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On April 15th, 2010 Silverlight 4 shipped. It marks the fourth release of the Silverlight platform in the last 2.5 years.
For those of you new to Silverlight, it is a free, powerful development platform, plug-in powered by .NET, for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for Web, desktop, and mobile applications when online or offline. Silverlight is compatible with multiple browsers, devices and operating systems, bringing a new level of interactivity on the web.
Building upon the huge success of it’s predecessor versions, Silverlight 4 contains a slew of new features to help you build the next generation RIA applications. New features include Local fonts, Printing, WCF RIA Services, Webcam, Microphone, Multicast Networking, and much more. To learn more about Silverlight 4 and download it go here.
If you are planning to build and host a highly scalable Facebook application, check-out this new toolkit built by Thuzi in collaboration with Microsoft to give the community a good starter kit for getting Facebook apps up and running in Windows Azure. Developing your Facebook applications in .Net and hosting them in Windows Azure provides a flexible and scalable cloud computing platform for those applications.
Check out this blog post by the Microsoft ISV team to learn more about how to get started launching your own viral social networking applications today – hosted on Windows Azure! You can also go directly to CodePlex and download the kit here.
Recently, at Mix09 actually, there were a few important updates to the Windows Azure CTP (Community Technology Preview). Here are a few key updates:
- Fast CGI. Allows developers to deploy and run web applications written with 3rd party programming languages such as PHP.
- .Net Full Trust. Provides developers with a level of flexibility in Windows Azure that removes limitations on .NET Libraries which require full trust (including .NET Services).
- Geo-Location. Provides developers with the ability to specify a location for their applications and data to build responsive services with lower network latency as well as the capability to meet location-based regulatory and legal requirements.
Keep up with the Windows Azure blog.
Cloud computing is a disruptive force that has the potential to change everything, but how do we take advantage of it? At Microsoft, cloud computing is a major component of our technology strategy and platform, and you will hear more about Microsoft’s cloud platform at PDC. Join us for a discussion (after the PDC) on how Microsoft’s platform can be leveraged to create a new class of applications that are more connected, dynamic, and can extend existing IT investments towards cloud computing.
Facilitated by Microsoft, the premise of this group is to provide an open forum where architects can meet to discuss technologies with their peers. This forum will provide first-hand experience and best practices that will enable its members to learn from each other and transfer knowledge. Please join us for this great opportunity to learn, share and network with your peers and other company leaders.
Microsoft and Cloud Computing – Cloud computing represents the new wave of innovation that will significantly transform many aspects of computing as we know today. During this session, we will discuss Microsoft’s outlook and strategy in moving towards cloud computing; providing the next-generation cloud-based platform for building services in the cloud.
Microsoft Cloud Services Platform – Discussion on key components of the new Microsoft Cloud Services platform with an overview of .NET Services, SQL Server Data Services, and Foundational Services. A key component in cloud computing is the ability to compose multiple cloud-based services from different organizations into a logical unit to serve a specific purpose. However, connecting, orchestrating, and managing services in the cloud still require a level of sophistication similar to enterprise SOA implementations. We will take a look at an implementation of multiple-enterprise business applications utilizing Microsoft Cloud Services to facilitate cloud-based transactions that connect and span heterogeneous organizations.
Live Services Platform – Discussion on Microsoft’s Live Mesh platform, a platform designed combine the world of the web and the world of digital devices. You will learn about the underlying service architecture behind this mass-scale cloud service and client platform, including services such as: FeedSync-based synchronization, accounts and security, P2P communications, pub-sub infrastructure, and the Mesh Operating Environment (MOE).
11:45 AM Arrival
12:00 PM Lunch and announcements
01:00 PM Microsoft and Cloud Computing
02:30 PM Microsoft Cloud Services Platform
04:00 PM Live Services Platform
05:15 PM Raffle and close
Register for a date and location near you! To register, please click on the link below or call 1.877.MSEVENT (1.877.673.8368).
November 18, 2008 | Mountain View, CA
1065 La Avenida, Building 1
Mountain View, CA 94043
Registration Link: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/InviteOnly.aspx?EventID=5D-BC-15-14-81-B7-05-DA-F3-EE-3A-14-5E-8B-0D-10&Culture=en-US
Event ID: 1032393291
December 18, 2008 | San Francisco, CA
835 Market Street, Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94103
Registration Link: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/InviteOnly.aspx?EventID=5D-BC-15-14-81-B7-05-DA-9F-C0-E7-E4-23-88-67-BE&Culture=en-US
Event ID: 1032393296
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.
Sciformatix is a privately-held startup focusing on solutions in the area of scientific laboratory information systems. The company recently launched with a breakthrough on-demand, SaaS-based Laboratory Information Management System aimed at small to medium laboratories based on .Net.
I worked with Tom Kent, CEO and Pascual Starink, CTO (founders) this last year and I have been very impressed and excited about the innovation they have delivered in their launch of SciLIMS SSM (Laboratory Information Management Systems, Storage & Sample Management). Built on .Net with the new Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server, SciLIMS is a true SaaS architecture solution.
You can learn more from a Microsoft case study about the SciLIMS solution and their use of Visual Studio 2008 here. The company is also launching a pilot program. If you are interested in participating in the pilot, please contact them at email@example.com or call them at 1-877-724-7656.
Surface is an exciting innovative technology that introduces a new way to interact with content – using your hands! Surface features a table-top display with unique abilities that allow several people to interact simultaneously or independently.
Surface, transforms an ordinary tabletop into a translucent, interactive facade. The surface can recognize cell phones, digital cameras, and other physical objects. It responds to human touch. Kids can finger-paint digitally. Business travelers can dive into maps and surf the Web without a mouse or keyboard, by using simple touch gestures across the screen. In restaurant settings, you’ll be able to order meals and play digital board games. At home, there may be no more fussing with the half-dozen remote controls sitting on your coffee table. That’s because the table becomes the remote control.
In April, AT&T announced it would introduce Surface in it’s retail stores, enhancing the mobile shopping experience.
Yesterday, Harrah’s Entertainment announced it will be launching Microsoft Surface at Rio iBar, providing guests with new “entertainment” experiences. Harrah’s has created an innovative suite of custom applications to provide guests with hip new ways to create their very own ultimate entertainment experience in an ultra-lounge venue. And for the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” crowd; The table at the Rio iBar includes a program called Flirt, which lets customers sitting at any such table in the lounge see and chat with each other, take and e-mail pictures and even trade cell phone numbers.
Last week, Microsoft announced the availability of Silverlight 2 Beta 2 for public release. Silverlight 2 Beta 1 was a developer release and it was announced at Mix08. There are some great sessions that you can view (via a Silverlight viewer) at the VisitMix site
In case you are new to Silverlight – it is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.
To learn more detail about the Beta 2 release, see ScottGu’s Blog. One of my colleagues, David Chou has a great post listing resources and links to great sample Silverlight apps. Additionally, my colleague Sam Chenaur also provides a good blog post / resource for learning about Silverlight.
As David points out in his post, people tend to position Silverlight as catching up to Flash (in its “infancy” is how David described it). However, I think that is fair only as it relates to Silverlight 1. Silverlight 2 is a much more complete platform with significant value and flexibility as a platform enabling many implementation choices. It delivers on some of the great .Net capabilities, enabling the developer to create a much wider range of applications for the browser or device, and across platforms.
In addition to some of the samples David lists in his blog post, you can also find more at the Silverlight Showcase.
Today we released Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 to manufacturing. Essentially, that means that the English version of the product is immediately available to MSDN subscribers.
So, if you are an MSDN subscriber, you can download a copy from the MSDN subscription site – now! If you are non-MSDN subscriber, you can download a 90-day free trial edition here. A 90-day free trial edition of Team Foundation Server can also be downloaded here. And of course, if you feel like trying the free Visual Studio Express Edition, you can download that here.
The .Net Framework runtime can be downloaded here.
Visual Studio 2008 is the next generation of Microsoft’s industry leading development tools. The new version focuses on enabling rapid application development, enhancing collaboration among development teams, and providing development tools support for the latest platforms. For the first time, developers have full tools support for Windows Vista, the 2007 Microsoft Office system and the .NET Framework 3.5.
See ScottGu’s Blog for a tour of some of the new features with links to many resources associated with the 2008 release.