Microsoft PDC continues web developer momentum

Lamentably, it’s only the once that I’ve been to Microsoft’s PDC developer conference and that was back in 2004. I’ve never seen a keynote like it I promise you, the audience applauded every slide in certain sections – and this was the launch of Vista!

Lamentably, it’s only the once that I’ve been to Microsoft’s PDC developer conference and that was back in 2004. I’ve never seen a keynote like it I promise you, the audience applauded every slide in certain sections – and this was the launch of Vista!

But for those of us left in poor old Blighty, as was the case last year, we’ll be meeting Microsoft’s developer and tools guru Mr Mark Quirk later this week for a low down from the developer show down in California. Jostling for top billing news wise is the beta version of Microsoft Silverlight 4 and the implications this will have for web developers and web designers.

Microsoft says that innovations in the Silverlight 4 web application framework have been “fuelled” by Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8. Surely they could have stopped that sentence after the 7 in Window 7 and not mentioned IE (unless I am wrong and there are people out there who like the browser) if they want to be taken more seriously by web designers who would rather ascribe to the single runtime environment on offer from Adobe. No surprise then perhaps to find that this week also saw the launch of Adobe AIR 2 and the Flash Player 10.1 beta.

At the show itself, Steven Sinofsky who is president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, has apparently showcased some of the early work under way on Internet Explorer 9. Microsoft says it’s all about ‘performance and interoperable standards’, oh and an extra splash of DirectX sauce too. Do the spokespeople strain themselves to get those words out? Probably not, they still believe in their position in the browser wars. Only the users can decide in the long term.

If all goes to plan, Silverlight will now command better control of cross-platform experiences and extended out-of-browser capabilities. Microsoft says that Silverlight 4 will also feature, “Enhancements for enterprise application developers, including full support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, providing access to Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint Server. Richer web experiences, including new webcam and microphone capabilities, native multicast support for wide-scale media content delivery, and more than 60 customisable controls.”

Personally, I love some of the sites Microsoft demos when talking about Silverlight. DeepZoom (or is it called DeepEarth) just gets better all the time. Perhaps this is why Silverlight is supposedly installed on more than 45 per cent of Internet-connected devices worldwide if you believe the stats.