Tim Anderson

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Microsoft's Silverlight 4 - more than Flash envy

2010 is proving to be a big year for Silverlight, Microsoft's cross-platform browser plug-in. "Four releases in two and a half years," said vice president Scott Guthrie at the launch of Silverlight 4.0 this month, and as Microsoft reveals more pieces of its strategy, the rationale for this energetic development is also emerging …
Tim Anderson, 23 Apr 2010
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Microsoft stealth launches 'historic' programming language

Launching a new language is easy - getting it used is hard. The combination of existing code and existing skills is a strong barrier to adoption, and even excellent languages like Ruby and Python have struggled to break out of their niches. What hope is there for F#, the new language that Microsoft has sneaked into Visual Studio …
Tim Anderson, 19 Apr 2010
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Visual Studio 2010 - your chunky new friend dissected

Windows 7 is roaring ahead in acceptance, but look beyond the desktop and Microsoft's platform is not in great shape. Microsoft is losing to Apple, Google and RIM on mobile, in cloud computing Azure is only just getting started, Internet Explorer is down to a mere 61 per cent market share on browsers, and there's been a slow but …
Tim Anderson, 12 Apr 2010
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Windows Phone 7: Microsoft's exercise in self restraint

The key difference between Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile is not Silverlight, the Windows Marketplace lock-in, or the disallowing of native-code applications. Rather, Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft's best effort at creating a user-centric device, something that is actually a pleasure to use. Its existence has everything to do …
Tim Anderson, 20 Mar 2010
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IE9 - the big questions and Microsoft's half answers

“HTML5 will enable a new class of applications,” says Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's Internet Explorer general manager, speaking to the press at the company's Mix10 conference in Las Vegas. But exactly what parts of HTML5 will the company support? And what will happen when changes are made as the standard evolves? Hachamovitch …
Tim Anderson, 17 Mar 2010
IE7 teaser 75

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 embraces - yes - HTML5

Microsoft is focusing on performance and HTML 5 standards support in Internet Explorer 9, the next version of its web browser. IE is the most widely-used web browser, though its market share is in decline thanks to strong competition from Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and others. At the Mix conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday …
Tim Anderson, 16 Mar 2010
Windows Phone 7 Series

Windows Phone 7 - what's in and what's out

"In this release, our focus is on phones purchased by consumers," said Microsoft’s Charlie Kindel, describing the Windows Phone 7 developer platform to attendees at the Mix conference in Las Vegas on Monday. "In this release" turns out to be a constant refrain, as he answers questions, usually in the negative. Is there a local …
Tim Anderson, 16 Mar 2010
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Windows Phone 7: free tools, captive Marketplace

Microsoft aims to lure Windows Phone 7 developers with free tools. That's the good news. The less-good news is that Redmond plans to lock down the platform à la Apple's App Store. These revelations were part of Microsoft's baptism of the development platform for Windows Phone 7 on Monday at the Mix10 conference for web designers …
Tim Anderson, 15 Mar 2010
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Visual Studio 2010 - chunky but has a great personality

Like Clerks director Kevin Smith, Visual Studio is a lot to get your arms around. There's a new editor and shell built with the graphics-rich Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), version 4.0 of the .NET Framework that itself is packed with new features. Plus, there are some big changes in the target project types, from C++ to …
Tim Anderson, 25 Feb 2010

Android first to host Adobe's AIR for smartphones

Adobe Systems is bringing its Flash-based AIR runtime to mobile devices, with Google's Android the first potential host. Adobe will show a preview running on Motorola's Droid and Milestone phones at the Mobile World Congress today in Barcelona, Spain, with general availability promised later this year. AIR combines Flash with …
Tim Anderson, 15 Feb 2010
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Ten years of .NET - Did Microsoft deliver?

Microsoft closes The Noughties by trying to keep up with competitors and to remain a top destination for developers by embracing cloud computing and open source. It opened the decade with another massive platform shift, though: the introduction of .NET. .NET was announced at the first TechEd of decade in Amsterdam in the year …
Tim Anderson, 17 Dec 2009
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Microsoft's Silverlight 4 - Flash developers need not apply

Microsoft's Silverlight 4 shows remarkable progress since version 3, released in July. The pace of development shows Microsoft is serious about making this work - but is it delivering something developers can use? The answer is a guarded "yes". Version 4 is a huge improvement, resolving many of the most frustrating aspects of …
Tim Anderson, 03 Dec 2009
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Microsoft Silverlight - now with hidden Windows bias

Silverlight 4.0 was the big hit at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference (PDC) this week. "I can see that Silverlight is the future of Windows client development" one attendee told me. The basis for this enthusiasm is an array of new features that resolve many of the frustrations discovered by developers working with the …
Tim Anderson, 20 Nov 2009
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Office 2010 fights Google with SharePoint bloat

Office is in a curious competitive position. On the desktop, Office is untouchable - even the free OpenOffice.org has done little to shift its hold, especially in business. Microsoft should worry though about competing online document authoring and collaboration tools, especially those from Google. They lack features now, but …
Tim Anderson, 18 Nov 2009

Windows 7's dirty secrets revealed

While chief technology officer Ray Ozzie was away in the clouds at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference, technical fellow Mark Russinovich got down and dirty with the true heart of Windows - the kernel. He presented a two-hour session on changes made to the kernel used by both Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, shedding …
Tim Anderson, 18 Nov 2009
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Deja vu in Adobe's Flash fight with Microsoft

At times I had to pinch myself at Adobe Systems' Max conference last month In Los Angeles, California. Was this an Adobe, or a Microsoft event? First there were the case studies, like the MLB.com - Major League Baseball - web video, originally seen at Microsoft's Mix 2007 when it used Silverlight, and now at Adobe Max as a Flash …
Tim Anderson, 08 Nov 2009
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Flash goes native on iPhone

When it comes to Apple versus Adobe Systems there’s still no Flash in the iPhone browser, but a new compiler does enable Flash applications for App Store Adobe chief technology officer Kevin Lynch, speaking at Adobe's MAX in Los Angeles, California, explained what we already knew: that there is no technical barrier to running …
Tim Anderson, 05 Oct 2009
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Full Flash goes mobile (with Google's backing)

Adobe has unveiled Flash Player 10.1. Announced today at the company's MAX conference in Los Angeles, the product's most notable feature is that the full player - rather than a cut-down "lite" version - will be delivered to mobile devices and netbooks as well as for the desktop No Apple iPhone yet. But supported mobile operating …
Tim Anderson, 05 Oct 2009
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Microsoft and Intel port Silverlight to Linux

Intel and Microsoft have announced a new port of Silverlight to Linux, specifically for the Intel-sponsored Moblin operating system running on Atom-powered devices such as netbooks. The port enables Intel to include Silverlight as a supported runtime in the Atom Developer Program, which will feed an iPhone-like App Store. …
Tim Anderson, 24 Sep 2009
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Windows 7 versus Snow Leopard — The poison taste test

Apple's Snow Leopard arrived during the twilight zone between the completion of Microsoft's Windows 7 and its general release. The Snow Leopard media was built in early August and shrink-wrapped and on sale late the same month. Windows 7 went gold in late July, but will not appear on the high street until October 22nd. The …
Tim Anderson, 02 Sep 2009
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Windows 7: Microsoft's three missed opportunities

The verdict is in: Windows 7 is a job well done. Yes, there will be a few Windows XP diehards and those who've fled to OS X and have no intention of returning, but overall Windows 7 is more responsive, prettier, and more usable than Windows Vista. That said, it is not perfect, and Windows 7 comes with its own set of annoyances …
Tim Anderson, 25 Aug 2009

Office 2010 tech preview: Expect the expected

Microsoft has released a technical preview of Office 2010. This is a pre-beta release intended for feedback, as well as promotion, so it's not feature-complete and may change before the final release planned for the first half of 2010. Nevertheless, it offers a fair guide to what Microsoft is planning for its ubiquitous office …
Tim Anderson, 13 Jul 2009
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Silverlight 3: closer to what client-side .NET should have been

Microsoft has released Silverlight 3, less than four months after unveiling the product and just nine months after finalizing Silverlight 2.0. The pace of development is remarkable, reminiscent of the browser wars in the 1990s, with Adobe System's Flash now playing the competitor role. Why the urgency? It is a fascinating …
Tim Anderson, 10 Jul 2009

Firefox 3.5 - it's not a 'web upgrade'

"This isn't just an upgrade of the browser. It's also an upgrade for the web", says Mike Beltzner, Firefox product director, in his What's New in 3.5 video. Hyperbole for sure, but it highlights the most interesting aspect of the browser wars, which is how each player is trying to influence the direction of web development. …
Tim Anderson, 30 Jun 2009
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Ex-Borland's Delphi owner re-ignites cross-platform dream

Embarcadero Technologies, having itself been been bought by private capital in 2006, acquired Borland Software's CodeGear division just over a year ago. CodeGear's developer products include Delphi, a RAD tool that creates native code Windows executables, and the JBuilder Java IDE now based on Eclipse. These products have an …
Tim Anderson, 12 Jun 2009
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Microsoft's Bing feeds you, tries to keep you captive

Considering the amount of time, money and effort that's gone into Bing, Microsoft's made some truly odd decisions in connection with its new search engine. Never mind the odd name. Did Microsoft really not foresee that Bing could be used as a handy way to side-step porn filters? And was it really necessary to bolster Wikipedia's …
Tim Anderson, 04 Jun 2009
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Yahoo! co-founder takes open road against Google

Big, purple, and old, the Yahoo! bus parked outside this weekend's Open Hack Day venue in London looked like a survivor from a bygone era. So too, Yahoo!? Yahoo! remains a web giant, the second most visited web destination after Google, according to both comScore and Alexa, and second only to Google in search engine share. On …
Tim Anderson, 11 May 2009

Windows 7’s XP Mode — Virtually worth the effort

The discovery that Windows 7 will use desktop virtualization so you can run Windows-XP-compatible applications caused almost as much excitement as the news the Windows 7 Release Candidate would ship this week and next. The planned Windows XP Mode will, theoretically, let you keep on running your existing applications on a brand- …
Tim Anderson, 01 May 2009

Windows 7 — It’s like Vista, only less annoying

Today, Microsoft will start official downloads of the Windows 7 Release Candidate. It's the last-planned release of Windows 7 before Microsoft sends the polished code to OEMs and starts boxing up the bits as product. It's been nearly four months since Microsoft released its only Windows 7 beta, and it's likely that further …
Tim Anderson, 30 Apr 2009
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Has Microsoft matched Flash with Silverlight 3?

Traditionally, version 3.0 is the moment when everything comes together for Microsoft. Has the company pulled this off with Silverlight 3.0, the beta of which was announced today here at Mix 09 in Las Vegas? The list of new features is impressive, although behind almost every announcement, you can sense Microsoft looking …
Tim Anderson, 19 Mar 2009
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Microsoft should get serious on Moonlight

Adobe Systems' chief financial officer Mark Garrett has said Silverlight is fizzling. Microsoft's director of client platform evangelism Tim Sneath has said it's fizzing. So the RIA war continues. One intriguing element is that both Flash and Silverlight have an open-source aspect. Adobe's efforts include publishing the SWF file …
Tim Anderson, 20 Feb 2009
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First Windows 7 beta puts fresh face on Vista

Microsoft has officially released the first Windows 7 beta. While it's been one of the web's worst kept secrets, Microsoft was still keeping quiet about the details and timing of the final release at the time of writing. Everyone expects release later this year. A leaked briefing paper for OEM vendors suggests that the date when …
Tim Anderson, 08 Jan 2009
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Offline Silverlight and Live Mesh under the microscope

The BBC recently released a new cross-platform version of its desktop iPlayer, for downloading programmes and watching them offline. It may the most prominent example yet of an Adobe Systems' AIR application - a runtime that includes the Flash player and the WebKit HTML rendering engine. By contrast Microsoft's Silverlight …
Tim Anderson, 23 Dec 2008
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First steps with offline Silverlight and Live Framework

I wrote a simple test application for Silverlight running on Live Mesh. It is an interesting scenario, which enables Silverlight applications to run offline, in the style of Adobe Systems' AIR. I wrote a to-do list that stores its data in the cloud, I added some items online, and deleted and added some items offline on another …
Tim Anderson, 13 Dec 2008
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Adobe adopts Alchemy for Microsoft .NET mindshare

Adobe Systems has provided more details on a research project that converts and compiles C and C++ to ActionScript and brings raw speed to the Flash virtual machine. Alchemy enables re-use of existing C libraries within the Flash runtime. Examples shown here at MAX Europe include OpenSSL encryption code, code to generate image …
Tim Anderson, 02 Dec 2008
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How Microsoft blew its own RIA invention

Cast your mind back to the year 2000. Microsoft has just announced its .NET Framework, complete with a new language called C# - that was in July, at the Orlando Professional Developers Conference. A couple of months later, Mark Anders and Scott Guthrie from Microsoft's ASP+ team turned up at the Wrox Web Developer Conference in …
Tim Anderson, 27 Nov 2008
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Visual Studio 2010 - reading the Redmond runes

Visual Studio is locked so closely to Microsoft's platform that it cannot be prised apart and assessed in isolation. The forthcoming Visual Studio 2010, for better or worse, continues this tradition. While full details on Visual Studio 2010 are not yet available, we have been able to piece together a fair amount by attending …
Tim Anderson, 18 Nov 2008

Microsoft's Geneva Server: Hailstorm done right

Microsoft's notorious Hailstorm project, announced in 2001 but scrapped before it was launched, sought to make Passport the core of the whole world's web identity. In 2008, major web properties like Google and Facebook are still fighting identity wars. "Microsoft just gave that up," Microsoft's chief architect of identity Kim …
Tim Anderson, 30 Oct 2008
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Silverlight 2.0: killer features, no Flash killer

Microsoft's Silverlight 2.0, released this month for Windows and Mac, is a tipping point. This is the version that gives developers the features they have long been waiting for, including a cross-platform implementation of Microsoft's .NET Framework. Microsoft will use its massive Professional Developers' Conference (PDC) in Los …
Tim Anderson, 27 Oct 2008
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Adobe cites bad blood for closed Flash

Everyone loves open source - well, everyone apart from Microsoft, that is. The only problem with open source is deciding how much code control you're willing to relinquish, especially when open source puts your precious bits and bytes - and ultimately your own product plans - into the hands of your competitors. Adobe Systems' …
Tim Anderson, 26 Sep 2008
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Will Microsoft ever get the web?

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 …
Tim Anderson, 22 Sep 2008
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Bill Buxton to change Microsoft from within, hug Steve Ballmer

"Last year at the company meeting Steve Ballmer said quite clearly to 85,000 employees 'If you don’t change and you don’t go in this direction, we’re dead, and I don’t want to die.' I wanted to go hug him when he said that." So says Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft, interviewed at the company’s Remix 08 conference …
Tim Anderson, 19 Sep 2008
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Chrome: A new force for web applications?

Google's new web browser has provoked an orgy of comment almost rivalling that for a new trinket from Apple. There's plenty of froth, but for once the interest is justified. This is not just a browser: it is a vehicle for delivering web applications, and it significantly changes the balance of power between those trying to build …
Tim Anderson, 04 Sep 2008
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Shine on Silverlight and Windows with XAML

Extensible Application Markup Language, or XAML, lies at the heart of Microsoft's rich-client strategy. The user interface for both Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight, which is mostly a subset of WPF, is typically defined in XAML. It is, therefore, something Windows developers will have to get to grips with if …
Tim Anderson, 01 Sep 2008
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Microsoft Silverlight: 10 reasons to love it, 10 reasons to hate it

A year or so ago I wrote a post called Adobe AIR: 10 reasons to love it, 10 reasons to hate it. Here’s the same kind of list for Microsoft’s Silverlight, based on the forthcoming Silverlight 2.0 rather than the current version. The items are not in any kind of order - they also reflect my interest in application development …
Tim Anderson, 18 Aug 2008
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Is Microsoft's Silverlight evil?

That's really the question John Markoff is asking in this New York Times piece about the way the NBC Olympics streaming video is putting Microsoft's browser plug-in on the map. Someone has even popped up to state that this is another go at technology monopoly: "They're still playing the same games," said Michael R. Nelson, …
Tim Anderson, 12 Aug 2008
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Consume .NET services without Silverlight

Can Adobe Systems' Flex access Microsoft .NET web services? Adobe tends to promote its own ColdFusion or LiveCycle Data Services for use with Flex, but it also has support for SOAP 1.1. When Microsoft released Silverlight 2 second beta last month, I tested it by building a simple Create, Retrieve, Update, Delete (CRUD) database …
Tim Anderson, 17 Jul 2008

MobileMe steals Live Mesh thunder

Recently I viewed Apple’s presentation for MobileMe. Here’s my quick take. Live Mesh is a true platform, whose scope extends well beyond MobileMe. Yet Apple’s marketing message is so close to Microsoft’s that most users will not see that difference. Here’s Apple: Wherever you are, your iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, and PC are always …
Tim Anderson, 08 Jul 2008

Is SproutCore worth the Flash and Java iPhone snub?

A little-known open-source project became the subject of intense interest recently, following a session at Apple's developer conference in San Francisco, California. That project? SproutCore. Apple offered to show WWDC attendees a way to deliver a "first-class user experience and exceptional performance" in web applications …
Tim Anderson, 02 Jul 2008

Silverlight 2 beta 2 - Go Live if you dare

Microsoft has released beta 2.0 of Silverlight 2.0, complete with a Go-Live license that permits commercial deployments for those sufficiently brave. Silverlight 2.0 is the make-or-break release for Microsoft's would-be Flash killer, since it includes the .NET runtime. While .NET has succeeded as a web platform, it has never …
Tim Anderson, 09 Jun 2008