Microsoft Pushes Web Tech at MIX 06

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In the News


Microsoft Pushes Web Tech at MIX 06
by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and other Microsoft executives apologized yesterday for not upgrading Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) sooner or more frequently, but promised that future upgrades would come more quickly. The comments came at the MIX 06 conference, which is aimed at Web developers. Microsoft also issued a new refresh build of IE 7 and other Web-related technologies on Monday.

"Hey, we waited too long for a browser release," Gates said during his keynote address at the show. "We will be able to \[release\] a browser much faster than the typical major Windows release cycle. We're already working on the next two releases. And so you can expect to see us moving very, very rapidly there because we see great opportunities ... the key point I want to make is that IE 7 is not the end of the line."

Gates showed off IE 7 and focused on the product's new UI, security features, and developer-oriented platform capabilities, which include support for technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), transparent Portable Network Graphics (PNG) images, XML, and Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

Gates also spoke highly of an emerging Web technology called Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), which helps developers create Web sites and applications that closely resemble and function like Windows- based desktop applications. Microsoft was an early pioneer in Ajax, having used it for such applications as Outlook Web Access (OWA), and most of the Windows Live services are now utilizing the technology as well. Microsoft showed off a beta version of a product code-named Atlas, which will allow developers to create their own Ajax-based solutions, which run on Microsoft's ASP .NET server platform. The company is also offering this beta to the public. (See URL below.)

To highlight Ajax, Gates brought MySpace.com CTO Aber Whitcom onstage to demonstrate how his company's 65 million registered members access an Ajax-based Web application that is built on ASP .NET 2.0 and SQL Server 2005. MySpace.com has been termed a social networking site. It's an online meeting place where friends can interact, share information, buy and sell goods, and perform other tasks virtually that previously required face-to-face meetings.

Gates also introduced British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Director of New Media and Technology Ashley Highfield, who showed off a BBC gadget running on Windows Vista. The gadget allows users to search for popular BBC programming such as "Black Adder" and "The Office" and view clips or even entire episodes.

What all of this means for Windows users is that the line between desktop applications and Web-based applications and services is continuing to blur. Hopefully, Microsoft will learn from its past mistakes and allow consumers and Web developers to decide which Web products to embrace.

ASP.NET "Atlas" March Community Technology Preview
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b01dc501-b3c1-4ec0-93f0-7dac68d2f787&DisplayLang=en

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