Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Setting Goals

I learn best when I see results. Exercises do not hold my interest. So before I could get started, I had to make a list of modifications that I wanted to make to the WPF 2D Physics demo. Here is what I wanted to achieve.

1) Click on any body in the world to make it disappear
2) Click and push any body
3) Drag the body

I had absolutely no idea on what I would need to learn in order to achieve the above goals.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting Started

I should have started this blog a couple of months ago but better late than never. The next few posts will be a narration of events in the past, and memory is already fading. I did not maintain a log or any notes. Hope I can capture the essence of all my experiences.

I quickly learnt that buying a Surface unit was really not an option (too costly) or even necessary to get started. WPF was available on XP and Vista platforms with an IDE in the Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions downloads. Even better that you could get this for free.

I installed the complete package - Visual Basic, C# (C Sharp) and C++. Patience was key during this install. I was eager to get started so it seemed to take even longer.

The next step was to find a book on WPF and some interesting source code to use as a learning tool. After a little research I settled on WPF Unleashed by Adam Nathan. It just seemed that it would have the right balance -- quick easy things to do, but also a book that you can use as you get more experienced. It has turned out to be a good purchase.

The source code was a little more challenging. The physics demonstrations in the Surface blogs were very intriguing. One of these blogs mentioned a program call Crayon Physics. I downloaded the demo, and was absolutely fascinated by it. I thought to myself that it would be great if I could find a demo with physics to use as a learning tool.

Not sure how, but I stumbled upont WPF 2D Physics. As soon as I ran the ClickOnce demo, I knew that I had found what I needed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What Got Me Interested?

It is hard to not get drawn into the Microsoft Surface world. While we can debate if Surface is really "all that" and if there are other competing technologies, there is no denying that it is very appealing.

I do not exactly recall when I saw the video on Surface, but I have been interested in learning about it ever since. I follow the community blog on a regular basis and that is where I first heard of WPF.

The message (even to a novice) was clear -- if you want to understand Surface, WPF expertise is table stakes!

I do not have any experience in the latest software development technologies on the Windows platform, so this was just another acronym for me. Learning was about to begin.