Microsoft MIX10 brain dump

Also cross-posted on my personal blog

After three days of the Microsoft Mix10 event the brain tend to overflow. So I sit down at a Starbucks and try to summarize my thoughts before my mind explodes.

It’s easy to get caught up in positive buzz during events like this but I really think Microsoft is doing a lot of things right here with Windows Phone 7 series, the next level of .NET and Silverlight and Internet Explorer 9, among other things. Some of it, I believe, accounts to all the focus on User Experience and the influence that Bill Buxton have on this.

Also if you want to catch any of the sessions most of them are up at the mix10 site already.

Silverlight release pace

This was a big surprise to me; Silverlight 4 is going to be released as early as next month end the release candidate (RC) is out now. I was more in the lines of a beta and the an RC in the summer and a release late 2010. But it seems they try to align and do a big release with .NET 4, VS2010 and Silverlight 4. As a bonus the Pivot control will be in the controls toolkit so that’s going to be fun to play with.

Silverlight 4 Tools RC | .NET 4 RC | VS2010 RC

About the Windows Phone 7 series

The development platform for Windows Phone 7 series was, of course, one of the biggest news on the starting keynote and lot of sessions around it followed. I think they are on the right track with the platform. A few surprises surfaced, like the inclusion of DirectX to utilize HW backed video decoding and the Windows Phone development tools being released for free.

But a few questions and problems surfaced as well, as you can se all over the web it seems they are not including cut & paste and market place being the only application deployment channel. Other things I thought about was:

  • How is the user interface is going to perform in right to left markets.
  • What the possibilities are to hook in other services, like for example Pandora, to provide music streams for the native Zune player.
  • And I still have a few issues with lag in the interface as well as accidental clicks, lets just hope the will get this issues out the door before they release it.

The user experience work that has been put into the new OS is really cool, the decision to remove all chrome and go for a real clean and consistent look is really fresh. And the decision to let the back button work on all levels across the phone, in-applications as well as between was a stroke of genius.

Windows Phone Dev tools | UI Design guidelines

What about HTML 5 and IE 9

It was pretty obvious that they should release some news around Internet Explorer 9 and its take on HTML 5. It is just an early technology preview but I have to say I’m impressed by the results. They did tone down the JavaScript speed issues but quite frankly they were on par with the other browsers and at those speeds it really is less of an issue. What still is an issue is standards, and anything but a 100/100 score on Acid3 is a failure in my eyes.

What they did show was the brilliant work they have done on the GPU acceleration part. This really was amazing 720p HD video streaming on a netbook was blazing fast, they even manage to pump two 720p streams without a glitch, impressive. And rendering HMTL5, CSS3 and SVG with hardware acceleration really looks promising.

If anything it shows that the Internet Explorer team is still in the game and might really get a decent browser out the door.

IE9 platform preview

Expression Blend 4

The things I saw done with blend was quite cool, this tool has come a long way from the first release and is now a potent tool. The tight integration with Adobe was finally in place, just point to the assets and start editing it in Illustrator or Photoshop. What’s more impressive, if I got it right, was that you were able to bind to a text object from the imported Illustrator assets directly to the object in your ViewModel! This really puts design control back into the hands of the designer.

Expression Blend 4 beta

Get real

So what’s left for me now is to find the time to play with all these new toys and and experience for myself what they are capable of before it’s time to Get Real and start creating.

Have fun // Håkan Reis

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