Getting Ready For 1.1

With the release of 1.0 and the announcement in ScottGu's blog today that his team is working hard on 1.1 (and the promise of many exciting features) many developers are (it is fair to say) champing at the bit, in eager anticipation.

So, without debating whether there are exciting and amazing applications to be built with 1.0 (see the Showcase applications for demonstrations of this point), one must ask the question: "what can I do today to get ready for 1.1?"

I think there are a number of ways to go about this, but among the most fruitful might be,

 1. Develop applications in 1.0 — nearly everything you learn (except, perhaps, the Javascript) will be useful when you move to 1.1. All the architecture, XAML and interaction with hosting HTML and ASP.NET/AJAX will remain the same. Yes, you'll have created controls and plumbing that later you'll get for free, but that is always the way with early adoption, and while frustrating, it also has significant benefits; the lessons learned in building these controls will apply toward building other custom controls.

2. Develop applications in WPF. It is true that Silverlight will always (always is a long time…) be a subset of WPF, and we haven't said what the exact dimensions of that subset are, but learning WPF will have enormous benefits. You'll become very familiar with XAML and the interaction between XAML and CLR based objects and as Silverlight develops and evolves you'll have an advanced understanding of what can be done through the browser and what can only be done native on the machine.

 3. Reconstruct the showcase applications.  Folks are making amazing applications and the products are being shown here. Break your brains on how to build them (or something very much like them) yourself. My advice: once you get past the fundamentals, work on projects for which the code is not available. Come up with your own solutions.

4. Create Custom Controls – decide what you most want in Silverlight that isn't there yet and build it. The tools are all available. Then put it up on Codeplex and let others tear into it.

I had a friend once who said "there are two kinds of people; one kind thinks there are two kinds of people, the other kind doesn't…."

The above is for the kind of person who wants to work at the bleeding edge. If you are not a bleeding edge kind of person, hey! there's lots of released new stuff to dig into. You could spend your time on

  • Silverlight 1.0
  • WPF
  • WCF
  • WF
  • CardSpaces
  • Linq
  • Ajax

And when you master them all, come back and check out the evolution of Silverlight. For some folks, that will be far less frustrating.



About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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