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Daily Dose - Expression Blend 4 Shines With Silverlight

06.07.2010
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The de facto UI design tool for WPF and Silverlight (ergo Windows Phone 7), Microsoft Expression Blend, is finally available in its fourth released version.  The interactive XAML-based design tool is free as an upgrade from version 3 and it comes in the Expression Studio 4 package with quality tools like SketchFlow, Expression Encoder 4, and Expression Web 4.  Silverlight expert, Tim Heuer, says this is an awesome release for XAML, media, and web developers creating interactive UIs.  Here's the list of new features:

    •    VS2010 compatibility
    •    Windows Phone 7 support
    •    Deeper Adobe Photoshop import (layer effects)
    •    New behaviors & conditional behaviors
    •    Enhanced sample data support
    •    Listbox path layout for designing with data
    •    Pixel Shader effects (including animations)
    •    Easier styling and customization
    •    Model View View-Model support
    •    Mockup controls for SketchFlow

Find the full list here.  Windows Phone 7 devs using the Blend 4 beta must continue using the beta until the SDK's final release.  You can find tons of info on Expression Blend at DZone's .NET Zone.  I recommend this 7-part series of slick video tutorials.

Oracle Layoffs on the Way?
A  recent 8-K filing reveals that Oracle has spent around $825 million in restructuring costs for the assimilation of Sun Microsystems.  What's interesting is the large amount of severance payments earmarked in the filing.  The payments are for former Asian and European Sun branches.  This could mean that Oracle is preparing to make large-scale job cuts in those areas, even after Oracle CEO Larry  Ellison announced back in January, "We’re not cutting Sun to profitability, we’re growing Sun to profitability."

Eclipse Community Survey Results Are In
The 2010 Eclipse Community Survey shows that more Java developers are using Linux as their development OS and more are using OpenJDK as their JVM.  Sun's Hotspot led the survey results with about 70% of the respondent pool, while OpenJDK had a strong showing with 22%.  About one-third of the respondents now say that Linux is their development operating system (up from 20%), while development on Windows dropped 16%(down to 58%).  Other questions were asked about the app servers, agile methodologies, server-side frameworks, RIA client frameworks, and version control tools that people use.

Monitor your Solr and Lucene Performance
New Relic recently issued new monitoring software that tracks the web site performance of the Apache Lucene search library and the Apache Solr search features layer.  The New Relic dashboards show Solr cache wait times, memory and CPU search consumption, longest searches, and more.  This lets developers find things like inefficiently built queries.  Solr monitoring is included in New Relic's free RPM Lite SaaS for Java and Ruby on Rails.  New Relic's tools recently told them that Solr is beginning to replace many Google Search Appliance deployments.

"NetBeans is a Vastly Superior IDE"
If you give NetBeans a second chance like this blogger, you might find that you like it better than your previous IDE. 
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