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Silverlight 2.0 RTM
Tired of all the UAC prompts?
CLR vNext with side-by-side support
IE8 with HTML 5 improvements
Mono at Microsoft PDC
Windows Server “Dublin” technologies
Mono v2.0 is out
A revived browser race – the web application is not dead



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# Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Silverlight 2.0 RTM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 8:28:11 AM UTC ( )

Finally, Silverlight v2.0 has been released and is now available for download.

This, to me, is really the first version of Silverlight. It’s the first version with a modern development environment, a rich set of controls and a familiar development framework.

You will even find a Eclipse-based development environment, if you are somewhere where you are unable to use Visual Studio.

Go fetch!

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# Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tired of all the UAC prompts?
Sunday, October 12, 2008 10:23:59 AM UTC ( Security | Tools )

Norton Labs have created a utility that removes a lot the UAC annoyances you may be experiencing in Windows Vista. It allows you to configure a list of applications that can be launched in admin mode without incurring a UAC prompt, basically a “do not ask me again” dialog. Great for everyday applications like Visual Studio.

May be a better solution than disabling it completely ;)

There is one caveat though, it will send information to Norton whenever you get a prompt. It will send the filename and hash of the files involved, as well as your response. The intention is to create a white list that will be shipped with the finished product.

There is a free beta version and a FAQ available at Norton Labs, both X86 and X64 editions.

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# Saturday, October 11, 2008
CLR vNext with side-by-side support
Saturday, October 11, 2008 10:19:31 AM UTC ( Architecture )

Reading around the PDC site for some scoops into the future, I’m pleased to see one session covering how the CLR vNext will support side-by-side versioning of CLRs within the same process.

This may seem like a rather obscure requirement at first, but keep in mind we now have CLR v1.0, CLR v1.1, CLR v2.0 and the new CLR v2.0 shipped with .Net Framework 3.5 SP1. Luckily these CLRs and their libraries are largely compatible. However, over the years of .Net  the industry has written countless of components that they probably expect to be able to use for some time to come, even in-process. As our development tools and new frameworks keep pushing us up the stack to the next version of .Net, we will probably see some issues soon.

Hopefully, this feature goes beyond providing support for multiple Silverlight version within the same browser process, and enables us to use CLR 2.0 components from CLR vFuture. If this is the case, I'm looking forward to see how they will be providing interoperability, or if we’ll have to use an in-proc WCF channel for this purpose.

Maybe this may even be a hint that Microsoft is not expecting backwards compatibility between the current and future CLRs, and their libraries.

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IE8 with HTML 5 improvements
Saturday, October 11, 2008 10:00:44 AM UTC ( Web )

There is a very interesting post about AJAX improvements on the IEBlog. Looking past all the improvements in cross domain communication, I am particularly pleased to see that they are actively following the HTML 5 work, and implementing new functionality in accordance with the current working draft.

Also nice to see that IE8 features are becoming a part of the HTML 5 drafts.

In short, with all the focus around alternate browsers and standard compliance, it’s good to see that the IE team is hard at work.

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# Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Mono at Microsoft PDC
Wednesday, October 8, 2008 2:47:23 PM UTC ( Mono )

This was slightly unexpected, but I’m happily surprised that Miguel de Icaza will host an official session about Mono during this years Microsoft PDC in Los Angeles. Usually, we only see Microsoft employees presenting at this conference.

Perhaps Microsoft is warming up to Mono – it would allow development of .Net clients on other platforms – convenient for their new Cloud Services push?

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# Monday, October 6, 2008
Windows Server “Dublin” technologies
Monday, October 6, 2008 4:31:02 PM UTC ( Architecture | Dublin | Indigo )

PDC is approaching rapidly and Microsoft is opening up its communication around the next wave of technologies; one thing I believe to be particularly interesting is Codename Dublin.

This technology supplements Windows with much needed application platform components to enhance the WCF and WF design experience.  Among other things it includes infrastructure services for message correlation and forwarding, content-based routing and transaction compensation.

I guess you can look at WCF and WF as frameworks and Dublin as infrastructure services around those frameworks.

The Dublin release will follow the release of .Net Framework v4.0 and Visual Studio 2010.

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Mono v2.0 is out
Monday, October 6, 2008 2:12:05 PM UTC ( Architecture | Mono )

It’s a great day for cross platform .Net as Mono v2.0 is released. Now fully stocked with ADO.NET 2.0 / ASP.NET 2.0 / Windows Forms 2.0 as well as a C# 3.0 compiler and LINQ support. In other words, there are also some .Net 3.5 bits in there.

It also ships with a nice collection of ADO.NET providers that are not available in the Microsoft distribution, as well as the usual non-Windows native goodies.

Interesting to see that they are also bundling the C5 Generic Collection library, indicating that this is probably an area where the base class libraries need more work, features and standardization.

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# Sunday, October 5, 2008
A revived browser race – the web application is not dead
Sunday, October 5, 2008 1:59:48 PM UTC ( General )

Finally, the wheels have started turning again, and once again we are seeing a renewed browser race.

Personally I’m quite happy about this; the web browser is a very central part of my daily routine and I welcome the new improvements. Further, my company develops a web application frontend for our services which must support several browser types, and platforms. Primarily this means we’ll need to support Internet Explorer, FireFox and Safari.

The primary problem with this scenario is standards support, of which Internet Explorer 6.0 offers the biggest violations. Unfortunately, this browser accounts for about 65% of our traffic – probably because of our corporate client base. In my experience quite a few corporations are unable to upgrade Internet Explorer as it is required for existing web applications, intranets and so on. And, unlike most other browser manufacturers, Microsoft doesn’t support side-by-side installation of its browser stack. This may also be one of the reasons why we don’t see too many Vista clients in our logs. Perhaps, a multi-browser strategy can help our customers get into the current millennium – and we can justify moving our application to a more modern browser foundation.

Looking past these issues it is refreshing to see that when Google announced their new browser Google Chrome it didn’t ship with a new web renderer, but rather employed the proven and popular WebKit engine. This engine is also used by Safari and a breed of Nokia Phones. Luckily this fits well with our standards compliant rendering profile, and adding support for Chrome was a no-brainer. It does ship with its own JavaScript engine though, so if you’re application relies heavily on this you might need some more thorough testing. It will be very interesting to see how it looks once it gets out of beta stage.

It’s good to see standards being employed since I do believe that HTML based applications will be crucial for years to come. With the new IE8 betas we can finally see Acid2 compliance across the board. Also, most modern browsers also pass or score extremely high on the Acid3 tests. The latest addition being the daily builds of Google Chrome, or Chromium as it’s called, pushing a near perfect score. Once the latest wave of browser releases mature from their beta stage, we will probably see Acid3 compliance across the board -- with the unfortunate exception of IE8. Let us hope IE9 will catch up ;)

All in all, a mix of rants and hope – at least something is happening.

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