Silverlight 3 to Headline MIX09 in Las Vegas

At next week’s MIX09 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft officials plan show off the latest and greatest technologies and products for designers and website developers.

Near the top of the list will be the first public demonstration of Silverlight 3.0, Microsoft’s streaming media technology. Other likely featured technologies include Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), and Windows 7.

The event, hosted at the glitzy Venetian resort, is in its fourth year.

What’s coming in version 3 of Microsoft’s Adobe Flash competitor? Silverlight is barely two years old yet it carries Microsoft’s hopes of supplanting Flash on users’ PCs, laptops, and phones – a daunting task that requires Microsoft to evolve the technology quickly..

Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s .NET Developer Division and one of the main keynote speakers at MIX09, described the main additions coming in Silverlight 3 in a blog post in November,

“Silverlight 3 will include major media enhancements (including H.264 video support), major graphics improvements (including 3D support and GPU hardware acceleration), as well as major application development improvements (including richer data-binding support and additional controls), Guthrie said in his post.

Guthrie, who is one of this year’s keynote speakers, also said that Silverlight 3 will be out sometime this year, although he didn’t pin it down any better than that.

“Next year [2009] Visual Studio and Visual Web Developer Express will also support a fully editable and interactive designer for Silverlight, and add tool support for data-binding,” Guthrie added.

Microsoft may also release Internet Explorer 8 to manufacturing during MIX09. After all, Microsoft first showed off IE8 at MIX08. reported in early March to expect IE8’s release to manufacturing next week.

“Those are the two big ones,” Rob Sanfilippo, research vice president at Directions on Microsoft, told reflecting on his expectations for the conference. “It’s great that Microsoft is getting out a lot of releases of Silverlight,” he added.

Other scheduled sessions will deal with Microsoft’s Web Sandbox open source project aimed at making websites safer via virtualization.

Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud computing platform and Live Mesh are also expected to be hot topics at MIX09. Sanfilippo said he expects Microsoft may also reveal more details about licensing Azure.

Of course, this year it’s impossible to escape talk about Windows 7 and there will at least be presentations on Windows Vista’s planned replacement, although there may not be news regarding the system. The first, and possibly only, release candidate for Windows 7 is expected to ship in mid-April.

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