Microsoft announcement of Silverlight 2 (Devices/RIA/Client)

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a significant technology advancement in Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform development.

This announcement was significant on many levels from my perspective. 

  1. It solidifies (beyond SL 1) the ability to use .Net to develop richer (beyond video and media) web client applications. As you may know, I have had strong opinions on the previous Web development experience (Thin Client - Web Clients).
  2. It clearly shows our effort in meeting customer demands to provide a continuum and compatibility of development environments from Devices to Web and Rich/Smart Client applications. Check out Scott Guthrie's blog post with sample code
  3. Providing VS designer support and very rich Expression Studio support for the above. This will further empower designers to build rich client applications with WPF and rich media/RIA experiences with Silverlight.

Check out the Mix08 site for more details, including the keynote.

Some of the coolest things I saw were:

  • The Hard Rock Café demo of zooming in and out of media images and retaining resolution. WPF rocks!
  • The upcoming Olympics media experience was unbelievable. The demo of multiple channels on the screen, the ability to rewind real time events and PIP (Picture In Picture). Unbelievable. Sniff, sniff, I miss my ability to do PIP on my TV. Sad that with High Def, etc... I had to give up on one of the coolest features I once had.
  • Silverlights ability to adjust the streaming experience based on my ever changing connectivity bandwidth was to cool for school.

One other note. I watched the keynote live from my desktop and I couldn't help but wonder how the audience could sit their so quietly when so many cool things were being shown on real bits. We aren't talking vapor or demo-ware here. I haven't been directly involved in the SL development effort and granted I work at Microsoft so I likely bring some bias, and I guess I am more excitable than your average person about where we landed on the ability to develop applications in a very compatible way from devices to Web to Rich Client applications (and maybe I had some influence) but can someone tell me why the audience was not as engaged. I mean, PIP - come on people, that's cool stuff! In any event, as a developer/consumer I am thrilled, as a contributor I am proud, and as a user I don't expect I will leave my DVI flat panel dual monitors during the Olympics.

I would love to get your thoughts on where we hit or missed the mark. Enjoy!