I have left Microsoft and this blog is no longer under my control. All of the content should remain for some time however and any new updates can be found at http://davedev.net.
-Dave, September 2013
Microsoft Surface will be launching in AT&T retail stores in two weeks.
"Customers will be able to learn about a device (Samsung BlackJack II, pictured) by simply placing it atop the Surface. They'll also have the ability to explore interactive coverage maps. Later, users will be able to drag ringtones, graphics and video and drop it into the phones."
Check out the article on Engadget for more screens and info here. I use a Blackjack II myself, this is way cool.
Not an AT&T customer? Local to Atlantic City, NJ? The come on down to the annual Health and Life Sciences Developers Conference April 22-24th! You will be able to check out a Microsoft Surface in person.
Chance are you are already doing it. Unfortunately, the S+S message has been a bit garbled in the mainstream media. The press really does like to create a "MS vs. Google vs. Everybody" style theme. I guess who doesn't love a good fight right? But the idea of S+S has been around for a while and is nothing new. It is not Microsoft's answer to "fight Google" and it is not Windows Live. So what is it? Let's start by defining two of the most often confused terms with S+S first, SaaS and SoA.
SaaS = Software as a Service. Runs in "the cloud", there is no local desktop client to access it's interface out of web browsers. Usually provides an API that you the developer can access via Web Services or Plain Old XML (POX). SaaS describes the way your users will be accessing your application.
SoA = Service Orientated Architecture. This is how you build your application on the backend to enable your services. The basic idea is to create loosely coupled systems out of many tightly coupled ones. This interoperability is most commonly done via such technologies as Web Services and often involves different platforms entirely (Mainframe connecting with Java connecting with .NET.) SoA describes the way you have built your architecture.
S+S = is about choice in how you access your service and choice in how you host your service. You can still access the services via a browser (just like SaaS) you just have the added benefit of accessing your services in more ways. Typically, this is software running on your desktop or on your mobile device but not limited to. Another idea behind how Microsoft is doing S+S is choice of how you will host these services. You can host them on a server in your local infrastructure, via a third party vendor, or even via Microsoft's new data centers. Again, you are probably already doing this. Microsoft Exchange via Outlook is a good example of this. You can run Outlook on a windows desktop, in a mobile browser, and in a web browser. All connecting to the same backend e-mail service. You company's e-mail system is probably hosted in an onsite datacenter, via a third party or through Microsoft. You have probably seen in the news many traditional SaaS companies now offering "desktop clients." Regardless of the technology to enable this desktop client (some of them use web technologies to bring it to the desktop outside a typical browser) and as much as they probably do not want to admit it - this is S+S. S+S is hard to ignore. The demand is there, users want choice in how they access your system. Companies want choice in how they host that system. Microsoft's S+S platform enables that. S+S describes the way your users will be accessing your application.
Check out Dan Kasun's blog for more thoughts on this here and here as well as some more funny cartoons.
Looking to do some charting of your data in Silverlight 2.0?
Well, Check out Visifire's free open source Silverlight 2 charting controls. You can also play with the controls online here as well. Really well done, and worth checking out.
Curious about what controls are included out of the box in Silverlight 2 beta1?
Check it out with the Silverlight 2 Controls Demo Project. You will find both a a live sample as well as the source code you can download.
How about some 3D?
Check out Declan Bennan's Polyhedron project in the latest issue of MSDN magazine and then download the code here or check it out online here. Declan does an awesome job of taking a 2d space and folding it into 3 dimensions. Very much like the art of Origami. He has some managed classes he includes too that wrap some DirectX functionality you may find useful.
Virtual desktop in the cloud? All you media across all your devices?
I'm a big fan of Skydrive - 5 gigs of free space you get and no annoying ads. I put most of the presentations I do up there as well as most of the images I use on this blog. The problem though has been accessing all the stuff I put in there easily from anywhere and also keeping my devices in sync. Enter Mesh.
Check out mesh today - spots are filling up fast so if you don't get in to this round of test accounts, sign up for the waiting list. Mac support coming soon too.
LiveSide.Net has a some a first impression writeup as well as more screenshots of the interface. Check it out here.
Update 4/28/2008 - Check out the interview with Ray Ozzie as he discusses Live Mesh - here on Channel 9!