Microsoft delivers a slew of new Web development and design technologies at its MIX09 show. As part of the company's push to enable a richer Web experience, Microsoft released Silverlight 3 beta and Expression Blend 3 Preview, and continued progress in the cloud with updates to the Azure Services Platform.
LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft bolstered its appeal to Web developers and
designers with a host of new and updated Web technologies announced at
Web development conference.
Experience was the word of the day in the opening keynote from both
Bill Buxton, principal researcher at Microsoft Research, and Scott
Guthrie, corporate vice president of Microsoft's .Net Developer
Division, said organizations that create more intuitive, more engaging
experiences on the Web are able to reduce costs and increase sales.
Moreover, Microsoft demonstrated a series of technologies to enable
developers to deliver a rich, interactive presence on the Web. As part
of the company's push to enable a richer Web experience, Microsoft
released Silverlight 3 beta and Expression Blend 3 Preview, and
continued progress in the cloud with updates to the Azure Services
Platform. The company also pointed to strong momentum in platform
adoption and demonstrated a number of solutions from key partners
including Netflix, Bondi Digital Publishing, StackOverflow.com,
KEXP and NBC.
Perkins Miller, senior vice president of digital media at NBC
Sports, came onstage and announced that NBC will be working with
Microsoft to use Silverlight 3 to stream the upcoming 2010 Winter
"Silverlight 3 significantly ups the ante for what you can do with graphics on the Web," Guthrie said.
Silverlight 3 helps rich Internet application (RIA) developers work
faster with new graphics, animation and 3-D features, and more than 60
controls. Silverlight 3 also ushers in a new generation of high-quality
and high-definition video experiences with true high-definition video
in full-screen mode, with stutter-free live and on-demand video,
Microsoft said. Silverlight 3 also gives users more video format
choices than ever before, including H.264, along with enhancements such
as deep linking, to improve navigation in Silverlight content and
automate search engine optimization (SEO) tasks. Silverlight 3 also
enables developers to create lightweight Web application experiences
that can exist outside the browser. This enables Websites to deliver
more persistent relationships with their customers, Microsoft said.
Microsoft also announced Expression Blend 3 Preview, designed to
dramatically improve designer and developer workflow and productivity.
In the MIX09 keynote address, Microsoft demonstrated SketchFlow, a new
capability that allows designers to quickly prototype the flow and
composition of applications. Now, for the first time, designers can
easily receive annotated feedback on prototypes from stakeholders and
rapidly iterate on a project from concept to completion. In addition,
Expression Blend directly supports the import of Adobe Photoshop and
Illustrator files (including layers and paths), integration of live
preview sample data, and a comprehensive set of rich behaviors, the
Silverlight has made significant progress since it was launched at
MIX07, Guthrie said. Hundreds of thousands of developers and designers
are using Silverlight, and leading organizations such as AOL, eBay, BSkyB, Netflix, CBS Sports Online, the European
Commission, CareerBuilder.com, Samsung Electronics and Yahoo
Japan are building their next-generation rich applications and media
experiences using Silverlight.
Kevin McEntee, vice president of Web engineering at Netflix,
addressed the MIX crowd and said, "A year ago we started looking at
Silverlight as a means of getting the Netflix streaming service on the
Mac... Now we're looking forward to Silverlight 3. Netflix is very
happy with Silverlight. We started out on the Mac and wound up with all
our computer-based players using Silverlight and we're also looking at
it for our device-based players."
"Netflix chose Silverlight because it makes a faster and more agile
development environment possible, allowing Netflix to quickly deliver a
superior instant watching experience to our subscribers," said Steve
Swasey, vice president of corporate communications at Netflix, in a
statement. "When Netflix deployed Silverlight last fall, Netflix
members realized a richer experience of access and quality to instantly
watch movies and TV episodes from Netflix on their PCs and, for the
first time, were able to instantly watch the same content on their
Intel-based Macintosh computers."