SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Andy Thurai, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft Cloud: Article

The Xamlon Story

.NET code + XAML markup = Flash SWF

Xamlon, a small startup in LaJolla, CA, started with a Windows desktop product called Xamlon Pro. This package provides developers with a taste for XAML-based declarative markup programming. XAML is compiled with managed code to produce applications that run in the Xamlon viewer. This is the same approach that was promised in the Longhorn timeframe with the new Avalon user interface engine.

Their newest offering does something similar for Web development, with an interesting twist. The output is a true Macromedia Flash SWF file. This is significant given the market coverage of the Flash player, a small download that is readily available. Applications developed with Xamlon Web run on most any platform or browser combination without installing the .NET framework.

Xamlon is the latest brainchild of Paul Colton, CEO and founder. Paul is best known for the development of JRun, the Java server environment marketed by Macromedia. His long partnership with that company made him intimately aware of the potential for Flash applications.

Flash runs inside a "Virtual Machine" similar to the runtime environments of .NET and Java. A set of instructions called bytecode is loaded into the runtime and translated into machine instructions on the target computer. Flash uses the SWF file format that was made public in 1998. More than 98 percent of all computers are thought to have the Flash player installed. Flash development is historically difficult and there is a shortage of competent developers. The Flash IDE is really designed for graphics and animation, not for business application programming. ActionScript, a JavaScript derivative, has a limited syntax and little support for debugging.

There are other platforms for Flash application development, including Macromedia Flex and Laszlo Systems, but Xamlon replaces the need for ActionScript with the strong foundation of Visual Studio support and a strongly typed .NET managed code library. Once compiled into MSIL, the .NET byte codes can be mapped to the well-known Flash equivalents. This opens the Flash file delivery format to the millions of C# and Visual Basic coders.

Xamlon Web takes several interesting technologies and merges them into a developer friendly platform:

  • XAML declarative markup
  • .NET byte code compilation
  • Flash SWF deployment
  • AFLAX Web services
XAML Declarative Markup
Declarative programming is different from traditional imperative programming. The developer describes a set of conditions but not the order they are executed. The syntax interpreter or compiler is free to analyze the statements and build a suitable algorithm.

Most declarative programming today is done with some variant of XML. Configuration files in Visual Studio and the .NET Framework commonly use XML. Web.config and app.config are good examples of the declarative model:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<compilation defaultLanguage="vb" debug="true" />
<customErrors mode="RemoteOnly" />
There are several areas where Microsoft is using declarative style. The server-side controls in ASP.NET are described using a namespace, tags, and attributes. This sample mixes HTML mark-up with CSS and server control declarations:

<TR style="HEIGHT:90%">
<TD style="PADDING:10px; WIDTH:150px; BACKGROUND-
COLOR:wheat" vAlign="top">
<uc1:Menu id="Menu1" runat="server"></uc1:Menu>
<TD vAlign="top" style="PADDING: 10px;">
<P><asp:Label id="Label1" runat="server">Label</asp:Label></P>
InfoPath forms are described in an XML dialect. SQL Reporting Services reports store their layout in an XML format called RDL (report definition language). Server applications like Microsoft CRM use XML to describe data, forms, views, reports, and transactions. BizTalk Orchestra-tion defines business process flow in an XML structure. Both SQL Reporting Services and BizTalk compile their XML into .NET assemblies. This is similar to the approach taken by Xamlon.

Longhorn has a new visual programming model called Avalon. At the heart of this is a new interface dialect called XAML, or eXtensible Application Markup Language. XAML is very powerful in that each element and attribute maps to some object in code. A XAML element name becomes a .NET Framework class name. When you define an XAML element, you are effectively creating an instance of the .NET Framework class with the same name as the XAML element. An XAML attribute name maps to the property or field with the same name, typically in the class instance:

<TextBox ID="FirstName" />
<Button ID="Submit" Click="SubmitForm" />
This is equivalent to writing the code:

Dim c As New Canvas
Dim fName As New TextBox
fName.ID = "TextBox"
Dim b As New Button
b.ID = "Submit"
AddHandler b.Click, SubmitForm

More Stories By Bill Wolff

Bill Wolff is an independent consultant, trainer, and architect specializing in Microsoft development technologies. His company, Agility Systems, is based in the Philadelphia area. He ran the consulting firm Wolff Data Systems for 15 years and directed armies of consultants in the dot com world. Bill is founder and President of the user group, board member for INETA (Vice President, Speaker Bureau), and he is active in several other user communities. Bill was a contributing author to several books and articles and he currently writes for .NET Developer's Journal. His certifications include trainer, systems engineer, developer, and Microsoft MVP for VB.NET.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Latest Stories
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, ...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., discussed how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advantage ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
According to the IDC InfoBrief, Sponsored by Nutanix, “Surviving and Thriving in a Multi-cloud World,” multicloud deployments are now the norm for enterprise organizations – less than 30% of customers report using single cloud environments. Most customers leverage different cloud platforms across multiple service providers. The interoperability of data and applications between these varied cloud environments is growing in importance and yet access to hybrid cloud capabilities where a single appl...
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In today's always-on world, customer expectations have changed. Competitive differentiation is delivered through rapid software innovations, the ability to respond to issues quickly and by releasing high-quality code with minimal interruptions. DevOps isn't some far off goal; it's methodologies and practices are a response to this demand. The demand to go faster. The demand for more uptime. The demand to innovate. In this keynote, we will cover the Nutanix Developer Stack. Built from the foundat...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Sold by Nutanix, Nutanix Mine with Veeam can be deployed in minutes and simplifies the full lifecycle of data backup operations, including on-going management, scaling and troubleshooting. The offering combines highly-efficient storage working in concert with Veeam Backup and Replication, helping customers achieve comprehensive data protection for all their workloads — virtual, physical and private cloud —to meet increasing business demands for uptime and productivity.
"Cloud computing is certainly changing how people consume storage, how they use it, and what they use it for. It's also making people rethink how they architect their environment," stated Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, in this interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...