Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes Podcast 82 - 10 Foot Development for Media Center

September 22, 2007 Comment on this post [7] Posted in Microsoft | Podcast
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GreenButton My eighty-second podcast is up. Every copy of Windows Vista Home Premium and above has Media Center on it. Have you run your copy? Turns out that you can develop your own '10 foot apps' (that can be run with a remote from your couch) with Visual Studio Express or even Notepad. Scott talks to Charlie Owen to find out how.

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Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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September 22, 2007 9:17
Show 82 was the best yet. I had no friggin' clue that MCE had an API, let alone its own XML dialect. Your show is always good for a "huh" but this was the first time it prompted a "whoah". These are the kind of gems that only a fully assimilated Borg insider could drum up. I'm downloading the SDK at this very moment.

Now that you're getting paid to do it, you should record Hanselminutes more frequently. Personally, I have an appetite for at least three shows a week.
September 22, 2007 14:06
Funny, I just released an MCE plugin for browsing videos, cause I was very unhappy with the performance and usability of the stock video browsing piece (on my blog) . The stock piece, can have issues caching thumbnails and I just prefer a list view for some reason.

The thing that gets me is why Microsoft decided on building MCML instead of just providing XAML templates, styles and controls. You can still build an MCE addin as XBAP application, in fact that is what I did, but its so much work writing the control suite. You can not edit MCML pages in blend, and at the end of the day in a few years Microsoft will have to dump MCML cause there is just too much overlap between it an WPF.
September 22, 2007 22:07
I have to second the first comment. :)
I don't think there is an automatic need to cut every show at 20 minutes. If you have more to say, then make it 40 minutes or whatever the topic requires.

This episode definitely needs a sequel, maybe in the form of DNRTV.
September 25, 2007 14:05
Nice episode Scott. So when are you and the Ro-dawg getting together for some more Channel 9 action?
September 25, 2007 22:32

In the end it was all about timing with the products. MCML was pretty much created for the extender. The XBox 360 came out what 6 months before the first release of a Vista Beta. What was the state of WPF while the XBox was being built? More than likely that is when MCML was born. There is a comparable performance difference in running an add-in on an extender that was built with MCML instead of WPF. I believe Charlie hinted against these statements when Scott asked him why they created their own markup. If I was you, I would re-write your movie browser using MCML instead of WPF, if you want it to be of any use on an extender. You couldn't ask for a better experience than when hooking your XBox 360 to a Vista Media Center box and running an add-in that was built with MCML.


Since you were talking about home automation, I thought I would let you know the possibilities are endless based off what we have done. I am a software developer for a home automation software company. We created a Media Center add-in for automating your home and we built the application using standards. We use the Web Services for Devices stack for communicating with your house. We support a slew of hardware vendors. If you want to check it out, here is the link:

Great show, developers always tell me they didn't know that the MCE SDK existed when I talk to them about what I work on.

Keep up the evangelism!

September 25, 2007 23:54
What eventually became and was named MCML was born with the first version of Media Center back in 2002. :-) It has grown and matured over the years, and changed quite a bit from its original incarnation -- but the genesis of shipping a UI framework started way back when. It's been around longer than most people realize -- we just didn't make it publicly available until Windows Vista. This concludes your brief history lesson -- pop quiz tomorrow...!
September 26, 2007 0:15

Thanks for the history lesson and giving me a clue. I always thought MCML was created with Vista, because the UI differences between Media Center for XP and Media Center for Vista are so dramatic.

When we first built our add-in for Media Center, it was with Media Center for XP. Since all add-in's were html based, we created an html page and embedded an activex object to launch our application. Then when Vista came around and we got our hands on the SDK and started getting dirty with MCML, we thought it was new.

I'm ready for that quiz now!!!!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.