Expression For Art’s Sake – 3 1/2 Day Silverlight 3 Camp – Wellington, NZ

There’s no better way to try a new technology than getting people together to learn, share and build on top of it. So, that’s what we’ve been doing with Silverlight and Expression Studio for the last couple of years: Inviting a board array of developers and designers (you) to come spend time with us.

The Aussies held their event last December, so now it was New Zealand’s turn!

Tim has already  written about Expression For Art’s Sake that took place in Wellington from the 20th to 23rd of April last month and now it is my turn to provide some more detail.

At the highest level I organised this event to get developers and designers of all different experience levels working together to get hands on with Blend 3 and Silverlight 3.

For those of you with short attention spans I have created a “super fast” overview video highlighting the 30 hours of workshop in just seven minutes!

For every one else here is a one hour summary video of the first two and a half days (download).


The Group Dynamics


3 Master Trainers

Tim Heuer, Arturo Toledo, Zef

The Teams (17 companies, 33 people)

Challenge #1 – Build a “Hello World” in Silverlight and deploy it to a production web server.

imageThis was a fun activity as introduced an element of “chaos” in securing the domain name for each team. I wanted to introduce teams to the WebPI and present a task that they may not carry out in their own organisations.

The servers that were “claimed”:

Getting To Know Each Other – WEREWOLF!

What is a few lynched villagers amongst friends?


Challenge #2 – Developing a Mobile Phone for a Kiwi

The challenge here was to start to think about the design process and work together under pressure to present a brief.

Here is a sample of the designs that the teams came up with:

View Images of the KiwiPhone Projects

Challenge #3 – Develop a Calculator with a User Control

View Images of the Calculator Projects 

What were the “New Features” of Silverlight 3 that the teams used most in the Projects?



From here we moved onto projects that would lead to teams Final Presentations.

Some of the teams put their solutions online for you to try.

Silverlight 2 Projects available to try online:

There is no “go live” for Silverlight 3 yet so what I’m going to do next is for “informational/ testing purposes only”. If you are a developer and happen to have either the  Silverlight 3 Beta - Windows Developer Runtime or the Silverlight 3 Beta - Mac Developer Runtime installed you can try the Silverlight 3 projects online as well.

Also available is the y&soft blingulator.


Final Presentations:

I have made a video that highlights the final presentations (download). All in all the teams did an awesome job going from zero to hero and surviving this very intense, compact training environment.


I have also combined both videos using Smooth Streaming as well.

Online Feedback from the attendees:

Tim wrote:

Before this week I had hardly touched Silverlight and now I don’t think I can live without it. Even though Silverlight is very different from Flash, I think having that Flash background let me pick it up fairly quickly.

Darko wrote:

All in all I think it was a very successful week. Everyone learned a lot and the mentoring from Tim and Arturo helped heaps. If I could improve anything, it would be to make it a day longer just so that there is a proper wind down. I’m really looking forward to working with Silverlight more.

View a slideshow of photos from the event 

GREAT WORK everybody!