Silverlight Toolkit, now MS-PL

by Miguel de Icaza

Update: Fixed some links, corrected some text.

Shawn Burke announced the Silverlight Toolkit and it is licensed under the open source MS-PL. The code is available here complete with unit tests (check Ning's blog on the unit testing framework).

With the Silverlight Toolkit they are taking a new approach to shipping new controls in an effort to move swiftly and deliver the controls to people at the right time. Their previous approach was to ship the Toolkit when every component was ready, and completely fleshed out.

Now they will be shipping the Toolkit with controls that might have different levels of quality (and they are clearly flagged in the documentation). Shawn explains the new "Quality Bands" model that they are using in his post.

You can try the components on the web. The charting control can be tried out with the ChartBuilder (check David's blog for details on the ChartBuilder):

The source code for the Toolkit and the Controls is great to learn how to use Silverlight and it is great for people that need to tweak them for their own applications. When it comes to these controls, you no longer need Microsoft to make small changes for you or the small bug fixes that impact your application.

Themes: An interesting control container in Silverlight is the theming control. You wrap your code around this, and it will let you skin your control with XAML and define the animations and interactions with XAML and the Visual State Manager:

Some of these themes reminded me of the Gtk+ themes from 1998. Back in the days of Enlightenment and the "Cheese Pixmap" theme were hot. Mehdi explains how the themes work and Jafar explains the ImplicitStyleManager, the foundation for themes.

Shawn's Talk

Shawn's talk at the PDC was very interesting. I did not get to see it during the conference, but I watched it in the comfort of home (wmv, mp4 and slide deck).

Posted on 10 Nov 2008