A new post on O'Reilly Radar states that following the trend of moving traditional desktop applications to Web 2.0 online applications like Google Docs, there will be a wave of lightweight desktop applications with the same massively networked behavior you've come to expect from browser applications. iTunes is a classic example of this, with both an offline component available all the time, and a seamlessly integrated online component available when connected.

"The wave of the future is not web browser applications. Instead we're coming full circle back to desktop applications, but this time we've broken the old idea of single user silo applications with no connection to the outside world."

All this are coming to overcome inherent limitations to the kinds of applications you can develop and the kinds of user experiences you can offer in a web browser. There are tools like Flash or Silverlight attempting to mimic desktop look-and-feel into the browser, but they still can't offer the fully integrated desktop experience.

There may be a chance browser apps with approaches like Adobe's Apollo which provides the framework for rich internet desktop application, allowing Flex/Flash/Javascript/HTML web apps to run in a desktop framework.

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According to this blog post, Microsoft is currently in the process of "rescheduling" this fall’s PDC (Professional Developer Conference).

Apparently Microsoft will exhaust all its developer goodies by this fall, as the post states:

"By this fall [...] upcoming platform technologies including Windows Server 2008, SQL Server code name “Katmai,” Visual Studio code name “Orcas” and Silverlight will already be in developers’ hands and approaching launch, which is where we’ll focus our developer engagement in the near term. We will update this site when we have a new date for the PDC that is better timed with the next wave of platform technologies."

This sounds a little bit strange, as we all know that Orcas is rather late than early, Microsoft needing to ship it pretty soon in support for the Office 2007 development platform. They even stripped features again from it, such as the Entity Framework, which is not included in the current beta, an d will be shipped during the first half of 2008 as an update to the Orcas release, according to ADO.NET team blog.

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Here's an interesting read from Microsoft Watch.

Apparently, Bill Gates said on on his keynote at this year's WinHEC, referring to the period between Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 come to market, that:

"The hardware actually wasn't ready. Graphics interface was a case where we got out in front, and made sure that developers, and tools, and hardware came along."

Joe Wilcox, author of the piece speculates that Bill Gates is trying to parallel this year launch of Vista and the first beta of Longhorn Server to that period, arguing that a the market these days isn't quite ready for what Vista has to offer.

For more see the whole article: Is Vista One Step Ahead?

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Here's a nice article from K. Scott Allen about JavaScript and the Object Oriented side of it.

To summarize the article let's quote the man:

"This article presented three key pieces of knowledge:
  1. Every JavaScript object is a dictionary.
  2. Every JavaScript function is an object.
  3. Every JavaScript object references a prototype object.
Those are three fundamental facts about JavaScript that also make JavaScript different from mainstream CLR languages like C# and VB.NET. Embracing and internalizing these differences will put you ahead of the game in understanding modern JavaScript frameworks, toolkits, and libraries."

Are you convinced yet?

Overshadowed by the launch of Silverlight project, the Microsoft Codename Astoria project is taking different approach to data.

"The goal of Microsoft Codename Astoria is to enable applications to expose data as a data service that can be consumed by web clients within a corporate network and across the internet. The data service is reachable over HTTP, and URIs are used to identify the various pieces of information available through the service. Interactions with the data service happens in terms of HTTP verbs such as GET, POST, PUT and DELETE, and the data exchanged in those interactions is represented in simple formats such as XML and JSON."

This approach comes handy with the new presentation technologies for the web, such as Silverlight, and the older Flash. While AJAX-based web sites serve pages containing presentation and behavior, and then the JavaScript code turns back and fetches data separately using XMLHTTP, the new frameworks remove the option of a server-side rendering process that mixes data and code. The code to drive the presentation layer is pre-compiled and deployed as a single file on the web server. After reaching the client web browser the code calls back into to the web server to retrieve actual data to display within the user interface.

Details on: http://astoria.mslivelabs.com/Overview.doc

The computer software industry world has been taken by storm when New York Post published an exclusive article about Microsoft proposing a takeover deal to Yahoo!.

Apparently they have held informal deal talks over the years, but Microsoft is now getting more determined.

The prospect of takeover sent Yahoo’s shares soaring closing at $30.98, up $2.80. Microsoft shares were stagnant though.

The New York Times followed and published an analysis stating that the talks had been focused in the past on a "creative partnership," not an acquisition.

"Microsoft and Yahoo have within the last 18 months considered some kind of combination, including the sale of a stake in Yahoo’s search and advertising business to Microsoft, but failed to come to terms."

Commentators picked up the news with disbelief:

Both companies called this "rumors and speculation".

Via: Microsblog

Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, announced on his blog that the Redmond giant is releasing the Dynamic Language Runtime under shared source licence on CodePlex enabling developers to fully understand how it works.

The DLR is a layer of software that supports dynamic languages running on the CLR. It provides a shared set of language services such as a dynamic type system, fast dynamic dispatch, smart code generation, and a hosting API. It layers on top of the CLR, which provides its own set of shared services such as a world class JIT and GC, sandboxed security model, and debugging/profiling interfaces.

"In addition to providing further support for IronPython as a Dynamic Language, we are introducing a new language offering – IronRuby. With the IronRuby announcement, even in its current CTP form, we are able to show interop with statically typed .NET libraries, and code written in JScript, VB, and Python."

Concurrently, CodePlex has released IronPython 2.0 Alpha 1, the first release of IronPython built upon a common dynamic language runtime (DLR) as well as targeting version 2.5 of the Python language.

Update: Here's an interview on eWeek with Microsoft's dynamic language gurus Jim Hugunin and John Lam: Microsoft's Dynamic Language Leaders Speak

Update 2: There was criticism on MIX07 too, from some open-source representatives, presented in this article on The Register.

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