Tim Anderson

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Fear and slow loading: Eclipse celebrates 10 unsettling years

In November 2001, IBM made its Java tools IDE and platform, developed for WebSphere Application Studio, available under an open source licence. It was the beginning of Eclipse, which now claims 65 per cent of the Java IDE market. But why was Eclipse founded and what has been its impact over a decade? The Reg spoke to Mike …
Tim Anderson, 23 Nov 2011
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Making sense of SharePoint 2010

Adoption of Microsoft SharePoint is growing rapidly, with Microsoft reporting “double-digit growth” in its latest financials, yet it remains widely misunderstood. What can you do with SharePoint, what is the difference between the free SharePoint Foundation and the full product, and what are the pros and cons? Microsoft calls …
Tim Anderson, 21 Nov 2011
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Adobe Flex SDK bombshell STUNS developers

Adobe is to hand over its Flex SDK, which lets you develop applications for the Flash runtime using XML and ActionScript code, to an open source foundation. The company is committing to HTML 5 as the “best technology for enterprise application development”, according to a statement issued on Friday, November 11 by two Adobe …
Tim Anderson, 15 Nov 2011
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Down but not out: Flash in an HTML5 world

Anyone hoping to pronounce Flash dead as Adobe transitions to the brave new HTML 5 world will have been disappointed, based on the company's MAX Conference last week. That said, there is evidence of a partial transition towards HTML. The big story in this respect is Adobe's acquisition of Nitobi, creators of the PhoneGap tool …
Tim Anderson, 13 Oct 2011
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Adobe announces Creative Cloud, acquires PhoneGap

Adobe is aquiring Nitobi, creators and sponsors of the open source PhoneGap project that lets you build cross-platform mobile apps using HTML technologies, and has announced a suite of cloud services named, unsurprisingly, Creative Cloud. The announcements were made during a Monday keynote presentation at the company's Adobe MAX …
Tim Anderson, 03 Oct 2011
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Microsoft's Roslyn invites VB to Windows 8 party

At Microsoft's recent BUILD conference, technical fellow and C# creator Anders Hejlsberg presented a session on the future of C# and Visual Basic. Visual Basic? There were few VB developers evident at BUILD and it seems to be in decline among professionals. Nevertheless, Microsoft is keeping the two in parity: read on for why …
Tim Anderson, 03 Oct 2011
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Surviving the Facebook app 'swamp' with Azure

“Developing with Facebook is like building a house on a swamp,” says Microsoft’s Nathan Totten. He should know. He used to work at social media company Thuzi, and when the company needed to write a C# Facebook application, he and his colleague Jim Zimmerman were so disappointed by the existing C# SDKs that they built their own …
Tim Anderson, 22 Sep 2011
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Microsoft's high-risk Windows 8 .NET switch

Microsoft spooked .NET developers earlier this year by emphasising HTML and JavaScript as the programming platform for Windows 8. Any questions were met with the answer: "Wait until BUILD." Well, BUILD took place last week, so what is happening with .NET and Windows? You can frame the beginning of this story in various different …
Tim Anderson, 19 Sep 2011

Windows Server 8 plays catch-up with VMware and Unix

"The cloud is a tectonic shift," said Microsoft's corporate vice president of server and cloud Bill Laing, introducing an in-depth press preview of Windows Server 8 and mixing metaphors with abandon. In response to this cloudy earthquake, the company is declaring Server 8 to be a cloud-based operating system, though note that …
Tim Anderson, 14 Sep 2011
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Windows 8: First contact with Microsoft Touch

Microsoft is facing up to the million-dollar question: how does it compete with Apple's iPad and Google's Android when Windows was designed for keyboard and mouse rather than touch control? Microsoft's answer has been to create a platform based on Metro, the design style in Windows Phone 7. Metro apps run full-screen without any …
Tim Anderson, 13 Sep 2011
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Microsoft previews 'Juneau' SQL Server tools

Microsoft has released a third preview of SQL Server 2011, codenamed "Denali" and including the "Juneau" toolset. In the Denali database engine there are new features that supporting high availability, and improve query performance of data warehousing queries. Then there's FileTable, a special table type that is also published …
Tim Anderson, 25 Jul 2011
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Azure: it's Windows but not as we know it

If Microsoft Azure is just Windows in the cloud, is it easy to move a Windows application from your servers to Azure? The answer is a definite “maybe”. An Azure instance is just a Windows virtual server, and you can even use a remote desktop to log in and have a look. Your ASP.NET code should run just as well on Azure as it does …
Tim Anderson, 18 Jul 2011
For Sale sign detail

Google Apps v Microsoft Office 365: Rumble in the enterprise

Microsoft's Office 365 has come out of beta. But does it have what it takes to counter Google Apps? Office 365 has four cloud-hosted components: Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office Web Apps, which you can use to access the other three from a browser. The addition of Dynamics CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is planned. …
Tim Anderson, 28 Jun 2011

Making sense of Adobe's enterprise pitch

Adobe has announced its Digital Enterprise Platform for Customer Experience Management. My tip to Adobe: that is too many words with too many syllables for busy IT people who are trying to get their work done. What on earth is it? The same old stuff repackaged, or something genuinely new? The answer is a bit of each. Adobe has …
Tim Anderson, 20 Jun 2011
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Microsoft Visual Studio to end dev and ops 'ping pong'

New Windows, new Visual Studio. But what will we find in Microsoft's popular development environment? While Microsoft recently previewed many of the new features in the next planned Visual Studio, these have, unfortunately, excluded the HTML and Windows 8 tools that are likely to appear in the final version. Even so, there is …
Tim Anderson, 13 Jun 2011
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Is Microsoft's Javascript chief killing his .NET creation?

A recent discussion with a friend about the origins of Microsoft's .NET runtime prompted a little research. How did it come about? A quick search doesn't throw up any detailed accounts. Part of the problem is that much of it is internal Microsoft history, confidential at the time. One strand, mentioned here, is Colusa's OmniVM …
Tim Anderson, 09 Jun 2011
graph up

Windows 8: Microsoft’s high-stakes .NET tablet gamble

There is a long discussion over on the official Silverlight forum about Microsoft's Windows 8 demo at D9 and what was said, and not said; and another over on Channel 9, Microsoft's video-centric community site for developers. At D9 Microsoft showed that Windows 8 has a dual personality. In one mode it has a touch-centric user …
Tim Anderson, 06 Jun 2011

Virtual desktops mean virtual applications

Virtualising the client is not just about the desktop. It is also about application virtualisation. “Half of large organisations with more than 5,000 PCs have already adopted application virtualisation,” says Gartner analyst Terry Cosgrove. That compares with perhaps one per cent worldwide that have adopted a virtual hosted …
Tim Anderson, 26 May 2011

Desktop virt: Licence to bamboozle?

Desktop virtualisation presents many technical choices but they could turn out to be the easy bit. Licensing the software is where it all gets difficult, especially when the software is Microsoft Windows. The problem is that Windows licensing is based on the assumption that you install software on hardware, but virtualisation …
Tim Anderson, 19 May 2011
server room

Think carefully before you chuck out your desktops

Desktop virtualisation has its benefits but it is also an important structural shift. This is compounded by other changes likely to take place at the same time, such as a move to Windows 7 or an office move. When the Co-operative Group decided to migrate some of its 18,000 desktops to virtual desktops and thin clients, it also …
Tim Anderson, 17 May 2011
SGI logo hardware close-up

Nothing to lose but your desktop PCs

Interest in desktop virtualisation is driven by frustration with desktop PCs and laptops. Maintenance, security, regulatory compliance – all are managed more easily with desktops that live on the server or in the data centre. Users still need physical devices but if you use either a thin client or a virtual machine synchronised …
Tim Anderson, 12 May 2011
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Let the Cloud Developer Wars begin

Microsoft is all for the cloud, says chief executive Steve Ballmer. IBM has its new Smart Business Cloud. Oracle has its Exalogic cloud in a box. Amazon’s cloud services are growing apace. Salesforce.com and Google have always been cloud. The economic arguments are unassailable. Economies of scale make cloud computing more cost …
Tim Anderson, 05 May 2011

Rethinking desktop virtualisation

It used to be simple. Users could either run a local operating system, or use a thin client with screen, keyboard and mouse talking to an operating system running on the server. Today there are many models of desktop virtualisation, and few safe assumptions. It used to be the case that virtual desktops could not handle …
Tim Anderson, 05 May 2011
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Silverlight 5, thy name is 'Windows'

What is going on with Silverlight? Microsoft's browser plugin was conceived as a lightweight, cross-platform version of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), the .NET application framework for desktop applications introduced in Windows Vista. Silverlight was energetically developed to compete with Adobe's Flash, there was talk …
Tim Anderson, 17 Apr 2011

Microsoft+IE9: Holier than Apple open web convert?

It is a remarkable turnaround. Microsoft, the company that more than any other was responsible for freezing web standards by first killing the browser competition and then failing to update its browser for five years, has come out with a browser that is - at the very least - decent. Internet Explorer 9 combines hardware- …
Tim Anderson, 21 Mar 2011
Broken CD with wrench

Moving to Windows 7: Is it worth it?

Windows 7 may be prettier than XP; but does it really pay to ditch a working Windows XP network and replace it with Microsoft’s shiny new version? Every organisation is different, so there is no definitive answer, and migration is costly. That said, sticking with XP has costs as well. It is coming up to ten years old, and …
Tim Anderson, 18 Mar 2011

Building Windows 7 skills - will we need another 10 years?

Ten years of Windows XP means that the whole world knows how to use it, from administrators to users. How much training does it take to migrate to Windows 7? The answer is that the training burden falls more on administrators than on end users. One area where Microsoft has a good track record is in application compatibility …
Tim Anderson, 09 Mar 2011
DVD it in many colours

Prepping the great Windows 7 migration

Deciding to move to Windows 7 is the easy bit. The crunch comes in planning and executing the migration. Should it be a big bang or incremental? How much new hardware and software is needed? What can go wrong? The truth is that a lot can go wrong, but only if you plan carelessly. Microsoft has produced a bewildering array of …
Tim Anderson, 07 Mar 2011
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Microsoft's IE9: Don't believe the hype

Microsoft must be rattled by the steady decline in the market share of Internet Explorer. Worldwide it has gone from 68.5 per cent in July 2008 to 46 per cent today, according to StatCounter. Internet Explorer 9, now in release candidate phase, is Microsoft's answer. Highlights include hardware-accelerated graphics, a new fast …
Tim Anderson, 14 Feb 2011
Flash Gordon

Flash versus HTML 5

“The mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short,” says Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his notorious Thoughts on Flash. “New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too).” Adding to the confusion, every non-Apple …
Tim Anderson, 02 Feb 2011

Windows hits 25

November 20, 1985, saw the launch of Microsoft Windows 1.01, the first publicly released version. Of course it was late. Microsoft boss Bill Gates announced Windows in 1983, promising release by the end of 1984, perhaps to counter VisiCorp's VisiON, an alternative PC graphical application manager that launched in December 1983 …
Tim Anderson, 20 Nov 2010
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Adobe closes Flash-based Flex to outsiders

Adobe's open source development process for the Flex SDK – the library and tools for building Flash and AIR applications – has hit a roadblock. Flex SDK product manager Deepa Subramaniam last week told MAX the public repository will be closed and patches will no longer be accepted from the community. The change applies to the …
Tim Anderson, 02 Nov 2010
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Was Ozzie's head in the clouds as rivals stole his role?

Ray Ozzie's unexpected departure from his role as chief software architect does not look good for Microsoft, not least because it follows a series of other high-level departures. It follows Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop's move to become CEO of Nokia last month, and the retirement of entertainment and devices …
Tim Anderson, 19 Oct 2010
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Can Windows Phone 7 help Microsoft come from behind?

This week is Windows Phone 7 week. Microsoft is announcing details of the launch devices and operators, and I shall be watching and reporting with interest on the joint press conference with CEO Steve Ballmer and AT&T's Ralph de la Vega. But how significant is this launch? I think it is of considerable significance. Mobile …
Tim Anderson, 12 Oct 2010
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Inside Windows Phone 7: ghost of Zune

A cinema in Manchester has formed the unlikely venue for a full-day drill-down on developing for Windows Phone 7, sponsored by Microsoft but organised by UK .NET community group DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper (seriously). It proved an insightful day. Insight number one was that only 100 or so developers turned up, to a venue that …
Tim Anderson, 10 Oct 2010
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IE9 strips to win Chrome fans

Microsoft took an unusual approach with Internet Explorer 9, first releasing "Platform previews" that showed off the new rendering engine but with little user interface, before finally issuing a beta that shows off its full features. The engine is the big story, with its implementation of a significant chunk of HTML5, hardware …
Tim Anderson, 16 Sep 2010
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Microsoft delivers Google Chrome IE9 beta

Microsoft is offering Internet Explorer 9 beta for download. Although this follows four earlier platform previews, this is the first time the new IE user interface has been shown to the public. Like Google Chrome, IE9 combines the address and search boxes into a single "OneBox". It also integrates with the Windows 7 taskbar, …
Tim Anderson, 15 Sep 2010
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Microsoft to embrace and extend HTML 5?

Microsoft watchers are poring over a series of Twitter posts from former Silverlight Product Manager Scott Barnes, a web design and user experience specialist. According to Barnes, just back from a week of briefings at Microsoft, there is intense internal debate about the future of HTML 5, newly implemented in the forthcoming …
Tim Anderson, 09 Sep 2010
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Microsoft trips on Visual Studio Lightswitch

Microsoft's Visual Studio LightSwitch, just released to beta, is a new edition of Visual Studio 2010 and will become the next step up from the free Express. In other words, it will be paid-for but cost less than the existing Professional version. Do not be fooled though: although this is a low-end tool it is one with high …
Tim Anderson, 26 Aug 2010
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IE9's Acid, speed and HTML5 trip to land lost surfers

The browser wars have taken a fresh twist with Microsoft's release of the fourth - and final - preview of Internet Explorer 9 before the beta in September. The notable features are that it has improved standards support to the extent that it scores 95 per cent on the Acid 3 CSS test, that its JavaScript and graphics performance …
Tim Anderson, 05 Aug 2010
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Aurora - a Microsoft cloud server for the small guy?

Microsoft has announced details of the next version of Small Business Server (SBS) - actually, make that two versions. SBS 7.0 is an update of what we have seen before, a bundle of core applications including Exchange 2010, SharePoint, and System Update Services, tuned to run on a single Server 2008 R2 box. SBS codename Aurora …
Tim Anderson, 12 Jul 2010

Microsoft's .NET at ten: big hits, strange misses

We take it for granted now, but it was ten years ago this week — July 7, 2000 — that Microsoft announced its brand-new application development initiative, the .NET Framework, at TechEd Amsterdam. The company then provided more detail at its Professional Developers Conference in Orlando, Florida, the following week. It was Paul …
Tim Anderson, 05 Jul 2010
fingers pointing at man

Why we love to hate Microsoft

Microsoft watcher Mary Branscombe has an excellent ZDNet post on Why do we (love to) hate Microsoft, and asks: What would Microsoft need to do and say to you for you to be happy to call yourself a fan? In part she's reacting to head of Microsoft PR Frank Shaw's Microsoft by the Numbers in which he highlights the success of …
Tim Anderson, 02 Jul 2010
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First MeeGo Linux needs love and scrub up

MeeGo is a big deal. Devices plus cloud is the big trend right now and MeeGo has seen two industry giants - Intel and Nokia - combine efforts to create a Linux offering capable of competing with Windows on netbooks, Apple and Google on phones and tablets, and embedded operating systems on just about anything else from TVs to …
Tim Anderson, 28 Jun 2010
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Adobe's second AIR defies Jobs' Flash iPhobia

Thanks to Steve Jobs, attention on Adobe Systems' Flash this year has mostly been on mobile a fact Adobe helped compound by recently releasing its AIR runtime - based on Flash - for Android partners. Adobe's progress with AIR for mobile has been slow, while Apple's iPhone and iPad Flash ban has damaged Adobe's cross-platform …
Tim Anderson, 24 Jun 2010
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Conviction and confusion in Microsoft's cloud strategy

Microsoft's Windows platform may be under attack from the cloud, but you wouldn't know it here at the company's TechEd in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference is a sell-out, with 10,500 attendees mostly on the IT professional side of the industry, in contrast to last year's event in Los Angeles, California, which only …
Tim Anderson, 08 Jun 2010
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Microsoft's Ballmer and Ozzie tag-team on mediocrity

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and chief software architect Ray Ozzie put on a poor performance when quizzed by Walt Mossberg at the All Things Digital conference, judging from the live blogs of the event. What was wrong? They allowed the conversation to be focused mainly on competing products: Apple iPad, Google …
Tim Anderson, 04 Jun 2010
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BBC iPlayer to run on iPads. Eventually

Yesterday the BBC announced version 3 of its iPlayer catch-up service, which allows viewers to stream programmes for up to seven days following their initial broadcast, or to download them to keep for up to 30 days on supported platforms. The new version adds social media integration, linking to Facebook, Twitter and Windows …
Tim Anderson, 27 May 2010

Was Microsoft's Office 2010 worth killing Clippy?

Microsoft Office earned $4.2 billion revenue in the first three months of 2010, only a little behind the Windows client at $4.4 billion, according to the company's most recent earnings release. The figures show the suite remains deeply embedded in the business world, despite the availability of free or much cheaper alternatives …
Tim Anderson, 12 May 2010
MS Docs

Microsoft's Office Web Apps - Google killing not included

The most intriguing piece of an otherwise predictable Office 2010 - which volume customers can get as of Tuesday - is Office Web Apps. These are the first ever, in-browser versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote from Microsoft. They represent a significant break with the past for a suite that's been one of Microsoft's …
Tim Anderson, 27 Apr 2010