faceOut - our latest Silverlight 2 app - is Alive!

Ambrose Little / Monday, March 17, 2008

Learn More About Infragistics and Silverlight!

If you want to get an [updated] overview of what we're doing with Silverlight, go to our Focus on Silverlight area.  We've published a high-level roadmap there and that's also where you can get an intro and overview of faceOut (as well as launch it or download it). 

Random Thoughts/Tech Tidbits You Might Find Interesting About faceOut
The app itself is a salesperson dashboard that mashes up "representative sales data" (read: Northwind!) with Windows Live Maps (a.k.a., Microsoft Virtual Earth) and uses the Windows Live Contacts schema for easy mashing with that service.  We prepped the app for the Live Contacts integration, but it's not hitting the Live Contacts services in this release.

The Silverlight client uses WCF services as a bridge/basic service layer.  Of course, we could in theory hit the Live services and even Northwind on Astoria directly using the new cross-domain support, but using the service layer allows us to control the actual provider of the data.  So you can have an "offline" version that uses local XML data as it is setup to do now.  The nice thing about the service layer is that you can pretty much arbitrarily decide where to get the data from.

The UI is a blend of prototypes that UXG built to test out some ideas we have for SL controls (rich tooltip, rich tab, transient message, HTML host, etc.) as well as early prototypes of Infragistics Silverlight controls (chart, gauge, scrollpanel, and monthview, for example).  In addition to the controls, of course, is the glue that makes the UI a real, functional LOB application. 

How We Built It, or, A Brief History of [SL]ime
Over the month of February, UXG and VDG worked together with early prototypes of Infragistics' Silverlight controls that our SL development team has been working on.  It was definitely a fun, interesting, and challenging experience getting to work with the early SL 2 bits from Microsoft.  If you download the sample app code, you'll probably run into the occasional workaround here or there that no longer applies. :)

It started with a simple vision doc that took into account our various goals--to use our prototypes, build something meaningful for LOB, integrate with internet (Live) services, and maybe give you an early jump on building something with Silverlight. 

The next step was our in-depth, up-front architecture:
 Initial faceOut Wireframe
Expanded faceOut Wireframe

From this, we set ourselves free to start hacking away at it.  You can see the final version online; it's pretty darn close to our detailed specs above. <grin>  We naturally refined the design and functionality as needed throughout development, cut things here and there that needed trimming and/or turned out not to be feasible, and completed in the timeframe we set for ourselves.  Silverlight rocks!  [And so do our engineers and designers! :)]

Enough of my blabbing.  You can go now to download, play with, reuse, and maybe even learn from the application source and start tweaking around with the IG controls if you like.1 You can also just launch it right now to experience faceOut now.  Enjoy!

1. At this point, I am bound by the third section of paragraph twenty-two of the penal codices for early, early pre-release code to inform you that all of this (the faceOut solution source and Infragistics.Silverlight bits) is provided as-is with no warrantees, guarantees, manatees, or anything slightly resembling developer support.  {No, not even the garden gnome in your backyard can provide support.}  But you're welcome to discuss the solution and offer thoughts for what you'd like to see in our Silverlight product at our IG Labs forum.