Microsoft Bets on Mobile RIA
Next week, Microsoft is finally showing its cards on mobile RIA. In fact, it's all in.
Ever since Silverlight was announced in 2007, we've wondered about Silverlight for mobile applications. As SL 1,2,3 and the SL4 beta were released by Scott Guthrie's team at Microsoft, the plan for mobile remained a mystery.
Next week at
MIX 10, the company's annual conference in Las Vegas for Web developers and designers, Microsoft will finally have some answers. As most people have heard by now, the platform for the new Windows Phone 7 Series is based on Silverlight and XNA.
How closely aligned is Silverlight for WP7 with the upcoming SL4, which is likely to be released at MIX?
Charles Kindel, partner group program manger for Windows Phone Application and Developer Experience at Microsoft, explained some of thinking behind the developer platform in a blog posting earlier this month:
'[O]ne of our principles was to build upon the shoulders of giants; where possible integrate instead of create."
By giants, he is referring to existing Microsoft frameworks, tools and Web 2.0 technologies.
"The expertise and familiarity with our tools is not lost," explained Kindel. "If you are a .NET developer today your skills and much of your code will move forward. If you are Silverlight or XNA developer today you’re gonna be really happy. New developers to the platform will find a cohesive, well designed API set with super productive tools."
The ultimate goal: developers can re-use a lot of the same code to build apps for multiple screens using a consistent platform. For example, apps that run on PCs in and out of the browser and on mobile devices such as Zune and WP7.
Kindel is among the presenters, who will take part in at least one of the 12 technical sessions on WP7 at MIX, March 15-17, where the application development model for Microsoft's new mobile platform will be officially announced and dissected. Attendees have also been promised free tools.
The WP7 platform was outlined this week at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, March 9-13. Microsoft announced that the XNA Framework, currently used to build Xbox 360, PC and Zune apps, is adding support for WP7 and Silverlight. WP7, as announced in February, supports some Xbox LIVE functionality. In addition, XNA Game Studio 4.0 expected later this month, will support WP7 game development, according to Microsoft.
As Microsoft prepares to unveil its new mobile development platform, the company's clean break from the Windows Mobile 6.5 platform leaves its base of corporate developers without an upgrade path. Previous Windows mobile applications will not run on WP7. Kindel explained:
"To be clear, we will continue to work with our partners to deliver new devices based on Windows Mobile 6.5 and will support those products for many years to come, so it’s not as though one line ends as soon as the other begins."
Express your take on the new WP7 platform. Is it time for a new beginning, or will Microsoft's strategy cause business customers who invested in the WinMo platform to seek mobile solutions outside the company? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Kathleen Richards on 03/11/2010 at 4:50 PM