Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

SilverLight: Microsoft’s labs back on track?

June 2, 2007

Microsoft is coming with a video media player for the web, called SilverLight. Looks very much like flash but with lots of vitamins for 3D animations mixed with videos.. :

“Microsoft® Silverlight™ is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Silverlight offers a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web applications. Silverlight supports fast, cost-effective delivery of high-quality video to all major browsers running on the Mac OS or Windows.”

Some thoughts about this technology:

Pros:

  • really cool, amazing user experience (better than flash)
  • runs in all  browsers (like flash)
  • 3D
  • runs server side on IIS and Apache…

Cons:

  • .NET development… How are they going to convert all the creative guys who already work with Flash? They rarely know much about server side development and C# is unlikely to be their favourite language… But let’s wait and see what Microsoft has put in the box for them…
  • doesn’t seem possible to do much with php with this environment… Microsoft closed box again…
Advertisements

IE7 and Firefox 2 : headaches for web developers

December 3, 2006

IE7 and Firefox 2 are now released and begin to spread in the world thanks to auto-updates and the cool factor driving technology.. What does this bring us? Well.. happiness and sleepless nights..

Happiness: IE7 is coming with a bunch of features and bug fixes that allow us to think of a bright future where browsers co-exist in peace without making web developers struggle too much for delivering their cool web pages..

Sleepless nights: as described in previous post about CSS design patterns, a lot of websites rely on web browsers bugs for writing browser dependent rules in CSS. As there are (were?) still differences in browser rendering, CSS cant yet be written in independent manner. But with IE7 supporting fixing bugs and supporting CSS 2, all these rules become obsolete and rules written for firefox are now going to be applied to IE7. In some case it will work but we can expect a whole lot of websites designs that will break in the following weeks and months..

The second issue comes from the support of SSL in IE7 and FF2: they only support SSL version 2, which means that servers implementing SSL V1 wont work.. It sure going to involve some time fixing this issue..

But well, crises are meant to make us humain being evolve for the better, arent  they 🙂 Good luck for everyone involved in web development and enjoy the new tools…

PS. for a solution on how to safely manage browser dependent rules in CSS, check previous post…

Microsoft Gadgets

October 19, 2006

Please ignore the last part of the previous post: Microsoft DOES provide a widget engine and is actually providing the right model for it… Just found their developer blog:

But as many features as we are adding to Live.com, the site is still very much a Gadget platform for you developers out there to build on. We rely on you to build rich and interesting Live Gadgets that we haven’t thought of, and to build a strong ecosystem around this platform. Live.com is still in Beta today, but it promises to be one of the most popular Internet destinations when we launch later this year. You can leverage on the high traffic site to extend services beyond your web site by building Gadgets that live on Live.com.”

and their todo list seems promising:

Some of the things that we know we need to work on are:

  1. Unified Gadget model – we want to enable developers to write a Gadget once and have it run on both Vista Sidebar and on the web, maybe even in other environments.
  2. Allow 3rd party gadgets to change header and footer – today, all 3rd party Gadgets are hosted within and iframe and do not have access to the title, title icon and footer.
  3. Make calling web services easier – this is self-explanatory.
  4. Better Settings model – there is no standard way to do settings today for 3rd party Gadgets. We would like to move to a more declarative model.
  5. Better Localization model – we provide API for you to find out the query the current locale but we don’t provide much other support otherwise. This is not a big problem for most Gadgets, but it would be nice for more advanced Gadgets.

Looks like we’ll see Vista with a widget system intergrated in side bars… Anyone having tested Vista yet?

But will that support other platforms? Y! and G! widget engines work on PC and Macs…

Widget engine: a bridge between web and desktop applications

October 18, 2006

(sometimes I hate WordPress… Second time it loses all the post content and I have to write again… A summary will do I hope…)

Widget engines again… Google, Yahoo and other are creating an interest by adding small applications that link users’ desktops to online applications or websites.

The interest as described in previous post could be very strong once a business application of these system is in place.

If that happens how could other actors react? and who are these potential actors?

Given the fact widgets create a new link from users to (potentially) branded content, it is likely the technology will create an interest from others such as Microsoft…

And M! has already in place most of the required technology within M! Live Messenger: an application which supports authentication, multi channels and a notification engine. And this piece of software already runs on a lot of computers of the planet!!

So the only missing bit is the ability for M! engineers to integrate a widget engine based on html+css+js+ajax and to integrate it in Messenger. Given the development resources they have it doesn’t seem out of reach..

So maybe we could see M! playing as well with this technology in a near future, we never know.. Probably all will depend on the success of G! as M! seems more like a follower on the web these days (personal view:-)…

I’d be interested in your comments on the subject…

Microsoft Ajax toolkit

September 12, 2006

Just read today an article on CBR news about Atlas, codename project for Microsoft’s Ajax toolkit. I have mixed feelings about it…

Pros:

  • microsoft is ussually good on the client side so we can expect soem nice widgets
  • will support all browsers (!!)
  • architecture distinguishes client and server side. The client side will support any server technology including PHP and CFM!

Cons:

  • it is again Microsoft against everybody else and they are not part of groups trying to create an Ajax standard.

Other:

  • will be integrated server side with their server technology in what they call ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions.

Conclusion:

Atlase seems like an intersting project to follow. If not tight server side with ASP.NET then it has the potential to be used widely. Not part of any standard though.. We will have to see how this impact the devlopement of conmponents on the server side and teh market for these components. They never really took off with java or ActiveX so it remains to be seen if a standard will be useful here…

Related thoughts…

As for the future of Ajax, I am still wondering how long we will be talking about it before it is integrated as “just another tool” in the development toolkit. But it ssems like it can make a real difference:

  • for enhancing the usability of service based application (the new challenge for Msoft and others),
  • it also has a potential of creating a mashup type of applications where people provide services with a cleint side component (or API). This is where a standard would be useful. The standard should address the various types of request to the server (forms, whole components, etc.). It would probably need to be based on XML for describing resources required by a component. For example: if we load a component, what CSS and JS files do we need to load as well, how do we manage CSS and JS conflicts? By name conventions or by isolating each component in a separate document (iframe)?