Windows Phone: Combining Silverlight & XNA in a Single Page

October 26, 2011

There are two very distinct ways to program on Windows Phone 7.x: Silverlight & XNA. Silverlight is about UI, retained graphics and is event driven. XNA is about immediate mode graphics, based on a timer and polling; Very different models indeed. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. One of the new features in WP7.1 (“mango”) is the ability to combine the two to get the best of both worlds. Here’s a typical scenario where this need may come up: suppose you’re developing an XNA game (2D or 3D). In a typical game you need to allow some configuration,...

The Roslyn Project CTP is Available for Download

October 19, 2011

The so called “Roslyn” project from Microsoft has been finally released with this early CTP. What is “Roslyn”? It’s an attempt to make the internals of a C# or VB compiler exposed. The usual way we think about a compiler is as a black box – some input goes in – some output comes out. During the compilation process, the compiler builds various tables and gathers a lot of information on the input. After the output is generated, the compiler throws everything away. That’s really too bad. In today’s world of sophisticated tools, with intellisense and refactoring, it...

Some of My Favorite Small C++11 Features

October 13, 2011

The new C++11 standard, finally finalized (pun intended) contains dozens of features, both in the language and in the libraries. Some of those features are pretty complex (or at least less often used), but some are practically essential, and have been sorely missed (at least by me) since forever. Here’s a quick list of those small, simple, features that I like. it’s sometimes surprising to C# or Java developers that some of these features didn’t exist in C++ prior to C++11 (technically, C++03 or C++98; I’ll refer to this as “classic C++”). I will indicate which version of Visual...

WPF 4.5 New Feature: Live Shaping

October 2, 2011

The BUILD conference concentrated on the new Windows Runtime (WinRT) component of Windows 8, but .NET 4.5 was also introduced, providing enhancements and new features. WPF & Silverlight seemed to have suffered a blow (some would say a knockout), as the new Windows 8 “Metro” model is not built on the same types, but rather wraps new native C++/COM libraries (that’s WinRT for you). Still, line of business applications will not be “Metro” anytime soon, so I think saying goodbye to WPF is premature. There are some new features in the preview of WPF 4.5, one of which is...
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