Back From MIX and Fired Up

So MIX06 may be old news, but it is still fresh in my mind.  I took a week off after the show but now I'm back and fired up!  The show itself was great (and not just because it was in Las Vegas). I can finally talk about what I've been up to for the last month and why my blog has been relatively quiet.  During February and March, I worked on four different projects with external companies to show WPF prototypes by partners, three of which had never been seen before. Other than the North Face project, I couldn't talk about any of them until now.  So, over the next few days, I'll be posting some recaps of these prototypes.  In brief, here are the companies I worked with and the prototypes shown. 

1. Yahoo.  There was a prototype of My Yahoo shown as a WPF XBAP in both Dean Hachamovitch's keynote and Michael Wallent's session.  Unforunately, the demo isn't until the very end of the two hour webcast clip and there is no way to fast forward unless you download the whole thing, which is what I would recommend if you want to see it. (Also, once Michael Wallent's session is posted to the MIX site, I'd recommend watching that session too, for a longer run through of the My Yahoo demo as well as a bunch of other great WPF demos.)  And I would recommend you see it! Some very cool UI metaphors and usage of WPF is shown for solving issues around portal usage. 

There was also a prototype of Yahoo Finance in Joe Belfiore's keynote that had some great WPF 3D work for visualizing portfolio data.  For some reason, Joe's keynote isn't posted to Virtual MIX06 yet, but as soon as it is, I'll note it, so you can see this one in action.

2. Car & Driver/AMG Mercedes/AvenueA-Razorfish.  This demo, done by AvenueA-Razorfish, showed off both the reading experience that WPF can provide as well as a next generation online advertisement of an AMG-Mercedes.  The AMG-Mercedes app shows a very nice blend of video, bitmap assets, 2D animation and 3D to create an advertising experiences that blends TV and interactivity. You can check out an interview with AvenueA-Razorfish here that also shows a demo of the AMG Mercedes application.  Also, keep an eye on Jered's blog: he worked on the project and always has something interesting to say!

3. Nascar/REZN8.  Andrew Whiddett has been featured on my blog before when he posted some asynchronous databinding code.  That was just a taste of what he and the folks at REZN8 had been working on, which had its début at MIX.  They have been working with a company called Electric Red, which brands media products under major sports brands from 2 inch devices to Media Center.  The demo they showed was the NASCAR and was a  beautiful interactive 3D experience with a very sophisticated framework for doing layout and interactivity. It also uses WCF to do asynchronous databinding in a very impressive way. You can watch the video here.  Hopefully, I'll coax Andrew into posting some more samples on my blog.


4. The North Face/ Fluid. Darren David gave a great talk at MIX about the latest version of The North Face prototype, first seen at PDC and which you can see in this Channel 9 video.  He basically walked through this white paper posted on MSDN.  There is also an interview with Andrew Sirotnik, CEO of Fluid, from MIX, although there isn't a walkthough of the demo.   

Over the next few days, I'll drill a bit more into each of these prototypes as far as lessons learned, best practices, etc. 

Comments (15)

  1. That all looks fantastic, the NASCAR one especially, I’m glad to see that there is not too much use of 3D for 3D’s sake…


  2. mike h says:

    I agree with Simon’s comment about using 3D for 3D’s sake.  Where I work we discuss how 3D can be used, and the conversation often ends up leading to how 3D could be used as the focal point of an app (e.g. use it as the primary way to visualize data on a screen).  I don’t think that that is the best way to think about WPF’s 3D capabilities.  I see 3D being better suited for complimenting or enhancing a user interface, which is what these demos demonstrate.

  3. karstenj says:

    Yes, I agree with both of you.  All four of these demos use 3D, but to an end user, there isn’t anything that screams "this is 3D."  It is always a means to an end.

  4. Simon, thankyou, and Mike; i agree  it is hard to strike a good balance. It is best to try and create visual metaphores rather than try and put in 3d for the sake of it. 3D should be considered as an advantage in relation to movement (i.e. showing an action) rather than its static state.

    Remember 3d takes extra screen real estate; so only use it where it helps.

    Glad you like the NASCAR app; its getting there.



  5. NikolajW says:

    Jeg var desværre ikke selv afsted, med det er spændende at følge de mange ting der nu bliver postet fra…

  6. Tim Sneath says:

    Well, ugh – of course you don’t – who would? It’s a horrible thought…! But perhaps you think you’d…

  7. Earlier, I mentioned that I would go through some of the learnings from the different partner projects…

  8. Jezza says:

    Using WPF by linking ZAML files to the VS IDE is sweet!

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  10. Close on the heels of Karsten’s Channel 9 video, “3D Integration in the Windows Presentation…

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