Wednesday, March 05, 2008

LIVE from the MIX 08 Keynote

The time has arrived. MIX 08 is officially about to get underway with the big Scott Guthrie keynote starting in 20 minutes. I'm all settled-in with front row seats to the action and prepared to bring you "live" updates from the keynote as the big nws is unveiled. Now, of course, I realize that a "live" update blog is not really necessary when a live streaming feed is also available, so think of this as more of my live notes from the keynote. When the dust settles, this post will be among the first outlining the news Microsoft delivers this morning.

So with that, open this page in a browser window on the back of your desktop (you are working this morning, aren't you?) and stay tuned for updates once the speakers take the stage.

9:20 AM: People are still filing in while we're being entertained by a Vegas-style Johnny Cash performer. Definitely a unique way to do pre-keynote music. It's actually nice to hear something different from the "traditional" high-energy keynote warm-up music.

9:22 AM: Official 5-minute warning just sounded. Guess things are going to start a little early...

9:28 AM: And we're on our way. Ray Ozzie is taking the stage...

9:29 AM: Ray is running down all of the things that MS has shipped in the last year (an impressively long list). Confirmed that IE8 and Silverlight 2 are big focuses today. Calling MIX a major "launch milestone." Is going to spend time giving us the "big picture" that guides Microsoft's plans.

9:33 AM: Saying advertising will be primary way to make money on web for Microsoft and all web developers in the future. Basically said that the reason MS wants Yahoo! is to buy their users to drive their ad business.

9:40 AM: Ray says "transparency, standards, and interoperability are key" for all future MS development. Talking about building interactive UIs that work on multiple platforms. Going to start talking specifics about Microsoft's 5 key "connected" platforms, starting with "Connected Devices."

9:46 AM: Introducing something soon that will make it easy to manage all devices in a "connected device mesh". Ray's alluding to some announcement about a new connected platform for devices that may get revealed later today or maybe at tomorrow's keynote. Covered "Connected Entertainment" and now talking "Connected Productivity."

9:50 AM: Talking about "Connected Business." Mentioned Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, both available in open beta this week. Just announced "SQL Data Services Online" that will provide developers SQL Data support in "the cloud."

9:52 AM: Ray's finishing-up. Is going to let ScottGu talk about "Connected Development" next. Nothing too surprising from Ray. Let's see what Scott brings...

9:53 AM: Scott is introduced and said to be bringing some "great surprises." Slide deck indicates the agenda will be Web, Meida, RIA, and Mobile. Mobile Silverlight?

9:56 AM: Dean Hachamovitch, IE Team Lead, just took stage to introduce IE 8. Going to show-off IE 8 for first time and talk about IE8 road map.

9:59 AM: Eight topics Dean's going to cover: CSS 2.1, CSS Certification, Performance, HTML 5 support start, Developer Tools, Activities (integrate with the web), WebSlices, and one blank serect.

10:01 AM: IE 8 demo time. Showed IE 8 rendering a page that renders correct in FireFox and Safari that didn't render in IE 7. Yay...IE 8 renders correctly. Interesting observation: IE 8 seems to be "graying out" the "http://www" prefix for URLs in the address bar. In fact, it's graying out everything but the primary domain name. Interesting end user feature.

10:06 AM: IE 8 supporting HTML 5 hash functionality. Fixes Ajax back button problems at the browser level. Very cool! No more Ajax back button hacks (I wish...). Supporting HTML 5 connection events, DOM storage. Going to enable very interesting offline scenarios.

10:10 AM: New developer tools built-in to IE 8. Script debugging added. Looks just like VS debugger tools (Add Watch, Immediate Window, etc.). CSS tools to analyze how rules are applied to elements on page. Cool new "Trace Styles" tab helps you figure out what rule is being applied to element by examining CSS properties. It's FireBug+ for IE.

10:12 AM: Interesting new "Activity" context menu shows-up when text is highlighted in browser (similar to Office 2007 formatting). Developers can use by simply writing some XML. The OpenService Specification that powers feature being made Open Source by MS today.

10:14 AM: WebSlices are like Apple's web snippets (forget the name): select some part of a web page and bookmark the part. Going to be based on a standard Microsoft is making Open Source.

10:17 AM: IE 8 Beta 1 available today after the keynote! That's the "big secret." As if we didn't know...Now Scott's back on the stage to talk about Silverlight.

10:22 AM: Silverlight plug-in deployment at 1.5+ million installations per day. Seems to be good adoption speed. Announcing right off the bat, too, that Silverlight 2 beta 1 is available today for download.

10:28 AM: Silverlight 2 Media first topic. Silverlight going to provide "Adaptive Streaming" to make video experience better. Will automatically adjust bitrate of video based on CPU usage and changing network bandwidth. Can dynamically change as video is playing to deliver best bitrate possible based on resources. Move Networks partnering with Microsoft to provide Move's adaptive streaming tech in Silverlight.

Talking TCO for hosting media with Windows Media Services. Not particularly interesting to me, but looks to have some cool features to help save money if you're hosting video directly.

10:30 AM: Jon Harris is now on stage to demo how Silverlight supports rich advertising. New Silverlight Advertising Templates being provided to make it easy to create Silverlight-based ads. Think a wizard for creating Silverlight versions of all the Flash ads you've seen and been annoyed by on the web. Does provide cool boilerplate code for animating ad and tracking click-throughs.

Showing new Atlas AdManager (not sure where this came from, he's moving fast) that helps automatically track the performance of the Silverlight ad. Silverlight ads have the ability to track how much of a video has been watch for more detailed reporting. Cool.

Playlists in IIS 7 make it easy to insert ads in-front of Silverlight video. For overlay advertising on Silverlight video, Encoder 2 provides visual tools that enable you to add timed overlays. Cool factor is that overlays can be pure XAML with animations.

10:40 AM: Scott's back on stage to next...introduce Ari Paparo, VP Advertiser Products at DoubleClick. Going to talk about how you can integrate DoubleClick ads in Silverlight. Announcing official support for DoubleClick InStream ad platform in Silverlight 2. Very comprehensive API that enables developers to take a lot of control over how ads are displayed and how to handle user interactions with ads. DoubleClick integration will be available in Q2- not right now.

10:46 AM: And Scott's back on stage to...introduce yet another guest, Perkins Miller, Sr. VP Digital Media at NBC Sports & Olympics. Going to show-off for the first time the 2008 Olympics site and how Silverlight is being used.

Very cool level of interactive data being pumped over the 2,200 hours of live Olympic coverage using Silverlight. Even though the stream is live, you'll still be able to rewind! PIP support demoed! You'll be able to watch one live feed and then pick another feed for PIP display. I don't think I've seen anything like this done with Flash video...

10:55 AM: And Scott's back again, this time to stay to talk about Silverlight 2 RIA. Silverlight 2 has full WPF UI Framework, data binding support, rich styling/skinning system, robust networking stack (w/ cross-domain networking), integrated data support (LINQ, local storage, high performance, and all in small 4.3 MB download.

10:58 AM: Built-in controls like Slider, Calendar, DataPicker, DataGrid being provided in Silverlight 2 beta 1. BIG NEWS: All controls being shipped are being shipped Open Source! Can be used, adapated, resold, all for free. Also shipping a new Silverlight 2 test framework today to make it easier to do TDD with Silverlight.

Shipping VS and Expression designer support, but clearly Blend is the recommended tool for styling/designing Silverlight applications/controls.

DEMO TIME: Showing off a couple of Silverlight 2 apps, starting with new Silverlight-based mail client from AOL.

11:05 AM: AOL takes the stage. Saying they picked Silverlight for performance over their current Ajax/DHTML version. Using local storage for intelligent caching- 2x - 3x faster than current Ajax version. Taking advantage of template control system to provide customization- basically entire app can be easily re-skinned in Silverlight 2.0.

11:10 AM: Next up, a new user experience called Deep Zoom (based on Sea Dragon). HardRock is the demo client for this feature.

Showing how Deep Zoom can be used to expose Hard Rock's media collection online ( 2 billion pixels of data being "displayed" and then zoomed and panned smooth as butter.

Scott says shipping today is a tools package that will allow you to select images and build the necessary image tiles required to support Deep Zoom. Deep Zoom browsing support built-in to Silverlight 2.

11:18 AM: And yet another guest, Mark Reichman, Design Director for Aston Martin. He's taking the stage to show-off a new Aston Martin site based on Silverlight. Showing a browsable 3D model of an Aston Martin on the homepage. Using Deep Zoom to provide detailed look of car. Seems to be a full site based on Silverlight 2 and it's supposed to go live this week.

11:25 AM: Scott's back. Announcing SharePoint extensions that enable Silverlight to be embedded in Web Parts. That should be helpful. Transitioning now from showing-off B2C apps to LOB apps. Another guest...Krista Monson from Cirque du Soleil, Head of Casting.

11:30 AM: Krista talking about Cirque du Soleil's need to maintain a huge database of potential performers. Showing-off a WPF based app that helps collect performer data in the field. Now Krista has walked to a Mac and she is showing an application that looks a lot like the WPF version is Silverlight (in Safari).

11:36 AM: Talking about improvements coming to WPF later this year. Showing graphics improvements that are impressive and well tuned for performance. Stressing the hardware acceleration WPF provides that helps you keep CPU time low for very complex media effects. Updates to WPF will come in a service pack later this summer.

11:40 AM: Time to talk mobile!

11:42 AM: Darren David, CEO of Stimulant, on stage to show off MIXr, a mobile social networking application. Going to show how Silverlight can be used on his Windows Mobile phone (demoing on a HTC Touch, for the record). Very iPhone-esque user experience. Cool application, though the real power of this demo would be to see how it was built, debugged, and deployed.

11:47 AM: Scott back. Announced a partnership with Noika to deliver Silverlight on select Nokia platforms (S60, S40, and Nokia Internet tablets). He also mentioned that they want to "support Mac." Silverlight on the iPhone? That would be cool!

11:50 AM: New guest. Tamir Melamed, VP of Engineering WeatherBug, on stage to show Silverlight application running on Nokia S60. Showing same app running on Windows Mobile, Nokia S60, and the web ( UI is pretty basic (not as impressive visually as MIXr demo), but it is nice to see the same code running on all of this platforms. Showing animcations working on Nokia, but they are terribly slow. Not sure if that's the animation or the performance....

Tamir left the stage by dissing Flash Lite, saying it was much too hard to use for developing cross platform mobile apps.

11:55 AM: Scott's back for a re-cap. IE8, Silverlight 2 beta, new MVC refresh, all available today. New Expression designer website online this week, too.

11:57 AM: That's it! Time for the break-out sessions.


Leo said...

Thanks for posting this.

Pete said...

wow ... that was excellent :) Thanks

Todd Anglin said...

Very happy you guys found this useful despite the live feed being available from Microsoft. I'll try to do the same tomorrow for the Baller keynote, but I don't expect it to be as fun. :)


David Yardy said...

Very nice coverage Todd. Please continue your coverage. Excellent (wish I was there too)

Todd Anglin said...

Thanks David! Hope you enjoyed MIX from a distance. Watch for more follow-up analysis next week.