Feeds

Will Microsoft ever get the web?

Looking for converts

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Remix 08 The UK Remix conference in Brighton last week was a local echo of Mix in Las Vegas, Microsoft’s web development event. Some 500 developers and designers turned up in a tired Brighton Centre to hear Microsoft’s web story, covering products like Silverlight, ASP.NET, Internet Explorer 8, Windows Live services, and the Expression design tools.

There are anxious undercurrents. Microsoft created Mix in an attempt to prove itself as a web company and a design company, but it is not, it is the Windows company. Another snag is that Remix came on the eve of the Professional Developers Conference next month, which meant that all the interesting stuff about .NET 4, Oslo modelling, and Windows 7 was kept under wraps.

It was still worth attending, thanks to the appearance of key figures like Principal Researcher Bill Buxton, who gave an energetic keynote proclaiming his love for Apple, Google, and the Nintendo Wii, and prophesying doom if developers do not get the design habit. He has only been with Microsoft two years and sounds refreshingly free of indoctrination.

Corporate VP Scott Guthrie gave an engaging hands-on demo of ASP.NET Model-View-Controller, a new technology now in preview, explaining its advantages for unit testing, cleaner URLs, and staying closer to HTTP model. ASP.NET MVC looks good, but it is interesting how the initial appeal of ASP.NET - that it makes Web programming more like Windows programming - has now become something of a liability.

Scott Guthrie at Remix

Scott Guthrie

Program Manager Mike Flasko presented ASP.NET Data Services, which exposes a REST API to Microsoft’s database platform. This is great. But Microsoft’s ever-growing range of database APIs is getting confusing again, after some welcome stability in ADO.NET.

The problem is not so much the Data Services, but what lies underneath it, which is primarily intended to be a new object-relational layer called the Entity Framework (though other data sources can be used via plug-ins). So what is happening to LINQ to SQL, which was last year’s ORM layer from Microsoft. "LINQ to SQL is still being developed, but Entity Framework is the big bet," said Program Manager Elisa Flasko at the developer’s panel.

There were some snippets of Silverlight news, or perhaps clarifications. Guthrie said the plug-in is getting 1.5 million installations a day, and that these will upgrade automatically to version 2.0, the .NET version, when it is released later this year. Unlike the beta, Silverlight 2.0 will have proper accessibility support, but H.264 capability will not appear until a future version. Guthrie also hinted that a 3D API is under development. Further controls, such as a Rich Text Editor, will be delivered as add-ons within the lifetime of version 2.0.

All of this sounds developer-oriented, and that is both Microsoft’s strength and its problem. Its work with Silverlight and ASP.NET will be well received by organizations already on Microsoft’s platform (of which there are plenty), but there is little evidence of converts from other Web platforms, or that its design tools can compete with the best from Adobe. Still, Microsoft does have Photosynth, which creates 3D images from 2D snaps. It was on display at Remix and looking truly impressive. Overall: mixed. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.