Live From ReMIX 07 Boston – Update 2

PopFly After Brad Abrams completed his Silverlight portion of the keynote, he did a demo of PopFly.   PopFly is a mashup tool that was built with Silverlight 1.0.  It was designed so that average Joe could build neat things out of different services on the web.  After seeing the cool animated interface, Brad showed us how he took a PopFly application a friend of his had posted on his Facebook site, made some edits, and then turned it into a different game. 

What was neat about the new game was how he built it.  First he got a feed from his friend's Flickr feed that featured pictures tagged with "dogs".  Then he built a game of whack-a-mole, but applied the photos from the Flickr feed to the "moles".  When the game began, the "moles" that popped up were pictures of dogs from the Flickr feed.

After showing PopFly, Brad invited some folks on stage who have worked with Silverlight to show what they have done.

First up, Justin Shaffer from Major League Baseball.   Justin showed off a really great interactive media application they have built with Silverlight 1.0 for their subscribers.  The application lets people watch streaming games from any team in the league.  The user interface has all sorts of crazy statistics that appear around the video, and even overlaid on top of the video if desired.  What's neat is that they have marked the video feed with some sort of bookmarking that contains the statistics, enabling Silverlight to relay them directly from the video into controls on the page.  This means the statistics are updated continuously based on information embedded in the video stream of the game. 

The video can be full-screen, and resized around based on how the user is interacting with the application.  For example, if you're browsing stats on a player, the video will get smaller while the interactive section with data on a player takes up more real estate.  Cool stuff!

Brad asked Justin (paraphrasing), "So you can watch baseball like this on your desktop while you work?"   Justin said (paraphrasing), "Well, you can try to work."

Justin said they are planning to launch this service at the beginning of the 2008 season.  If the Mets ever manage to be competitive and not drive a stake through their fans' hearts like they did this season, this is one application I could see myself using a lot next year!


After Justin left, Brad invited up Ian Hilton and Keith Frechette from Lightmaker.  They explained how Lightmaker is a design agency that has been creating award-winning interactive experiences online since 1997.  They explained how as a design shop, they were skeptical of Microsoft.  But after learning about Silverlight and the power of XAML and the Expression tools, they decided they needed to explore this technology.

The Lightmaker guys showed off a prototype of a site they built a site for the Orlando Magic.  By clicking on your favorite player, you can watch on demand videos of him in action.  As the video of your player plays, the right side of the screen has a really rich view featuring the ability to buy merchandise related to the team and that player.  For example, you can see different color jerseys for sale with that player's number.  They indicated how here is the opportunity to make money by creating an emotional connection for users that makes them want to buy the product.

They also showed a demo of buying game tickets where you click on your seat location in a 2D picture of the stadium.  The stadium then animates itself and zooms in giving you a 3D view of the view from the seats you chose!

Component One

C1LabCoats Next up on stage, the white jackets from Component One.  Bernardo de Castilho and Todd Schick from Component One came on stage dressed in white lab coats.  Brad asks what's with the costumes?  They answer (paraphrasing), "no costumes here, we just came from the Component One labs".

Bernardo and Todd explained how their company builds business controls that provide rich user experiences.  They said that Component One is currently developing controls for Silverlight 1.1.  They hope to release their controls in sync with the release of Silverlight 1.1.

They showed a couple of demos of their controls.  One showed how they took a boring looking AJAX stock portfolio application and replaced it with one using the Component One Silverlight controls.  The Silverlight version of the portfolio application had all sorts of fancy user interactions including animated charts and graphs.

Also showed off was a grid control.  That grid control is being used on the ReMIX '07 Boston website to render the conference agenda.

"Moonlight" with Miguel

MiguelWithBrad Finally, Miguel de Icaza from Novell was invited up on stage to talk about "Moonlight".... or, Silverlight on Linux.  Miguel is the creator of the Mono project, which is an open-source version of .NET that runs on Linux.  This was probably one of the funniest and un-expected part of the keynote.  Who would have thought Microsoft would invite an open-source Linux guy on stage?

Miguel really connected with the crowd.  He gave a history of the Mono project and then how the Moonlight project got started.  Miguel explained that when Microsoft announced Silverlight 1.1 at Mix '07 in May, he was impressed at what it offered.  He said he immediately wanted to figure out a way to implement Silverlight 1.1 on Linux using Mono. 

After discussions between some of his bosses at Novell and Bob Muglia at Microsoft, they came to an agreement to allow Miguel to implement Silverlight on Linux as part of the Moonlight project.  Miguel explained that Microsoft would be cooperating with Novell to share details on how to implement Silverlight, as well as test suites to ensure full compatibility.  This agreement was announced publicly on Sept 5th when Silverlight 1.0 was officially released.

Miguel said he had no interest in implementing Silverlight 1.0 because JavaScript is not a real language, but that after figuring out how to implement 1.1, they got 1.0 for 'free'.  He said they built a really rough alpha in the 3 weeks after Mix 07 to show it off at the ReMIX event in Paris, France.   In that rough build, they had many of the Silverlight 1.0 demo applications working.   Since then, they've been continuing to work on it.  He explained that the bits he would show today were the results of four months of work, so to please forgive any bugs as it's still a rough alpha.

With that, Miguel started showing several demos of Moonlight on Linux.  He ran one of the video editing demos that Brad had shown earlier in the keynote.  It ran mostly okay, but some of the videos were stretched.  Miguel explained it's a known bug and an example of the how they're only 4 months into the project.

Next, the real fun began.   Miguel took every opportunity to demonstrate some of the fancy UI features in Linux.  For example, he kept dragging around windows on the screen that would "wobble" as they were moved.  He then brought up the Halo 3 promotional video in Moonlight and dragged it half off the screen.  Using the 3D cube view that lets you switch to extended portions of the desktop, he rotated the view so that the video was playing across two sides of the cube. 

Miguel started developing a Moonlight application on his Linux machine.  He opened EMacs and indicated it was his favorite development tool.  Some laughs from the crowd.  Then he popped open MonoDevelop, a Visual Studio-like IDE, and jabbed, "oh yeah, that's there if you need it.   But real men use EMacs".  A lot of laughs from the crowd.  He then continued to build a quick hello world application using EMacs which he then ran in Firefox on Linux.  Miguel indicated that since the file types are all the same, designers could still design their interfaces using the Expression tools on Windows, then have a developer write the code using these tools on Linux.

Finally, Brad came back on stage to wrap up and then the keynote was over.

Comments (3)

  1. Wow — I love living in the Internet age… The amazing AV folks here at ReMix Boston have already gotten

  2. Amazing! Over 600 attendees, more than 30 sessions, great demos, informative partners, and a lot of fun.

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