MIX08: A Conference Summary

MIX08 came and went and I've had a chance to reflect on its impact over the weekend.  I have to say that the content really impressed me.  Some of the exciting news for me:

  • IE8 is going to surprise a lot of people.  I'm looking forward to digging deep into the experience the browser gives me and to really test out the standards-based browsing that it has introduced into the product line. 
  • The work on Silverlight 2 is really, really strong and the DeepZoom technology is excellent. 
  • I was also happy to see the great progress that the Expression Team is making on getting the product ready for Silverlight 2 as well. 
  • Mesh Computing:  Ray Ozzie alluded to it very slighly, but I think we're finally starting to see where his focus has been.  He's been rather silent over the past 2 years working on some cloud-based services computing work and I think he just let the cat out of the bag at MIX08 as to where a great deal of Microsoft's efforts in Software + Services strategy is heading.  And I like what I heard.

I personally would have liked to see more information on Windows Live, which I still say is one of Microsoft's best kept secrets.  Most people are only aware of Live Search in the services offering (if at all!) but there is so much goodness in the Live Services suite that people can leverage to build great experiences for users on the web or on the desktop.  I thought MIX08 would be a bit of a "coming of age party" for Live, but that wasn't the case.  I'm hoping to see MIX09 as the "Live MIX"; it could be a very interesting MIX if it is.

Conference highlights were a-plenty.  The keynotes and sessions were great with a lot of very useful and exciting information.  Some of my personal highlights included:

  • The Steve Ballmer Keynote:  People have a pretty stereotypical impression of SteveB and I think he did an excellent job in dispelling some of those stereotypes.  Overall, and amazing keynote and I hope he is back for MIX09.
  • The Ray Ozzie, Scott Guthrie and Dean Hachamovitch Keynote:  Some absolutely amazing content here.  Silverlight 2, DeepZoom, IE8, Expression (particularly encoder)
  • Sessions
    • BCT03 - Understanding Microsoft Partner Programs for Designers, Developers and Agencies :  This session provided some great information for designers, developers and web agencies to take advantage of a partnership with Microsoft to help them build their web business.
    • CT01, CT02 - Building Rich Internet Applications with Silverlight 2, Parts 1 and 2:  If you want to know how to build Silverlight 2 applications, these 2 sessions will definitely help you along the way.
    • C04 - Microsoft Expression Web: From Comp, to CSS, to Code!   If you build websites with Expression Web or you are looking to move from FrontPage (which has been deprecated), this is an excellent session to view as it gives a detailed view of the features in Expression Web 2 (including PHP support!).
    • T09 - Overview of Expression Encoder 2:  This was a fantastic session on the new features found in v2 of Expression Encoder (formerly known as Expression Media Encoder).  If you want to know what new functionality the Expression Team has added to the software, you should view this session.

Just a reminder, all the sessions can be found at http://sessions.visitmix.com/, including the keynotes.

Many of the new, highlighted technologies can be downloaded.  A good summary of these downloadable technologies can be found on a blog post by Tim Sneath here.

Oh, and just to get you all ready, MIX09 will be held March 18-20, 2009. See you there!


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