I’m going to try to keep up a live blog this morning through the keynote to provide folk with an Engadget-style blow-by-blow account of proceedings. Keep hitting refresh on this entry to see the latest news as it comes.
9:30am – Ray Ozzie is on stage promptly. In a few minutes, we’ll show you IE8 and Silverlight 2. Wanted to first spend some time framing the big picture so that these individual releases don’t seem random. Advertising is the economic engine that powers the Internet, and it’s innovation in experiences that provide the fuel. Online advertising is predicted to increase from $40bn to $80bn over the next three years. Microsoft will do our part to ensure a vibrant ad ecosystem on the web.
9:35am – Three core principles driving our strategy:
- Firstly, thinking of the web as a hub of our social, technology and personal experiences. Linking, tagging and sharing will become as commonplace as File / Open and Save. The quaint concept of one PC or device per person will give way to a connected network of experiences based around the network.
- Secondly, the business world is in transition as applications are progressively refactored to take advantage of a utility computing model that will span from the datacenter to the cloud. All our software will be refactored to provide server / service symmetry.
- Thirdly, a transition from tightly-coupled systems to loose federations of co-operating systems. Transparency and standards are key to this: RSS, ATOM, REST-based services. Declarative languages like XAML allow us to recombine and refactor applications dynamically. Not just apps that are "ported" to different devices, but apps that take full advantage of each system. This requires new skills both at the front-end and at the back-end. Over the next five years, the way we develop, deploy, debug and maintain our applications will be transformed by this shift to utility computing.
9:43am – Connection is at the heart of the scenarios we’re building.
- Connected devices: a mesh that provides common storage and personalization no matter where you are.
- Connected entertainment: by connecting portable, media center and gaming devices, we’re reducing friction. You shouldn’t have to buy the same music track multiple times just because you have multiple devices.
- Connected productivity: Office for Windows / Mac, Office Mobile and Office Live – three offerings to deliver seamless editing, note capture and anywhere-working. Look forward to providing further information on Office Live over the coming months.
- Connected enterprises: the shift towards utility computing will give companies choice and flexibility. Hyper-V and System Center are examples of foundational components here, combined with new cloud-based services such as Exchange Online, Office Communications Online (announced in the last two days). This week we’re announcing SQL Server Data Services that will bring the database into the cloud.
- Connected development. Scott Guthrie will talk more in a moment about this element.
Last year, I came here to introduce you to Silverlight. This year, you’ll see that we’re delivering on that potential!
9:54am – Scott Guthrie is on stage. We’re going to talk about two things this morning: the web and Silverlight. First, the web. Last week we launched .NET Framework 3.5, Visual Studio 2008, IIS 7 and Windows Server 2008 – huge advancements. Later this year, we’re going to be shipping some new enhancements: ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET AJAX, and ASP.NET Dynamic Data; there are breakout sessions covering all of this.
9:57am – Dean Hachamovich is introduced to talk about Internet Explorer 8. Eight things to talk about:
- CSS 2.1
- CSS Certification
- HTML 5 early support.
- Developer tools.
- (We’ll come back to this one!)
10:02am – Showing a CSS 2.1 standards-compliant site that works on Firefox, Safari and IE 8. There are elements of the CSS 2.1 that don’t define behavior and indeed explicitly allow browsers to implement aspects differently. We need to do better. As a result, we’re announcing that we’ve contributed 702 BSD-licensed test cases to the CSS Working Group (available via W3C site and MSDN) to reach harmony on the implementation of the specification. IE8 has two modes: a standards mode and a backward-compatible mode, and web developers can choose which one they implement.
10:08am – HTML 5 work is ongoing. One area of investment is improving AJAX / browser integration, so that the Back button works. We also have support for connection events so that a page can detect when the network connection has been lost and offer DOM-based storage so that any entered data isn’t lost.
10:12am – Activities: can select some text and a hover icon appears – can use that to fire off one of a range of activities – open a map, translate, etc. It’s easy to create these – as a developer, you just have to create an XML manifest. eBay: "we had a working prototype of the eBay search activity within an hour".
10:16am – WebSlices: a way to grab components of the website and add them to the favorites bar. Again, an extensible way to make commonly-accessed information like Facebook status available wherever you go. You create web slices by adding specific CSS style names; the specification is open and licensed with Creative Commons.
10:18am – Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is available immediately following the keynote at the following URL: http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ie8.
10:20am – Scott Guthrie is on stage to talk about Silverlight 2. Silverlight 2 Beta 1 is available right now from the following URL: http://silverlight.net/GetStarted/#Beta (go to the bottom of the page). Right now, we’re seeing over 1.5m installations of Silverlight per day; we’re seeing the number increase every week and expect to see it increase still further as we launch Silverlight 2.
10:24am – Media has been a big focus for us with Silverlight 1.0, and we’re extending that with Silverlight 2. We’re announcing support for adaptive streaming, which assesses bandwidth and CPU dynamically you are playing a video and reduces or increases the bit-rate of the streamed media based on the available resources. You don’t have to write any additional code to support this. We’re also announcing a strategic relationship with Move Networks this morning – the company that powers many broadcasters’ on-demand sites today.
10:28am – Last week we launched the latest release of Windows Media Services, a free add-on for Windows Server 2008 that offers three times the scalability of competitive solutions. One of the key reasons that Silverlight was chosen for the Olympics was because of the scalability and reliability that Windows Media offers. With the release of the IIS Media Pack (a free download for IIS 7 that extends support for media-centric scenarios), media providers can reduce the cost of progressive support by adding bandwidth throttling (controlling the forward buffering of progressive download media to reduce costs).
10:31am – Jon Harris (an Expression Product Manager) is demonstrating a Silverlight Advertising template for Visual Studio that enables you to build a banner ad with a video rollover and Atlas tracking. Now moving over to Expression Blend to finesse the project: offering seamless integration between developer and designer tools. Showing video overlaid on video as part of the pop-out advertisement. Demonstrating Video.Show and showing the advert embedded in a Video.Show instance, as well as showing how the Atlas ad manager tools provide reporting. Also showing how you can use the IIS Media Pack to lock playlists (for example, so a site visitor can’t skip over ads). Now showing Expression Encoder 2 and demonstrating how you can "burn in" an animated XAML advert as part of the encoding process.
10:42am – Ari Poparo from DoubleClick is on stage to announce support for Silverlight advertisements as part of the DoubleClick InStream product. (Hopefully it’s not lost on anyone that DoubleClick are a Google subsidiary – this is a pretty big deal). "This is a pretty exciting area for us, and we’re going to be continuing to invest in Silverlight." Their solution will be available in H2 2008.
10:46am – Perkins Miller, SVP of NBC is on-stage to talk about the biggest media event of the year: the Olympics. For this year, we’re doing something that has never been done – we’ll be putting 2,200 hours of media online, both live and on-demand. Demonstrating work-in-progress: showing the Olympics player, switching into full screen and Tivo-like rewind of live stream (big applause). Showing the Control Room – four live streams: multi-angle picture-in-picture to allow you to see a key race from multiple different angles simultaneously. Another view allows you to see the most popular videos. Great partnership with Schematic and Microsoft to help build this application.
11:01am – One of the great things about the Silverlight platform is that it has a rich control templating capability which allows a designer to completely change the look and feel of a control without changing its underlying semantics for the developer. We have full Visual Studio support so you can edit and debug your applications; we’re also introducing today a new release of Expression Blend that supports Silverlight 2 (download here).
11:05am – AOL on-stage to talk about their new AOL mail application written entirely in Silverlight 2. Because it takes advantage of local isolated storage and intelligent caching, it’s incredibly quick to navigate from one folder to another. (Based on early tests, two to three times faster than AJAX). By taking advantage of the control templating mentioned above, AOL are able to create very dynamic, animated skins for their mail client – showed a Halo 3 skin that looked completely different to the "vanilla" skin.
11:09am – Announcing DeepZoom, a new Silverlight feature based on the Seadragon research project that provides scalable image zooming – you can take a 2 billion pixel image, and zoom right into it without downloading gigabytes of pixel data locally. You can also use this to filter many images and navigate around them. Showing how this is used for the Hard Rock website to navigate throughout their memorabilia. This Silverlight 2 site is live right now, here: http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/.
11:16am – If you’re wondering how you create a DeepZoom experience, we’re shipping a tool this week to allow you to import and prepare DeepZoom images.
11:19am – Aston Martin are now on stage to demonstrate their Silverlight 2 site. Also using DeepZoom to show off their cars to the fullest, using an 18GB image. Showing a carousel control that integrates video to enable you to see various features of a car. Now showing a WPF-based application running on a UMPC to create a live 3D preview of a car that’s customized with color, paint etc. (Humor: he’s picking a horrid pink color for the car to match the other guy’s shirt!)
11:28am – Scott: what’s cool about this is that they’re taking advantage of the whole continuum: Silverlight for the website, WPF for the UMPC application, and embedded technologies for telemetry in the car itself. For us, the continuum is really important: .NET and XAML provide a common substrate for application design regardless of its target platform, offering great reuse of skills and code.
11:29am – We’ve talked a lot about business-to-consumer. Let’s talk a little about business-to-business. Introducing Krista Manson, head of casting at Cirque du Soleil. Over 1,000 artistes performing nightly at 15 different shows – critical to know which artistes can perform which roles at which shows. Have 22,000 artistes in a database. Demonstrating a WPF-based dashboard. In the past, they had to take information from a range of disparate sources. Now they can enter it directly into the database using a webcam-equipped tablet. (The demo is all worthwhile just to watch Scott Guthrie juggle!) Now switched to a Silverlight 2 version of the same application running on Safari on Mac OS X 10.5 and showed the captured video.
11:37am – We’re making a lot of improvements to WPF too in a forthcoming servicing release due this summer. Firstly, we’ve worked on performance: both startup and as the application runs. Showing a video with a ripple effect animating in 3D space with only 20% CPU utilization running on a laptop. The ripple is provided through Shader Effects, a new extensible model for adding high-end graphics effects to the platform. No need to recompile your application to take advantage of the new performance enhancements in this release.
11:42am – Back to Silverlight for a moment. Silverlight isn’t just for PCs – today we’re announcing support for Silverlight running on both Windows Mobile and non-Windows Mobile devices. Darren David from Stimulant on stage to demonstrate a social networking application that uses Silverlight on a mobile device to share location and mood status with other friends.
11:45am – Update: Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is now live and available here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/ie8/default.mspx
11:48am – Announcing today that we’re partnering with Nokia to deliver Silverlight to their S60, S40 and Internet tablet product lines. Over 150m users and 70 unique devices using this platform. Nokia: "Silverlight is a great complement to our S60 platform."
11:51am – Tamir Melamed (VP Technology from Weatherbug) is on stage to demonstrate a comprehensive Silverlight weather forecasting application running on a Nokia phone. "Developed in three weeks and working very nicely."
11:57am – You can now download Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1, Silverlight 2 Beta 1, Silverlight 2 Tools for Visual Studio 2008, Expression Blend 2.5 and ASP.NET MVC Preview 2.
One last thing: announcing a new Expression designer community site at http://expression.microsoft.com.
11:58am – And we’re done – two minutes early!