Free Silverlight controls – yes, you heard right

I’m really pleased to announce that our free Silverlight controls now are live on the site and you can grab them here. We actually made these controls free when we released Silverlight Elements 2.0 last year but we didn’t make a big noise about it at the time – so now we are. We’d love to have all Silverlight developers grab these three controls and start using them in their applications. I’m sure you’ll see why developers love working with us.

So what’s in the box?

Coverflow is great for getting rid of a dreary old ListBox control. It’s fun, fast and very configurable. You can adjust the way the covers sit, their spacing and more with easy to use properties. But that’s not all of course, we’ll throw in the automatic reflections free of charge as well! So the next time your users want to be able to flip through data in style consider the free Silverlight Coverflow control.

Free Silverlight Coverflow

You can play with a demo of the Coverflow control here.

The book control is a beautiful way to present data to users in certain situations. Pictures don’t do justice to the Book control – it has full virtualisation to make sure your app stays performing well even with thousands of pages and then there’s the stunning smooth animations when users turn the page. The really great thing about this control though is the flexibility – you’re not limited to just text data or images. Want to put a hyperlink on? or a button? or a 3D spinning teapot? We’ve got your back.

Free Silverlight Book control

You can play with a demo of the Book control here.

Well this wee guy isn’t as sexy and alluring as the Book or Coverflow controls but he is handy in a lot more places. The expander is a great addition to your toolbox as it can be used to help declutter user interfaces by tucking away non-essential elements.

Free Silverlight Expander

You can play with a demo of the Expander control here.

And they’re all free!

We really hope you enjoy these free controls and that you’ll see the benefits of working with Mindscape controls. We’ve put in a lot of work so that you don’t have to. We hope you can wow your coworkers and customers. And if you really do put a 3D spinning teapot in your book — you’ll wow us too!

You can visit this special page to download the controls for yourself. We’d love it if you helped spread the good word and have some twitter buttons and facebook buttons for you on the page to help — thanks!

Adding a Money data type to your model & the designer

This is pretty cool, but I can’t take credit for it. Jeremy, a switched on LightSpeed user has posted in our community code forum about how he integrated a custom Money type with LightSpeed to make working with money easier in his domain model. To quote his post:

Jeremy’s guide to working with a custom Money data type

With a couple of mod’s I’ve had a lot of success with this Money DataType and wanted to implement it in LightSpeed:

5 minutes later following Ivan’s article:

public class MoneyConverter : IFieldConverter
  public object ConvertFromDatabase(object databaseValue)
    return new Money((decimal)databaseValue, System.Globalization.CultureInfo.CurrentCulture);
  public object ConvertToDatabase(object value)
    //Pass in the Money.Value property as the value parameter
    return (decimal)value;

Pic of the User Defined Type properties and below see the Money DataType is available in the drop down list:

Money data type in LightSpeed

Are you a LightSpeed Ninja too?

We’ve not made a lot of noise about our community code forum, but if you have created some cool things with any of our products then we’d love to have you share them with the community. We love hearing how people are using Mindscape products to make their development more enjoyable so let us know what you’ve been building in the community code forum here.

Free software for user groups

Mindscape has always been very community oriented – many of the team speak at local user groups, Code Camps, Tech Ed, Unplugged events and so on. We’ve also been active in sponsoring community events like the Super Happy Dev House, NH-Day, Girl Geek Dinners and more. It’s time to do more however and we’ve been really pleased with the joint success we have had in helping user groups. Part of doing more is helping spread the word that we do want to help :-)

Our primary sponsorship method is to provide free software as prizes for user groups. We typically target Microsoft related user groups as our products are all in that space. So if you run a .NET/Silverlight/WPF/SQL Server/Microsoft Bob/C# user group, get in touch!

In retrospect, perhaps the Microsoft Bob user group was not quite ready for Ivan’s ‘Whirlwind Tour of LINQ Expression Trees.’

How does the process work for user groups?

Step 1: Get in touch
Email to tell us about your user group. We’re always keen to actually know the user group leaders and help them out in any way we can, so ping us an email and we can discuss what works for you.

Step 2: Eh? What?
There is no step 2. These are not the droids you’re looking for. Once we’re talking, we’re pretty quick to nail down our sponsorship based on your user group’s needs and organise how to provide the software.

What software do you provide?
We typically provide one free license to one of our products (excluding the Mega Packs) for each meeting. This works well because the folks running the event can choose a product that suits the audience. For example, if the topic is Silverlight related then our Silverlight Elements suite would likely go down well.

We also provide free software for speakers. Speaking for the first time in particular is really hard, we understand that, and we know user groups need a continuing stream of speakers in order to thrive. So to encourage people to take the leap, we offer a Mindscape Mega Pack — that’s every single developer tool we produce — to the speaker at each event.

Can you do me a favour?
Have you been to a local user group or do you know somebody involved in one? Please forward them a link to this post as we’d love to be connected with more user groups around the world. We currently sponsor about 15 user groups globally — and we want more right away :-)

Happy coding!

Mindscape MVC – Extensions for ASP.NET MVC and LightSpeed

Now that ASP.NET MVC has been released we expect to see lots of people interested in building web sites based on this new offering. We have already been hearing from lots of our LightSpeed customers who are doing just that.

What we and others have found is that there are some very useful extensions you can equip yourself with to help to help integrate your LightSpeed entities nicely in with your controllers and views to handle automatic unbinding, validation concerns and the like.

Mindscape community code

To this end we are setting up a community project with a set of useful extensions and samples which you can leverage when building your ASP.NET MVC sites using LightSpeed. We have posted this up as the first of our community code projects at – I will be building up the library a bit with our bits as part of my blog series on ASP.NET MVC and LightSpeed. Justin Thirkell from Intergen has also sent through some of the bits they have been using to help automate their client side validation code using jQuery so I will get that in there shortly :)

Check out the project and we look forward to evolving it with your contributions as well. Join us over in the community forum for discussion relating to this effort.

Happy coding!

kick it on


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