MIX07 announcements

So day one is behind us, but what are the big announcements that have been made?

  • Silverlight 1.0 Beta is released
  • Silverlight 1.1 Alpha with .NET support
  • Silverlight Streaming Alpha
  • Silverlight tools for Visual Studio “Orcas”
  • Silverlight for mobile
  • Expression Blend 2 was previewed
  • Expression Media Encoder
  • Dynamic Languages Codeplex project
  • Astoria & Jasper

Okay, so most is about Silverlight. Of course we’ve all downloaded and seen WPF/E, the codename for Silverlight. Microsoft doesn’t see Silverlight as a Flash killer, or at least they won’t admit that publicly. And I agree, because Silverlight goes way beyond what’s possible in Flash. The good thing is of course that Silverlight is cross platform and that it already runs on Mac.

Some demos were presented at the keynote and they were just awesome. Netflix is a company that delivers streaming video, but enhanced their (not yet live) website with Silverlight. They are now offering exciting new features, one of them called ‘sharing’. Friends can synchronize the movies they’re watching and chat about it inside the Silverlight application, while watching it. Metaliq converted a video editing desktop application to Silverlight. Although the features could not match those of a lot of other packages, it’s amazing what you can do now with a web application! The website for Major League Baseball also showed the history of their website. Where in the past they showed streaming in an embedded media player they can now offer many, many new features in their Silverlight application. For example chatting with friends or other baseball fans, picture-in-picture, sharing your favorite clips, etc, etc. NBC also showed the potential of Silverlight media sharing by giving the example of users uploading their video and NBC showing the most favorite video of the day live during their show on tv. With the question to upload more and vote for your favorite video.

These are all video streaming examples, but it’s just great to see what’s possible with Silverlight and the web.

.NET Cross Platform inside Silverlight
The best however is yet to come! In Silverlight 1.1 we’ll get .NET support inside Silverlight! That means instead of javascript, you can develop in .NET and this will run inside your browser, on the local computer of the visitor. According to Scott Guthrie, this is 1000 times faster than javascript. The best part however is, that it’s also cross platform and available already on the Mac! Scott showed a demo where he attached the debugger to a remote machine, a Mac, and upon refreshing the Safari browser, a breakpoint was hit on his Windows Vista Visual Studio “Orcas” machine! Now that was cool! Unfortunately not coming to you very soon, as Silverlight 1.1 will hopefully go beta Q3 this year.

Silverlight for mobile
Another cool thing was that the MLB.com presenters showed their site on a mobile (HTC Vox to be exact, for the geeks as well as Mike 😉 which had Silverlight loaded and they watched a streaming video from their mobile Silverlight site.

Silverlight services
Microsoft will provide free hosting capabilities of up to 4GB (and I believe 10 minutes length max per video) for your Silverlight videos. It’ll be located at http://silverlight.live.com/

Also www.silverlight.net has been put online this morning.

The rest
Of course Silverlight tools for Visual Studio “Orcas” is project templates, intellisense, etc inside Visual Studio. Dynamic Media Encoder however was another cool application. It’s a preparation tool, as Scott called it, for your videos you want to stream in Silverlight. You can take your regular video and decide what quality you need, for example. Wayne Smith from Microsoft came along and he presented a cool feature in which you could watch the video after encoding it for small-band internet connections. You could see the decrease in quality of the video, but the preview window had a slider that you could use to split the video. One side was the original, the other side the lesser quality version. It worked really well! Also available are some templates to add vcr like control buttons to your video, as Youtube and Google Video have.

Astoria and Jasper I will get back on.

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