Live from MIX07: Silverlight and XML!

Greetings from MIX07 everyone!

That's right, Scott Guthrie announced this morning, to a sold out crowd at MIX07, the details around Silverlight, Microsoft's cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and Rich Interactive Applications (RIAs) for the Web.

XML and Silverlight

First, let me say how excited I am to begin discussions about Silverlight and XML. Even though all you clever XMLers may have forecasted it, for the past several months, the involvement of the .NET Framework within Silverlight has been under wraps. Thus, it is great to be able to take a step back to dig into what we have created thus far as well as chat about the current thinking for the future of XML in Silverlight.

So, how does XML pertain to all this Silverlight buzz? Well, XML plays a fundamental role in enabling RIAs through Silverlight. For example, let’s take the popular mashup topic. As service offerings become available across the web that allow users to expose rich content in a machine readable format, some really compelling RIAs are possible that unify the experience around data through Silverlight and XML.

For MIX, we have been working on the Socializer, a social networking browser that leverages the machine readable web through Silverlight. This Silverlight sample showcases how users can easily unify experiences around social networking data using Silverlight, RSS, and the Friend of a Friend (FOAF) RDF format. Further, the Socializer demonstrates how Silverlight can be leveraged to create rich user experiences with data through asynchronous usage of web services, thus exposing a smooth, socially aware application shown below!

The Socializer
The Socializer

XML Features in Silverlight

In the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha release, we have enabled streamed XML reading and writing through the XmlReader and XmlWriter, respectively.

That’s it, you say? For the MIX Alpha release, yes. Over the 1.1 alpha release cycle, we have focused on providing a great XML foundation within Silverlight through the reader and writer in order to enable the delivery of additional pieces of the XML stack within the context of Silverlight in the future.

XML, Silverlight, and the Future

Going forward, we are planning to support LINQ to XML within Silverlight to enable a great story for query, caching, manipulation, aggregation, and data binding using XML.

Additionally, we'd love to get feedback on what types of activities are relevant for you, given this great new programming model of .NET within the browser. In particular, how do you feel about the following features in the browser?

· XSD Schemas

· XPath

· XSLT

· DOM

Well, the dinner bell is ringing here at MIX07, so that’s all for now. Though, as we're now allowed to talk about Silverlight publically, I am very excited to discuss XML and Silverlight, what types of applications are interesting for you in this space, as well as the types of XML features are relevant for you in the context of the browser. If you have any feedback, feel free to ping me through my blog at the following location:

http://blogs.msdn.com/adunnington

I hope that you are as excited as we are about this huge news on Silverlight, .NET, and the browser. If you get a chance, check out the bits and send on your feedback!

Till next time…

Aaron Dunnington
Program Manager
XML Technologies
Microsoft Corporation