Wednesday, March 05, 2008

MIX '08: Conference Keynote - Part 1

I am currently at the MIX '08 Conference at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The Keynote just ended here it is in summary form. I am skipping over a lot of stuff that wasn't entirely interesting or related to why I am here but here are the tidbits:

Ray Ozzie (Chief Software Architect of Microsoft) came out and rambled on about a bunch of stuff for 30 minutes. He focused on Microsoft's long term vision of how software and services and computing "in the cloud" will all come together. He brought up his three "C's": Content, Commerce, and Community with extra emphasis on the latter with respect to how the other two have been shaped.

The three principles which Microsoft is reaching toward are the 1) Web as a hub, 2) Business and the power of choice to embrace the "cloud" and 3) Compentization across the cloud to services and other devices.

He stated that in five years, the code that developers (as he points out to a group of designers and developers) will be writing will be fundamentally transformed by the cloud.

Next were the 5 major groups which I am mostly going to skip over, but it came down to "Connected Services", "Connected Devices", "Connected Business", "Connected Entertainment", and "Connected Development". Notice a theme ;)...

He alluded to a preview of a new way to connect PCs that they have been working on that will be previewable soon. He seemed to imply a way to dynamically manage multiple PCs from the internet for the end consumer.

Connected Entertainment was about managing all of your entertainment from one place and viewing/playing it everywhere. Think movies on XBox Live and the Zune - same with games and music. Those examples aren't what he said specifically, but what I took away as possible in the future.

Finally, after more 30,000 foot level talk about where we are going, Scott Guthrie was introduced to talk about "Great User Experiences". This is where the keynote became much more interesting and there was still 2 hours to go!

The four facets of Scott's presentation were:

  • Web

  • Media

  • RIA (Rich Internet/Interactive Applications)

  • Mobile


New technologies for ASP.Net were announced for later in 2008: ASP.Net MVC (Model View Control, AJAX, and Dynamic Data). All to aid in making data driven, rich interactive websites easier to develop. Scott wasn't on long before he brought out Dean Hachamovitch (sp) to talk about Internet Explorer 8. Dean sported a shirt that said eight but the "e" was an internet explorer logo.

After some slightly humorous jokes about how developers cannot count passed three, Dean decided to focus in on eight areas of IE 8 - CSS 2.1 Support, CSS Certification, HTML 5, a few more I don't remember and the more exciting ones (for me since I don't really do web development) were the end user features of IE 8:

  • WebSlices

  • Activities

WebSlices enables Developers via an OpenSpecification format provided by Microsoft to allow the end user to track a "slice" of a website. The real example showed was an eBay auction. Dean, pulled an auction item - for a camera lens - into a web slice and placed this in the toolbar of IE 8. When interacting with the slice, the auction item information for the camera was displayed, in real-time, showing exactly what the eBay site would display.

Next was an example of Facebook used to track the status updates of your friends. Think of it as little pieces of Google Gadgets (or Live Gadgets) that can be added to the IE Application window, except now web developers can add this granular control to pieces of websites themselves. Pretty cool.

The next item was Activities which is sort of like the new contextual panel that shows up when you highlight text in Word. Highlight an address, click the activity button, and boom a map from live maps comes up. Highlight a product name, select the eBay activity and you are quickly looking at any auctions that match. Creating activities is simple for developers to do via another Open Specification that Microsoft has developed. The mapping one alone will save me countless clicks of highlighting an address, copying it, opening a new tab, accessing google maps, and pasting it in. Now the map opens in its own little window, in the context of the current selection - it demo'd quite well and hopefully the real deal is as good.

The last bit was an announcement that IE 8 Beta would be released to the development community.

With that, Scott came back on to show off some more stuff. Notably, Silverlight 2 Beta 1 is available today. Skipping over some info on Adaptive Streaming in Silverlight 2 and also an annoucnement to partner with MoveNetworks ...

... More coming soon. I am off to my first MIX Session! I have pictures and stuff I want to inline into these posts later but I forgot my camera download cable at home so that will have to wait.

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