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Interview with Article Author Braulio Diez

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Svetla Stoycheva
Svetla Stoycheva
Joined Sep 25, 2009
Articles:   25
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1 comments   /   posted on Jul 30, 2010
Categories:   Interviews

Braulio Diez, an author of several articles for SilverlightShow, who is also CompletIT and SilverlightShow representative for Spain, has recently published his first part from a series of articles on Sketchflow. We talk to Braulio on his series, the webinar he plans to deliver in September covering the most challenging topics from the series, and more..Meet Braulio!

Q. Braulio - please briefly introduce yourself

A. I’m a Silverlight MVP, freelancer, I use to work as a developer and trainer, I like to write articles for dotnet specialized sites / magazines, develop open source projects, participate in webinars / sessions, and I’m Complet IT representative for Spain.

Right now I belong to the SilverDiagram initiative, helping to coordinate a university master degree on RIA and I have started writing a Silverlight book about LOB application development.

Q. How did you decide to start out with Silverlight, and what helped you reach your currently level of fluency with this technology?

A.I decided to start with Silverlight on the early 1.1 Alfa times, I was involved in several ASP .net / AJAX projects and experiencing lot of issues trying to create powerful and maintainable applications I got wasted of JavaScript code, when I realized I got a powerful plugin that let me code in C# on the client side and build real architectures, I thought LONG LIVE SILVERLIGHT !!!

Q. You have already published the first part from your article series on Sketchflow, and it has already attracted quite a lot of attention. Why is this topic interesting to Silverlight developers? Why did you decide to write on it?

A. Based on this statement “Deleting Pixels is always cheaper than deleting lines of code”:

  • Clients use to avoid thinking quite much in what the really need… they just want something now (and cheap) and they go changing their mind every week.
  • Developers, we just think that what we have on our mind is the same the client has, and instead of designing we just start coding.

We need a tool to make quick and dirty prototyping and be able to generate a formal document with specs (client’s signoff).

Q. Is it suitable to show the SketchFlow application to clients or real end-user for feedback? Do you have any negative experience with this process?

A. Showing our Sketchflow based application to clients or real users is not only suitable, is a MUST, the sooner you share ideas with your client and get feedback from him the better, maybe you think if I start showing things to my client now, he will start asking for changes… but if you don’t go through that process at early stages you could be in the same situation one week before going live, when a misunderstanding is an issue and is something that must be implemented now, for free, and of course having an unhappy customer.

About negative experiences, … well the first time you start working with clients they are not used to this prototyping experience, they need some practice and education. You have to explain quite well the difference between an issue and a change request (in the article you will find more details about this topic).

Q. Have you used Balsamiq mockups? How do you compare it with SketchFlow?

A. Balsamiq is a great tool; it has a great level of usability and a quite competitive price. It can help a lot on early stages, but what I miss from this tool is:

  • A way to define components / master pages (imagine you have 20 mockups and you decide to change a common component…)
  • Build a live prototype, and let the user navigate and interact with it
  • Display animations (e.g. cart checkout animations)
  • Define behaviors (e.g. drag and drop a product)
  • Jump from low fidelity to high fidelity whenever is needed (e.g. implement a real custom control to ensure that’s what the user is requesting)
  • Whenever is needed jump into real Silverlight code (XAML, CS…), to implement any functionality that needs to be checked with the client
  • Add a consistent way for users to provide inline feedback (including traceability of that feedback).

The initial learning curve of Sketchflow is a bit higher than Balsamiq, but you get a lot of power, especially if you are going to develop Silverlight and WPF based projects.

Q. Is it “cheap” to create prototypes with SketchFlow? Does the time invested in prototyping return afterwards? What main benefits do you see from creating a prototype before the actual development?

A. Yes, you can start just by scanning your hand drawn sketches add some navigation, discuss with the client and then further implement the parts that are not clear, the process is pretty straight forward, and you can go for a higher fidelity prototype only on the pieces that are really needed.

Main benefits of creating a prototype before the actual development:

  • Force the client to sit down and think, take him as part of the crew
  • Generate formal requirements + live prototype that will serve as guidance and will help detecting what’s an issue and what’s a change request
  • Minimize the reworking on real implemented code.

Q. You will be delivering a free webinar on SilverlightShow in September, and will cover the most challenging topics discussed in your series, as well as the questions and requests received as comments to your articles. Why should people attend this webinar? What additional value would they get from it, if they read all articles from the series?

A. Well, the two articles cover the basics of Sketchflow, for sure many developers once they read the article will have lots of interesting questions or will face challenging situations when trying to use the tool on projects. Making a Q&A session from this real world scenarios can help us a lot in understanding the tool and covering real developer’s needs.

Q. You are a representative of CompletIT and SilverlightShow for Spain. Why do you think it is necessary to establish SilverlightShow’s presence in Spanish communities? How will SilverlightShow contribute to the development of your local Silverlight community?

A. I think establishing SilverlightShow presence in Spain and LATAM is something quite positive. Spanish is the third most popular language used in internet, it would be great to share content and thoughts in that language (of course we like English as well ;-)).

Q. Any events you will be speaking at in the coming months? How may people get in touch with you?

A. In September I’m preparing a Sketchflow webinar for Spanish speakers, it will be held at the UOC dot net user groups. I’m preparing as well a webinar about developing LOB applications using Silverlight.

Best way to contact me:


Braulio - thanks for the opportunity to introduce you to SilverlightShow community. We hope you will keep contributing to the growing popularity of SilverlightShow worldwide!





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