Thursday, March 25, 2010

Silverlight 4: the Trusted choice

Mix was awsome. I had the chance to meet people from Microsoft: business people, developers and architects. I also had the chance to attend presentations, some of which blew my mind. Of course, there is Azure and .Net. Of course, there is Windows Phone and Windows 7. All that is fine and in line with what big companies like Microsoft can generate. Where this year’s crop stands out for me is with SharePoint 2010 and Silverlight 4. Now we are talking integrating LAN with Internet without losing sight of security and membership management. We’re talking User Experience without losing track of the fact that system administrator needs to be able to secure and manage the applications.

I’ll talk in another post on SharePoint. For now, it’s Silverlight 4 that is of interest to me. I don’t recall ever being excited about front end technologies. Up to now, front end was basically html, css, JavaScript and Flash, none of the first 2 having the same output across browsers (which is a pain) and the last two, being 2 variations of the same ECMAScript v.2, share the same idiosyncrasies that my head just cannot get around to appreciate. There is also JavaFX that I’ve considered. The Java developer in me says: yeah! Finally Java presentation layer that does not look like it was made in 1990. And had Microsoft impressed me less, I might have given it a better chance than just the few demos I’ve build.

Microsoft, as hinted above, showed me a better deal. Microsoft showed me an ecosystem where the designer/ergonomist can communicate with their client AND with the development team effectively; an ecosystem where security and manageability in taken into account; an ecosystem where best practices and good software engineering is valued and favored; an ecosystem where I can better serve my clients and be proud of my work. In short, Microsoft showed with its 2010 crop that it had figured out the Internet and, being Microsoft, turned it into a coherent, integrated system that clients will rush to buy.

One of the big new feature for Silverlight 4 is the fact that out of browser application in Silverlight will be able to run in trusted mode (i.e. have access to the network, the file system, etc.) if the end user chooses to grant this kind of permission to the application. For Ad4Stream and Vivé, two products developed by Nexio, this capability is huge. It opens doors and allows features we were hoping to offer our clients. While this trust feature is great, there is more to me in the 2010 proposition from Microsoft: there is the reason to trust Microsoft.

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