Ray Ozzie: Silverlight + .NET and 'experience first' software at MIX07

Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie opened the MIX07 conference announcing that .NET technology is being paired up with Silverlight, Microsoft's cross-platform multi-browser plug-in for developing media rich interactive Web applications and a competitor to Adobe's Flash/Apollo.

Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie opened the MIX07 conference announcing that .NET technology is being paired up with Silverlight, Microsoft's cross-platform multi-browser plug-in for developing media rich interactive Web applications and a competitor to Adobe's Flash/Apollo. "AJAX development has limitations and there is a better language than Javascript for building sophisticated rich interactive applications in the language of your choice," Ozzie said. The Silverlight 1.1 alpha lets developers tap into ASP.NET AJAX, Language-Integrated Query (LINQ), cross-platform debugging and support for writing client-side browser apps in JavaScript, Visual Basic, C#, Python and Ruby. It also includes an HTML DOM library, so AJAX applications can be built using a .NET language. 

He also announced Silverlight Streaming, which he said takes advantage of Microsoft's infrastructure and will allow developers to post Silverlight applications to a Microsoft storage service in the cloud to deliver Web pages and Web sites.  

Ozzie talked about the choice developers have to make in choosing a platform and made a pitch for choosing Microsoft. "Web applications of today and tomorrow are complex and fragmented across many technologies. In a rapidly evolving technology environment, picking a technology is one of the most important decisions, especially at the front end of a project," Ozzie said. The technology decision is based on the what developers are trying to accomplish with the richness of the user experience and the nature of the target audience, he added.

He divided applications into two classes--Universal Web applications that are cloud-based, working on any device, and Experience First applications that are used as tools, highly interactive, require working offline or with desktop applications. It's the latest verbal iteration of Microsoft's software + services concept, and doesn't do as much as Silverlight to shed light on how Microsoft intend to refactor its platform from its client/server centric heritage.

"To compound the challenge of picking a technology, most successful applications have elements of Universal Web and Experience first in the same solution," Ozzie said. The PC client is used for working on a set of digital assets, the Web-based server for organizing, tagging and sharing, and a mobile Web client for capture, notification and triage, he explained. "The software plus service pattern is very powerful," Ozzie concluded. "SaaS (software-as-a-service) now means "software and a service." 

As part of the software + services model, Ozzie announced new APIs and HTML-based controls for  Live Contact, Virtual Earth, search and navigating photos in space, based on PhotoSynth, as well as new commercial terms for consuming the services. 

Ozzie said that he was having a blast baking the software plus services pattern into the Microsoft genome.

 

He reiterated again that Microsoft is a platform company, now focused on software plus services, combining the Universal Web and Experience First models.  He also said that the staging of the platform investment, such as Silverlight, is "highly intentional," and will include participation from the external world before releasing products and services at scale. "Silverlight begins the conversation and refinement of the technology," he said.

See also:

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