Has Obama Declared for Silverlight?

clip_image001As a great example of what you can do today with Silverlight 1.0, I thought I'd bring this sample application, developed by Novera Consulting, to everyone's attention. I first met up with these guys when they responded to my invitation to attend a Silverlight issue-resolution lab that we ran a couple of months ago. In many ways, they're a great demonstration of the value of running labs like this - both of us gained hugely from the interaction and feedback. Incidentally, we're running another similar lab in a month - do you have a Silverlight 1.0-based site that you're working on that you'd like to work with us on?

The Novera election site can be found here: after selecting your party, you proceed to a page that looks like the screenshot above, where you can see each of the different candidates, information about their campaign and funding, as well as a link to a cool campaign trail visualization which was created as a Virtual Earth mash-up. In some ways, the app feels like a high-end AJAX page, which of course it is in that it uses asynchronous JavaScript and XML - but instead of targeting the HTML DOM, it's using the XAML DOM which gives them all the benefits of animation, 2D graphics, video and an asynchronous download object. At the risk of being seen as outspoken, it's my contention that we're starting to hit the ceiling of what an HTML-based architecture can deliver, and that's why this kind of incremental move to a richer presentation technology that doesn't throw out all the other underpinnings of the web is an attractive way forward.

The one thing I'd have liked to see this application improve on is the installation experience for site visitors who don't already have the Silverlight 1.0 plug-in installed on their machine. It's easy to use the inPlaceInstallParameter option in conjunction with a placeholder graphic to create an inviting and non-intrusive experience that gets Silverlight installed on your machine with as few as three mouse clicks.

Interestingly, the 2008 US Election campaign was the inspiration for a second Silverlight site focusing on the candidates that MSN created as an election guide. But I honestly rather prefer the Novera version at a technical level - they've been more creative in their use of Silverlight and it demonstrates well how subtle visual cues like animation can be used to help visitors navigate around a site.

Comments (5)

  1. Wow! Talk about a misleading blog post title.

    To answer your question:



    From the site:



    This site is for demonstration purposes only. This site’s sole intent is to demonstrate and showcase Silverlight 1.0 technology. We have no political affiliation and make no endorsements. All candidates and political parties are presented equally. The data for this site was obtained by third party websites and may or may not be accurate.


    mike chambers


  2. Tim Sneath says:

    Hi Mike, that’s really funny if you thought I was serious! I certainly wasn’t intending the headline to be taken as a serious statement of collusion between Microsoft and the Democrat party, and I hope the body of the entry makes it pretty clear that I was being frivolous. Apologies to anyone who thought otherwise.

  3. Matt says:

    Don’t fret about it tims.  Political freaks always find something to wine about 🙂  nice post though

  4. Tim,

      In your third paragraph you referenced a better install experience solution.  Do you have a link to information on how to do this?  Blog Post, documentation, etc?



  5. Mike Meyers says:

    I needed to do some investigation on install modes myself, since I somehow missed this feature while learning Silverlight. I found the following helpful.

    Laurence Moroney blogged about the Silverlight install modes here:


    The Silverlight SDK has the following info:


    Also, Adam Kinney blogged about inplaceInstalPrompt here:



Skip to main content