Unveiled at MIX08, new releases of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft Expression Studio provide Web developers and designers with game-changing benefits and business opportunities.
At MIX08, Microsoft Corp.’s Web designer and developer conference, Microsoft demonstrated the power of its platform to enable delivery of richer, more interactive customer experiences on the Web. Backed by major customers including AOL, Aston Martin, Cirque du Soleil, Hard Rock and NBCOlympics.com on MSN, Microsoft unveiled the next generation of its Web technologies with beta releases of Internet Explorer 8, Silverlight 2 and Expression Studio 2. Additional MIX08 news included a preview of Microsoft SQL Server Data Services, the announcement of a strategic relationship with Move Networks Inc., and DoubleClick Inc.’s preview of its Silverlight 2 software development kit (SDK) for in-stream advertising.
In Wednesday’s MIX08 keynote address, Ray Ozzie, chief software architect, shared his vision for the role of the Web and the services opportunity across Microsoft businesses. Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of the Internet Explorer team, demonstrated new features in Internet Explorer 8 for Web developers and end users, and Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division, highlighted advances in Silverlight, Expression Studio and Visual Studio that make it easier to deliver rich, connected experiences on the desktop, Web and beyond.
“The Web is at the center of everything Microsoft is doing,” Ozzie said. “The investments we’re making will enable developers and designers to deliver a range of seamless, connected experiences across the continuum of Web applications, rich clients, mobile and other devices.”
With a focus on bridging developer-to-designer workflow while providing a common development model across a range of form factors and devices, Microsoft introduced advancements to the following tools and technologies:
- First public beta of Internet Explorer 8. Internet Explorer 8 is the next version of Microsoft’s popular browser, and in beta 1 it delivers significantly improved standards support and developer platform investments with enhanced user experiences. Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 delivers increased interoperability, offers developers better predictability when designing sites, and will feature full support for cascading style sheet (CSS) 2.1 at release to manufacturing. Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 includes integrated developer tools to quickly debug HTML, CSS and scripts in a visual environment. Two new features, Activities and WebSlices, will enable developers to reach beyond the page and introduce news ways for users to stay connected to the content and services of their choice. To download Internet Explorer 8 beta 1, developers can visit http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ie8.
- Silverlight 2 beta available for download; support for mobile devices. Microsoft Silverlight answers customer desire for rich, cross-platform media and “zero-click” applications that match the rich interactive application experience while bringing the robustness and power of Microsoft .NET to the browser. Silverlight 2 beta includes innovative new features like Deep Zoom, more than 40 new controls and a rich .NET base class library of functionality. In addition to the beta release, Microsoft announced plans to deliver Silverlight for Windows Mobile and to work with Nokia on support for S60 on Symbian OS, the world’s leading smartphone software, as well as for Series 40 devices and Nokia Internet tablets. To download Silverlight 2 beta and learn about Silverlight for devices, developers can visit http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight.
- Expression Studio 2 beta. Today Microsoft released a beta of Expression Studio 2, designed to work seamlessly with Visual Studio, enabling designers and developers to collaborate on the creation of better user experiences. Key new features of Expression Studio 2 include PHP support in Expression Web and support for Silverlight in Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Media Encoder and Expression Design. To enable designers to start immediately exploring the power of Silverlight 2, Microsoft also announced the availability of Expression Blend 2.5 March 2008 Preview. Microsoft also introduced the Expression Professional Subscription, which includes the full suite along with a number of other programs to help users get started at an exceptional value. To download Expression Studio developers can visit http://www.microsoft.com/expression.
MIX08 features a diverse set of customers and partners demonstrating rich Web applications that enable new business opportunities. With an average of 1.5 million daily downloads of the Silverlight plug-in, thousands of existing Silverlight applications and more than 85 members in the Silverlight Partner Initiative, Silverlight is attracting industry-leading content providers, content delivery networks, design agencies, ISVs and solution providers.
As demonstrated on stage, AOL, Aston Martin, Cirque du Soleil, Hard Rock and NBCOlympics.com on MSN have selected Silverlight for their Web applications due to its high performance capabilities, integration with the .NET Framework and customizable advertising opportunities.
“NBCOlympics has always taken the lead in bringing Olympics fans immersive experiences through in-depth analysis and leading technology,” said Perkins Miller, senior vice president of Digital Media for NBC Sports & Olympics. “Working with Microsoft Silverlight, we will again push the boundary of sports coverage by delivering a new level of rich, high-quality viewing to the Web for the 2008 Olympic Games.”
Microsoft is also working with a broad set of customers and partners in the ad-serving, analytics, creative agency and content delivery network sectors. Today, DoubleClick demonstrated its Silverlight 2 SDK for in-stream advertising. Content publishers that deliver video content will be able to use this SDK within a Silverlight environment to target, serve, forecast and report on video-based advertising.
Microsoft Announces Strategic Relationship With Move Networks
Microsoft announced plans for a strategic alliance with Move Networks, a leading provider of live and on-demand long-form video content such as television episodes, news and sports programming. Silverlight would enable Move Networks to deliver an interactive, rich media navigation and integrated advertising on top of its hallmark high-quality online television experience that reaches all the way to HD. Move Networks’ current customers include some of the largest media companies in the world such as ABC, FOX Broadcasting Company, ESPN, the CW, Televisa and others. These customers use Move Networks to stream their most popular shows including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Lost.”
“Our strategic relationship with Microsoft represents a natural progression in the rapid evolution of online video delivery,” said John Edwards, CEO of Move Networks. “Microsoft Silverlight is emerging as a platform of choice for media companies seeking a reliable and highly configurable environment for the creation of rich video content. The integration of Move Networks’ streaming technology with Silverlight will allow customers to deliver the highest-quality viewing experience available online — driving online revenue and a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace.”
Microsoft SQL Server Data Services Preview
Microsoft also announced a new building-block software service, Microsoft SQL Server Data Services. The service is designed for developers building Web-based applications that need a scalable, easily programmable and highly available utility-based data store. MIX08 attendees will be able to register for a preview of SQL Server Data Services.
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