Microsoft Web Technology Announcements from MIX09

During this morning’s keynote speech at the MIX09 conference, Microsoft made several announcements about updates, new releases, and enhancements to the Microsoft web technologies. Scott Guthrie came on stage to deliver a keynote speech where he talked about the new version of Silverlight 3 as well as the release of Expression Blend 3 Preview  and updates to Windows Azure.

If you weren’t able to attend the conference or watch the live stream at live.visitmix.com, here’s what you missed:

Silverlight 3

Already the download links are live for the Developer Runtime Beta of Silverlight 3, the SDK, documentation, and the Silverlight 3 Tools Beta 1 for Visual Studio 2008 SP1. And we heard the final version of Silverlight 3 should ship by year-end. In the new version of this technology, RIA developers will have more tools to work faster with new graphics, animation, and 3-D features and more than 60 new controls. There’s added support for the H.264 video format, deep linking, better SEO support, and new hardware-based graphics acceleration and animation features. Silverlight 3 will also allow developers to create lightweight web apps that can exist outside the browser, which should definitely lead to some interesting scenarios. (Like a Netflix desktop app, I can only hope).

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Today, Silverlight is in use on a number of major websites including AOL, eBay, BSkyB, Netflix, CBS Sports Online, the European Commission, CareerBuilder.com, Samsung Electronics Co., and Yahoo! Japan. Microsoft, of course, has deployed the technology on 200+ products and sites like Microsoft.com, MSN, Live Search, Windows Live, Microsoft Office Online, Virtual Earth and the new Silverlight-based WorldWide Telescope application.

Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer & Gallery

Also available is a new preview release of .NET RIA Services, technology which brings the ASP.Net platform together with the Silverlight platform and the Web Platform Installer 2.0 Beta, a tool that simplifies the installation and maintenance of Microsoft’s web stack as well as other free components. This release lets users download both PHP and the final release of ASP.NET MVC 1.0. It’s available on on this page alongside the final version of the 1.0 release. With the new beta, you can easily install popular open source ASP.NET and PHP web apps and other extras like the latest community version of PHP for Windows.

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Along with the Web Platform Installer beta 2, there’s now a Windows Web Application Gallery available where developers can discover, explore and download applications and components that can help them build web apps. This gallery doesn’t just feature Microsoft products either – it includes links to other online resources like Acquia Drupal, DotNetNuke and WordPress. The gallery divvies up the types of apps into categories and includes both a featured app section and a “top 5” section.

web_app_gallery

Windows Azure Tools and Upgrades

Finally, Guthrie unveiled the new Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio. These extend Visual Studio’s capabilities to allow for the creation, building, debugging, running, and packaging of scalable services on Windows Azure. The Azure Tools download also includes the Windows Azure SDK.

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The Windows Azure Platform itself received an upgrade, too. Today Microsoft added new capabilities including support for full trust to increase the level of flexibility for developers through support of native code, non-.NET language support via FastCGI, and geolocation which will allow developers to host data and code across two U.S.-based datacenters. The Azure team has also addressed the top customer bugs and has implemented update notifications for future releases. Customers were reminded, however, that Azure is still a CTP (Community Technology Preview) and should not yet be used on production systems.

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