Archive for November, 2009

UPDATE: The results are in and PuzzleTouch won the grand prize! I had some tough competition so I am extra excited to have won.

The ComponentArt Silverlight Coding Contest results are in for the five finalists and I am super excited to annouce that my creation: PuzzleTouch Online Jigsaw Puzzles made the cut! Thanks to all who voted for me!

If you haven’t see PuzzleTouch yet, check it out. It’s as fun to play as it was to write and is a great testament to what Silverlight is capable of producing.

PuzzleTouch Free Online Jigsaw Puzzles

It’s the only online jigsaw puzzle on the web that supports 360 degree rotation, 100% mathamatically unique shapes, unlimited levels of difficulty, full multi-touch support (my favorite for those that have the hardware!), out of browser mode, the ability to save games, and the ability to run offline (great for planes, trains, and autos).

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Silverlight apps are nothing more than big zip files and Amazon S3 is dirt cheap and hyper-scalable. Why would you ever host your Silverlight .xap files on your own server or ISP? … especially with Silverlight Streaming being dropped soon.

Here’s a quick guide to putting your Silverlight apps on Amazon S3 and depending on your app, never worry about scalability or bandwidth costs again…

1) Create your Amazon S3 account.

2) Install S3 Organizer FireFox plugin (this is the equivelent of an FTP client for Amazon S3).

3) Run S3 Organizer, log into your account and create your bucket.

Create a bucket in S3 Organizer via the toolbar

4) Upload your xap file to your bucket. BUT… you must add custom headers unless you are also going to host your .html file there too. Silverlight xaps need a MIME type specified when they are loaded from another domain. The good news is, this is easy with S3 as long as you do it at the time that you upload the file. There is probably a way to set it after the fact but not with S3 Organizer.

Upload your .xap file to Amazon S3 but don't forget to add custom headers

Set the content type for your xap file

Simply set the content type to ‘application/x-silverlight-app’ and send up your xap. Don’t forget to do this EVERY time you upload an update.

5) After uploading your .xap file, set permissions so everyone can read your xap file. Right click on your newly uploaded xap file and choose “Edit ACL…”. Then check Read access for Everyone and Authenticated Users. You do NOT need to do this every time as S3 remembers your ACL settings.

Edit ACL settings in S3 Organizer for your xap file

6) Add the enableHtmlAccess param to your object tag within your html file to enable access to the DOM bridge (assuming your Silverlight app needs access to the DOM bridge).

For example:

Set EnableHtmlAccess param in the object tag

7) Change your html page to load your xap file from S3 directly by setting the source param in your object tag.

For example:

Change the source of your xap file to load from S3

Note: ‘mybucket’ is the name of your bucket on S3.

8 ) Upload your html (or aspx) page to your web server. GoDaddy.com offers cheap hosting for only $5 per month.

That’s it! At this point, the only scalability concerns you should have are those of your web services (assuming you call web services from your Silverlight app).

And with S3, the costs depend on the usage — which will literally cost you just pennies per month until you have some descent traffic. Do the math and you’ll see that it would only cost 17 cents to have a  300K .xap get hit 3500 times. At that rate you’d pay ~$48 to have 1 million new users per month. (I say “new” users because unless you update your xap, users should be caching your xap file and won’t need to re-download it).

Happy cheap hosting and Silverlight coding!

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