Mix08: Rich Internet the Microsoft way

I’ve just registered here at Microsoft’s Mix08 conference in Las Vegas. I’ve heard a lot from Adobe recently, with Adobe AIR just launched, so this is a great opportunity to get Microsoft’s angle on the Rich Internet Application concept. Silverlight 2.0 will be prominent, as will Internet Explorer 8. I asked a developer on the plane what he likes about Silverlight compared to Flash. He told me that it is much easier to create Silverlight content dynamically at runtime, thanks to XAML. Silverlight renders XAML, whereas Flex compiles MXML – a significant difference.

In the Mix “Sandbox” lounge I got my first glimpse of Microsoft surface, which looks compelling. I hope to have  a better play later.

This evening O’Reilly is launching a new book by Christian Lenz called Essential Silverlight 2 Up-to-date. It is a new concept from O’Reilly, using a kind of ring binder (not actually a ring, but you know the kind of thing). The book which I saw is 50% blank pages; but the idea is that you will be able to receive or download additional pages and insert them into the book to keep it up-to-date. Not a new concept, but still an interesting attempt to address the problem of technical books quickly becoming out-of-date. It is particularly suitable for Silverlight 2.0 which is not done yet. At the same time, I can imagine this being a considerable hassle, and pages bound like this don’t turn quite as easily. I hope to review the book in due course.

It turns out that the Venetian Hotel and Casino, where Mix takes place, is a Microsoft customer. How do I know? Well, many of the rooms sport screens over the door advertising various hotel attractions, and I spotted one that has a distinctive Microsoft flavour.

Which goes to show that wherever you are in the world, you are never more than 12 screens from a Windows error message.

If you’re at Mix and would like to chat, by all means get in touch.