Stack.  It basically is a technology that let’s the developer create both client and server code at the same time.  It essentially removes the middle layer form a development perspective, but keeps it there in a very physical way using all the power of WCF.  For example, you create you logic on the server side and that code automatically gets migrated to the client for simplicity of calling.

For those interested where the motivation came from to to this, it’s an interesting story.  Last week, Mathias Brandewinder, the organizer of our local Bay.Net San Francisco user group emailed and asked if I could fill in last minute for the upcoming (actually today’s) meeting and, could I talk about RIA Services.  Well, 2 years or so ago, I did a quite extensive Silverlight 1.1 project for Leverage Software using the first beta of the .CLR release of Silverlight (C#).  I have to say, it was an awful experience.  So, now at Silverlight 4.0, RIA Services, I’m back and very excited.

By way of people that have helped me in the last week to get this far, just to name a few:  Bruno Terkaly, offering to do whatever he could and giving me tech tips, Michael Scherotter in “going to town” as he says to make the Speaker’s page look really nice in a live meeting, Victor Gaudioso in taking time on his busy weekend to call me  and offer help, Brad Abrams putting up with my list of naive questions and patiently responding, a slew of ASPInsiders who pointed me at an excellent place to host the videos, and David Kelly for giving me a nicely styled Silverlight player to show the videos on this blog.

I’m sitting in the mall below the Microsoft Office in San Francisco where the presentation will be in about 2 hours.  Hopefully, I’ll finish all seven articles and get them posted to the internet very soon.  I did the videos as just practice for my presentation.  They are not polished or edited.  I’m taking the chance of posting them in the hopes that they help someone struggling with all the new features like I have been during the last week.

Finally, this demo is built on live Silicon Valley Code Camp Data that has been collected over the past 4 years.  I can’t really publish that database along with the completed solution before I clean and randomize the attendee data.  Meanwhile, I will post the project code but it will not work until I’ve had a chance to clean up the database.  My thinking is that it’s all positive and better to release the code now rather than wait until I have the database cleaned up.

Below is what the end result of what we are building will look like (if you make it through all the articles and videos).


Attached here is source that you can build with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 and it will work with No Database.  The Domain Class is heavily modified from what is presented, but it will allow you to actually run and play with real data.