I have a friend who may be undertaking such a project.
PM me, and I'll put you two together.
I may start up a front end developed with Silverlight as a learning exercise and to build something to do exactly what I want.
I have developed a WinForm based GUI in C# and could transition most of the operational code to the new front end.
Are there any Silverlight based front ends out there? Has anyone already tried this?
Just out of curiosity, what advantages would building your frontend in Silverlight provide over building it in WPF? Unless of course, you're thinking about running everything in a browser.You're not thinking about running it in a browser, are you?
Linux is a big advantage, I think. If you are developing cross-platform .NET applications, you are forced to use Mono. If you developed an app against .NET instead of Mono, you usually can't swap out one framework for another (even though that should happen, ideally) - Mono isn't 100% compatible. Silverlight, like Flash, should just work, wherever it is supported. The burden of cross-platform compatibility is on the framework developer (Microsoft and Adobe), not on the app developer.
That being said, I think Microsoft isn't gonna keep Silverlight around for much longer and focus on HTML5 instead - Silverlight isn't exactly taking off right now.
What about an HTML5 front-end? ChromeOS would be perfect for that!
I think the spoiler is hardware access. As a browser-based technology, Silverlight "lives" in a sandbox and like most browser-based technologies, has VERY limited access to the local computer resources. Something to do with those pesky viruses, trojans and whatnot, I imagine. I agree that a Silverlight solution (among others) could provide a nice cross-platform UI...but I think the underlying framework needed to make it all work will be a show-stopper.
Looking at the resource monitor, IE use about 180MB of memory to accomplish this particular task. Firefox..a couple of megs more.
The windows app? 18mb. Roughly 10% of what IE/FireFox use. That's an awful LOT of overhead to carry around just to get to "hello world". Something to think about.
A newb question but, can Silverlight run outside the sandbox if configured for out of browser?
What WPF front ends are out there?
An interesting approach would be using WCF for the app to make service calls for higher functions.
Now that would be resource intensive. You would need to request status at least every second to get track time, etc.
I've not built anything that chatty using services. The more I think about it the more it probably will not work the way I envision.
At that point I guess you could use Silverlight, HTML 5, anything really as a front end GUI.
So what would be cool (and a bit crazy) is to have the app talk wirelessly to a server in the car to perform actions get data etc.
The first downside that comes to mind would be all data would need to be on the server or at least uploaded if not there.
Video would be an issue as well.
Oh well fun to think about anyway...
I'm building my next car PC now and will be using a tablet with no wired connections to the car.
All com will run wireless via a router and network USB. (That's the plan anyway)
Using this solution I could just use any ol' front end (audio would be wireless via USB DAC)
Silverlight 4 allows COM interface communication, so you can have a DLL that controls the hardware on the low level - if Silverlight has to perform a low-level operation, that DLL has to be called via COM. However, it being COM, you sacrifice the cross-platform aspect.
Why not use WPF? It's prettier than WinForms and is hardware accelerated (I think, right?). You also get all those nice transitions / animations for free.
hardware accelerated UI. I doubt it though