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Have You Xiine It? : Page 2

CoDe Magazine rolls out Xiine, a new .NET-based content reader that brings online content closer to print quality.


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But Wait, There's More!
Xiine can manage an entire library of content, integrate with community discussions, and publish your own content. One cool feature that will interest CoDe Magazine readers more than readers of non-technical publications is Xiine's ability to create content with advanced media elements such as videos, podcasts, and 3D. The CoDe Magazine content in Xiine for instance, uses an interactive 3D image zoom feature. Click on any image in an article to zoom the image into a 3D view that floats above the article (see Figure 6).
 
Figure 6. 3D Zoom: In Xiine, click on images to use an interactive 3D zoom feature that floats above the page.
 
Figure 7. Rotating Images: Rotating an image is easy for Xiine.
But as you can see in Figure 7, Xiine can use the power of WPF to interact with the image with the mouse, to do things such as zoom and rotation.

 
Figure 8. C# Syntax Highlighting: Xiine recognizes C# code and color codes the snippet.
Another interesting feature is the concept of "Smart Text". Xiine does not just use default WPF features to display text, but adds a significant amount of added functionality. Consider the code snippet in Figure 8. This snippet appears in a nicely syntax colored format. But it doesn't start out that way. It is simply a black and white paragraph of text, but Xiine will recognize it as source code (C# in this case) and apply appropriate syntax coloring and formatting. Xiine can apply coloring and formatting even for code snippets that are not complete and thus not necessarily valid code. The example in Figure 8, for instance, is missing an open curly-bracket, which is invalid C#, although it serves the purpose of communicating an idea to the reader just fine.

The Technical Aspects
Since CoDe Magazine readers are generally .NET developers, you are probably interested in the technology behind Xiine. EPS based Xiine entirely on .NET 3.0 and wrote it in C#. In Particular, Xiine uses WPF and WCF extensively, and ClickOnce (and the ClickOnce API) for deployment. In a future release we'll add Silverlight-based components to complement the current technology. The server component also runs .NET 3.0. Xiine communicates with it using WCF—mostly over the TCP channel. The Xiine servers are a rather large-scale effort. They're currently based on Windows Server 2003, but EPS plans to move them to Windows Vista Server as soon as it ships, to take advantage of Vista Server's WCF-friendly architecture. The Xiine servers host the entire Xiine content library as well as user's libraries and annotations. Plus, there are the community components, of course.



In general, other publishers (and communities) will simply use the Xiine infrastructure, but we'll provide custom arrangements where we license Xiine technology and deploy it in other configurations. We'll make more information about Xiine (technical and otherwise) available within Xiine itself as well as on blogs such as mine).

Will CoDe Magazine Go Digital Only?
Lest some readers fear that we're planning to stop publishing the print version of the magazine, I'll debunk that rumor now. Absolutely not! We'll continue to print CoDe Magazine. In fact, we will push the print aspect a lot more in the future. You may have noticed that we've produced more CoDe Focus issues, for instance. We plan to continue that effort. Print is an important medium for us as publishers, but we also want to have the most compelling digital experience to complement print—and that's exactly what we are doing with Xiine! We urge you to try it out, and hope you'll like it. Send us your feedback at info@xiine.com.



Markus Egger is president of EPS Software Corporation, located in Houston, Texas. He is also the founder of EPS Software Austria, located in Salzburg. He concentrates on consulting in COM-based, object-oriented development and Internet applications. He is an international author and speaker, and is co-publisher of Component Developer Magazine. He is also the author of "Advanced Object-Oriented Programming with Visual FoxPro," from Hentzenwerke Publishing. For the past several years, Markus has received the Microsoft MVP award. Several applications he has worked on (mostly as project manager) have received Microsoft Excellence Award nominations. He is the author of several tools, such as GenRepoX (public domain), the Fox Extension Classes, and Visual WebBuilder.
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