MIX06 Day 2

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

After a broken night, thanks to jet-lag, the day started with a keynote.


The speaker was Joe Belfiori, little guy, big function ( Corporate Vice President of MS ). The title of the keynote was something like “Beyond the browser” and indeed internet functionality is spreading like a viral infection. Thanks to the massive adaption of broadband we now see that internet is going to be integrated everywhere.

One of the great examples was the Vista Sidebar and the experience for the user it created. The application started as a Gadget but in the end it was a full blown windows application wich showed really rich content.  

Before I forget the new presentationlayer of Vista is stunning. The 3D effects, alpha blending and all other rich controls finally make it a fun OS. The level of eye candy is overwhelming. I wonder what the answer will be from the Apple- or Linux community.

One of the other subjects was the Windows Media Center, it’s collaberation with the XBOX 360 and the integration of the internet. A 3D caroussel to select your favorite race car driver and after selecting, it automatically starts playing. Just like a normal TV. Only one big difference … The user is in control.

A Designers overview of Windows Presentation Foundation ( NGW040 )

The speaker Robert Ingebretsen created an application almost from scratch by hardcoding XAML. Altough it was not a real-life scenario -I don’t see a designer working with the raw XAML- it does give you a feeling of the real power of this new language. Layout control, 2D, 3D, effects, animation, media, templates and expandable it just does everything. SplitView, the tool used to hardcode the XAML looked also very interesting. It is an alternative for XAML-Pad that ships with the SDK. It’s not yet released when available it can be downloaded from Robert’s blog. Update: demo and slides are available for download.

Designing a Better User Experience with AJAX ( NGW052 )

The session started with referencing two sites with information on:

Derived from these two sites is a list with lessons learned. Derived from these lessons is the following list with keywords:

  • Instant Feedback
  • Predict User Actions
  • Preserve User State
  • Share User State
  • Create Controls and API’s
  • Seperate Presentation and Implementation

The beta application local.live.com was used to show the lessons learned.

In the second part of the session a non-AJAX, non-CSS webapplication was rebuild according to the lessons learned. In my opinion a waste of time. The time would be better spent explaining good and bad website designs.

A First Look at Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere aka WPF/E ( NGW036 )

It was not the most lucky day for Joe Stegman, Lead Program Manager. At least half of his demo’s were corrupted in some way. All in all it was not flawless. But what can you expect? It’s not even available in an alpha release. At least the message was clear. To me WPF means XAML and WPF/E is cross-platform XAML. There is more to it than this blunt conclusion but to me this is the core-thought.

Extending Your Experience to the Desktop Using Windows Sidebar ( BTB027 )

I hoped to see more integration between Sidebar and the normal desktop application(s) instead I heard some nice guidelines and best practices. Also very usefull ;-)

The three main “functions/requirements” for (Windows Sidebar/Live) Gadgets:

  • Simple
  • Powerfull
  • Stunning

Design principles from the field:

  • Keep it simple
  • One gadget, one task
  • Not an advertisement
  • Docked to sidebar or float on desktop
  • Smart defaults

Beware the width of a gadget should not exceed 130 px.

Links for more info on Gadgets: