Plip's Weblog

Phil Winstanley - British .NET chap based in Lancashire. Enjoys tea and tech. Working for Microsoft.

April 2006 - Posts

New Skype Phone

If you want to Skype me just callto://plipster

Posted: Apr 29 2006, 07:07 PM by Plip | with no comments
Filed under:
XAML from ASP.NET - It's Magic - Burn him - He's a Witch!

Today I decided to set myself a little challenge, I wanted to see if I could use the Control Adapter framework which shipped with ASP.NET 2.0 that allows the developer to override and uniquely control the rendering of all the ASP.NET controls, to render and ASP.NET page in normal HTML for IE and in XAML for Firefox.


This little project took me three hours to put together and get to the stage where I can write about my experience, so it’s a bit rough and ready!




A little background before we move on, I’ve not really used XAML yet, but understand it will be the markup for future Windows Forms style applications and will force all those Windows Developer to learn how to use <spikey brackets />. A friend of mine has been ranting on for years about how ASP.NET will be the platform of the future and how it will render out content as it see’s fit, with that in mind, I thought I’d take a stab at producing XAML from ASP.NET controls.


The first thing I did was checked out this post from Scott Guthrie on the ASP.NET 2.0 Control Adapter Architecture. Then I grabbed a copy of the CSS Adapter Toolkit, which details how to create CSS friendly controls and gives some really cool examples of some of the ASP.NET controls which have already been CSSified (is that a word? Well it is now!).


After reading through the source code which is all provided with the CSS Adapter Toolkit I was SCARED at how EASY it all was!


The fist thing I did was create a page which I could use to test my XAML Adapters.


<%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeFile="XamlPage.aspx.cs" Inherits="XamlPage" %>

<form runat="server">


<p>Here is some content</p>


<asp:Label id="EmailLabel" runat="server" Text="What is your e-mail address?"></asp:Label>


<asp:TextBox id="EmailTextBox" runat="server" Text="Type your e-mail address here." />


<asp:RequiredFieldValidator id="EmailRequired" runat="server" ControlToValidate="EmailTextBox" ErrorMessage="Email Address is Required" />


<asp:Button id="EmailButton" runat="server" Text="Register your e-mail address!" />




Once I had my page it was time to build my first Adapter so I set to it at the top level and decided to create my own System.Web.UI.Page implementation which instead of squirting out something like <html><head /><body></body></html> needed to produce the XAML equivalent which is <application></application>. The code was amazingly simple: -


using System;

using System.Web;

using System.Web.UI;


namespace Plipster.XamlAdapters


    public class PageXamlAdapter : System.Web.UI.Adapters.PageAdapter


        protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter writer)















        public PageXamlAdapter()







Once the control had been created I needed to tell ASP.NET to use my new control in place of the standard System.Web.UI.Page control under the circumstances that I wanted it to. In the Real World those circumstances would be “The client is running WinFX and can support XAML”, in the world of test environments it was “The client is running Firefox so we’ll pretend that’s WinFX”.


I created this browser file: -



  <browser refID="MozillaFirefox">


      <adapter controlType="System.Web.UI.Page"             adapterType="Plipster.XamlAdapters.PageXamlAdapter" />





So once this is all set up, requesting any ASP.NET page through firefox just returns the following content: -




Extend it a little bit and create all the Controls that I listed in the page with their XAML equivalents and you get something like this: -


<Canvas Background="LightCyan">
<p>Here is some content</p>
<Text>What is your e-mail address?</Text>
<TextBox>Type your e-mail address here.</TextBox>
<Text Color="Red">Email Address is Required</Text>
<Button>Register your e-mail address!</Button>



So what’s so cool about this? Well it shows the true power of control adapters, it also shows how easy they are to manipulate and bend to your own will.


Next steps: -


  1. How do you get code (C#/VB.NET) to work with this XAML?
    1. Do we go about rendering and compiling on the server and then stream down a binary with all the code pulled together on the server and compiled?
    2. Perhaps some form of Ajax style abstraction layer such as Atlas will communicate from the client to the server – maybe even use Atlas and XMLScript to do this?
  2. What else can we produce, not just XAML and HTML, surely there are other markups or text based languages we can produce with the adapters.
    1. What about a Java Adapter, one which produces client runnable applications that can be created to run on non Windows Machines?
    2. Mobile devices – what a huge topic, and exercise for the reader I think!
    3. How cool would a Windows Forms Adapter be – how about a bit of code generation, server side compilation and then binary stream of an executable down to a client – it’s just text after all! Here’s the Windows Forms code for a similar UI to the one ASP.NET produced.


private void InitializeComponent()


      this.label1 = new System.Windows.Forms.Label();

      this.EmailLabel = new System.Windows.Forms.Label();

      this.EmailTextBox = new System.Windows.Forms.TextBox();

      this.EmailButton = new System.Windows.Forms.Button();



      // label1


      this.label1.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(16, 40);

      this.label1.Name = "label1";

      this.label1.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(120, 23);

      this.label1.TabIndex = 0;

      this.label1.Text = "Here is some content";


      // EmailLabel


      this.EmailLabel.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(24, 96);

      this.EmailLabel.Name = "EmailLabel";

      this.EmailLabel.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(160, 23);

      this.EmailLabel.TabIndex = 1;

      this.EmailLabel.Text = "What is your e-mail address?";


      // EmailTextBox


      this.EmailTextBox.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(208, 96);

      this.EmailTextBox.Name = "EmailTextBox";

      this.EmailTextBox.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(136, 20);

      this.EmailTextBox.TabIndex = 2;

      this.EmailTextBox.Text = "Type your e-mail address";


      // EmailButton


      this.EmailButton.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(24, 144);

      this.EmailButton.Name = "EmailButton";

      this.EmailButton.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(176, 23);

      this.EmailButton.TabIndex = 3;

      this.EmailButton.Text = "Register Your e-mail address";


      // Form1


      this.AutoScaleBaseSize = new System.Drawing.Size(5, 13);

      this.ClientSize = new System.Drawing.Size(400, 238);

      this.Controls.AddRange(new System.Windows.Forms.Control[] {





      this.Name = "Form1";

      this.Text = "Form1";






Okay I think that’s enough food for thought – play nicely now children J

Posted: Apr 29 2006, 05:57 PM by Plip | with 18 comment(s)
Filed under:
DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper - Registration Open ... Nearly.

We'll be opening registration early next week - and we expect places to fill up VERY quickly.

If you want to attend, you'll need to hit the site next week to ensure you have a slot.

If you leave it more than two weeks to register it's likley you'll be on the waiting list and will not be guarenteed a space, which would be a pain in the arse! :-)

Technology Soap Opera Podcast

This is dire.

I just had to share it, I'm not sure if it's a joke ...

Posted: Apr 26 2006, 06:34 PM by Plip | with 14 comment(s)
Filed under:
DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper Who's Speaking?

I wish I knew :-)

We've sent out the e-mails to all the speakers and are now just waiting on their feedback before we draw up a final agenda and open registration.

It's been really fun teasing many of the speakers by not telling them where they were in the voting and now it's just a matter of time until we have the final lineup.

I can't tell you who's speaking yet, but suffice is to say we have the best lineup yet with some of the best topics we've ever had.

I'm REALLY looking forward to the event.



Day 1 as a Freelance Developer - Database Design - Phew!

I've spent all today with new colleagues and two other MVP's at a company where I'm doing some contract work.

My head is a little battered now as we've spent most of the day discussing database design for a retrofit of some existing systems. I find database design a very natural experience, but learning all the intricacies of a company as well during the same day has really drained me - my head is *banging*.

Lot's of Normalization and "what if" 's were raised today - but all in all I'm really looking forward to working on the project, I have about 5 A2 sheets from a flipchart here with different Database Tables and Schemas that I've got to implement - should be good fun!

Pretty soon I'll be working with three other Microsoft MVP's all at the same company - what a lucky company!




Posted: Apr 20 2006, 09:53 PM by Plip | with 3 comment(s)
Filed under:
Reboot in Copenhagen

Tonight Dave Verwer was telling me about a really cool conference held in Conpenhagen, I can't make it this year because I'm at a UK Community Leaders Day in Reading, however I'd love to go and plan to be there the next time!

Reboot has no agenda and is basically a mish mash of similarly minded people. Cool!

Posted: Apr 19 2006, 11:32 PM by Plip | with no comments
Filed under:
Geek Dinner - Manchester UK

Tonight I went for dinner with several people I know in and around the Manchester area whom are all involved in the .NET community, the attendees were Mike Taulty, Dave Verwer, Andrew Stopford and Tony Whitter.

We went to a particular favorite of mine - Shimla Pinks in Manchester, it's an Indian pleace but is very tendy, lots of neon and black marble ;-)

A most interesting night, some highlights: -

Andrew Stopford appears to know what "getting maced" is like, I stopped short of asking if he knew what personal attack alarms sounded like.

Tony Whitter proved to us all that over many years of abuse the taste buds along his tongue have been rendered completly and utterly useless by eating the hottest and most deadly curry he could find and then asking for some raw chilies to give it that extra kick. Nutter! Also Tony was right, the car park did punish me for parking there for a few hours - £12.80 !

Dave Verwer is a DIRTY MAC USER AND SHOULD DIE FOR HIS SINS. Apparently he has already heard all of the jokes I tried to come up with about Macs.

All in all I think a good night was had by all - and we didn't even talk about Tony's hedgehogs.

Posted: Apr 19 2006, 11:08 PM by Plip | with 2 comment(s)
Filed under:

Does anyone out there point a virtual directory called aspnet_client at a copy of all the different aspnet_client .NET Script files?

I'm just considering this as certain servers we have are patched and have odd .NET version numbers and I want to just create one super directory of all the aspnet_client files.



Posted: Apr 19 2006, 01:43 PM by Plip | with 2 comment(s)
Filed under: ,
UK MSDN & TechNet Roadshows 2006

There is a Roadshow going to several major cities in the UK very soon - I'm going to be attending the MSDN day in Manchester and supporting the community initiative - if you spot me come over and say hi - I might even be up for beer related activity later on in the day ;-)

Sign up here:

Places are filling FAST! So be sure to get your name down now.

Posted: Apr 18 2006, 09:44 PM by Plip | with no comments
Filed under:
More Posts Next page »