ReMix10 for Innovative Architects

In March I went to the MIX10 conference in Las Vegas.  In this post I will highlight the information covered at our company meeting.

Session Recap Links

SharePoint Sessions Recap

Silverlight Sessions Recap

March Announcements

At MIX there were many announcements made about new tools available.  To see a full list of announcements from mix visit http://live.visitmix.com/News/.  The 3 announcements that I think are most relevant to IA are:

April Announcements

  • Visual Studio 2010 will be released
  • Silverlight 4 will be released
  • Windows Phone 7 Series Beta Tools will be released

Silverlight 4

Microsoft has really stepped up its game through the Silverlight releases.  Silverlight 4 will provide new capabilities that will greatly enhance our ability to provide desktop like applications to users over the web.  With SharePoint 2010’s support of silverlight, we will be able to build highly interactive solutions to our clients.

New Capabilities

There are too many new features in Silverlight 4 to mention them all but here are a few that I thought would be incredibly helpful.

  • Right click ability, drag and drop capable, Bing map control
  • Out of the Browser Trusted mode
  • Out of the Browser Toasts / Notifications
  • Out of the Browser Rich networking in trusted mode
Pivot

Silverlight 2 introduced Deep Zoom, Silverlight 3 introduced Photosynth, and now Silverlight 4 introduces Pivot.  Pivot is a new feature that enables developers to show the overall information hidden in large datasets.  The technology uses deep zoom image sets and special xml files specifying the information about the images.  This information is categorized by facets.  When silverlight 4 is released in April, the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated websites may have Silverlight Pivot elements.

Windows Phone 7 Series

A Zune phone has been speculated about by Zune fans for a long time.  While the Windows Phone 7 Series will have Zune functionality it is much more than a phone that plays music.  The Windows Phone 7 Series is a device capable of interactive Silverlight content and XNA games.  The phone is designed around task centered hubs.  Each hub is focused around one main goal.  For example the Music and Video hub is focused on the playback of media. Hubs are extensible meaning that applications built for the phone can specify what their role is like media playback or social networking.  Applications that specify this information are added to the appropriate existing applications on the device enabling companies like NetFlix to build an app that can be accessed from the same hub that music and video from Zune is accessed.

  • Windows Phone 7 Series Apps can be written in Silverlight or XNA
  • All applications have hardware acceleration enabled
  • When released, the development tools will be free forever

SharePoint 2010

  • SharePoint 2010 is targeting the WCGA 2.0 AA Accessibility standard
  • SharePoint 2010 will render clean html with the exception of a few legacy webparts
  • SharePoint 2010 is targeting IE 7, IE 8, Firefox, and Safari on OSX
  • SharePoint 2010 will have a developer dashboard that can be enabled during development.  This dashboard can help developers speed up page load time.

SharePoint 2010 Branding

  • Branding is much improved over branding in MOSS
  • The new theme capability can recolor images and even replace them.  To improve theming, branders can specify css hints to help SharePoint 2010 in its coloring
  • In MOSS, special pages like login or errors were a little more difficult to brand.  In SharePoint 2010, these pages can be redirected to other pages through the use of a powershell command-let.
  • Microsoft will provide a mostly style free master page called Starter.master for branding.  This master page will have very little if any style applied to it
  • SharePoint 2010 introduces many new controls.  One of these is the CssRegistration control.  This is the new control that should be used to specify custom css files.  If this control is used then SharePoint 2010 can use the theme feature

Design

Many design topics were discussed at MIX but among them a highly relevant one for IA was the launch of a new design toolbox site.  Located at http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox, the design toolbox site is a training portal for learning the art of graphic and user experience design related topics.  The site has 2 tracks now with more to follow.  Right now visitors can progress through the Design Scenarios and Design Principles tracks.  Windows Phone 7 Series design tracks are being prepared for release later in 2010.

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