With Google Gears, Adobe Air, and Microsoft WPF there’s definitely lots of exciting changes in the desktop application area. Using the openness of the web to crack open the ‘closed’ nature of regular documents that we use today. At the recent Avenue A | Razorfish Enterprise Solutions summit, Andrew McAfee asked the audience who works on documents alone. Only one person in the room of 70 people raised the hand (still not sure why:)). The point is that we collaborate on everything we do and the traditional method of document revisions and changes is much slower than real-time changes and updates ala wiki style technology. The challenge is applying that to all the tools we use on a daily basis. How can we make code changes more collaborative and less of a check-in, check-out, merge model?
When doing WPF development, a good source of information is http://windowsclient.net. One interesting download on that site is the Syndicated Client Starter Kit . It is a Starter Kit designed to make it easy to create rich, syndicated multimedia and content client applications. It has built-in ad-serving capabilities, and includes the sync framework that takes care of syncing, local storage, subscription management and the safe caching of authentication credentials. The MSDN reader sample application, and the starter kit itself, are available for download including source code.
Reviewing the source code is a great way to gain insight on how WPF applications can be structured, and some of the architectural patterns that are used within the code, such as the Command Pattern.
Another interesting aspect of this starter kit is that it uses SQL Server Compact Edition for storing data client side, and I think this is a great alternative to SQL Server Express. Even though both are free, SQL Server CE has a benefit of being more lightweight, and easier to deploy with your client application.
As mentioned in an earlier post, we worked with AT &T and the Microsoft Surface team to build a Surface application for AT &T retail stores. It was demo’ed 2 weeks ago in Vegas, and will be going live April 17 in stores in Atlanta, New York, San Francisco and San Antonio. See also the video below :