Microsoft Mixing it up…

I’ve posted a few of the best posts from the floor of Mix to my link blog. I didn’t post much news myself, instead have been listening to developers up in the BlogZone about what they think to get a feeling of how well Microsoft’s announcements are going over with attendees.

So far very well indeed. TechMeme has even more reports. Microsoft’s own bloggers tend to be underreported on TechMeme, so I’ve linked to several of those on my link blog since I think they actually are doing some of the best writing about what it means.

Ryan Stewart, who is quickly becoming my favorite blogger in the Rich Internet Application space, has the best writeup I’ve seen so far.

My short take? Microsoft has significantly added new capabilities to RIA developers and I look forward to hearing more. Some things that aren’t clear? How much of .NET has been moved to Silverlight? What won’t work?

The HD video quality and streaming service really rock, although it’s interesting that video length is capped at 10 minutes for free streams (hinting at pay services to come). Also, Microsoft underplayed the ability to use multiple languages to write these kinds of apps (Flex is only JavaScript).

Anyway, this stuff will be picked apart for months but the developers who were here were very impressed.

What do you think? 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.

83 thoughts on “Microsoft Mixing it up…

  1. By FAR my favorite writeup of mix 07:

    —–
    http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/05/02/microsoft-bach-keynote_1.html
    Following a talk by Microsoft’s President of Entertainment and Devices, Robbie Bach, Microsoft introduced a panel of “experts” to talk about the role of marketing with the growing complexity of digital entertainment on the Web. But soon after the panel began, several hundred attendees, many of them Web designers and developers, began streaming out of the room. By the end of the talk, there were only a few dozen attendees remaining.
    After Bach’s keynote, it was difficult to find attendees in the hall that did not work for Microsoft. Nine out of 10 attendees approached for comment by the IDG News Service after his talk were from the company.
    —–

    Hint: if web developers had any appreciation of soft skills like marketing, they wouldn’t have spent decades of their lives poring over details and code to learn how to solve real problems that don’t go away just by “chatting”.

    This demonstrates what’s wrong with Microsoft today. It’s become a marketing company instead of a technology company. When a company loses its focus or and resorts to underhanded marketing tricks, it turns into Enron.

  2. By FAR my favorite writeup of mix 07:

    —–
    http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/05/02/microsoft-bach-keynote_1.html
    Following a talk by Microsoft’s President of Entertainment and Devices, Robbie Bach, Microsoft introduced a panel of “experts” to talk about the role of marketing with the growing complexity of digital entertainment on the Web. But soon after the panel began, several hundred attendees, many of them Web designers and developers, began streaming out of the room. By the end of the talk, there were only a few dozen attendees remaining.
    After Bach’s keynote, it was difficult to find attendees in the hall that did not work for Microsoft. Nine out of 10 attendees approached for comment by the IDG News Service after his talk were from the company.
    —–

    Hint: if web developers had any appreciation of soft skills like marketing, they wouldn’t have spent decades of their lives poring over details and code to learn how to solve real problems that don’t go away just by “chatting”.

    This demonstrates what’s wrong with Microsoft today. It’s become a marketing company instead of a technology company. When a company loses its focus or and resorts to underhanded marketing tricks, it turns into Enron.

  3. Just look at how the unavailability of iTunes for Linux really crippled it.(and i think i must have missed your views on Apple’s bullshit stance on that one)

    well, on that specific issue, I think Apple’s being stupid, iTunes should have been on Linux long ago but they’re two different issues. Silverlight’s not a fat application that has to rely on certain frameworks and other things. It’s a self-contained plugin. As well, the limitations on Silverlight development environments is dumb too. It would be like saying you could only create video on a Mac, but play it almost everywhere. That would be stupid too. There’s no legitimate technical reason for silverlight’s restrictions, just Ballmer’s blind hatred for Linux. Besides, if Ballmer allows Microsoft to make Linux products, then he has a harder time with his accusations about Linux users. (There’s no technical excuse for iTunes either, it’s just as stupid, but in this case, it’s also a strawman.)

    You have to consider the different development spaces. Silverlight is exciting for corporations using .NET because they already have a staff of experienced .NET developers that can now produce applications for Macs.

    As long as those applications can run completely in a browser and need no native OS facilities, and will never need to be used by Linux users. Note that you haven’t needed Silverlight for cross – platform .NET for some time now. Google “Mono”.

    For certain large business sectors being able to leverage existing .NET applications on the OS X platform will be huge. I know there is a huge Linux community and I’m sure there are some business opportunities being lost but to be honest, after doing an ROI a lot of companies just don’t see any benefit from investing in a Linux version, while a Mac version often does yield returns.

    As long as your .NET application is a “pure” .NET application, has no other Windows dependencies, can completely run in a browser, etc., yadda. I highly doubt you’re going to leverage too many of your existing .NET applications without a shitpot of recoding and feature removal.

    Lastly, I don’t really think you can say that Flex is more ubiquitous than Silverlight, since I don’t see either of them in the wild right now. I mean one just came out of beta and the other is in Alpha. Flash is ubiquitous obviously but even though Flex stands on it’s shoulders I don’t think you can yet call the fight.

    Sure I can. Flex lets me pick the platform I’m most comfortable with to develop. Silverlight lets me do the same as long as it’s Windows. That’s no small issue.

    What’s build in Flex is accessible via Flash and therefor it’s more ubiquitous than Silverlight.

    Flash is also not a beta of a 1.0 product built on a 1.0 set of frameworks from a company that traditionally leaves all its cross-platform work to a completely different group.

    Beer, I know you hate that Linux isn’t supported.
    But what do you think about Microsoft open sourcing their new DLR? No, not GPL, but the license allows for forking, redistribution of the altered code, etc. (From what I’ve read, the license that MS chose (among their various licenses) is their BSD-like license.)

    Dunno about beer, but I have a simple response:

    The differences between Rotor 1.x and Rotor 2.x

    Sorry, but Microsoft has a long history of sucking you in with promises of cross platform, and then not yanking the rug out from under you, but burning down the rug shop.

    Let me see Silverlight features progress equally on Windows and !MS platforms, and see a version or two without Microsoft orphaning !MS, and I’ll believe this is more than a way to sucker you off of !MS.

  4. Just look at how the unavailability of iTunes for Linux really crippled it.(and i think i must have missed your views on Apple’s bullshit stance on that one)

    well, on that specific issue, I think Apple’s being stupid, iTunes should have been on Linux long ago but they’re two different issues. Silverlight’s not a fat application that has to rely on certain frameworks and other things. It’s a self-contained plugin. As well, the limitations on Silverlight development environments is dumb too. It would be like saying you could only create video on a Mac, but play it almost everywhere. That would be stupid too. There’s no legitimate technical reason for silverlight’s restrictions, just Ballmer’s blind hatred for Linux. Besides, if Ballmer allows Microsoft to make Linux products, then he has a harder time with his accusations about Linux users. (There’s no technical excuse for iTunes either, it’s just as stupid, but in this case, it’s also a strawman.)

    You have to consider the different development spaces. Silverlight is exciting for corporations using .NET because they already have a staff of experienced .NET developers that can now produce applications for Macs.

    As long as those applications can run completely in a browser and need no native OS facilities, and will never need to be used by Linux users. Note that you haven’t needed Silverlight for cross – platform .NET for some time now. Google “Mono”.

    For certain large business sectors being able to leverage existing .NET applications on the OS X platform will be huge. I know there is a huge Linux community and I’m sure there are some business opportunities being lost but to be honest, after doing an ROI a lot of companies just don’t see any benefit from investing in a Linux version, while a Mac version often does yield returns.

    As long as your .NET application is a “pure” .NET application, has no other Windows dependencies, can completely run in a browser, etc., yadda. I highly doubt you’re going to leverage too many of your existing .NET applications without a shitpot of recoding and feature removal.

    Lastly, I don’t really think you can say that Flex is more ubiquitous than Silverlight, since I don’t see either of them in the wild right now. I mean one just came out of beta and the other is in Alpha. Flash is ubiquitous obviously but even though Flex stands on it’s shoulders I don’t think you can yet call the fight.

    Sure I can. Flex lets me pick the platform I’m most comfortable with to develop. Silverlight lets me do the same as long as it’s Windows. That’s no small issue.

    What’s build in Flex is accessible via Flash and therefor it’s more ubiquitous than Silverlight.

    Flash is also not a beta of a 1.0 product built on a 1.0 set of frameworks from a company that traditionally leaves all its cross-platform work to a completely different group.

    Beer, I know you hate that Linux isn’t supported.
    But what do you think about Microsoft open sourcing their new DLR? No, not GPL, but the license allows for forking, redistribution of the altered code, etc. (From what I’ve read, the license that MS chose (among their various licenses) is their BSD-like license.)

    Dunno about beer, but I have a simple response:

    The differences between Rotor 1.x and Rotor 2.x

    Sorry, but Microsoft has a long history of sucking you in with promises of cross platform, and then not yanking the rug out from under you, but burning down the rug shop.

    Let me see Silverlight features progress equally on Windows and !MS platforms, and see a version or two without Microsoft orphaning !MS, and I’ll believe this is more than a way to sucker you off of !MS.

  5. It’s like a street cart vendor in the hot sun saying “hey, I’ll give you this great scoop of icecream FOR FREE, as in freedom. BUT, if you want a cone or a cup to put it in, you gotta pay, pay, pay, developers, developers, developers”

    I don’t want the icecream to melt all over the clients’ hands you see.

  6. It’s like a street cart vendor in the hot sun saying “hey, I’ll give you this great scoop of icecream FOR FREE, as in freedom. BUT, if you want a cone or a cup to put it in, you gotta pay, pay, pay, developers, developers, developers”

    I don’t want the icecream to melt all over the clients’ hands you see.

  7. “Beer, I know you hate that Linux isn’t supported.
    But what do you think about Microsoft open sourcing their new DLR?”

    I personally don’t see the point of running php, ruby or python on top of the CLR, but whatever. They already run fine as binaries and dlls on windows.
    Unless MS is planning on restricting non-MS CGI/modular runtimes completely in IIS for good in the forseeable future?

    As for the license, I don’t see the advantage over BSD or GPL, but again, whatever.

    “Surely you must like at least that at least somewhat.”

    I’ve been working on a 2nd tier of an IBM account for the past year. I’ll stick with apache products thanks(even if i hadn’t have done that I would). All of that stuff IBM uses, is relabled/modded Apache, and you can make great money off of support. IBM did give a lot of it to apache, so it’s not like they are Oracle-ing by any measure.

    I have MSDN, I know about IIS, .NET, the CLR, I even have a super good idea what this new dynamic language runtime does and how it works. I just don’t care.

    The redistributable license is moot to me because the stack it all sits on costs a fortune and a half to redistribute. And that is NOT a value at all.

  8. “Beer, I know you hate that Linux isn’t supported.
    But what do you think about Microsoft open sourcing their new DLR?”

    I personally don’t see the point of running php, ruby or python on top of the CLR, but whatever. They already run fine as binaries and dlls on windows.
    Unless MS is planning on restricting non-MS CGI/modular runtimes completely in IIS for good in the forseeable future?

    As for the license, I don’t see the advantage over BSD or GPL, but again, whatever.

    “Surely you must like at least that at least somewhat.”

    I’ve been working on a 2nd tier of an IBM account for the past year. I’ll stick with apache products thanks(even if i hadn’t have done that I would). All of that stuff IBM uses, is relabled/modded Apache, and you can make great money off of support. IBM did give a lot of it to apache, so it’s not like they are Oracle-ing by any measure.

    I have MSDN, I know about IIS, .NET, the CLR, I even have a super good idea what this new dynamic language runtime does and how it works. I just don’t care.

    The redistributable license is moot to me because the stack it all sits on costs a fortune and a half to redistribute. And that is NOT a value at all.

  9. This all looks more promising that I thought at first (another Flash clone), still not quite sure what this all means for .net developers and what kind of apps we can expect. I’ll anxiously check out the first few cool apps ;).

  10. This all looks more promising that I thought at first (another Flash clone), still not quite sure what this all means for .net developers and what kind of apps we can expect. I’ll anxiously check out the first few cool apps ;).

  11. Beer, I know you hate that Linux isn’t supported.
    But what do you think about Microsoft open sourcing their new DLR? No, not GPL, but the license allows for forking, redistribution of the altered code, etc. (From what I’ve read, the license that MS chose (among their various licenses) is their BSD-like license.)

    Surely you must like at least that at least somewhat. I’m just trying to determine if you’re willing to give Microsoft credit for *anything* they do at all.

  12. Beer, I know you hate that Linux isn’t supported.
    But what do you think about Microsoft open sourcing their new DLR? No, not GPL, but the license allows for forking, redistribution of the altered code, etc. (From what I’ve read, the license that MS chose (among their various licenses) is their BSD-like license.)

    Surely you must like at least that at least somewhat. I’m just trying to determine if you’re willing to give Microsoft credit for *anything* they do at all.

  13. @23

    “For Linux support, I strongly recommend that you guys watch Scott Guthrie’s video on Channel 9. Like he says in the video, there’s nothing stopping more platforms showing up for Silverlight in the future.”

    There’s nothing technical stopping ANYONE from porting ANY app to ANY platform. That’s not the point.

    There’s nothing stopping Apple from releasing Final Cut Pro for Windows too. Oh wait there IS something stopping them from doing that. It’s the fact that they want people to BUY APPLE and not a PC.

    That will work with flagship OS anchored applications, but as John mentioned, it will not work with a web application framework, because there are simply TOO MANY Linux users now. They can’t turn back time to 1995 and pretend this is the same environment. It’s almost as if MS is trying to wean people back to the good old days in the 90s when they would dictate every popular format or framework with impudence.

    That will not happen, and no one that wants their web applications to be truly available to a full audience will code their stuff with Silverlight.

  14. @23

    “For Linux support, I strongly recommend that you guys watch Scott Guthrie’s video on Channel 9. Like he says in the video, there’s nothing stopping more platforms showing up for Silverlight in the future.”

    There’s nothing technical stopping ANYONE from porting ANY app to ANY platform. That’s not the point.

    There’s nothing stopping Apple from releasing Final Cut Pro for Windows too. Oh wait there IS something stopping them from doing that. It’s the fact that they want people to BUY APPLE and not a PC.

    That will work with flagship OS anchored applications, but as John mentioned, it will not work with a web application framework, because there are simply TOO MANY Linux users now. They can’t turn back time to 1995 and pretend this is the same environment. It’s almost as if MS is trying to wean people back to the good old days in the 90s when they would dictate every popular format or framework with impudence.

    That will not happen, and no one that wants their web applications to be truly available to a full audience will code their stuff with Silverlight.

  15. @23

    That’s not quite what Scott was really saying, I don’t think. He said that, technically, both Silverlight and .NET have been architected to make it cost-effect to make versions that run on multiple hardware/OS platforms… But, whether that happens, is another question entirely.

    He also said that, in *his* team, there are no religious reasons why they couldn’t support other hardware/OS platforms. However, he also suggested there were others in Microsoft that take a different view. All of which led Scott to say that, actually, the next hardware/OS platforms they will probably be focussing on for Silverlight will be mobile.

  16. @23

    That’s not quite what Scott was really saying, I don’t think. He said that, technically, both Silverlight and .NET have been architected to make it cost-effect to make versions that run on multiple hardware/OS platforms… But, whether that happens, is another question entirely.

    He also said that, in *his* team, there are no religious reasons why they couldn’t support other hardware/OS platforms. However, he also suggested there were others in Microsoft that take a different view. All of which led Scott to say that, actually, the next hardware/OS platforms they will probably be focussing on for Silverlight will be mobile.

  17. Well. Flex is programmed in a Java lookalike with JIT called Actionscript. Silverlight is programmed in a Java lookalike with JIT called C#. Flex uses declarative XML called MXML. Silverlight uses declarative XML called XAML.

    As a developer it is a nobrainer to just learn both and dont waste any time on meaningless flamewars. Both have their audience. Java and internet developers will prefer Flex/Flash. And the MS-fanboys will use nothing but Silverlight.

    Both are o.k. by me. Currently Flex is the only one available.

  18. Well. Flex is programmed in a Java lookalike with JIT called Actionscript. Silverlight is programmed in a Java lookalike with JIT called C#. Flex uses declarative XML called MXML. Silverlight uses declarative XML called XAML.

    As a developer it is a nobrainer to just learn both and dont waste any time on meaningless flamewars. Both have their audience. Java and internet developers will prefer Flex/Flash. And the MS-fanboys will use nothing but Silverlight.

    Both are o.k. by me. Currently Flex is the only one available.

  19. For Linux support, I strongly recommend that you guys watch Scott Guthrie’s video on Channel 9. Like he says in the video, there’s nothing stopping more platforms showing up for Silverlight in the future.

  20. I think the recent announcements from Microsoft (especially the Scott Guthrie interview on Channel 9) are interesting and helpful; not least, because it’s now clear what the sweet spot for Silverlight really is. I don’t think it’s much to do with the kind of applications you can build using it. Rather, it’s about the kind of developer you are.

    Bottom line: if you’re a Microsoft development shop, there’s a lot to like about Silverlight.

    For anyone that’s interested, I’ve written more about this in my blog entry – “The Silverlight Sweet Spot – Is It Sweet Enough?” @

    http://www.psynixis.com/blog/2007/05/01/the-silverlight-sweet-spot-is-it-sweet-enough/

  21. I think the recent announcements from Microsoft (especially the Scott Guthrie interview on Channel 9) are interesting and helpful; not least, because it’s now clear what the sweet spot for Silverlight really is. I don’t think it’s much to do with the kind of applications you can build using it. Rather, it’s about the kind of developer you are.

    Bottom line: if you’re a Microsoft development shop, there’s a lot to like about Silverlight.

    For anyone that’s interested, I’ve written more about this in my blog entry – “The Silverlight Sweet Spot – Is It Sweet Enough?” @

    http://www.psynixis.com/blog/2007/05/01/the-silverlight-sweet-spot-is-it-sweet-enough/

  22. For Linux support, I strongly recommend that you guys watch Scott Guthrie’s video on Channel 9. Like he says in the video, there’s nothing stopping more platforms showing up for Silverlight in the future.

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