Moonlight 3.0, Preview 7

by Miguel de Icaza

Chris Toshok has just announced our 7th preview of Moonlight 3.0. You can get it from our preview site.

What is new in this release:

  • Roughly API complete to SL4.0 beta. Next preview will be API compatible with SL 4.0 RTW.
  • Video capture support, but support for pixel formats is sparse. right now the supported formats are YUYV and YV12/YUV420 (planar).
  • SSE2 fast paths for gradient fills in the embedded pixman/cairo, this improves performance significantly as some people seem to have discovered the use of gradients.
  • Fixes for chrome support and to our curl bridge.
  • Several html bridge fixes.
  • element to element binding.
  • Client HTTP stack
  • cascading (BasedOn) styles are now supported
  • new right-click dialog so we can (finally!) managed isostore usage.

Posted on 18 Jun 2010


Infragistics Announces Support for Mono

by Miguel de Icaza

Today Infragistics announced that their NetAdvantage for ASP.NET will support Mono out of the box.

We loved working with Infragistics on this project, and I am very proud of the work that the Mono team did to get these fabulous controls working with Mono.

You can read more about Infragistics and Mono on Infragistics site where you can also try out some of their sample applications running on Linux with Mono.

From the press release:

"In recent years, our customers have indicated that their organizations are moving to mixed IT environments and require UI tools that enable them to deploy applications in either Windows or open source environments," said Dean Guida, CEO of Infragistics. "With Mono compatibility in our ASP.NET toolkit, we enable developers who have a need for open source development to create UIs that are the basis for Killer Applications and deliver the best user experiences possible."

Infragistics ASP.NET toolset excels in top performance, flexibility and usability and enables developers to build rich Web applications for line of business. By providing full compatibility with the Mono runtime, Infragistics extends this functionality to the Mono community.

Coinciding with today's NetAdvantage for .NET 2010 Volume 2 availability, Infragistics highlights the ASP.NET toolkit's Mono compatibility through Sample Showcase hosted on a live Linux Server running Mono: http://mono.infragistics.com/

For us this is a very important milestone as developers building .NET applications need to complement the core framework with packaged components like the ones that Infragistics provides.

It also shows the maturity of the project, as commercial ISVs start supporting more Mono on Linux.

Posted on 16 Jun 2010


We have released MonoDevelop 2.4

by Miguel de Icaza

We have finally released MonoDevelop 2.4. You can read a high-level description of the changes or see screenshots with the details. I would go for the screenshots myself.

We made packages for OpenSUSE, SLES, Windows and MacOS X. For other Linux distributions, you should consult with your favorite package provider or you can build it yourself from sources.

Congratulations to the team. They not only improved the UI and the editing experience, but they support Gtk#, ASP.NET MVC, Silverlight, MonoMac and MonoTouch deployments from the same IDE. We have also added support for WCF references and T4 macro processing.

Next Steps for MonoDevelop

For the next release we have a couple of big goals in mind for MonoDevelop:

  • Git support, using GitSharp.
  • Mono on Android support (debugging, templates, deployment).
  • Templates and support for MVC2.

Support for Foo is missing

As you can see from our list of MonoDevelop Tasks there are plenty of tasks that currently have nobody assigned to. This includes even popular features like F#, IronPython, IronRuby or PHP support.

We have limited resources and a huge wish-list. If you want to help us take on any of those tasks, please join us on IRC at irc.gnome.org on channel #monodevelop, or join our mailing lists.

Posted on 16 Jun 2010


Road to MonoDevelop 2.4: Navigation

by Miguel de Icaza

Perhaps my favorite feature in MonoDevelop 2.4 is the "Navigate To" functionality that we added. This new feature is hooked to Control-comma on Linux and Windows and to Command-. on Mac.

This feature lets you quickly jump to a file, a class or a method:

I used to navigate between my files by opening then from the solution explorer, and then using Control-tab or the tabs. Needless to say, the old way just felt too clumsy for a fast typist like me.

With Navigate-To, I can just hit the hotkey and then like I would in Emacs, type the filename, type or method and jump directly to the method. This is fabulous.

This will also search substrings, so you can either start typing the name of a method or you can fully qualify the method (for example: "Vector.ToString").

But it gets better, you can use abbreviations, so instead of typing "DialogViewController" you can just type "dvc":

BREAKING UPDATE Michael just told me of a cute extra feature: if your match is for a filename, if you type ":NUMBER" it will jump to the selected file to the specified line number.

The result:

Posted on 14 Jun 2010


Conditional Attribute

by Miguel de Icaza

One cute feature of C# 1.0 was the introduction of the Conditional attribute. When you apply the conditional attribute to a method, calls to this method are only included in the resulting code if the appropriate define is set.

For instance, consider:

	[Conditional ("DEBUG")]
	void Log (string format, params object [] args)
	{
		Console.WriteLine (String.Format (format, args));
	}
	

Calls to Foo.Log become no-ops unless you pass the -define:DEBUG command line option to the compiler.

What is interesting about this compiler-supported feature is that that the code inside the method Log is checked for errors during compilation as any other regular method. They are first class citizens.

Posted on 12 Jun 2010


My first iPhone app

by Miguel de Icaza

I am proud to introduce my first iPhone App built entirely using standard HTML5 technologies.

I felt that I had to go with HTML 5 as I did not want to write the app once for the iPhone and once for the Android. I am also open sourcing this application in its entirety, to help future generation of mobile HTML 5 developers learn from my experiences and hopefully help them write solid, cross platform mobile applications using HTML 5.

I use this app every time we go to a pub, or when we are having lunch at the Cambridge Brewing Company.

Before you check it out, my lawyer has advised me that I need to add the following disclaimer:

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

I give you: iCoaster.

Stay tuned for my Cheese Table app, coming soon to the iPad.

What People Are Saying about iCoaster!

From my survey on iCoaster for iPad:

"I am currently resorting to use my four iPhones to create one giant iCoaster; this is ridiculous. Need iCoaster HD!!!!"

"Buying an iPad every time I want to put a drink down is expensive, though it is better than getting those little rings all over my shiny new table."

"Four coasters per iPad would be ideal"

"Please keep up the great work. Not sure what I would do without this app, would at least have a lot of ruined coffee tables."

Sadly, we do have some bugs being reported, and I can assure everyone that I am working around the clock to fix these issues. Ensuring that iCoaster is reliable is my top priority:

"If I put my drink on iCoaster, and then rotate my phone to the landscape orientation, my drink gets spilled onto my lap. Please fix this in the iPad version."

Survey Results as of 14:50 EST

Updates

Update: We have confirmation that it works on WebOS and Blackberry as well. HTML5 FTW!

Update 2: Due to popular demand, I am launching an effort to bring iCoaster to the iPad. If you want to participate in the beta for iCoasterHD, please fill in this survey, your feedback will help me prioritize features.

Update 3: iCoaster works on walls too: http://yfrog.com/c9wlkogj.

Update 4: For those of you complaining about the missing DOCTYPE Geoff Norton has done what any honorable open source contributor would have done: he forked iCoaster and made it HTML "compliant": icoaster-fork.

Update 5: After today's brouhaha over Apple's HTML 5, Mike Shaver from Mozilla talks about the elephant in the room.

Update 6: iCoaster's HTML 5 fork has been forked to support full-screen on WebKit and Opera browsers.

Update 7: We have a Silverlight port! This enables iCoaster to run on the upcoming Windows Compact Edition Media 7 Series Phone Embedded Release Plus Pro Advanced.

Update 8: We got a Unity port of iCoaster, and showing true open source spirit, sethillgard open sourced the code.

Posted on 04 Jun 2010


First Beta of MonoTools 2 for VisualStudio

by Miguel de Icaza

Last week we released our first beta for the upcoming MonoTools2.

There are four main features in MonoTools 2:

  • Soft debugger support.
  • Faster transfer of your program to the deployment system.
  • Support for Visual Studio 2010 in addition to 2008.
  • Polish, polish and more polish.

Getting Started

Download our betas from this page. On Windows, you would install our plugin for either 2008 or 2010 and you need to install Mono 2.6.5 on the target platform (Windows, Linux or MacOS).

On Linux, run `monotools-gui-server' or `monotools-server', this will let Visual Studio connect to your machine. Then proceed from Windows.

On MacOS, double click on the "MonoTools Server" application.

Once you run those, MonoTools will automatically show you the servers on your network that you can deploy to or debug:

ASP.NET debugging with this is a joy!

Soft Debugger

This release is the first one that uses our new soft debugger. With is a more portable engine to debug that will allow our users to debug targets other than Linux/x86 for example OSX and Windows.

This is the engine that we use on MonoTouch and that we are using for Mono on Android.

Our previous debugger, a hard debugger, worked on Linux/x86 systems but was very hard to port to new platforms and to other operating systems. With our new soft debugger we can debug Mono applications running on Windows, helping developers test before moving to Linux.

Faster Transfers

When you are developing large applications or web applications, you want your turn around time from the time that you run hit Run to the site running on Linux to be as short as possible.

Cheap Shot Alert: When dealing with large web sites, we used to behave like J2EE: click run and wait for a month for your app to be loaded into the application server.

This is no longer the case. Deployments that used to take 30 seconds now take 2 seconds.

Support for Visual Studio 2010

Our plugin now supports the Visual Studio 2010 new features for plugin developers.

This means you get a single .vsix package to install, no system installs, no registry messing around, no dedicated installers, none of that.

The full plugin installs in 3 seconds. And you can remove it just as easily.

Then you can just from VS's Mono menu pick "Run In Mono" and pick whether you want to run locally or remotely.

We now also support multiple profiles, so you can debug from Visual Studio your code running on Linux boxes, Mac boxes or your local system.

Polish and more Polish

MonoTools was our first Windows software and we learned a lot about what Windows developers expected.

We polished hundreds of small usability problems that the community reported in our last few iterations. You can also check our release notes for the meaty details.

Appliances

And we integrate directly with SuseStudio to create your ready-to-run appliances directly from Visual Studio.

Posted on 03 Jun 2010


Linux for Consumers: MeeGo Updates

by Miguel de Icaza

Excited to see the work happening on the Linux consumer space in the MeeGo Universe. There is now a MeeGo 1.0 download available for everyone to try out.

At Novell we have been contributing code, design and artwork for this new consumer-focused Linux system and today both Michael Meeks and Aaron Bockover blog about the work that they have been doing on MeeGo.

These screenshots are taken directly from Aaron's and Michael's blog posts. Aaron discusses the new UI for the music player Banshee and Michael discusses the new UI for the Email/Calendar program.

Media Panel in MeeGo

You can still get access to the full Banshee UI themed appropriately:

Themed MeeGo UI for Banshee

Check Aaron's blog for the details on the design process and the new features coming out for it.

Then, on the Evolution side of things Michael discusses Evolution Express a renewed effort to make Evolution suitable for netbooks. The work done there is amazing, here are some screenshots:

Evolution Express on MeeGo

Just like Banshee, Evolution now integrates with MeeGo panels, like this:

Summary of your tasks on the MeeGo Panel

This is what the new preferences panel looks like:

Themed MeeGo UI for Banshee

And finally the calendar:

Evolution Express Calendar on MeeGo

Third Party Applications

You can also run existing Mono applications on MeeGo. I give you the photo management application F-Spot:

F-Spot on MeeGo

And this is Jonathan's Pinta painting program built on Mono with Gtk#:

The Mono-based paint program Pinta

Pinta is fascinating as it shows how much punch can be packed by CIL code. Pinta and all of its effects use 328k of disk space and for distribution it only takes 108k of disk space.

Development Tools

And we are of course very happy to be supporting developers that want to target MeeGo using Windows, Mac or Linux with our MonoDevelop plugin for MeeGo.

If you are more of a Visual Studio developer, our upcoming MonoTools for Visual Studio 2.0 will also support developing applications for MeeGo from Windows.

MeeGo

I am blown away by the way that everyone involved in MeeGo has been able to execute on the vision of bringing Linux to the consumer space by the way of the netbook.

Kudos to everyone involved.

Posted on 27 May 2010


MonoDroid - Mono for Android Beta Program

by Miguel de Icaza

We are hard at work on MonoDroid -- Mono for Android -- and we have created a survey that will help us prioritize our tooling story and our binding story.

If you are interested in Monodroid and in participating on the beta program, please fill out our Monodroid survey.

Here is what you can expect from Mono on Android:

  • C#-ified bindings to the Android APIs.
  • Full JIT compiler: this means full LINQ, dynamic, and support for the Dynamic Language Runtime (IronPython, IronRuby and others).
  • Linker tools to ship only the bits that you need from Mono.
  • Ahead-of-Time compilation on install: when you install a Monodroid application, you can have Mono precompile the code to avoid any startup performance hit from your application.

We are still debating a few things like:

  • Shared Full Mono runtime vs embedded/linked runtime on each application.
  • Which IDE and OS to make our primary developer platform. Our options are VS2010, VS2008 and MonoDevelop and the platforms are Windows, OSX and Linux.

    We are currently leaning towards using VS2008/2010 for Windows during the beta and later MonoDevelop on Linux/Mac.

Like we did with MonoTouch, we will bring developers into the preview in batches of 150 developers, please enter enough information on the "comments" section if you want to be in the early batches.

Posted on 21 May 2010


Group Completion in MonoDevelop 2.4

by Miguel de Icaza

In our Beta for MonoDevelop 2.4 we introduced a new feature designed to help developers better explore a new API.

Many developers use the IDE code-completion as a way of quickly navigate and explore an API. There is no need to flip through the documentation or Google for every possible issue, they start writing code and instantiating classes and the IDE offers completion for possible methods, properties and events to use as well as small text snippets describing what each completion does as well as parameter documentation:

With MonoTouch, we were dealing with a new type hierarchy, with new methods. We found that our users wanted to explore the API through code completion, but they wanted more context than just the full list of possible options at some point.

For example, the UIButton class has this hierarchy:

Looking through the methods, properties and events of this class can be confusing, as for the UIButton class there were some 140 possible completions that came from the complete hierarchy. Sometimes the user knows that the method they want is a button-specific method, and as fascinating as UIResponder, UIView or UIControl might be, the method they are looking for is not going to be there.

With MonoDevelop 2.4 we introduced a new shortcut during code completion that changes the completion order from alphabetic to grouped by type, with completions from the most derived type coming up first:

To switch between the modes you use Control-space when the popup is visible. You can use shift-up and shift-down to quickly move between the groups as well.

I have been using this feature extensively while exploring new APIs.

Posted on 09 May 2010


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