MIX08 Summary for Designers
I wanted to share with you a summary of MIX08 I know there are tons of news and info about the event so here you have a summary (it’s still long but believe me, it’s a summary J) with the items that I believe are most relevant for Designers. Please chime in if you feel I missed something and do wiki style.
Last week during MIX Microsoft introduced and presented as series of truly breakthrough technologies which will impact interactive Design as we know it and also gave a hint to where things are moving forward with the use of Silverlight and WPF (XAML based platforms).
2. Microsoft released Silverlight 2 Beta 1. Very robust Beta release with awesome innovations (mainly for Developers, .NET, DRM for Video, Controls, etc – although the fact we can now customize pre-backed Silverlight controls is an amazing opportunity for us a designers to create UIs faster and still make them look anyway we want). Depending on your project and timeline, you might want to decide using Silverlight 1 or Silverlight 2.
3. Among the top things Silverlight 2 Beta 1 offers: Server distribution of Silverlight content, DRM for video, DeepZoom, new Advertisement models and ways to create ads quickly and easily | Keynote 1 @ 1:01:25.NET, Controls (UI and Layout) and much more. You can find more info in the www.silverlight.net Community website.
4. Nokia will be deploying Silverlight Mobile on their phones (note that Silverlight will *not* be restricted to run only on Windows Mobiles devices). The impact of this agreement us *huge*!!!
5. Silverlight Mobile! Keynote 1 @ 2:11:55 … just check it out… (Silverlight will be supported in Windows Mobile devices as well as any other device)
6. The NBC Olympics experience | Keynote 1 @ 01:17:05 (first time ever in history when you’ll be able to watch 2000 hrs of games live, or then after the event) was demonstrated at the keynote. The experience is built 100% with Silverlight. This is a tremendous win that will help us drive millions of plugin installs. Basically what they are doing is they will broadcast the Olympics online, all events, all 2000+hrs. This means you don’t necessarily need to be chasing your TV station to watch your favorite sports but use the online Silverlight experience to enjoy it.
7. DeepZoom was introduced. Coming from the SeaDragon technology, DeepZoom is now part of Silverlight 2. Designers can take advantage of this breakthrough technology to create immersive (literally) experiences. You basically generate a huge image, and then DeepZoom interpolates the different zoom levels enabling you to navigate in and out of the experience… This is a feature coming from Microsoft Research technologies and one that is released in a way that we as designers can actually use. Flash doesn’t have this. This is truly innovative and something that will help Silverlight have a “Creative Statement of its Own”. I expect in the future we’ll have more of this MSR originated features which will continue to drive innovation in our tools and platforms. I’d love to see what you think about DeepZoom and the capabilities that it enables… I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg here… Vertigo, the agency who created the demo for HardRock has a sample in their website.
8. Hard Rock (link to site) or Keynote 1 @ 1:40:40 and Aston Martin (Keynote 1 video @ 01:47:55) were two of the Keynote 1 demos that used DeepZoom. Note: when running the HardRock demo for the first time I had to install Silverlight 2 Beta 1 (don’t worry, Silverlight 1 will continue working) and I had to restart my browser after getting into the HardRock page.
9. The Expression product team has released a little utility called DeepZoom composer. This tool helps you create DeepZoom experiences. You can find more info and samples in the Expression Blend Team Blog
10. We’ve announced that we are now installing 1.5 million Silverlight plugins everyday. Good momentum!
11. Scott Guthrie announce upcoming enhancements for WPF including some super cool Shader effects…. Keynote 1 @ 2:07:55
12. Microsoft also announced Expression Studio 2 Beta. This means we are *very* close to releasing Expression Studio 2! You can get the latest beta builds for ALL products from the Expression site. Congrats to the entire Expression team for the Beta and all the new features in Expression Studio 2.
13. Expression Web 2 now supports PHP! This has been absolutely mind blowing for customers and partners. In addition, Expression Web 2 now supports ASP.NET AJAX, Custom Controls, Silverlight and Photoshop import. Expression Web is an absolutely rockin’ tool to create Standards Based websites.
14. Expression Blend 2 supports WPF and Silverlight 1 and includes very cool new animation features like Vertex animation and Keyspline animation. It also includes tons of enhancements for Workflow like the breadcrumb bar to more easily customize WPF controls.
15. Expression Design 2 offers what “I personally believe” is the best slicing mechanism in the industry… you can now slice your designs, you can overlap as many slices on top of each other, determine specific export settings *for each slice*, you can name each slice independently, you can define some slices to export to bitmap formats or XAML… this is really great. Now you can truly use Expression Design 2 to create HTML website design UIs, something that on v1 was not possible.
16. Expression Encoder has introduced a new timeline editor, you can now make simple cuts to your videos. You can also overlay XAML on top of videos! This is awesome as it enables a *mini* AfterEffects (Expression Blend) + FInalCut (Expression Encoder) scenario where you can create motion graphics in Blend, then bring into Encoder. No, we are not creating an AfterEffects or a FinalCut, just a metaphor of the possibilities J We also now have something called Smart Encoding… if you spend 20 misn encoding a video, then decide you need to make a change, Encoder will smartly re-encode *only* the parts that changed speeding up the process dramatically.
17. Expression Media now supports more formats, hierarchical keywording, progress bar for importing, detachable Light Table for dual monitor setting and a very cool Live Earth feature that helps you map your photos to real locations around the world.
18. Microsoft has also released a Preview of Expression Blend 2.5. Expression Blend 2.5 will be the version of Blend that supports Silverlight 2. At this moment there are two main things Blend 2.5 does and one it does not:
a. The design surface in Blend 2.5 Preview is an actual Silverlight 2 design surface. This required tons of hard work from the Blend team but now enables us to enjoy high fidelity in what we see being what we’ll get at the end in our design
b. All Silverlight 2 controls are now available in Blend (layout panels and UI controls)
c. The thing Blend 2.5 Preview can’t yet do is customize controls. (Like we do in WPF)… we’ll be enabling this scenario in the future. In the meantime, you might have to copy/paste XAML to customize controls but independently of this, Blend 2.5 is a great way to start getting involved with Silverlight 2. Remember for your projects, the first thing you need to do is define what version of the platform you wish to target.
19. Coming back to MIX for Designers, the MIX team organized a special UX track. This included luminaries of the Design Theory and UX design world like Lou Carbone, Dan Harrelson, Kim Lenox, Daniel Makoski and more. All the videos for these sessions are available at http://sessions.visitmix.com
20. The MIX team has also done a terrific job in publishing all the session videos online. They were all up by Friday night!. We now have dozens and dozens of hrs of videos!, panels, sessions, technical, creative, UX, training etc… great resources. For Designers, the best two tracks are Creative and UX. (Creative are techniques, UX is Design theory). The Keynotes are also fun to watch. You can watch the videos online or download. Some of the sessions around Expression are below… but there are tons of others on the site.
21. Charles Finkelstein and James Clarke hosted a session Expression Encoder. This is a great session to learn all the new things in Encoder 2.
22. Nishant and Tyler Simpson did a session on Expression Web and Standards. An absolutely must see. Nishant is the User Experience Evangelist here at Corp and helped drive a lot of the designer content for this event. Tyler is the Principal Test Manager for Expression Web.
23. Kirupa, Celso and Arturo hosted a couple sessions on Blend and Design. I’ve published my assets in my blog: http://ux.artu.tv (including the DeepZoom I used instead of Powerpoint… thanks Kirupa!). My session is a summary of the key “aha” moments that Designers go through in one week during our internal Microsoftie Artist in Residence event. We presented all those aha moments of one week in one hour… pretty intense! Celso’s and Kirupa’s session will take you deeper into Designer and Developer workflow.
24. In addition, there are many other sessions with agencies where they talk to us about a wide range of design topics, both about design theory and techniques like this one from Nathan Dunlap and Robbie Ingebretsen from Identity Mine as well as some great Panel discussions led by Microsoft UXEs like Will Tschumy and Chris Bernard.
25. Finally, I wanted to mention that we announced the new Expression Community website. We now have a place where you can go for Expression products community… forums, blogs, galleries, tutorials, events and more. Check it out at: http://expression.microsoft.com This is the first version and we will be bringing new services in the future. The site was built using the MSDN infrastructure (notice that the site looks perfectly branded according to Expression though) J the forums are new and they are not the typical MSDN looking forums. We hope you enjoy.
26. Besides all the great content available in the MIX website, Zoom In Online also provided a great coverage. Zoom In Online specializes in Designer Audience and Creative Industry engagement. Check their coverage here with things like an interview to Eric Zocher, GM for Expression tools , Christian Schormann, Director of PM for Blend and Design among other interesting interviews.
27. Here are some abstracts from our PR team that illustrate the impact of MIX in Press and Analyst quotes:
Ryan Stewart - Adobe Evangelist
Following up on the momentum from MIX, this week Microsoft is also participating very strongly in the SXSW 2008 event http://pulse.sxsw.com . Microsoft is hosting the finals of the Phizzpop Design Competition where top agencies in the US will battle to create the coolest Silverlight app. To give you an idea of how Microsoft is engaging with Designers from agencies take a look at these cool videos that show the semifinals in different cities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sleJ-ciYE8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlsinxwdCrc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEaf-qANmLM (and you’ll find many other videos from the event there).
Note the SXSW pulse site uses Silverlight! Congrats to all the folks in DPE and the US BMO who have been making these kind of breakthrough engagements with designers.