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Getting Started With Silverlight and SharePoint 2010

Posted in SharePoint | Silverlight at Monday, January 18, 2010 10:06 AM Pacific Standard Time

One of the cool features of SharePoint 2010 (currently in beta) is that you can set it up on a Windows 7 machine. This means that as a SharePoint developer you no longer have to run a Server OS.

To get started I downloaded the SharePoint 2010 Foundations beta from here. You will also need Visual Studio 2010 which you can download from here.

To setup SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7 you need to follow this guide which explains how to configure the setup process to run on Windows 7 (it is only one change to an xml file).

Make sure you install all the prerequisites which I won’t list here (they are listed in the guide). It will still install even if you don’t, but you will get errors when you try to configure SharePoint (voice of experience here).

Once you have everything installed and have completed the configuration tool, your site should come up in the browser! Now you can start working with Silverlight and SharePoint.


Tip: Install the SQL Service Manager so that you can turn SQL Server off when you’re not doing SharePoint development. 

A some great resources for getting started with Silverlight and SharePoint 2010 are the PDC sessions which you can watch for free:

For this example we will primarily be utilizing the information in the first session by Paul Stubbs. With SharePoint 2010, Silverlight can live just about anywhere in the user interface, but this example will be geared toward how simple it is to publish a Silverlight application to a SharePoint site and use it in a web part.

Fire up Visual Studio 2010 and create a new Silverlight Application:


At the prompt asking you if you want to create a web application to host the Silverlight application uncheck the checkbox. We don’t need to host Silverlight in a separate web app since SharePoint will be the host.

In the Silverlight Application, edit the MainPage.xaml to have the following Xaml:

<Grid x:Name="LayoutRoot" Background="PowderBlue">
    <TextBlock Text="Silverlight In SharePoint" 
               FontWeight="Bold" />

Now let’s add the SharePoint part of the project. Before we add the SharePoint project though we need to be running Visual Studio as the Administrator. Save your work and close the solution. Then right click the Visual Studio 2010 shortcut and select Run As Administrator. Back in the solution, right click the solution and select Add -> New Project. Select SharePoint –> 2010 as the project type and select an Empty SharePoint Project:


If you aren’t running as an Administrator then Visual Studio will tell you that the project requires elevated permissions in order to run.

The SharePoint customization Wizard dialog will pop up asking if you want to deploy as a sandboxed solution or a farm solution. Leave the sandboxed solution checked and click ok. Next, right click on the SharePoint project in the Solution Explorer and select Add -> New Item. Add a new Module to the project as shown below:


Now right click the new Module and select Properties. In the Properties window click in the Project Output References and then click the ellipse button (…). In the Project Output References dialog click the Add button. Expand the deployment location property on the new reference then change the Project Name to the Silverlight project name and the Deployment Type to ElementFile. You should end up with something that looks like this:


Next expand the module we created in the SharePoint project and delete the Sample.txt file. Then open the Elements.xml file. Edit the file to include the xap file that will be generated from our Silverlight application:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Elements xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/">
  <Module Name="SilverlightModule">
    <File Path="SilverlightModule\SilverlightInSharePoint.xap" 
          Url="_catalogs/masterpage/SilverlightInSharePoint.xap" />

At this point your application is ready to be deployed. Right click the SharePoint project and select Set as Startup Project and hit F5. Visual Studio will build and deploy your project to your local SharePoint site and then open it in the browser. However, at this point our Silverlight application isn’t active in any of the pages. Let’s add the Silverlight application as a web part in the default page.

On the SharePoint site click the edit icon then the insert tab, select Web Part, and choose the Silverlight Web Part in the Media and Content category:


Click Add and in the Silverlight Web Part dialog enter the value from the Url field in the Elements.xml file but add a leading slash. So for our example we would enter:


The web part will give you a message that it could not download the xap file. You can ignore this message and just click the save icon. You will get the Silverlight application on the web page, but it will look messed up:


The problem is the default size for the Silverlight Web Part is 400x300 but our text is bigger than 300. So we need to set the size to be 400x400. Click the drop down arrow on the top right of the web part and select Edit Web Part. In the web part properties dialog set the height of the web part to 400 and set the chrome type to None. Click Ok and you should get a better looking page:


Congratulations! You’ve now gotten started with Silverlight 3 and SharePoint 2010. Silverlight development with SharePoint 2010 is much improved in this new version. Happy SharePointing!

Idle Timeouts in RIA Services Authentication

Posted in RiaServices | Silverlight at Wednesday, October 28, 2009 10:02 AM Pacific Standard Time

A question came up in the Silverlight Forums about how to timeout a user when using .NET RIA Services. Since I have implemented this before I thought I would share an approach I used. There might be a better way that is more integrated with the ASP.Net security, but for now this works.

To start with, you’ll need the Sample Application that Brad Abram has been building and blogging about and you might want to read through this post on Authentication in RIA Services before going any further. Once you have that and can build/run it on your machine you can continue on.

The security in Brad’s example uses a simple membership provider that is using RIA Services FormsAuthentication since it takes a username and password to log in. For our example we will extend the FormsAuthentication and add a timeout to it. Below is my implementation of the FormsWithTimeoutAuthentication class:

namespace MyApp
    public class FormsWithTimeoutAuthentication : FormsAuthentication
        private DispatcherTimer idleTimer;
        private int minutesIdle;
        private bool idle;
        private bool attached = false;

        public FormsWithTimeoutAuthentication()
            : this(20)
        { }

        public FormsWithTimeoutAuthentication(int idleMinutes)
            IdleMinutesBeforeTimeout = idleMinutes;
            idleTimer = new DispatcherTimer();
            idleTimer.Interval = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(1);
            idleTimer.Tick += new EventHandler(idleTimer_Tick);

        public int IdleMinutesBeforeTimeout

        protected override LoginResult EndLogin(IAsyncResult asyncResult)
            var result = base.EndLogin(asyncResult);

            if (result.LoginSuccess == true)
                if (!attached) AttachEvents();
                minutesIdle = 0;

            return result;

        protected override LogoutResult EndLogout(IAsyncResult asyncResult)

            return base.EndLogout(asyncResult);

        private void AttachEvents()
            attached = true;
            Application.Current.RootVisual.MouseMove += new MouseEventHandler(RootVisual_MouseMove);
            Application.Current.RootVisual.KeyDown += new KeyEventHandler(RootVisual_KeyDown);

        private void RootVisual_KeyDown(object sender, KeyEventArgs e)
            idle = false;

        private void RootVisual_MouseMove(object sender, MouseEventArgs e)
            idle = false;

        private void idleTimer_Tick(object sender, EventArgs e)
            if (idle == true)
                minutesIdle += idleTimer.Interval.Minutes;
                if (minutesIdle >= IdleMinutesBeforeTimeout)
                minutesIdle = 0;
            idle = true;

All this class does is add a timer that fires once a minute. If the user has either moved the mouse or hit a key in that minute then they stay logged in. If the user hasn’t, then a minute of idle time is added to the idle minute count until the timeout limit is reached. Once that happens the user gets logged out.

Note that the events are attached to the root visual and don’t get attached until the user logs in. This is because the Authentication is created prior to the RootVisual being set.

Simply add this code to the sample project (linked above) and then change the authentication service in the App.xaml as follows:


                <ResourceDictionary Source="Assets/Styles.xaml"/>

                <app:FormsWithTimeoutAuthentication IdleMinutesBeforeTimeout="2"/>


Here I’ve set the IdleMinutesBeforeTimeout to 2 minutes so that it is easy to test.

Once you’ve modified the application, when you run it you will get logged out after the number of minutes you specify in the timeout. There are lots of enhancements that could be made to this simple approach, but this works for most situations.

Migrated from Community Server to DasBlog

Posted in Community Server | dasBlog | Sql and Xml at Saturday, October 17, 2009 8:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time

If you’re reading this then you’re on my new blog homepage at http://bryantlikes.com. I’ve wanted to move off of http://blogs.sqlxml.org for some time but every time I start to work on it I get overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. I would usually get stuck on (1) how to migrate all my content and (2) where to host it since there is a lot of content and most hosting providers give you very little SQL storage.

I looked at a lot of options and even setup Oxite on Azure by following this guide, but since I didn’t know what the monthly costs will be I decided not to take that route. Since I was recently awarded the MVP award I decided to look at some of the benefits and I found that Orcs Web offers a free hosting account to MVPs. I know Orcs has a great service so I was excited to give that a try, but I didn’t think their SQL storage would be enough for my blog. That is when I got the idea to give dasBlog a try. DasBlog stores all your data in xml files instead of using a SQL database. At first that sounds like a bad idea, but if it can support Hanselman’s blog, then surely my blog would have no problems at all. Plus it solves the SQL storage issue.

Now the harder question, how do you migrate all the content. At first I tried using the BlogML stuff to pull all my content out of Community Server, but I have a lot of content so I ended up getting lots of exceptions. I tried to hand code some solutions, but finally gave up. Then I got the idea to just take the simple route and write a custom program to read the data from my CS database and generate the XML files that dasBlog uses. So I used some Linq to SQL classes and wrote the XML using Linq to XML. It was fairly easy to do and it worked great.

The next step was to setup the redirects on the old site to point to the new site. I have all the articles redirecting and I think they all work (for the most part). I had to setup some custom redirects for some of the articles with non-standard characters in the titles, but other than that it was pretty easy. I also followed Scott’s post on canonicalize my URLs and using IIS7’s rewrite module. Orcs provides access to your IIS7’s manager remotely which works great.

I still need to migrate my articles, but I’ll get those done later today. Other than that it is a done deal. I’m very happy to be off the sqlxml.org domain which I still host at home and to be off of Community Server.

Lately, I wanted to thank Alexander Groß for the great theme which he created. I think this new blog is much easier to read and so far I’ve enjoyed the dasBlog software. I’ve even write a custom macro to put the RSS feeds on the category pages. I’m sure I’ll do some more customization down the road and post about as I go.

Hope you like the new blog!

Silverlight MVP

Posted in Silverlight at Friday, October 16, 2009 3:55 PM Pacific Daylight Time

On October 1st I was honored to receive the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for Silverlight. I am very excited that I received this award and look forward to continuing my contributions to the Silverlight Community.

I wasn’t the only one to receive this honor as Tim Heuer blogged here:

As of today (01 OCT 2009) we welcome some new folks to the Silverlight group:

I’m very excited to be a part of the Silverlight MVPs group and look forward to working with them all.

Behaviors vs Subclassing in Silverlight

Posted in Silverlight at Wednesday, September 30, 2009 1:42 AM Pacific Daylight Time

As a Silverlight developer, when you want to add functionality to an existing control, you have two main options as I see it (if you want to get reuse from your code). You can either subclass the control or, as of Silverlight 3,  you can write a behavior for it. For example, one of the requests for the current Silverlight application that I’ve been working on was to have the TextBox select all the text when you tabbed to it or clicked in it. We can easily add this functionality using both of the above methods:

Here is how this could be done using subclassing:

public class SelectAllTextBox : TextBox 
    public SelectAllTextBox()
        this.GotFocus += new RoutedEventHandler(TextBox_GotFocus);

    private void TextBox_GotFocus(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)

And here is how you would write this as a behavior:

public class SelectAllBehavior : Behavior<TextBox>
    protected override void OnAttached()
        AssociatedObject.GotFocus += new RoutedEventHandler(AssociatedObject_GotFocus);

    void AssociatedObject_GotFocus(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)

The behavior has one more line of code and the added requirement of adding a reference to System.Windows.Interactivity.dll from the Blend 3 SDK. The bigger difference is how the code looks in our view when we add the control to it.

The subclassed control looks like (where ctrls is the controls namespace of our subclassed control):

<ctrls:SelectAllTextBox Text="{Binding MyText}" />

And the behavior looks like (where i is the System.Windows.Interactivity namespace and b is our behavior’s namespace):

<TextBox Text="{Binding MyText}">
        <b:SelectAllBehavior />

Obviously the behavior is more verbose in this case than the subclassed approach.

Since both of these approaches work, which is the better approach? I think the subclassing is the easier approach, but I think the behavior would be the recommended approach. The reason is that I can build my SelectAll behavior today and then down the road build a different behavior and then selectively apply them to my TextBoxes as appropriate. However, if use the subclass approach I would automatically get the new behavior on all my controls which might not be what I wanted. It also means that if someone builds a better TextBox that I want to use that I would have to try to subclass that control, but with the behavior I could just apply it to the new control.

Update: A couple of quick updates. First, Alan Le pointed out that it depends on reuse. Obviously if you had to add the behavior to 20 TextBoxes it would take more time to use the behavior. However, Blend makes this a lot easier. Secondly, Brian mentioned in the comments that you could also use an attached property to do this so I thought I would quickly show what that might look like.

The code for the attached property would be:

public static class TextBoxProperties
    public static readonly DependencyProperty SelectAllProperty =
        DependencyProperty.RegisterAttached("SelectAll", typeof(bool), 
        typeof(TextBoxProperties), new PropertyMetadata(false, OnSelectAllChanged));

    public static void SetSelectAll(DependencyObject o, bool value)
        o.SetValue(SelectAllProperty, value);

    public static bool GetSelectAll(DependencyObject o)
        return (bool)o.GetValue(SelectAllProperty);

    private static void OnSelectAllChanged(DependencyObject d, DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e)
        if ((bool)e.NewValue == true)
            ((TextBox)d).GotFocus += new RoutedEventHandler(TextBoxProperties_GotFocus);

    private static void TextBoxProperties_GotFocus(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)

And the Xaml would look like:

<TextBox Text="{Binding MyText}" ctrls:TextBoxProperties.SelectAll="true" />

I still think the Behavior is the best method to use since (at least in this case) we are just trying to add a behavior to the TextBox, not add significant functionality. The attached property also doesn’t feel right to me, but it does work just fine. Ultimately it comes down to preference and what method you like to use. :)