LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft used its MIX07 keynote address to show off the power of Silverlight. Considerable buzz ensued. So, however, did a bit of "How'd they do that?" bewilderment.
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A chat with Metaliq, the company behind the video editing program Top Banana, offered some insight into how it can be done.
Top Banana is a browser-based application with a drag-and-drop interface that lets users edit several video clips simultaneously, merge clips or separate a clip into a series of images.
To develop the application, Metaliq used Expression Design, Expression Blend and Visual Studio 2005. The company finished the project in about a month, according to CEO Beau Ambur.
Design allowed the application designers to fine-tune the buttons, chrome and other visual elements of Top Banana, group them and export them into Blend as XAML files. In Blend, designers were able to "tweak the XAML visually" and work on application features like fade and zoom capabilities, Ambur said. Developers then wrote the application logic, for tasks such as loading video clips and navigating through the app, in Visual Studio.
"We were really happy with how all the tools worked [and] writing the code in C#, which we were really used to," Ambur said.
The ability to move UI elements from design to development as XAML, the Extensible Application Markup Language, is a well-advertised selling point of Microsoft Expression and Silverlight. This means, for example, that the button created in Blend will not be changed once it moves into Visual Studio.
Ambur cited other advantages to using the products in tandem. The Visual Studio version of a file can be open, and running, in both VS and in Blend. In addition, a designer can compile the VS file inside of Blend. "It's amazing how quickly it can generate the entire project," he said.
Finally, Ambur was impressed with the way Top Banana came together. The whole application is less than 50K and provides a "really fast load experience."
As for video storage, Ambur said he was impressed with the announcement of Silverlight Streaming for Windows Live, which is offering developers and designers up to 4 GB of space to store and deliver video content.