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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!
This week, at least for Microsoft, what happens in Vegas does will not hopefully stay in Vegas. Yesterday at Mix09, the following were announced:
- Support for Higher Quality Video & Audio. With support for native H.264/Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) Audio, live and on-demand IIS7 Smooth Streaming, full HD (720p+) playback, and an extensible decoder pipeline, Silverlight 3 brings rich, full-screen, stutter-free media experiences to the desktop.
- Silverlight 3 contains new 3D graphics, animation features, hardware accelerated effects and text improvements that enable designers and developers to create next generation Web visuals.
- Improved RIA Productivity. New features include:
- Silverlight 3 is packed with over 60 high-quality, fully skinnable and customizable out-of-the-box controls
- Deep Linking. Silverlight 3 includes support for deep linking, which enables bookmarking a page within a RIA.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Enhanced Data Support: Element to Element binding, Data Forms, New features for data validation, Support for business objects
- Improved performance through Application library caching, Enhanced Deep Zoom, Binary XML, Local Connection.
- Out of Browser Capabilities. The new out of browser experience in Silverlight 3 enables users to place their favorite Silverlight applications directly onto their PC and Mac, with links on the desktop and start menu—all without the need to download an additional runtime or browser plug-in. Also, the new offline features enables Silverlight applications to work whether the computer is connected to the Internet or not.
Announcing the Microsoft Web Platform: Web Platform Installer 2.0 Beta and Windows Web Application Gallery!
The Microsoft Web Platform has a goal to deliver the best platform to developers for building their Web applications. Microsoft is delivering the platform, tools, and applications that development organizations, communities, and developers need. The Microsoft Web Platform offers a complete ecosystem for building and hosting web sites, services, and applications. It is designed to interoperate with both ASP.NET and PHP, and integrate easily with community applications and products in the market today.
The Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 (Web PI) is a free tool that makes it simple to download, install and keep up-to-date with the latest components of the Microsoft Web Platform, including Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework and Visual Web Developer. In addition, install popular open source ASP.NET and PHP web apps with the Web PI.
Windows Web App Gallery is a community hub of free and popular .NET and PHP applications for you to use as building blocks for creating dynamic web solutions.
In my post from Mix08 a couple of weeks ago, one of the exciting announcements I mentioned was Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1.
There were a number of great sessions at Mix08 on IE8 and you can find and view these at Visitmix.com (search for “Internet Explorer”).
This is only Beta 1 and there are some very exciting technologies that were introduced, providing significant value and innovative implementations.
Some of the features in Beta 1 include:
WebSlices - WebSlices enable users to subscribe to content directly within a webpage. WebSlices behave just like feeds in that users can subscribe to them and receive update notifications when the content changes.
Activities – Activities are contextual services that provide quick access to external services from any webpage. For a list of IE8 Activities Providers go here.
Look for more innovation in future Beta releases and the final version!
You can also find an IE8 Beta 1 Whitepaper for Developers here.
Speaking of The Web Platform, I get Business Week, and this last week’s Cover Story was titled Google and the Wisdom of Clouds.
The article’s focus centers around Christophe Bisciglia, a Sr. Software Engineer at Google, and his vision for Google 101 at University of Washington. It turns out his vision for the course set the foundation for Google’s Cloud computing strategy. A strategy that hopes to put “incredible computing power in the hands of many.” Google’s Cloud is essentially a gigantic cluster of computers (“hundreds of thousands”), holding extremely large sets of data, and copies of the entire World Wide Web. Making search faster, and enabling answers to billions of queries in seconds.
As the article touts, this move towards clouds signals a fundamental shift in how we handle information. Certainly a data centric view of computing as a utility.
Microsoft, along with IBM and Yahoo, are also highlighted in the article with regard to their “Cloud Power” strategies. Certainly, a lot has been written, speculated, and talked about at Microsoft as it relates to our Windows Live Services efforts. Our strategy has certainly taken on a Platform approach to Cloud Services. The architecture starts at the “Foundation Services” layer, and Cloud Infrastructure Services, led by Amitabh Srivastava, CVP. From there, we have heard Steve Ballmer divide our services into the following four groups to make up our Live Services:
Personal services: Windows Live, Office Live, Popfly, MSN, Live Search
Business services: Exchange Hosted Services, managed communications and collaboration, Office Live Small Business, CRM Live and accompanying Titan development platform
Service enablers: Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, adCenter, click-to-run client (ActiveX, Ajax, Silverlight, .Net and Win32 Softgrid for streaming apps on Windows XP)
Sun believes that “The Network is the Computer”.
Google’s grand vision to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible is hinged on data and data indexed and replicated many times.
At Microsoft, the potential resides in software – platform and tools!
“Web 2.0″ applications are everywhere and extremely relevant today. They are composite applications in nature, and increasingly can be created and hosted completely in the Web (cloud), without any dedicated or owned physical infrastructure. As these composite applications are increasingly implemented at higher levels of abstraction (moving up the stack), they demonstrate the power of network effects in enabling participation, and fueling the explosive pace of innovation towards creating a Web that connects/involves more people and is more relevant and intelligent.
One of my colleagues at Microsoft, David Chou, provides a description of the Web platform stack, which categorizes the observed patterns and trends, and their relationships and dependencies, in the Web 2.0 phenomenon, into a structured context; as an attempt in providing some clarifications into the way Web is evolving.
This post is the latest in a series of “Web as a Platform” discussions: