Tuesday, 29 May 2007

RaceReplay.net released

RaceReplay.net is 'live'... well, in beta form anyway.

Turns out Silverlight is a great medium for .NET developers to get on the RIA bandwagon. Flash always had a big learning curve - probably due to it's "designer-focused" background - but Silverlight and Xaml just seems to 'make sense' (to me, at least).

OT: Russ just pointed me to Flickrleech - waaay cool viewer for flickr photos.

EDIT: Silverlight vs. Flash: The Developer Story is an interesting point-of-view... although it was a loong time ago that I last developed anything in Flash, certainly they Silverlight platform makes a lot more "sense" to me.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

More Silverlight

First, thought this platform comparison (Silverlight v Flash) was interesting - not sure how complete it is thought (and it's a bit early to claim Silverlight has a "Robust video publishing tools and third-party ecosystem" but Flash does not. Thought the SEO angle was interesting (wonder how many engines do follow links to "Xaml-behind", and not sure 'DRM' is a feature everyone likes.

Anyway, the saga of RaceReplay continues... after getting race splits (mostly) working I decided to give Silverlight a 'stress test' by loading all 400 competitors into the simulation (warning: the Xaml-behind is 7Mb, so loading may take a while).

The first thing that came to mind was "that Xaml is too big!". One way to solve this will be to send the animation data via JSON and pump Xaml from Javascript into Silverlight - pretty sure that will be a lot less verbose than repeated

While googling for other options, it turns out Silverlight also supports the ZIP format. The post suggests using it to package images, but ZIPping up Xaml (text/xml) would surely show much better compression gains - my 7Mb animation canvas compresses to 576kb, so now all I need to do is figure out if it's possible to extract and inject it into the Xaml DOM. Will see how that goes - the City2Surf has 60,000 runners (wonder how close Silverlight will get to animating those...)

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Playing with Silverlight...

After mapping race courses, the next logical step seemed to be visualizing the races themselves, similar to BBC Tour coverage (link thanks to Russ) and at least one overseas marathon I've seen online (but can't remember which).

This 10k race demo shows how it could work, using Microsoft Silverlight beta 1.0 and Microsoft Expression Blend.

Got some other Silverlight ideas... stay tuned.

EDIT: Now calculates km markers automatically, and shows altitude as well. Now it really needs to support split times rather than race-average (so the 'runners' slow down on the hills!)

EDIT2: Although some 'matrix glitches' are present, km splits are now supported. Watch red catch green in the 2nd lap! The 'jumping' is due to a bug when a line segment is "split" to accomodate an intra-segement marker... kinda know where it is but too late (at night) to fix it now...