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Silverlight and Flash Heat Up

No worries: RDN Founding Editor Michael Desmond survived the sweltering heat and some torrential downpours at Tech-Ed in Orlando. He's on vacation this week, so Executive Editor of Features Jeffrey Schwartz is filling in. For those of you who were at Tech-Ed, either live or virtually, what did you find of most interest to the developer community? Let Jeff know at [email protected].

One technology that was in the limelight at Tech-Ed was Microsoft's Silverlight rich Internet application platform. A demo at Tech-Ed showed how developers can build applications based on the Silverlight 1.1 alpha to generate video controls using Web services and C#. The demo also used the betas of Visual Studio 2008 and Expression Blend 2.

While Silverlight had its chance to shine at Tech-Ed, this week Adobe shed some light on its widely utilized Flash technology. The company's Apollo runtime environment for creating rich multimedia applications is now called the Adobe Integrated Runtime, or AIR.

Released in March as an alpha, the beta version is now available as of this week. The cross platform runtime lets developers use HTML/CSS, AJAX, Adobe Flash and Flex to extend RIAs to the full client (Windows, Macintosh and, ultimately, Linux).

In concert with its AIR launch, Adobe also released a beta of Flex 3, the cross-platform framework for creating rich Internet applications consisting of a SDK and IDE. Flex 3, which supports AIR, consists of the new Flex Builder 3 IDE, which offers improvements to the designer and workflow interfaces. The beta of the new Flex 3 SDK is also available. As part of its new open source effort, the Flex SDK team will post nightly builds, allowing developers to verify bug fixes each day.

Have you looked at Adobe's new offering? Is Silverlight more your speed? Or do you see developing applications in both? Have you used any of these betas? Let me know at [email protected].

What Do You Get When You Google 'Microsoft Antitrust'? Google!
On Sunday morning, I picked up my copy of the New York Times to see what was going on in the world. I can often gauge what kind of week we're in for when the lead story of the paper involves Microsoft (depending on the topic). This one was goodie: "Microsoft Finds Legal Defender in the Justice Department."

That would be the United States Justice Department, just to be clear -- not the European Union, where most of the conflict tends to come from these days.

Yes, in the name of Netscape Communications, now it's Google crying foul. While open source and the Web have left Redmond far less mighty than it was a decade ago, Google reminded Uncle Sam that Windows still resides on most of the world's desktops today. What has changed is that the Bush administration is far less litigious toward companies like Microsoft than the Clinton legal eagles -- for better or worse (no political point here).

But Google's claim is that Google runs much slower in Vista than other search engines. Online Editor Keith Ward finds it remains to be seen whether Google's charges actually hold water.

Even if the U.S. Justice Department takes a pass on it, Google isn't stopping there. The company is trying to get the attention of state attorneys general, as well, the Times reported.

So my question to the developer community is this: Are you seeing any notable latency when using Google with Vista and IE7 compared to other OSes and browser platforms? And for those that do see a discernable degradation in performance, is this something that can be easily fixed from a programmatic perspective? Does it appear that Microsoft is intentionally making it harder to use Google, or is Google just blowing smoke? Let me know at [email protected].

Microsoft Team Site Connector Add-In Ships
One announcement that Microsoft apparently decided not to make at Tech-Ed last week was the release of its new Visual Studio Team System add-in, which connects Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server.

The connector, launched this week, beefs up the integration capabilities between the two servers, allowing project managers and developers to synchronize project, resource and work item data.

Senior Editor Kathleen Richards has a full report here.

SQL Server 2008 CTP Released
Have you had a chance to check out the CTP of Katmai, released last week and officially ordained "SQL Server 2008"? Developers got their first peek last week and we'd like to hear what you think.

SQL Server 2008 won't ship before next year, but Microsoft will issue new CTPs every 60 days rather than issue a beta, a plan the company announced after the release of SQL Server 2005.

Microsoft is looking to raise the bar with SQL Server 2008, with a major focus on business intelligence and support for unstructured data.

Tell me your take on the Katmai CTP at [email protected].

Technology To Get Jazzed About
IBM has opened its widely anticipated Jazz Project, a joint effort between its Rational and Research divisions to build a scalable, extensible team-collaboration platform for integrating tasks across the software lifecycle. With the new community portal, IBM's goal is to present a more open approach to community development. While IBM stresses that it's open, it's not open source.

New Browser Platform Has Bugs
That Apple has finally announced a version of its Safari Web browser for Windows at its Worldwide Developers Conference should hardly come as a major surprise.

What is rather shocking are reports that the beta version of the new browser, Safari 3, is chock-full of bugs.

Apple's CEO described Safari 3 as the fastest browser to run on Windows. Granted, it's still in beta, but will the new browser's bugs -- including a susceptibility to denial of service attacks, among other things -- render (pardon the pun) it DOA?

And even if the bugs become a non-issue, will corporate shops start using Safari instead of IE or Firefox? If you see a case, drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/13/2007 at 1:15 PM

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