Mink Machine

Reflections on MIX06 convention

Following the events of SXSW, MIX06 seems like the next logical step. During the last days, the Venetian in Las Vegas has been hosting this eagerly awaited event focusing on Microsoft web issues.

Bill Gates held the opening keynote, announcing the release of another IE7 beta, cleverly nicknamed seven. This one is the eagerly awaited feature complete version! In other words, the browser is essentially finished in terms of CSS implementation so now it’s a good time to start testing your complex CSS designs and watch them explode.

Another good thing is that IE7 will be hitting the fan this autumn without waiting for the release of Vista, so it’s about time to try it out. Not even Dave Shea seems to hate it anymore, and Eric Meyer seems to be bribed. Download at your own peril, and have the detailed help ready.

Bill Gates and Tim O´Reilly were chatting on stage and talking about microformats. Robert Scoble had lunch with Bill Gates and there are lots of annotated photos of people available.

There was also news about the continuing development of WPF/E (Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere), the portable subset of Windows Presentation Foundation (Avalon) based on XAML and Javascript. WPF is on its way of becoming a Flash-killer even before it is released, and this subset just adds topping to the cake. WPF/E includes a portion of the .NET runtime, enabling it to execute C# and more on other platforms than Windows. It also seems to be really small, only about 2 MB. With Avalon, XAML and Atlas at their side, Microsoft is soon ready to embark on some serious marketing crusade. IE7 will certainly have native support for WPF in Windows Vista.

Another interesting thing was Microsoft Expression Web Designer (earlier codenamed Sparkle), an upcoming Windows-only tool for web design based on WPF. This is fortunately not a new version of FrontPage, but a fresh new application with its own rendering engine that allows export to XAML. And best of all, it’s resonably strict on web standards. I think Dreamweaver will face some serious competition. I never use the design mode of web tools, since I don’t trust them to produce 100 % valid code (and they don’t). However, if Expression holds to its promises, this could be very interesting.

For all ajaxians out there, the brand new March CTP version of Atlas gives users a license for the framework to be used in production applications.

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