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Today, Microsoft announced the availability of a new program for Web Professionals called Microsoft WebsiteSpark. With WebsiteSpark and the Microsoft Web Platform, Microsoft is demonstrating an ongoing and unwavering commitment to fostering the success of Web professionals and SMBs around the world.
The WebsiteSpark Program provides Web professionals with Microsoft software and solutions, together with related tools, training and support, to help their businesses succeed. The WebsiteSpark Program also helps drive new business opportunities by connecting Web professionals and hosters with an ecosystem of customers, partners and other professionals with complementary technologies.
Web development and design companies with up to 10 employees and owners can participate in the WebsiteSpark Program for three years with no up-front cost. There is only a $100 program offering fee, payable at exit, with no other costs or obligations. Once approved, these companies can have access to:
- Microsoft Web design and development tools, including three licenses of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, two licenses of Microsoft Expression Web 3, and one license of Microsoft Expression Studio 3.
- Four processor licenses for production usage of Microsoft Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available) and four processor licenses for production usage of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Web Edition.
- A third-party premium Website control panel (DotNetPanel).
Find out more or join at WebsiteSpark!
With Silverlight version 3, the feature list delivers innovation and benefits to key areas of rich internet applications, including:
- Support for true high definition video
- Out-of-browser functionality
- Smooth Streaming
- Improved line of business support, including data validation and element-to-element databinding
- Pixel shaders for deeper rendering control
- More than 90 controls and themes, with source code and unit tests for many of them in the Silverlight Toolkit
To learn more about Silverlight 3 you can go here or get more insight from some of my colleagues blogs:
In addition to the availability of Silverlight 3, the release candidate of Expression Blend 3 and SketchFlow were announced today. In addition, the full family of Expression Studio 3 products will be available within thirty days!
SketchFlow is a very innovative prototyping tool that comes with Expression Blend. This dynamic prototyping feature in Microsoft Expression® Blend™ 3, demonstrates the flow, layout, and transitions of an application through interactive “sketches” to convey initial concepts. And concurrent workflows between design, user experience, and development ensure that the visuals, interaction model, and the underlying architecture of an application can be simultaneously evolved and delivered as a completed project.
“Soma” Somasegar, Sr. VP at Microsoft has a real good post on SketchFlow here. Also, visit Microsoft Expression for more information or click here to download a copy of Microsoft Expression Blend 3 Release Candidate.
Over the past year Microsoft Silverlight has enabled developers and designers to create compelling media experiences and rich Internet applications (RIAs) on the Web via an easy-to-use, quickly installed browser plug-in. This week, with the release of Silverlight 2, Microsoft is delivering a wide range of new platform features and tooling options.
New Features in Silverlight 2
- A rich base class library. A compatible subset of the full .NET Framework gives developers the most comprehensive RIA runtime on the Web today, with unparalleled data access capabilities, local data caching and local data storage, superior input-output (IO) performance, and better threading. By leveraging the rich base class library of the .NET Framework, developers can minimize the amount of additional code they have to write for their projects.
- Powerful built-in rich controls allow developers and designers to quickly build applications through a rich set of built-in controls such as DataGrid, ListBox, Slider, ScrollViewer and Calendar. With the rich controls built into Silverlight 2, developers don’t have to start from scratch when building the controls for their rich Internet applications.
- Advanced styling and templating support gives designers and developers complete control over the look and feel of an application to ensure the custom brand experience for their rich Internet application meets their exacting requirements.
- Rich UI Library. Silverlight 2’s UI Library, a compatible subset of the WPF user interface framework featured in the full .NET Framework, makes building rich Web applications easier. The powerful graphics and animation engine enables developers to reuse skills, code and content to build rich applications for the browser that can be rapidly ported to the desktop and devices.
- Better support for higher-level UI capabilities. The UI Framework in Silverlight contains support for higher-level UI capabilities such as layout management, data-binding, styles and template skinning.
- Comprehensive networking support enables Silverlight users to leverage the power of the .NET Framework’s Windows Communication Foundation and directly access resources on the Web by supporting cross-domain network access.
- Out-of-the-box support for calling REST, WS*/SOAP, POX, RSS and standard HTTP services enables users to create Web 2.0-style applications that easily integrate with existing heterogeneous back-end systems.
- Advanced content protection features, now including Silverlight digital rights management (DRM), Powered by PlayReady. Silverlight DRM builds on Microsoft’s extensive expertise in developing DRM technologies, delivering robust protection for key Silverlight scenarios including live streaming, on-demand streaming and progressive downloads for connected experiences.
- Improved server scalability and expanded advertiser support. The combination of Silverlight 2 and Windows Server 2008 offers streaming video professionals industry-leading scalability and cutting-edge progressive download features. In addition, Silverlight offers superior search engine optimization capabilities and advanced in-stream advertising support through companies such as DoubleClick Inc. and EyeWonder Inc.
- Unparalleled interactivity with high-resolution content through Deep Zoom technology. The new Deep Zoom technology in Silverlight allows users to see images on the Web as never before. The smooth, in-place zooming and panning that Deep Zoom allows is a true advancement and raises the bar on what image viewing should be. It is also now possible through this feature to make super-high-resolution images easily consumable on the Web. Even better, Deep Zoom is designed in a way that will reduce Web hosting and bandwidth costs by sending to the browser exactly the right size and resolution image for the current display area.
Openness and Interoperability Support
In a commitment to openness and support for interoperability, Microsoft is funding a project to integrate advanced Silverlight development capabilities into the open-source Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE), will publish the Silverlight Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) Vocabulary Specification, and will make the Silverlight Control Pack available as open source software. The project web site “Eclipse tools for Silverlight” is here.
The Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight Project will integrate advanced Silverlight development capabilities into the Eclipse IDE and Eclipse Rich Client Platform.
- Silverlight Project System and Silverlight Compiler. Eclipse will contain both an advanced project system for creating Silverlight applications and media experiences and a compiler for packaging Silverlight applications for deployment.
- XAML editor and preview with code hinting and code completion. Eclipse will contain an advanced, standards-compliant XAML editor with code hinting and code completion, which helps detect and correct coding errors.
- Full compatibility with Microsoft’s development and design tools. The XAML and Silverlight projects created by Eclipse will be fully supported by both Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression Studio tools.
- Results. See the picture below for a glimpse of a Silverlight application being created in Eclipse.
- Availability. A preview of the bits was posted today at http://www.eclipse4sl.org under the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0. Customers can use the SourceForge project site to submit bugs and feedback or contribute to the project. The release candidate is scheduled to be available free for download by spring 2009.
- Road map. Although the first version of the Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight will be optimized for the Windows version of Eclipse, the project plans to offer full support for the Mac and Linux versions of Eclipse in a later release.
Also, for additional great detail on Silverlight 2, see the following blogs and pages:
ScottGu’s Blog and post on Silverlight 2 as well as other relevant posts on Silverlight.
And Microsoft Videos is showing the Digital Lifestyle: Girl from Mars. This is shown in Silverlight 2, and shows a variety of other products and services.