MIX11 in review
I know this post is overdue, but I’m happy to say that in the time since MIX has elapsed, my wife and I have sold our condo and moved to a new home. I’ve also transition to a new contract, and I am excited to get my feet wet my new project. Despite the delay, it was a wonderful experience. This was my first year at MIX. The content, announcements, and the networking were all memorable. I only wish I could’ve attended all the sessions. Luckily the content is available online, so I did my best to mark key talks that I wanted to catch back home.
This year was filled with a number of announcements at the two keynotes I did my best to update my twitter feed with some of the cool ones.
The first keynote was focused around recent release of IE9, the next generation of web, ASP.NET MVC3, and HTML5, and the new release of IE 10 Platform Preview 1 (watch online):
- IE9 Released
- IE10 Platform Preview1 Released (download)
- HTML5 Labs available to demonstrate HTML5 features and compatibility
- New Developer Conference coming to Anaheim, CA from September 13-16 2011 (PDC maybe? maybe not?)
- Microsoft is commited to pushing and actively contributing to NuGet (an open source package manager)
- Tools update for ASP.NET MVC 3 available for download
- Entity Framework 4.1 released (download)
- Updated Scaffolding support for Entity Framework and MVC
- Updated ASP.NET MVC New Project Dialog (screenshot) with support for the Razor View engine, HTML5 markup
- MVC 3 new projects now include built in Modernizr script support and many scripts and references are updatable via NuGet package references.
The second keynote, which really piqued my interests was all about Windows Phone 7, Silverlight, and the Kinect (watch):
- Windows Phone 7
- Respectable acknowledgement of the Windows Phone 7 Update state by Joe Belfiore, and announcement of the Where’s my Update? page.
- New Windows Phone 7 Update codenamed “Mango” shipping this Fall
- Focus of Mango is on Opportunity (Ecosystem, Countries, Discoverability), Capability (Browser, Phone Integration, Multi-tasking), and Developer Experience and Tools
- Nokia appeared live and affirmed their commitment to partnering with Microsoft to reach hundreds of millions of customers
- Mango will support for 16 Languages, 38 Countries, and 35 Countries can buy apps from a single Marketplace
- Marketplace search added to App list on home screen
- New Pivot view added to App decriptions in Marketplace
- New Related Apps pivot on in Marketplace
- Hubs and Search Cards (Movies, Restaurants, etc) have an Extras tab that deep links to relevant content
- IE9 and HTML5 will be included in the Mango
- HTML5 audio/video tag support added
- Background Audio support added to Mango
- Background Agents available in Mango, with support for running when users battery/wifi are optimal
- Multiple Live Tiles for Apps
- Live Tile Animation
- Updates to Live Tiles without Push notifications
- Sensor support added for Direct Camera support, Compass, and Gyro
- Socket Communication added
- Performance Optimizations – Scrolling and Input, Image Decode, Garbage Collection, and Memory Usage
- New Motion Sensor API for combining the Compass and Gyro raw data
- Angry Birds (May 25), Spotify, and Skype are coming to the Windows Phone
- Developer Tools
- Phone orientation tool for simulating Accelerometer, with options for pre-recorded gestures and actions
- Location simulation available via built-in Bing Maps tool, with options for pre-recorded location changes
- Phone Performance monitoring and analysis tools available
- Kinect SDK is coming this Fall
In addition to some wonderful keynotes, I wrote a personal summary of the sessions I attended (all of this content is available online):
- Deconstructing Orchard: Build, Customize, Extend, ShipBradley Millington explained the new features of the v1.1 release of Orchard CMS. This release comes with a new Recipes concept to startup development. Think Visual Studio Project Templates but for Orchard sites, these are fully customizable and open to community contributions, so new templates may come out for many common scenarios. Bradley also showed how simple it is to extend modules and themes. Finally we saw how a simplified deployment can round out a solution with minimal barriers to entry.
- Fonts, Form and Function: A Primer on Digital TypographyEverytime I see Robby Ingebretsen I’m always so impress about how simple he makes design feel. Check out his presentation at the Design Toolbox if you haven’t yet. Robby took us on a journey through the font choices for his group’s new website http://thinkpixellab.com/. He had some musings about fonts having personalities and relating that to a Hollywood cast in a major screenplay. Of course, we were shown with the every important Grid concept.
- Inspiring UX – UX Lightning Series‘UX Lightning sessions are a full hour session with 4 exceptional speakers each presenting 10 minute topics’. There was lots of inspiring content about Natural User interfaces, putting a lot of ownership on us as Developers and Designers. August de los Reyes was truly remarkable in his 21st Century Design Manifesto where he promotes a design process which is focused on Motivation, Needs, Positive Emotion, Learnability, Adaptability, and Revolutionary changes. This is in contrast to a user centric design which puts faith in the users (who often don’t know what, why, and how they like something), and incremental design evolution.
- Multitasking in the Next Version of Windows Phone, Part IAnnounced after the second keynote, Darin Miller, reviews the new Background/Live Agents, Reminders, and other background and multi-tasking APIs. Mango has some great new features, and they are being designed in a way that respects the user, all while retaining their excellent developer experience. Like optimizing downloads when you are on WiFi and power.
- Building Data-centric N-tier Applications with jQueryThe WCF RIA Services team has been doing a great job rounding out the REST/jQuery story. Brad Olenick showed a WCF Service that was consumed by jQuery using plugins for templating, data linking, change tracking, sorting and paging on the server side and on the client side. I can see this being a great tool coupled with the coming jQuery UI Grid. I hope the community rallies around this one especially with the recent shift in structure for the offical jQuery templating and dataLinking plugins
- Graphics & 3D with Silverlight 5One of most exciting announcements of Silverlight 5 is 3D, I’m really intrigued by it. As expected they brought in the XNA 3D features which is more aligned with the Windows Phone 3D experience. Aaron Oneal wowed everyone with some really cool demos including the Virtual walkthrough of the Windows Cafe. Then he walked us the through the Graphics processing pipeline showed how vertices, colors, triangles, textures, overlays, and lighting can be written straight to the GraphicsDevice. Caution, 3D development is not for yhe faint at heart.
- WCF Web APis: “There’s a URI for That”Coupled with Brad Olenick work above Glenn Block wrapped up the other side of what’s included on the http://wcf.codeplex.com release. In addition to consuming json using dynamic objects, they have a fluent API for configuring services and service creation (ie. IoCs). There are also new strongly typed generic request/response wrappers that expose header information. For more details, see Sam’s post.
- Fun with ASP.NET MVC 3 and MEFThe power of NuGet was very prevalent at Mix this year, and I’m very excited about the power of using MEF and NuGet combined. Maarten Balliauw showed us how setting up your MVC application to accept MEF Imports, then by separating components into different projects you can add/remove them and in turn on/off functionality.
- NuGet In Depth: Empowering Open Source on the .NET PlatformAnother great HaHaa show. Scott and Phil performed a great ping-pong over creating and consuming NuGet packages. They also showed off the new Symbols feature, “which is huge” as Scott would say. Very entertaining session and inspiring for NuGet
During the breaks, I joined up with some other East Coast developers and speakers and worked on a Coding for Fun Project involving the .NET Micro Framework called the Curious Cloud Contest, we had a nice time with the project and we won a Video Production award in the process. You can see our team’s (MADExpo) video here.
I also had two wonderful evening events, the first night I had the pleasure of joining the Microsoft NUI team for some good Mexican food and the usually HTML5 vs. Silverlight discussion. The following night I had the privilege of being invited to join the folks from Telerik at Aureole, we were joined by Walt Ritscher and a number of people from the Windows Phone Team including Jamie Rodriguez and Ben Riga, both of whom did a wonderful job presenting at that morning’s Keynote event.