Mix11 – Microsoft Designers & Developers Conference

Before I deep dive into various sessions of MIX 11. Let me first give a brief introduction to what MIX is about.

If you aren’t aware: MIX11 is a 3 day Microsoft’s designers and developers conference that happens once an year.

This is used as a platform by Microsoft to release/showcase various features/updates to Microsoft products for the rest of the world.

It’s also a stage used for evangelizing their products to both designers and developers who later go ahead and use all the latest features that Microsoft has released.

“MIX is a gathering of developers, designers, UX experts and business professionals creating the most innovative and profitable consumer sites on the web. Sessions range from technical, code-based topics to expert advice on content strategy, usability and design.”

An example would be ie9 platform preview that was introduced last year at the same venue and earlier in March2011 they released their final version.

Believe me MIX is not just about Internet Explorer releases. It covers updates on all other Microsoft products varying from XBOX,Kinect,Sharepoint,Azure,Office,WindowsPhone7 and HTML5 etc..

Oh how would I forget Silverlight and every other Microsoft product you might imagine that Microsoft has been recently working on.

You can know everything else about MIX at live.visitmix.com

Other such similar event is the Microsoft PDC (Professional Developers Conference) that is also an yearly event that happens specifically for developers around the world.

“The Professional Developers Conference (PDC) is the definitive developer event focused on the technical strategy of the Microsoft developer platform. Attendees come from around the world to learn about the Microsoft developer platform directly from the people who make it happen.”

You can know everything about PDC at microsoftpdc.com

These events are streamed live on web and also registering for tickets get open just in case you would want to go there and watch it in person.

But the tickets just get sold in no time so if you really want to go in person you got to have preparation an year ahead. Just kidding at least couple of months before you should be able to get tickets.

In either case the sessions are all recorded for you to view at your leisure and I am here to let you know when things happen. 😛

This year’s MIX11 starts with a Bang with some MS Biggies Keynotes. Yes, Scott Gu was there with all the action and wonderful demos that he introduced in the Developer Tools division. It’s almost expected now that he would be there for every major event. I especially loved the Silverlight 3D model of his body that was demoed at Silverlight Firestarter 2010 and this year there are some extensions to it. Silverlight Firestarter 2010 is a special event conducted that really answered lot of myth around HTML5 taking over Silverlight. And Microsoft came out in the open at this event to silence all the critics saying “Silverlight was here to stay and Microsoft is committed to it.”

2 Keynotes with a duration of 2hrs each were given by:

Dean Hachamovitch – General Manager and Head of the Internet Explorer team

Joe Belfiore – Corporate vice president and Director of Windows Phone Program Management

Scott Guthrie – Corporate vice president of Microsoft’s .NET Developer Platform

The keynotes mainly gives the taste of what this year’s MIX11 sessions/focus are going to be about. And here are a list of things that got revealed in the Keynotes:

· IE10 Test Preview released
Within just few months of release of IE9 with all the major updates now live. You can read all about ie9 from my earlier paper boat at link and you wouldn’t believe Microsoft has unleashed a test preview version for end-users to sense the next version of IE which is IE10. This was a big surprise at least for me.
Loads of improvements and further support to HTML5/CSS3 in their next version. All details can be found at:


To download and install ie10 platform preview version:


· HTML5:
MVC3 Supported template update to Visual Studio2010, Internet explorer performance/support enhancements to HTML5 demoed. Lots of sessions w.r.t HTML5 ranging from beginner to expert level have been demoed. Microsoft have released a live labs website where HTML5 features would be demonstrated and also enable free download of the sample source codes. They have already put on demonstration on web sockets that could be developed via HTML5.

· Windows Phone7 –

MS has announced the most awaited updates to WP7 and now famously known as the MANGO release which is free for all WP7 users that would give more features to their WP7 especially to search the app store and adding some important features like > Copy, multi-tasking, deeper integration of apps with phone, camera access and access to the motion sensor library that missed in their early release. The updates are due this fall and the keynote demonstrated some of these features that will differentiate WP7 from its competitors. The MANGO update will also bring new apps like Skype, Spotify and IMDb (with better integration) for the platform. Demo of IMBb has been demonstrated as well.

· WebMatrix & Nuget
if you are already a ASP.NET MVC fan and building websites with MVC3. Life got even better with webmatrix and nuget.
WebMatrix: It is a small development environment that uses the simple Razor syntax to create websites really quickly. You can start from a gallery of existing open source applications or start from scratch.
Nuget: it is a package manager in .Net that is released with ASP.NET MVC and this can also be downloaded separately. Its about installing opensource libraries and accessing them within VS2010. Nuget is built into Webmatrix.

· Windows Azure
I am not into Azure yet and really didn’t get a chance to plugin with Azure. But however there have been some important updates to the Azure platform that help enhance the way applications are deployed onto Azure. And specific updates to migration tools as well that will speed up the process. Also included some releases to Azure toolkit to WindowsPhone7 and how to use it. There are many more sessions on Azure.
I have found 2 blogs that will help you give an overview:

o http://blogs.msdn.com/b/katriend/archive/2011/04/14/windows-azure-news-from-mix11.aspx
I found this blog that gives an entire overview on what were the specific updates related to Azure that were being released at MIX11

o http://jamesconard.com/2011/03/18/windows-azure-platform-at-mix11/

James blog gives you a list of Azure sessions that happened at MIX11.

· Silverlight 5 Releases: SL5 Features

o Media:Hardware Decode

o Trickplay

o Remote Control
Some cool Silverlight features demoed were the 3D support in Silverlight which has got some performance bonus and the panning/zooming of SL 3D Models has got more smoother. I would reserve this category for my next post that will be specific to Silverlight and details on my favorite Silverlight sessions at MIX11.

· Kinect – for windows SDK
I had hinted in my earlier blog with the introduction of Kinect that has already revolutionized gaming with its hand free gaming console.

Future Of Windows7 Operating System


Expected its going to come very soon to Windows7 OS where users can perform gestures on their PC’s to perform tasks. It has finally happened and Microsoft has now announced officially at MIX11 that they were just about to release the windows SDK for kinect. Probably the wait is not so far after they have confirmed that they are going to release it.

I would once again re-iterate here that:
“See I said this a couple of months ago and here it is as it just happened. You can look at some live demonstrations on what could be expected from the Kinect windows sdk at my blog.” I expected it to take an year but now it has gone even shorted with MS announcing it.


More than 150 experts that also includes MS personal has given some exceptional approx. 100 sessions on various Microsoft technologies.

The list of all these sessions including the keynotes can be found and downloaded at: