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Microsoft to Highlight Silverlight 3 Technology

Microsoft will tout at the Mix09 conference in Las Vegas this week its planned Silverlight 3 rich Internet application technology along with a host of other developer-related offerings, according to the conference Web site.

Other efforts to be pondered at the conference include the planned Visual Studio 2010 IDE, the Azure Services Platform for cloud computing and Expression Web, for building Web sites.

[ The economic crisis has been hampering Silverlight adoption. ]

Mix09, which begins on Tuesday, is billed as an event for developers and designers, with an emphasis on Web development and design skills. While Microsoft representatives declined to comment on specific announcements planned for the event, an industry analyst focused on Microsoft said he anticipates news about Silverlight 3 as well as other developments from the company.

"Mainly, I'm looking for Silverlight 3 and Expression 3 announcements. I think that's going to be the highlight," said analyst Rob Sanfilippo, research vice president for developer platforms at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm.

Other possibilities at the event include release of bits for Internet Explorer 8 and a licensing plan for Azure Services Platform, Sanfilippo said.

Microsoft debuted Silverlight in April 2007; the current version is Silverlight 2. With Silverlight, the company is showing it is serious about the rich Internet application market, said Sanfilippo. "They're not just dabbling in it. They're here to stay," he said in an interview on Monday.

In a session entitled "What's New in Microsoft Silverlight 3," Microsoft will ponder "experience-oriented" features, such as pixel shaders, perspective 3D, animation enhancements, bitmap APIs, and media stack improvements. Also, Silverlight base framework additions will be covered, including updates to the style model, data binding improvements, improved resource handling, and Web services stack improvement.

Silverlight 3 is to include major media enhancements, such as H.264 video support as well as GPU hardware acceleration, said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president in the Microsoft .Net Developer Division, in a November 2008 blog post. Guthrie, who will be a keynote speaker at Mix09 on Wednesday, also stated Silverlight 3 would be out this year and feature such application development improvements as richer data-binding and additional controls. Silverlight 3 will be a major release of the technology, according to the blog.

Another Mix09 session will cover high-speed rich Internet application development with the Silverlight Toolkit. Use of the IronRuby dynamic language to build Silverlight applications will be discussed as well.

Visual Studio 2010, the planned upgrade to the platform, will be the subject of a conference session pertaining to Web development. The platform will enable "frictionless" transfers of Web projects and databases from machine to machine, code-focused editing, and "next-generation" JavaScript editing and navigation tools.

A session covering the planned Windows 7 desktop experience, including a new task bar, is being featured at the event.

Productivity enhancements in Microsoft's planned ASP.Net 4.0 platform will be pondered also. ASP.Net is Microsoft's Web site development platform. The conference also will cover building of Microsoft platform applications using Eclipse, Ruby and PHP.

The Oomph toolkit for Microformats is on the Mix09 agenda. Microformats are data format standards for exchanging data on the Web. Microsoft Web Platform, which features a Web application framework and tools and servers, will be touted as well.

One development that had been anticipated but will not happen at the event is release of a binary preview of Moonlight 2.0, for running Silverlight 2.0 on Linux systems. Builders still are working on the software's security system that "sand-boxes" applications to keep them within the browser, said Miguel de Icaza, vice president of the developer platform at Novell and the developer in charge of Moonlight.

"We don't feel that we should release this to the public until the system is secured," de Icaza said on Monday. A formal beta program for Moonlight 2.0 is expected this summer, with the general release eyed for September or October.

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