Mix08 Major Silverlight 2.0 Announcements

Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1 (formerly known as 1.1) is now available.

http://silverlight.net/GetStarted/ (bottom of the page).

See the features matrix for overview of new features.

You can also get there:

  • Silverlight Tools Beta 1 for Visual Studio 2008
  • Silverlight 2 Beta 1 SDK
  • Expression Blend 2.5 Preview

There is a Go-Live license for Silverlight 2 Beta 1

Sillvelight will be available on Windows Mobile and Nokia devices (S60/S40/Mobile Internet Tablet) – no availability given.

Silverlight uses a sub-set of WPF/XAML so you can easily create a full WPF desktop app from the same assets/code.

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Mix 08 Keynote with Scott Gurthrie – Part 9

Silverlight going mobile

Going to support Windows Mobile and non-Windows Mobile.

Demo of Mixer social app:

  • Mobile 6 device
  • App allowing you to find friends for a party
  • Aggregates twitter, photos and status
  • User ratings for venues over the night

Announcement of partnership with Nokia to put Silverlight on S60/S40 and mobile internet tablet product lines!!!

Finally something cool!

Shame about the boring SVP at Nokia reading his pre-recorded announcement.

Seems like Symbian 60 is the priority. 

Demo of WeatherBug app:

  • Nokia Symbian 60 and Windows Mobile device – same app
  • Weather icons and data
  • App done in 3 weeks
  • Animated snowy weather skin – a bit slow (‘tried to do it with Flash-Lite’ and didn’t work)

Nothing about availability for any mobile platform 😦

Mix 08 Keynote With Scott Guthrie – Part 4

Silverlight 2 Details and Demo

Adds to Silverlight 1.0:

  • .NET language programming in Javascript, VB.Net, C#, IronPython, Ruby.
  • More to WPF UI Framework with animations, standard controls, layout, styling/skinning (visual tree templates) and data binding.
  • More network support including sockets.
  • Local storage.
  • High performance.
  • Small Download (4.3MB), Fast Install (6 to 10 seconds) – doesn’t need full .NET framework beforehand.

Open source license for included controls.

Shipping testing framework with 2000 open source unit tests.

Shipping today:

  • Visual Studio 2008 tools for Silverlight 2.0 preview – support for Silverlight 2.0 with intellisense (XAML and code) and debugging (on Windows or to Mac)
  • Expression Blend 2.5 preview – support for Silverlight 2.0

See Scott’s blog for more info.

Demo of building new AOL mail client in Silverlight:

Shows lots of control templating to show Halo skin – not much audience reaction, but good data performance (retrieval and sorting) – uses isolated storage for performance (e.g. contacts list).

Anyone else tired of seeing demos by huge corporations that build products with advertising revenue deals that only they can get?

Blinded by Silverlight – the real technology/strategy reveal at Mix07

The about page on the mix website stated:

Exciting new Web experiences with the still-secret “Technology X”

WPF/E and its new branding of Silverlight were announced before the conference, so this secret had to be something else. Silverlight 1.0 is what we already knew. Let’s not underestimate it though – it brings all the XAML/WPF whizzy stuff that is the Flash competitor in 1.0 – it allows a lot of Flash ActionScript type developers and other javascript fans to do cool stuff and consider Microsoft.

The technology in Silverlight 1.1 was in fact the secret (as Microsoft has confirmed) – a full .NET engine (with a subset of the 3.5 .NET framework) embedded allowing all the .NET languages (and dev tools) to run cross-platform in a browser. The dynamic language runtime part also enables 4 scriptable languages to work in there along with C# and VB.NET.

But this, I believe, is just the start of a potentially brilliant strategy for Microsoft, as I’ll now explain.

Bringing .NET (and scriptable .NET) to multiple browsers and multiple operating systems is a huge deal. It really does mean that all the investments that people have made in .NET, can be leveraged in many many ways. There’s a reason that 1.1 is 4.24MB compared to the 1.34MB for 1.0. That’s an army many times bigger than ActionScripters with Expression tools providing a way to use existing Designer talents with WPF/Silverlight. Finding ActionScripters for projects is VERY hard – you can more easily find people that can do VB.NET, C#, JavaScript, not to mention being able to use people that can do IronPython or IronRuby – that’s 6 times more languages that can be used!

Silverlight 1.1 is really the hosting of this stuff in a browser with the VC1/media decoding. So if Silverlight is thought of as a subset of .NET 3.5 in a browser that brings Microsoft technology and tools to many browser and platforms (that’s going from windows apps into cross-everything in a browser) – a bridge to other platforms if you will, what happens if you reverse that once you’ve bridged the platform/browser gap, i.e. just have a plain executable application host on a Mac, Linux, etc, even without re-inflating the framework? Now you can potentially develop on Windows in .NET to create full (rich and connected enough) applications on the Mac and Linux (once this runtime is ported to that). You can even do the development on a Mac in a text editor (including in a browser as demo’d).

Microsoft is all about selling copies of Windows (and Office). If you can’t keep Mac and Linux away, then the next best thing is to bring Windows onto Mac and Linux. However, you can’t sell a Windows licenses that way, but you can get people to use technology that easily hooks up to Windows Live or MSN services that you do get revenue from!!!

So the real technology/strategy that I see Microsoft following:

  • Phase 1 – win over Adobe/Flash developers with SilverLight 1.0, bring Microsoft technology to the Mac and make Microsoft look cool. Provide Expression tools to bring the designers across since often there’s a lot of graphics with a small amount of scripting, vs. the other way around.
  • Phase 2 – bridge the divide by bringing .NET development onto Mac and Linux platforms with an army of existing developers that smothers ActionScripters, enabling users to become Windows Live services users – you did notice that Microsoft is ‘opening up’ their Live service APIs right?
  • Phase 2.5 – All those people that like non-Microsoft languages that were stuck on the server (and often, not a Microsoft server) – get them to love Microsoft now that their favourite dynamic scriptable language can now be used to build _client_ applications on multiple platforms…
  • Phase 3 – once across the bridge (cross-browser leads to true cross-platform), expand the hosting to enable rich .NET installed application development on other platforms making Microsoft technology and Windows Live services an indispensible part of the Mac and Linux experience too!

It’s bold, trojan-esque and both developers and users will lap it up.

If this isn’t the strategy, then it should be!

Silverlight WAS the whole keynote practically, and there’s been coverage of very little else (except about DLR) out of Mix. Nothing about Xbox-Windows links for Xbox Live from Robbie Bach (just a snooze-athon discussion and some iffy demos). Nothing about Live ID CardSpace cards or opening up Live ID to web site publishers like Passport.

This technology is the sleeper slow-release hit of Mix07. They didn’t even officially say this was the secret Technology X listed on the about page.

If what I’ve said is Ray Ozzie’s undeclared strategy, then he is indeed doing a fantastic job (despite his apparent lack of blogging and public comments). If it wasn’t his strategy then either he should make it the strategy or let it just fall into place as I believe it will – either way he’ll look like a genius…

We are living in a Microsoft world again…

Be sure to check out my other mix07 coverage.

New Microsoft CLR/DLR celebrities are born in Jim Hugunin & John Lam

For those watching Channel 9 in the last year you’ll likely be familiar with Anders Hejlsberg, the C# language guru (as well as being the nicer than pie and clever as hell Danish import) who has been seen explaining LINQ and related language technologies.

At Mix07, Jim Hugunin will most likely be receiving lots of hugs from developers for his work on, and demonstration of, the Dynamic Language Runtime – extension to the core DLR to allow for C#, VB.NET, IronPython, IronRuby, JavaScript and VBx to all work as scripting languages calling each other and running on .NET. Keep up to date with the latest DLR announcement on his blog. I’ll just forget that he’s a Python guy ;).

His collague, John Lam (Ruby guy) has a Channel 9 video about this stuff.

The two of them did a great session a Mix07 which was recorded.