Silverlight Assault Course – Ireland

On the 16th January, 4 NxtGenUG bods flew out to Ireland to give the Silverlight Assault Course in Dublin and Cork our hostess for the weekend was Martha Rotter. I compiled a list of questions during the sessions, and they will be posted here in due course with answers and resources mentioned during the nuggets.

Dublin – 17th January 2009

The event kicked off early on a blustery day at the Microsoft Campus in Dublin. Speakers Rich Costall and Chris Hay felt a news conference was needed for this historic event of Irish and English developer communities working together.

As you can see the massed crowds were overcome with excitement and joy at their announcements.

A large crowd of developers (and one designer!) crowded into the lecture theatre ready to be wowed and educated.

The morning started with Rich and Chris taking the attendees through the basics of Silverlight, What is a Silverlight project composed of, how do you host a Silverlight app, what is contained within the mysterious XAP file?, and how to communicate with Silverlight. This gave the attendees the vital basics of how a Silverlight app hangs together. Time for a quick coffee break before marching onto the second part which got into the juicy details of the DLR, Styling, Templating, Images and Media.

The second part rocketed along with an impressive array of Silverlight Tip and Tricks for creating the basics needed to put your Silverlight app together! We also discovered Chris was a big Monty Python fan with a particular love of the “Knights of the Round Table” Lego tribute video and the “Lumberjack Song”. Lunch swiftly arrived and everyone tucked into the traditional food of choice, pizza.

Pizza consumed everyone piled back into the lecture theatre for the increasingly exciting Silverlight topics. Part 3 contained the real meat of Silverlight Brushes, Transformations, Animation, Data Binding and Isolated Storage.

The attendees were now armed with everything they needed to be wowed in part 4 by Rich and Chris’s games examples and coffee from the break. Rich took the audience through his Manic Miner port, and Chris rolled out his Spectrum emulator, both of which showed what could be achieved using the previous nuggets. Part 4 also contained the essential advanced topics needed to create a truly custom experience in Silverlight, such as User Controls, Encryption, Compression and Martha’s excellent integration nugget which included a demo of how easy the Deep Zoom Composer is to use and how to control Flash from within Silverlight (No, really!).

With the attendees’ brains bursting to the limits with Silverlight info, it was time to roll out the NxtGen game show, Swaggily Fortunes. Having just achieved NxtGen Game Show Console Trainee certification, we were all set to swag the attendees!

10 attendees leapt from their seats, in what can only be described as a “Swag frenzy” we started the Show.

It was tough going, with the contestants battling heroically to gain dominion. But there could be only one team of winners. All contestants made away with an impressive selection of swag.

The winners swag.

The runner ups swag.

With heads (and in some cases arms!) filled to bursting the attendees dispersed into the evening, and we packed up to catch a train to Cork.

We caught the 7pm train to Cork and were relived to get in on time without any delays, as our very helpful and friendly cab driver from the Microsoft campus had informed us that every line had trees blown down on to it, but he’d happily drive us down to Cork if we wanted to 🙂

Cork – 18th January 2009

The second event kicked off Sunday morning in the Imperial Hotel (Where we’d been staying! :)) in the Morgan Suite. This event was being hosted by Joe Gill of the Microsoft Technology User Group Ireland (

No press conference this time, which I think helped fill the Morgan suite with another large crowd of Developers and several Designers ready for Silverlight to be pumped into their brains.

Rich, Chris and Martha delivered their nuggets to the attendees with the same skill and knowledge as had been demonstrated the previous day, I won’t reiterate them here as the schedule was the same 🙂

The attendees heads were soon bursting with Silverlight knowledge, tips and tricks, so what better way to round off the day than to bring on Swaggily Fortunes. Another 10 attendees leapt from the gathered ranks ready to be questions and swagged within an inch of their lives.

Again the competition was intense, the scoring dubious in places, but there could be only one winner! Rich’s team won for a second time that weekend and the swag was distributed to both teams.

I speak for Rich C, Chris H, John P and myself when I say we had a stonking time and really enjoyed meeting the folks at both events and giving the courses.

We’d also like to thank Martha for all her hard work organising the weekend us, as we all know organising Devs is like herding cats, and thanks to Joe Gill for hosting and providing us with a venue in Cork.

See you next time! 😉

This entry was posted in Assault Course, Ireland, NxtGen, Silverlight. Bookmark the permalink.

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