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MIX08 Keynote Live Blog

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0 comments   /   aggregated from Tim Sneath on Mar 05, 2008  /  original article
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Categories: Announcements

I'm going to try to keep up a live blog this morning through the keynote to provide folk with an Engadget-style blow-by-blow account of proceedings. Keep hitting refresh on this entry to see the latest news as it comes.

9:30am - Ray Ozzie is on stage promptly. In a few minutes, we'll show you IE8 and Silverlight 2. Wanted to first spend some time framing the big picture so that these individual releases don't seem random. Advertising is the economic engine that powers the Internet, and it's innovation in experiences that provide the fuel. Online advertising is predicted to increase from $40bn to $80bn over the next three years. Microsoft will do our part to ensure a vibrant ad ecosystem on the web.

9:35am - Three core principles driving our strategy:

  • Firstly, thinking of the web as a hub of our social, technology and personal experiences. Linking, tagging and sharing will become as commonplace as File / Open and Save. The quaint concept of one PC or device per person will give way to a connected network of experiences based around the network.
  • Secondly, the business world is in transition as applications are progressively refactored to take advantage of a utility computing model that will span from the datacenter to the cloud. All our software will be refactored to provide server / service symmetry.
  • Thirdly, a transition from tightly-coupled systems to loose federations of co-operating systems. Transparency and standards are key to this: RSS, ATOM, REST-based services. Declarative languages like XAML allow us to recombine and refactor applications dynamically. Not just apps that are "ported" to different devices, but apps that take full advantage of each system. This requires new skills both at the front-end and at the back-end. Over the next five years, the way we develop, deploy, debug and maintain our applications will be transformed by this shift to utility computing.

9:43am - Connection is at the heart of the scenarios we're building.

  • Connected devices: a mesh that provides common storage and personalization no matter where you are.
  • Connected entertainment: by connecting portable, media center and gaming devices, we're reducing friction. You shouldn't have to buy the same music track multiple times just because you have multiple devices.
  • Connected productivity: Office for Windows / Mac, Office Mobile and Office Live - three offerings to deliver seamless editing, note capture and anywhere-working. Look forward to providing further information on Office Live over the coming months.
  • Connected enterprises: the shift towards utility computing will give companies choice and flexibility. Hyper-V and System Center are examples of foundational components here, combined with new cloud-based services such as Exchange Online, Office Communications Online (announced in the last two days). This week we're announcing SQL Server Data Services that will bring the database into the cloud.
  • Connected development. Scott Guthrie will talk more in a moment about this element.

Last year, I came here to introduce you to Silverlight. This year, you'll see that we're delivering on that potential!

9:54am - Scott Guthrie is on stage. We're going to talk about two things this morning: the web and Silverlight. First, the web. Last week we launched .NET Framework 3.5, Visual Studio 2008, IIS 7 and Windows Server 2008 - huge advancements. Later this year, we're going to be shipping some new enhancements: ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET AJAX, and ASP.NET Dynamic Data; there are breakout sessions covering all of this.

9:57am - Dean Hachamovich is introduced to talk about Internet Explorer 8. Eight things to talk about:

  1. CSS 2.1
  2. CSS Certification
  3. Performance.
  4. HTML 5 early support.
  5. Developer tools.
  6. Activities.
  7. WebSlices.
  8. (We'll come back to this one!)

10:02am - Showing a CSS 2.1 standards-compliant site that works on Firefox, Safari and IE 8. There are elements of the CSS 2.1 that don't define behavior and indeed explicitly allow browsers to implement aspects differently. We need to do better. As a result, we're announcing that we've contributed 702 BSD-licensed test cases to the CSS Working Group (available via W3C site and MSDN) to reach harmony on the implementation of the specification. IE8 has two modes: a standards mode and a backward-compatible mode, and web developers can choose which one they implement.

10:06am - We've worked hard on performance. Google's Gmail team tell us that JavaScript performance is 250% of IE 7.

10:08am - HTML 5 work is ongoing. One area of investment is improving AJAX / browser integration, so that the Back button works. We also have support for connection events so that a page can detect when the network connection has been lost and offer DOM-based storage so that any entered data isn't lost.

image 10:10am - Now demonstrating the developer tools support in IE 8. You can click on a button to open a window where you can do client-side debugging of script and CSS.

10:12am - Activities: can select some text and a hover icon appears - can use that to fire off one of a range of activities - open a map, translate, etc. It's easy to create these - as a developer, you just have to create an XML manifest. eBay: "we had a working prototype of the eBay search activity within an hour".

10:16am - WebSlices: a way to grab components of the website and add them to the favorites bar. Again, an extensible way to make commonly-accessed information like Facebook status available wherever you go. You create web slices by adding specific CSS style names; the specification is open and licensed with Creative Commons.

10:18am - Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is available immediately following the keynote at the following URL:

10:20am - Scott Guthrie is on stage to talk about Silverlight 2. Silverlight 2 Beta 1 is available right now from the following URL: (go to the bottom of the page). Right now, we're seeing over 1.5m installations of Silverlight per day; we're seeing the number increase every week and expect to see it increase still further as we launch Silverlight 2.

10:24am - Media has been a big focus for us with Silverlight 1.0, and we're extending that with Silverlight 2. We're announcing support for adaptive streaming, which assesses bandwidth and CPU dynamically you are playing a video and reduces or increases the bit-rate of the streamed media based on the available resources. You don't have to write any additional code to support this. We're also announcing a strategic relationship with Move Networks this morning - the company that powers many broadcasters' on-demand sites today.

10:28am - Last week we launched the latest release of Windows Media Services, a free add-on for Windows Server 2008 that offers three times the scalability of competitive solutions. One of the key reasons that Silverlight was chosen for the Olympics was because of the scalability and reliability that Windows Media offers. With the release of the IIS Media Pack (a free download for IIS 7 that extends support for media-centric scenarios), media providers can reduce the cost of progressive support by adding bandwidth throttling (controlling the forward buffering of progressive download media to reduce costs).

10:31am - Jon Harris (an Expression Product Manager) is demonstrating a Silverlight Advertising template for Visual Studio that enables you to build a banner ad with a video rollover and Atlas tracking. Now moving over to Expression Blend to finesse the project: offering seamless integration between developer and designer tools. Showing video overlaid on video as part of the pop-out advertisement. Demonstrating Video.Show and showing the advert embedded in a Video.Show instance, as well as showing how the Atlas ad manager tools provide reporting. Also showing how you can use the IIS Media Pack to lock playlists (for example, so a site visitor can't skip over ads). Now showing Expression Encoder 2 and demonstrating how you can "burn in" an animated XAML advert as part of the encoding process.



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