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MIX07: WPF Comics with Identity Mine

April 30, 2007

I just came from a session given by Nathan Dunlap and Robbie Ingebretsen entitled “ZAP!, WHAM!, KAPOW!”: WPF and the Next Genertion of Online Comic Book Reading.   And yes, it was as awesome as it sounds like as it should be.  They presented an experimental WPF app designed to create a great on screen reading experience for comics.

I’m a fan of comics and enhancing reading experiences especially online, and this type of conceptually was similar to something Ernie Booth and I had dreamed up.  Immediate improvements include a visual index of pages which you can use to navigate and preview, different display modes depending on the context of the display currently used and an authoring environment allow content creators to author a very rich path of navigation through the content.  They did mention that the Sample should be available online soon once they have chance to clean it up for distribution.

A few technical items of note; each page that is presented can be a .jpg (they were using actual comic book pages from the 24 comic, 1000×2000 pixel images) or a xaml file.  Once I heard that I thought “moving backgrounds!” (think DreamScene type movies).  Which in due course, they demoed a cover page of their comic with a pulsating plasma-like image in the background.  Nicely played Dunlap and Ingebretsen, nicely played.  It was also interesting to see that they had chosen to use a Silverlight player within the WPF application to show their extra editor’s clips.

Overall the two presented with excitement and obvious love for their science project.  Both had previously worked at Microsoft building WPF and now they are both off apparently having a great time at Identity Mine.  Towards the end they mentioned that their demo comic “Identity Men” had been actually printed (sure to be found on Flickr soon) and that they were releasing a collection of controls called Blendables, Nathan posted more here.

Great session guys, now I need to try and catch their next session Booyah! Designing and Developing Line-of-Business Applications That SIZZLE

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