Spent an interesting afternoon with Microsoft at the Delfina bistro near London Bridge (friendly atmosphere, good food) watching the highlights of the MIX10 day 1 keynote and then the live day 2 keynote with Scott Guthrie. Microsoft seem keen to push the new development software versions; there ae plenty of new features and much to learn….after the task of learning, we are promised that it will be much easier! There were certainly a large number of features that have been added or updated and I will be at the front of the download queue to try Visual Studio 2010. The main concern was that I noticed a few days ago, that we should wait for the full release if we are developing in Silverlight; the latest Silverlight facilities are not in the core download.
Again MS pushed the video side of Silverlight and it IS very impressive. They rolled out the companies using the system, especially the Vancouver Olympics. The ability to watch in slow motion, to jump to any point ahead, the quality of the video are all state of the art. Really love that. I have yet to see whether the remainder of the Silverlight kit lives up to comparison with Flash and the touch interfaces out there. Looks like I need to put a system together before getting the definitive answer. SL3 is good. SL4 looks much better. Metia were demonstrating their “expandable banner” using SL3. They seemed to have got their heads around the technology really well and having used Flash in the past, were evangelising on how easy it was to version Silverlight jobs.
Silverlight has increased from 45% to 60% install this year from last, so it is becoming more available. Not sure how the cross browser install is in a corporate environment. Hard in the main one that I work in, but then so is the Air install. Big interest in the Olympics was the Rough Cut editor that they used was built in Silverlight. This is now being made open source but is not available yet but look here http://rce.codeplex.com/. I’m sure that this will give lots of developers a good head start in the video side of projects. It looks a competent editor.
What else is new in Silverlight 4? Offline DRM, better use of dual screen monitors, the Pivot control has been brought in as a control if you have lots of data to mine and of course phone development. Win7 phones have a simple interface with just the three bottom buttons, Start, Search and Back with the rest of the interaction using the Live Tiles interface. It feels good on the simulators and the effects are quite logical – waiting for the real thing now to see if the performance is up to it. There is more and more being done on the gpu side of the device, so f the graphics chip has the facilities, win7 can take advantage. For phone you can develop either with Silverlight or with XNA, with which there is a Live connect feature. The capacitive touch screen should give good results. Have a look at Developers.windowsphone.com. There are some Blend demos which show how to build a basic phone app with hardly any code.