Day one and two are already over, but here it is; another update on the MIX11 conference.
There were two keynotes, one on tuesday and another one on wednesday. The first keynote was mainly about HTML5, the Web, IE10 and the updated tooling for ASP.NET MVC3. While IE10 hasn’t been announced before it wasn’t a total surprise. It was about time Microsoft got back into the game and show the competition they sill could do it. For me the first keynote was really more a google bashing fast rather than surprising everyone with something cool and exciting.
The second keynote contained information on Silverlight 5, Windows Phone 7 Mango and Kinect. This keynote for me contained a lot of exciting stuff. Especially the things they are doing to Windows Phone 7 are exciting to see. When the new update is out, more people will have access to devices running Windows Phone 7 (And yes, that includes the Netherlands too). Also they improved the performance and included IE9 which makes the browsing experience on the phone a lot better.
The second day keynote also showed a little bit of what Microsoft’s phyiosophy is with HTML5, Windows phone 7 and Silverlight. HTML5 is key for consumer websites, you are going to be using HTML5 if you want a good website for consumers. In the corporate market however, the number of hardware and software configurations is more limited, so Silverlight is the best choice there. It just takes less time to build a Silverlight application than it takes to make the same thing in HTML5. Lastly I think it’s important to note here that Windows Phone 7 and apps are the best thing for a mobile experience. Users choose apps over mobile websites every time. There is really no beating a good mobile app.
Silverlight vs HTML5 an uneasy relationship
One of the things I noticed after the keynote of the first day was that there’s still that uneasy relationship between people that love Silverlight and people that love HTML5. When Microsoft ddin’t talk about Silverlight in the first keynote, people started complaining again. They were tweeting that Silverlight is dead and that Microsoft is indeed abandoning Silverlight for HTML5. The fact of the matter is though that really they don’t. Silverlight is a mature platform now, so it makes sense that the focus has shifted more towards the new and cool HTML5 stuff Microsoft is doing with their browser.
The second keynote however pretty much fixed the problems of the first day with a really cool demo done by John Papa, demonstrating the new features that are coming in Silverlight 5. Don’t forget, they are adding a ton of new API sets for you as a developer. That does count for something. They are still listening to feedback from the community and oncorporating that into the framework.
The Kinect hype
Many of you may already have noticed this. Everyone attendant got a Kinect. During the keynote Microsoft showed off a lot of cool projects that are already using the Kinect for other purposes than gaming. I personally like the present very much. I have an XBox 360 at home and was thinking of getting one myself. So getting one for free is really nice. That however isn’t the main reason Microsoft handed them out. Some of the projects that were shown are really fun, others have a more serious goal.
I personally think the whole Kinect thing has a bit of a hype feeling to it. It’s fun for now, but it needs more serious projects to move from the hobby corner into the big boys arena. Having said that it’s cool to see so many initiatives out there to make the Kinect more than just a gaming device.
User experience, developers, designers and awesomesauce
MIX11 for me is huge fun, very interesting and gives me a great chance to talk to people that I otherwise would never meet. I especially like the sessions on User Experience. Also the sessions that touch the Developer/Designer combo are interesting. I’m not a pure designer and also not a pure developer, so for me this is excellent stuff.
To give you an idea I’ve seen sessions on digital typography, inspiring user interfaces, metro design and “the Microsoft web stack of love”. The last one sounds weird (And it really was), but the idea behind the session was to shiow developers that building ASP.NET is like building with lego. You comine a number of frameworks into one working piece of software. Scott Hanselman did a great job showing off all the great stuff Microsoft has done to make the ASP.NET platform work.
The user experience sessions gave me some great inspiration for new applications and new ways to design user interface. I’m pretty sure I will be trying out a few things in the near future.
MIX is interesting, exciting, inspiring all at the same time. I have talked to a lot of people over there, showing them what we (Marcel, Roy and I) are doing with our mobile app. We get a lot of positive feedback on that. I think it’s great and it inspires me to really work on building the best experience possible.
There’s still this stupid physics principal called time, so it will be a while before all the ideas are put to the test. I don’t care however, I think it’s great to be here and I hope to show you more of the ideas I got in the future.