A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft hosted a Technology Summit and invited many prominent members from a variety of different platforms (Linux, Java, Flash, etc.) to our campus in Redmond. They spent two-and-a-half packed days listening to presentations, learning about our products and tools, asking hard questions, and providing great feedback. The founder of Javalobby, Rick Ross, has recorded a summary of his insights and thoughts based on the summit. A downloadable PDF version is also available (free registration required).
Here are a couple of interesting quotes:
The VS.NET 2005 and Avalon demos simply show the power that this company wields. Their tools and the Windows platform as a whole are evolving rapidly to keep pace with developer and customer expectations. Again, I know I was not the only one thinking to myself, “Wow, those are some serious tools!” and wishing we could enjoy fully-compatible Java development plugins for the Visual Studio environment.The ASP.NET 2.0 examples were a case in point: the modular blocks of functionality you get with ASP.NET 2.0 had all the leading Java guys in the audience drooling. No Joke, they really did.
The VS.NET 2005 and Avalon demos simply show the power that this company wields. Their tools and the Windows platform as a whole are evolving rapidly to keep pace with developer and customer expectations. Again, I know I was not the only one thinking to myself, “Wow, those are some serious tools!” and wishing we could enjoy fully-compatible Java development plugins for the Visual Studio environment.
Of course, I chose those quotes, because it's great to hear nice things about your own company and its products. However, there's a lot more to learn from Rick's summary, and it's definitely worth a listen.
We've released the Avalon and Indigo CTP for March, 2005 (otherwise known as the WinFX™ SDK) for MSDN Subscribers. The download includes documentation, samples, command-line compilers, and various tools to help you develop applications using Avalon. The download is a 444.67MB ISO CD image that can be found under Tools, SDKs, and DDKs | Platform Tools, SDKs, DDKs | WinFX SDK - Community Technology Preview. We've also posted the release notes and updated WinFX SDK documentation.
According to Brad Abrams, these bits work just fine with the latest Visual Studio 2005 CTP. I haven't spent as much time with Indigo, but Avalon is very exciting! If you have the time, please download this release and provide us with your feedback.
Update: Our own Karsten Januszewski has provided a very helpful article about what's new for Avalon in the March 2005 CTP.
As Scott Dockendorf mentions, we launched the beta version of a new online music community site today called Crossfader in partnership with »telligentsystems, the guys responsible for CommunityServer. From the site: "Crossfader is an online community for the global electronic artist. We are building this tool to help you connect with people who share your love for creation, great music, technology and modern culture." So, if you're into hip-hop, techno, or trance, this sounds like a site that should be added to your short list.
On a somewhat related note, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Rockstar Games (of Grand Theft Auto fame) recent Beaterator, a real-time music sequencer that runs in your web browser. This thing is addictive. I know the guy who was intimately involved in putting the site together, and I'd say he's done a great job.
One of our designers has started a new blog that focuses on Avalon from a designer's perspective. I've seen some of the demos he's worked on internally, and they're very impressive. As someone who works so close to the technology, I'd expect some great content to be posted here in the future. He already has a good article on non-traditional button design that's worth a look. Great job, Nathan.
While I'm at it, I noticed that the Xamlon guys are hosting a XAMLBlogs.com site that aggregates other XAML-related content. Check it out.