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November 19, 2009

The Windows Platform, Silverlight 4, and Facebook

Last week, we announced the availability of the Facebook SDK for .NET developers. The SDK supports coding for both Silverlight and the Windows Platform (WPF, etc.). Yesterday, Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s .NET Developer Platform, took the stage for his part of the Day 2 Keynote at PDC09 where he announced Silverlight 4.

During the keynote, an out-of-browser Silverlight 4 application called SilverFace was demonstrated. SilverFace was developed using the Facebook SDK we announced last week.


SilverFace lets you do all kinds of things on Facebook directly from your Windows desktop such as update your status, upload photos, view friend’s photos and videos, and much more. This application is meant to serve as a proof point for the capabilities of Silverlight 4 in combination with the Facebook SDK and is not an actual product. You can think of this as more of a “technology showcase” and a demo of what the technology can do.

For those of you wanting to try out physical code (and is pretty cool), I’ve got something just for you.

Today, we’re making available an application for Windows 7 called Fishbowl for Facebook. This application is a sample application created by UXLabs@Microsoft that showcases the Windows Platform (when I say Windows Platform = .NET Platform) and takes advantage of key Windows 7 features.

Download: Fishbowl for Facebook Preview


Fishbowl for Facebook lets you quickly post a Status Update to Facebook, watch your Facebook News Feed, post comments, browse your friends and their photos and upload photos directly from their Windows 7 desktop. Let me take you through a few key areas of the app. I’ll start with the Windows 7 integration.


When running, Fishbowl for Facebook takes advantage of new Windows 7 features such Taskbar Previews and Jump Lists.

For example, when moving your mouse over the Fishbowl for Facebook icon on your Windows Taskbar, you get a Taskbar Preview. This allows you to quickly navigate quickly between Home (you’re News Feed), your friends list, your profile, and photos. You can also quickly go to Facebook’s homepage too.


If you right-click on the Fishbowl for Facebook, you get a Jump List that lets you see your most recent notifications. It also lets you switch to “mini-mode”.

You can upload photos to Facebook using Fishbowl for Facebook – simply by drag-and-drop!


Just put a title in, choose the album you want to add the photo to (or create a new album), and hit upload! Here I am dragging a panoramic photo I created in Windows Live Photo Gallery from my visit in September to the U.S.S. Hornet in Oakland, CA.


See the red lines under the “U.S.S.” and “SFO” text? Yeah, that’s spell check. Fishbowl for Facebook comes with spell check to help ensure you don’t accidently spell important words wrong that your friends can make fun of you for the rest of your life with. Trust me, it happens 😉

While browsing a photo album, you can view the album in a slideshow, save photos, print photos, and zoom in and out.

And Fishbowl for Facebook supports Windows Touch too.

Ok, one last thing – when browsing your friends in Fishbowl for Facebook, you are given several ways of sorting through your friends. You can sort by name (display name or family), last Status Update, Upcoming Birthdays, or Interest Level. And you can also adjust Interest Level of individual friends by simply clicking on a friend and viewing their profile. Interest Levels let you control how much of that friend’s stuff hits your News Feed. If you have an annoying friend, just turn the Interest Level way down.

There are a lot of neat experiences you can have with Fishbowl for Facebook so give the app a spin yourself! Remember, you can download it here.

Fishbowl for Facebook will run on Windows XP and Windows Vista but requires .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 to be installed (this is not needed if you’re on Windows 7 as it’s built in). For the best experience with Fishbowl for Facebook, it is recommended you use Windows 7 to take advantage of all its features. Fishbowl for Facebook with automatically update when updates are available as well so when we make updated available, you’ll get them! But please note that Fishbowl for Facebook is meant as a sample application showing what developers can do with the Windows Platform and the Facebook SDK. This is NOT an officially supported product.

Stay tuned, Yochay from the Windows 7 for Developers Blog will be posting some behind-the-scenes geeky developer stuff shortly. For you developers out there, this will be a must-read. I can’t wait to see more applications like this for the Windows Platform.