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Category Archives: News


And on that topic…  registrations for Mix 08 are open!!

Where & When?

March 5 – 7, 2008
The Venetian, Resort Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

What is it?

“Now in its third year, MIX is an intimate opportunity for cutting-edge technical, creative and business strategists to engage Microsoft in a conversation about the future of the web. Come explore the latest wave of opportunities and help redefine the boundaries between: content and commerce, PC and TV, Windows and the Web. “

Steve Ballmer will be giving a keynote.

Take a look … Mix08.


Scott Guthrie has released some preliminary details about what’s in the next release of the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha… well that’s the first thing… it’s not 1.1 anymore but a fully fledged v2, which makes a lot more sense to me with the amount of power and flexibility being added to the release now.

Silverlight 2.0 will focus on enabling rich Internet applications.  This release will include a cross-platform, cross-browser version of the .NET Framework, and will enable a rich .NET development platform in the browser.

Some of the new .NET specific features in the next public Silverlight preview will include:

  • WPF UI Framework: The current Silverlight Alpha release only includes basic controls support and a managed API for UI drawing.  The next public Silverlight preview will add support for the higher level features of the WPF UI framework.  These include: the extensible control framework model, layout manager support, two-way data-binding support, and control template and skinning support.  The WPF UI Framework features in Silverlight will be a compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework features in last week’s .NET Framework 3.5 release.

  • Rich Controls: Silverlight will deliver a rich set of controls that make building Rich Internet Applications much easier.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for core form controls (textbox, checkbox, radiobutton, etc), built-in layout management controls (StackPanel, Grid, etc), common functionality controls (TabControl, Slider, ScrollViewer, ProgressBar, etc) and data manipulation controls (DataGrid, etc).

  • Rich Networking Support: Silverlight will deliver rich networking support.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for REST, POX, RSS, and WS communication.  It will also add support for cross domain network access (so that Silverlight clients can access resources and data from any trusted source on the web).

  • Rich Base Class Library Support: Silverlight will include a rich .NET base class library of functionality (collections, IO, generics, threading, globalisation, XML, local storage, etc).  The next Silverlight preview release will also add built-in support for LINQ to XML and richer HTML DOM API integration.

This is a great preview of some of the features coming to the next version of Silverlight, the question you’re probably asking now is when can I get my hands on it?

Well the good news is Silverlight 2.0 Beta will be released in Q1 of 2008.  Even better the Beta will support a Go-Live license that enables you to begin building and deploying Silverlight 2.0 applications.

The development applications will also be getting revised at the same time with a free Visual Studio 2008 tools update that provides Silverlight 2.0 support within Visual Studio 2008. Silverlight development will not be limited to the paid for versions of Visual Studio 2008 Standard/Professional products, but will come to the free Visual Studio 2008 Express editions as well, which is great news.

‘And finally’ is news that next week a new preview of ASP.NET 3.5 extensions will also be released which will include extended Silverlight support for easily integration of Silverlight within your ASP.NET applications.  In particular there will be new controls that make it easy to integrate Silverlight video/media and interactive content within your sites.

This is a good step change from the 1.1 Alpha release and I look forward to seeing what you guys can do with it 🙂

Roll on Q1 that’s what I say!


Popfly is the first of a new generation of web tools that enables users of all skill levels to create or edit their own mash-ups for use within applications or to simply spice up their web sites or socials sites.  


Key Messages:

Popfly is a tool that enables you to easily build and share mashups, gadgets, and Web pages

  • Free Web-based tool built with Silverlight
  • Build applications using popular services (Flickr, Halo, Twitter)
  • Share your applications almost anywhere (Facebook, Live, Blogs, Web pages)
  • Connect with other creators

Why Popfly:

Add some fun to your Facebook profile, web site, or Windows Live Spaces page

  • Custom Games – Asteroids, Whack-a-mole
  • Quizzes, tests – Who’s more popular

Build a home page

  • Organization or Club site – schedule, photos, videos, roster, maps and directions

Mix and re-mix photos and videos

  • Take pictures from Facebook, Flickr, Windows Live Image Search, or Windows Live Spaces

Unify your online personality

  • Show what you dug on Digg, what you buy and sell on eBay, your Halo 3 game scores, and more

Microsoft Silverlight logoWe’ve just announced a public preview of a publishing plug-in that allows Expression Encoder to encode and publish Silverlight content directly to the Silverlight Streaming service.

You can download the plug-in directly from the Microsoft download section.

To recap, Silverlight Streaming is a content hosting service that has been launched by the Windows Live team (currently in Alpha). As part of the Alpha service you get 4GB of FREE storage which allows you to host Silverlight Applications including videos and unlimited streaming.

There are a couple of limitations on the videos that you can use during the alpha phase, the video can be up to 10 minutes in length and encoded at up to 700Kbps. When the service moves towards release and leaves beta you’ll still have 4GB worth of FREE storage and up to 1 million minutes of FREE streaming. Unlimited streaming will also be available for FREE with advertising, or with payment of a nominal fee for the service for use without advertising.

So what do you need:

Expression Media Encoder (Please note this now comes with a 180 day trial key!)

Silverlight Streaming Account

Silverlight Streaming Plug-in Preview (for Expression Media Encoder)

There’s also a plug-in for Windows Live Writer available here, (thanks to James Clarke for making it happen) that allows you to insert Silverlight Streaming applications directly into your blog.

This service will definitely be one to watch over the coming months.

Expression Design receives it’s first service pack you can read the full detail on the Expression Design blog but in brief… much better XAML exporting for Silverlight 1.0.

You can download the Service pack from either the Expression Web site or from MSDN.


Yes it’s true. We are now in the process of rolling out the first ‘Mercury’ kits!

If you’ve been working with us over the last 12 months during this early phase of Silverlight and Expression, attended one of the agencies events we’ve held in London or had one to one briefings with us then keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of weeks for your kit to arrive.

Acceptance to Mercury in the UK is through nomination only, via either John Allwright, Expression Product Manager, Jon Harris – User Experience Evangelist or Emma Bateson – Channel Development Manager.

As a member you get access to:

• Free Expression Studio via Mercury Agency Kit

• Local Instructor Lead Workshops & Online Training

• Demos/Samples/Access to ‘How-to Content’

• Free Design & Web Developer Support

• Partner Marketing & PR

• Conference Sponsorship

The home for Mercury is: – which is only available to Mercury members.

There is also a site available for people in the broader design community –

Look forward to seeing you in the forums soon 🙂

xbox gadget


This should be a hit come xmas time for all xbox fans. … a Vista sidebar gadget for tracking your XBOX Live pals. Good stuff from Adam Kinney.

Just make sure that before you run the gadget you install Silverlight 1.0, otherwise the gadget will not work. 🙂

We are heading up to Scotland this week and Blognation has picked up our visit. Looking forward to meeting lots of people in the User Experience market in Scotland!

Microsoft to Speak at Edinburgh’s Third Tuesday

Ewan Spence –


Edinburgh’s Third Tuesday meetings continue to gather pace and some great guests. The next meeting will be this week in Home House at 7.30pm.

As always there will be time mix and mingle before the main presentation, which this month is from a team at Microsoft, including Emma Bateson, Solution Channel Development Manager. We’re told that topics will include the user experience, and new technologies including the Silverlight rich internet application framework for developer. This is a good step from Microsoft as the central belt of Scotland (Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) are becoming strong players in some of the Web 2.0 spaces, including casual online gaming.

Head over to the Third Tuesday Calendar to RSVP.

Those of you that have recently attended MIX:UK or our Community event will have seen us talk about Seadragon.

What is this all about?

Take a look at this great demo.



For those of you that might have missed our Mix:UK event a couple of weeks ago – the BBC has released a Digital Planet Podcast on the BBC News Technology page.

This is a 27 minute programme that was broadcast on the BBC World Service and is dedicated to the Mix:UK event and Microsoft’s web technologies.

Download (12.2mb)

Digital Planet