Silverlight and Data



Tim and I and many others have been discussing, off and on, the frequent requests for videos/tutorials/demos, etc. that show how to move data into and out of databases and display them in Silverlight.

On the one hand, my response is that the very question reveals that we’ve not done a good enough job explaining the boundaries of Silverlight as a UI tier-framework; that once you’re talking about creating (rather than consuming) a web service and once you’re writing LINQ you are outside of Silverlight.

On the other hand, I see two compelling counter arguments.

#1 is that by showing the complete set of tiers and how they interact (SQL and whatever technology we choose to get the data in and out (e.g., Linq or  Astoria) and WCF to create a web service, and Silverlight consuming the web service, probably creating business objects, and a DataGrid in Silverlight to display the data, along with two way binding, we better establish where the actual boundaries of Silverlight lay and how Silverlight interacts with these other technologies.


#2 is that for most of our readers Tim and I may be “Silverlight Developer Community Program Mangers” but really we’re just Microsoft techies. And as I wrote in a private correspondence “when I go into my Subaru dealer, I understand that one guy may be a transmission specialist but that doesn’t mean he can’t answer a simple question about how frequently I should change my oil.  If I feel it is clear that the explanation I’m asking for will take sitting down and getting into details and really call upon his specialty that is one thing, but if it is just a general Subaru question, then his answering “oh, I don’t do oil”  would probably infuriate me and it certainly wouldn’t help me understand where the transmission system ends and the engine system begins and how they both form part of the powertrain.”

So, after thinking about this quite a bit, I think we have to show the entire power train: from inside the SQL db through displaying it in a DataGrid, but with a clear emphasis on the Silverlight front-end and how and where you can learn more about the other enabling technologies for the other tiers.

More to come, but I invite your feedback.


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 online courses. His latest book, Building APIs with .NET will be released early in 2025. Liberty is a Senior SW Engineer for CNH and 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 Microsoft MVP.
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