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RIA & Ajax: Article

Microsoft's Silverlight Boss Keynotes AJAX World RIA Conference & Expo

On the standards-based AJAX side of things, Microsoft is highly active, says Scott Guthrie

In his keynote at AJAXWorld RIA Conference & Expo, Scott Guthrie stated that his team is devoted to helping AJAX developers build great Web experiences.

Microsoft's Scott Guthrie runs the team that launched Silverlight 2 on October 13. He also runs the teams that built IIS, ASP.NET, Atlas, CLR, Compact Framework, Windows Forms, Commerce Server, Visual Web Developer 2005 and Visual Studio Tools for WPF.



Right now Guthrie's team is devoted to helping AJAX developers build great Web experiences. This year has been busy for him - first he shipped Windows Server 2008, a re-write of Microsoft's web server from top to bottom. Then he launched VS 2008 and .NET 3.5 - bringing integrated AJAX support within Visual Studio.

Microsoft now offers a "one-stop" shop for those developing rich web apps. And there's full jQuery support on its way in the next couple of weeks too, said Guthrie, who then demo'd a preview of exactly that - a jQuery Flickr app.

On the standards-based AJAX side of things, Microsoft is highly active, he added.

Silverlight 2 was front and center of the next part of his keynote.

A 4.6MB plug-in, easy to install in a consumer-friendly way, Silverlight powered the biggest video event of all time during the Olympics. AOL mail, with 70 million users, has used Silverlight 2. The Democratic National Convention was also streamed this year using Silverlight.

One in four machines worldwide now have Silverlight installed or access to one. In some parts of the world that rate is 50% already - and the aim, said Guthrie, is to make it ubiquitous.

What can you do with Silverlight?

Powering premium media experience is one aspect and offering high quality video at an afffordable price, and building apps is the other main aspect. But the download also has everything you need to build applications, from consumer to enterprise apps as it provides a ton of functionality out of the box. It's a subset of the .NET framework and is multi-language.

The WPF UI framework allows you to build your app using higher-level widgets that you can program against. You can do robust networking and Silverlight has integrated data support. The .NET runtime is fast, so high performance is another key aspect of Silverlight. There are UI widgets built in from the get-go, and there are higher-level controls that you can take advantage of too.

The controls all have a default look and feel, but they can be skinned and sculpted inside a design tool so that you have very nice developer-designer integration.

MSDN subscribers get both Visual Studio 2008 and Microsoft Expression - Microsoft's design tools - for free, Guthrie noted. Or they can be bought separately. He then went on to demo some high-profile Silverlight use cases including the Hard Rock Cafe web site (a consumer example) followed by a more enterprise-relevant example, a health care portal that Microsoft has built.

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to RIA@sys-con.com to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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