Mix09 Day 2 and 3 Wrap-up

Day 2 and 3 of Mix09 is a bit harder to summarize in a blog post.  Day 1 was much of the sound and fury behind Expression 3 and Silverlight.  Everyone (Microsoft and non-Microsoft folks alike) are largely absorbing it all.  Day 2 and 3 are largely about networking and the conversations – and that’s why Vegas is a great venue for Mix as it facilitates the “conversation” much more than PDC or TechEd.  SketchFlow in Expression Blend has to be one of coolest app/demo that I’ve seen.   You can see the keynote demo and relevant sessions, but essentially SketchFlow facilitates the design experience by allowing applications to built in a workflow pattern, while offering collaborative tools to take a project from concept to development.  I see this as the evolution of the XAML promise of merging the developer and designer experience. Of course I can’t escape mentioning the release of IE8 –- download it here.  While IE8 will have its share of critics, there are number of features that I particularly like.  The first is the developer tools, available by hitting F12 or clicking Tools –> Developer Tools.   Read more on that here.  Accelerators:  IE8 includes a number of accelerators out of the box and the framework is extensible for more.  The way accelerators work is pretty simple:  highlight some text and the accelerator can carry out a macro-like functionality – for example, highlight and address on a webpage and an accelerator can fly out to lookup that address in Virtual Earth, or highlight some text and click translate.  Content syndication via RSS is pervasive, and web slices offer a way for authors to syndicate portions of a website instead of a traditional RSS feed.   Users can optionally subscribe to these data islands.  A weather slice is a good example of this.  Will this catch on?  I’m not sure. In Private browsing is a great feature for kiosks and public machines –- In Private browsing doesn’t secure the traffic or “anonomize” the traffic from client to server, but it does prevent local cache files from storing information. Another great session to check out is DeepZoom++: Build Dynamic Deep Zoom Applications.  The bulk of the session revolves around an open source project named Jellyfish … check it out on Codeplex.  Thursday night is the typical marathon night of parties and events.  Awesome time meeting with so many folks; Thursday night ended on a spectacular note by getting a backstage tour of the Cirque De Soleil Beatles Love show, courtesy of college friend who graciously gave us some of her time to show us around.  Very cool stuff … amazing the attention to detail and effort that goes into the performances, it’s definitely a class act. Friday ended on a great note by an impromptu geek dinner at Grand Lux.  Thanks to everyone who came out!   While I’m looking forward to getting home (writing this on the airplane), Mix09 was a great conference and remains my favorite Microsoft conference.  Thanks to my DPE East colleagues Peter, Lindsay, Billy Andrew, and Glen for a great week, as well as all the local folks from my neck of the woods like Page, Rob, Justin, and countless others. 

Mix09 Day 1 Wrap-up

No fancy pictures to post – for those, head over to flickr to see what’s going on at the Venetian.   After sitting in the keynote, 2 sessions, and hanging at the 3rd Place (open conversations area), having good conversations at breakfast/lunch and playing a bit of Rockband with my east-coast compatriots, I’m remembering why I love Mix so much! Here’s my impressions after day 1, in no particular order: 1) ASP.NET MVC 1.0 shipped.  This is a bit of a surprise as RC2 is only a few weeks old, but hey, ship it when it’s ready.  If you’ve been developing on any of the PR bits, beta bits, or RC bits, now is the time to upgrade.  The process will be either completely painless or involve a modicum of pain depending on how old your bits are.  :) 2) Superpreview: cool application to preview websites in different browsers.  Read more on the Expression blog.   What I liked was the onion-skinning and DOM tools to make it easier to troubleshoot problem spots in a site; but what really impressed me was the ability to use any locally installed browser as a rendering engine, OR a service in the cloud to simulate rending from (in theory) any other browser.  3) Silverlight 3.  Brad Abrams did a great session on building business applications in Silverlight 3.  You can download the bits from his blog, but I definitely recommend checking out his session when the video is posted.  Towards the end, he dives into creating a friendly search engine experience so that “critical” data within an application can still be indexed and permalinked.  (This has been a hang up I’ve heard from many people regarding the use of browser plug in to display data.)  Additionally, he does a nice demo of the great sitemap capabilities to aid in SEO.  Apparently Andrew can’t stay away from Billy, and I caught him doing this again, with Jeff Atwood on the drums.  Video quality is a bit lacking as I tried to snap this last second, but someone has a better video we’ll dig up soon.

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