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Diary of a Code Trotter by Laurent Bugnion is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

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Copyright (c) 2006 - 2011 GalaSoft Laurent Bugnion

Laurent Bugnion (GalaSoft) Diary of a Code Trotter
Amazing day yesterday.

It all started with a great breakfast set up by the Venetian team. They really do an amazing job. The hotel is just great, not only because it's so big and luxurious, but also because every details is taken care of, every detail is perfect. I had the same impression last year, impression confirmed.

The key note was great, though to be fair last year's was better. Ray Ozzie just cannot beat Bill Gates, charisma wise. I was very happy to see Scott Guthrie on stage again, this guy is my hero. Honestly, he is my role model. His demos were great, mostly focused on Silverlight, and also on the interaction Silverlight - ASP.NET. Honestly, very exciting times are coming for web developers. I am so happy to be part of this.

A few quotes from Ray Ozzie's speech: (the non-bold words are mine)

"Universal web versus Experience First" - Or in other words thin client versus RIAs
"Software + Service pattern" - This is definitely where Microsoftr is heading.
"Unprecedented number of technology choice." - Scott underlined that too. It's not anymore a battle of survival (Windows vs Mac, Silverlight vs Flash...) but a world where developers are free to choose which technology they want to use.

Also, Ray mentioned the days when documents and numbers were fueling web development. Today it's media, rich content, even in business applications. I think it totally makes sense.

The future

Scott's demos

Scott G made tons of demos, and also invited other people on stage. There were a few big news, like SIlverlight tools having been made available for downloads (add-in in VS2005 among other stuff), Of course the biggest of all was SIlverlight being now available with .NET support, on Windows and on the Mac! The download is very tiny, so installing the plugin needs very little time.

Remote debugging Silverlight on a Mac!

One of the most exciting things we saw was Scott running a Silverlight application on a Mac, and using the VS2005 debugger on a remote Windows PC to attach to the Mac process! Yes, you can remotely debug Silverlight while it runs on the web!!!

JavaScript against .NET

Scott wrote a chess application where the .NET engine can play against the JavaScript engine, using the exact same heuristics. This was a good demo of how much faster the .NET engine is compared to the JavaScript engine. You all know me as a lover of JavaScript, but I must say that it's getting hard slowly to find the motivation to keep writing script when you see what Silverlight on .NET can do.


NETFLIX hired Razorfish to develop their next generation viewing experience online. Cool stuff: View a movie in Silverlight, skip to chapters, skip to time (very fast and smooth!). WIth a buddys' list, you can see what your buddies are watching, and you can even start the same movie and synchronize, so you and your buddy are watching the same movie "together". Also, an instant messenger is integrated. And to be clear again, all this is embedded in a web browser! The demo implied one guy viewing on a Mac and the other on a PC, synchronizing, chatting...

Developer - Designer collaboration

You know it's one of my favourite subjects lately.Silverlight of course enables this by enjoying the whole range of tools, from Expression Design for XAML assets, Expression Blend for integration, Expression Media for encoding, Expression Web and Visual Studio for the ASP.NET design. That said, Silverlight can very well be developed and compiled on a Mac, without any development environment, like Scott demonstrated.


By the way, Silverlight uses the exact same CLR engine as .NET. Less libraries are available, but that's the only limitation (well, that and the sandbox).

Pure client, but can be integrated tightly with ASP.NET

Since Silverlight is pure client technology, it can be deployed from just any server (pretty much like XBAPs today). However you can create a solution with a Silverlight project and a ASP.NET application, create web references, and tightly integrate the SIlverlight control in an ASPX page.
We saw a great demo of an airline schedule application in the browser, with animated planes flying, integration with a XAML Calendar control, beautiful.

Expression Media

I am very excited about Expression Media. Can't wait to play with it. Wayne Smith, Group product manager at Microsoft made a great demo of how you can encode almost on the fly a preview, and then compare the encode, lower quality movie side by side with the original. When I say side by side, I mean one picture, one splitter which you can actually move while the movie is playing, allowing you to compare the qualities in a totally smooth way.

CBS demo

CBS (TV broadcaster) was there too, and showed us how they will integrate amateur content (news videos shot by you and I) into their own HD content. Uploading will be done using Silverlight.

Metaliq demo

Beau AMbur from Metaliq showed us a cool online tool that they did in 3 weeks. This tool allows you to load videos, edit them, combine them, see a filmstip allowing you to cut precisely where you want to, all of this running in the browser. Very nice really. We saw 9 videos running together, with no noticeable delay or flickering. The tool's footprint is 50KB.

.NET for Ruby

Continuing the last years progress in opening their technology to other platforms, .NET is now available for Ruby too. Scott demoed that, and it really works (in case you doubted it ;-) I am not a Ruby guy myself, but I can see how that is going to attract lots of great developers to the .NET world. Good job.

Finally, we saw a demo of MLB, major league baseball, and the site they're preparing to broadcast the games live online. Excellent application, with stats overlays, a great looking UI, priority given to the content... We also saw a mobile phone demo, where the site is very much functional and even videoclips are available for viewing.

And now?

The roadmap was also unveiled, though without strict deadlines.
  • Silverlight V1.0 this summer
  • Expression Media encoder V1 this summer too
  • Silverlight V1.1 will also include mobile support
That's a pretty long post so I'll write more about yesterday afternoon later today! Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 2:00 AM Technical stuff , .NET , MIX , Work , MIX07 | Back to top

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