Richi Jennings

Microsoft shines more light on Silverlight (and happynappy)

May 01, 2007 7:32 AM EDT
Oh, hi! Here's Tuesday's IT Blogwatch: in which Microsoft reveals more details about Silverlight (née WPF/E). Not to mention baby diaper tracking graphs...

Eric Lai reports:
Microsoft Corp. kicked off its Mix07 Web development conference today by announcing that a full portable version of its flagship .Net programming environment will be fused to the next version of its Silverlight 'Flash-killer' rich media technology ... can allow multimedia developers to juice their Silverlight apps with .Net -- even on non-Windows machines.
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[Microsoft chief software architect, Ray] Ozzie also said that Web and graphic designers and developers will have free use of Microsoft's Windows Live Platform, a Web storage service, to store, run and show off their Silverlight applications and videos. Microsoft also released the alpha of its Silverlight Streaming service, with which developers will be able to store up to 4GB of high-definition video and stream it out to Silverlight users.
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The beta of Silverlight 1.0, which was known as Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere until two weeks ago, was released today. The final version is due sometime this summer.
Steve Gillmor comments:
Today the Web woke up to a real story about itself. Microsoft has put forward a powerful challenge to the notion that Google will steamroller Windows once it’s done with Office. Scott Guthrie made a strong case for developer extension of the rich browser, and Ray Ozzie cracked open the tiniest ray of hope that Office apps could conspire with Silverlight to create lock-in around the new Web runtime.

In the absence of competition, this could have been a frightening moment for those who dread a return to Redmond control. The short-term losers are Sun (the Java runtime, hello) and perhaps Adobe on the tools side. The mid-term threatened certainly include Apple and Salesforce, where their versions of rich and reach depend on a level browser playing field. What happens if we start lusting for that extra oomph of a Silverlight UI on a video-based information service we’ve somehow gotten addicted to? I’m not so much concerned about the Windows experience; it’s the Mac runtime that really tunnels in, and the forthcoming Ruby on Rails support in the DLR.
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The engineering behind this is stunning. This is no Hailstorm, no crash dive all-hands-on-deck save the cheerleader, save the company drive from the Gates playbook ... The old Microsoft is back, but now the question Ray and his team has to answer is what is the metric for success.
Todd Bishop adds:
It's becoming more and more clear why Microsoft is building those big data centers around the world.
Brier Dudley expresses it more graphically:
Here's what Microsoft's offering to get Web developers to use its flashy new tools and video-hosting service: One million minutes of DVD-quality video streaming free, per month. Or unlimited streaming if you let Microsoft place ads around your video.

Grant County [Public Utility District] had better lube up the turbines.
Microsoft's Dare Obasanjo explains more:
I'm not attending MIX '07 but it looks like we're announcing some good stuff this week ... you can consider Silverlight as being akin to the Flash platform but built with the .NET platform with all the attendant benefits (i.e. development with Visual Studio and access to a ton of languages).
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Not only is Microsoft giving developers a platform for building Rich Internet Applications (RIA) but it is also giving developers free streaming media hosting if they plan to use the platform to build a media sharing service. This is an interesting new wrinkle in the competition between Web application platforms. The response from Microsoft's competitors will definitely be interesting. I wonder if we'll see a partnership between Adobe/Macromedia and Amazon to bundle free usage of Amazon's S3 service if you are building applications with Flex or Apollo?
Robert McLaws, too:
Today, Microsoft completely changed the web development game, and chances are, you didn't even know it ... Microsoft now has an officially-supported cross-platform implementation of the .NET Framework. That's cross-platform folks, not just cross-browser. That means, in the not too distant future those cool .NET apps you've been working so hard on (you HAVE been building apps on .NET, right?) will run on a Mac too.

But that's not all. Microsoft brought together some of the best minds in dynamic languages together, and built a common platform for implementing dynamic languages like Python and Ruby on top of .NET. It's called the Dynamic Language Runtime, and it plugs into the CLR, allowing anyone to plug in their own dynamic languages, much like you can with the CLR today.
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Oh yeah, and did I mention that the DLR will be open sourced under the BSD license? WHAT?!?!? Microsoft can open-source things too? Holy crap, where is my heart medication?
But Scott Koon is more cautious:
Hold on with the “.NET Framework running on a Mac” stuff. What do you REALLY get in the Silverlight plugin for Safari?
  • The CLR in the browser - You get an embedded version of the Common Language Runtime. This means you can run IL code in the plugin. Remember the CLR is NOT the .NET Framework.
  • A subset of the .NET Framework. For sure it includes LINQ and some Networking classes. I haven’t found a full list of what namespaces are included in the Siilverlight plugin but it’s still early. Chances are your only options for getting data in will be JSON via Javascript or XMl. No live connections to SQL Server or Oracle databases from your Silverlight application.
Robert Scoble has a useful tip:
Jeff Sandquist tells me that every presentation at Mix has been recorded and will be uploaded to visitmix.com over the next day or so.
And Microsoft's Charles Torre dives deep:
I sat down with Scott Guthrie, GM of the Silverlight team, to get the details [watch video].  We also posted a bunch of Silverlight screencasts that go deep.  Jon Udell piles on with  podcast with Jon Lam discussing the dynamic language runtime, Silverlight and Ruby.
Buffer overflow:
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And finally... Baby diaper tracking graphs - data visualization & visual design - information aesthetics

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk.