The last couple of months a lot of my focus has been around Silverlight and the upcoming MIX07 conference. There's a whole bunch of write-ups about MIX available on the web and I don't need to add too much about the event itself (one of my favorites is here) but it was one of the most stunning conferences I've attended.
Microsoft rolled out some really cool stuff and engaged in some great conversations. Silverlight had already been announced at NAB but at MIX we followed up with the news that the 1.1 release (currently available in alpha) would feature a cross-platform common language runtime supporting a range of languages from C# to IronPython.
As well as giving away copied of Vista Ultimate we included limited edition copies of the Expression Suite tools in the swag bag (as well as had lots of demos and sessions featuring them being used).
Me and the rest of the Cowboy Evangelistos were on point for the keynote customer demos - luckily that doesn't mean we have to build them! We were lucky enough to work with some great partners, agencies and the very smart folks internally to bring them to fruition (after with very compressed timescales).
Personally I was involved in two. They just happened to be the first demo of the opening keynote and the last demo of the closing keynote - quite stressful for the newbie.
So, what were they?
Well, we opened with a great demo from Netflix for a Silverlight based Instant Watching experience. On-stage we had Neil Hunt from Netflix and Darin Brown from AvenueA Razorfish demonstrate the single user viewing platform and then the shared, synchronized experience (in IE on a PC and Firefox on a Mac).
You can see that demo here. The important thing to remember about this demo is that the team at AA|RF working closely with Netflix built in in less than 3 weeks from when we first called them to introduce them to each other - that's from concept to live demo. Check out the interview with Neil here.
The AA|RF folks also developed a proof of concept for Brightcove that we demonstrated at NAB (if you have a look here it's show at around 00:30). Apart from that they'd not worked with Silverlight before.
My other focus for MIX07 was a demonstration with the BBC developed by Microsoft in the UK and AKQA. This showed a fairly simple concept of an "access all areas" badge that can contain a collection of multi-media elements and either be delivered exclusively to event attendees or crated by users and shared via Windows Live Messenger.
Jason DaPonte from the BBC did an awesome job of presenting on-stage and I drove the demo from behind the curtain, playing both "Jack" and "Jill" - have a look at the video of the demo to see how good the application looks, and check out an interview with Jason on the process of building the app.
What made my day was this comment from someone who only saw it on the webcast!
This was my first big Microsoft conference and was a lot of fun. It was pretty stressful to have a couple of the keynote demos to manage through the various steps, but I was lucky to have great support internally and some awesome partners to do most of the actual work. Of course this does mean that I'l going to have to be able to pull it off again for MIX08...