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Monthly Archives: February 2007

MIX 07, Microsoft’s conference for web designers, developers and decision makers is taking place in Las Vegas from April 30th – May 2nd.

This will be my first time at MIX (having in the past been to events with an A instead of an I ;)) and I’m looking forward to accompanying a number of partners going from the UK – some of whom will be presenting the great work they have been doing with Microsoft’s web tools/platform over the last year.

As well as the keynote sessions, there are currently over 40 session titles listed online covering Expression Studio, ASP.NET AJAX, WPF/E and WPF. We’ve also announced that everyone attending MIX 07 will get a full copy of Windows Vista Ultimate, and if that doesn’t tempt you, then how about the Pussycat Dolls performing at the offical MIX party (yeah, thought that would do it ;)).

There’s also lots of new content going up at the MIX University which, whether going to MIX or not, provides a great introduction to all these new Microsoft technologies through hands-on labs, videos, demo assets and presentations.

If you’re planning on going to MIX 07 then please let me know – I’m sure we’ll organise something for all those making the trip out from the UK.

If you can’t make it out to Vegas then keep watching for further information on ReMIX, where we present some of the best content from MIX, together with UK-specific examples and case studies. We’re working on the details for ReMIX right now, so I’ll post details here when dates/location are confirmed.

Posted by: Andrew Shorten

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I spent the last couple of days at the Future of Web Apps conference in London – it was an interesting experience, as 12 months ago I was presenting on the main stage talking about Flex as an Adobe employee. Fast forward a year and this time I was on the Microsoft stand talking to designers and developers about Expression Studio, ‘WPF/E’ and WPF. A lot can happen in a year 🙂

I was actually quite surprised by the number of people who picked up on this and started a conversation with “Weren’t you presenting last year on Flex…?”.

This of course leads to a discussion as to why I left Adobe and what attracted me to Microsoft – thought I’d share that here.

The software industry is a small world and it’s not uncommon for people to move between the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Google and Apple – for example, Forest Key and Brad Becker are both ex-Macromedia and now at Microsoft leading on the UX/design platform, whereas Mark Anders is ex-Microsoft and now at Adobe, focusing on Flex/Apollo. Sometimes an interesting opportunity presents itself at the right time and for both personal and professional reasons it makes sense.

Microsoft was a really interesting proposition for a number of reasons – I was really impressed by the amount of effort and innovation that is being put into the tools and technologies that are focused on improving user experience, excited by the opportunity to help contribute to the success of a completely new area for Microsoft and ready for the challenge that comes from working in a new environment, with new technologies and new people.

From a technical perspective there were a number of similarities between the work I was doing at Adobe and the areas that Microsoft are focusing on – using XML to define user interfaces, using designer and developer tools to create online experiences, integrating rich media content and building the next generation of Rich Internet Applications. Whilst Microsoft may be late to the party in terms of design (Adobe has been doing this for 20 years), it does provide the opportunity to start afresh and create tools that really focus on the designer/developer workflows that are required to deliver increasingly complex RIAs and desktop applications.

Another area of interest for me was the investments that Microsoft make in their partner programmes and the resources required to enable both Microsoft and partners to be successful – I now have the opportunity to work directly with web/design/creative agencies here in the UK; not only to introduce Microsoft’s design and development tools (and thus influence future web & desktop experiences), but also to help Microsoft understand how best to support designers and creative agencies in the future.

Bottom line: Adobe are doing great things, Microsoft are doing great things – competition is good for everyone and hopefully the resulting tools and platforms that designers and developers use will enable the next generation of web and desktop experiences to be richer and more engaging than ever before.

Posted by: Andrew Shorten

There’s a lot going on in Microsoft right now as we continue to build out the tools, runtimes, technologies and services that will enable great user experiences on the web, on the desktop and on mobile & devices.

Unfortunately, this can mean trying to find information on our UX-related technologies can lead you to a variety of Microsoft and non-Microsoft websites; making it hard to get a quick overview of the technology, download trial/release software and locate learning materials from one location.

So, to make things a little easier I’ve created a page for each of the key UX-related Microsoft product/technology areas that aims to provide a “5 minute guide to…” resource – providing a quick overview and links to online resources that will help you get started as quickly as possible.

Links to each of the pages, covering ASP.NET AJAX, WPF/E, WPF, Windows Live and Expression Studio, are below:

Please let me know if these are useful, or if you come across additional resources/links that should be added to these pages.

Posted by: Andrew Shorten

Welcome to the Microsoft blog for and about UK Web Agencies – the purpose of this blog is to present news, information and resources that will be of interest to designers, developers and BDMs within web and creative agencies who are interested in, evaluating or creating compelling content with Microsoft’s web platform.

This blog will focus upon Microsoft’s emerging rich client technologies, our new designer tools and topics relating to user experience and design.

In addition, we look forward to highlighting some of the great work that web and creative agencies are doing using Microsoft’s products – work which provides inspiration for others producing interactive content, rich internet applications and compelling desktop experiences.

We’ll start with information to help get you started building rich online and desktop experiences using Expression Studio, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and our cross-browser, cross-OS runtime currently codenamed “WPF/E”.

Please let us know what you think of the products and help us showcase the work you’re doing here… use the comments to get in touch.

Posted by: Andrew Shorten