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Appeared on: Thursday, November 19, 2009
Microsoft Talks About IE9, Delivers Beta Versions of Silverlight 4, Microsoft Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010

During the second day of Microsoft?s Professional Developers Conference 2009, Microsoft invited developers to test new beta versions of Microsoft Silverlight 4, Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, shared an early look at some of the work under way on Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), highlighting advancements in performance and interoperable standards, as well as advancements such as using DirectX to bring the full power of the PC to the Web experience.

Microsoft said that Internet Explorer 9 has nearly closed the JavaScript performance gap between itself and rivals made by Mozilla and Google, even though the browser has been in development only a few weeks.

"On SunSpider, we're on par with IE9," Sinofsky said, showing a chart that displayed scores from the popular JavaScript benchmarking suite.

Sinofsky also said that its Acid3 score had improved. "We need to do a better job on Acid3," Sinofsky admitted. "We have made some improvements in IE9, which now scores 32 out of 100." IE8, he said, scored 24 out of a possible 100.

The Acid3 benchmark checks how closely a browser follows certain standards, particularly specifications for Web 2.0 applications, as well as standards related to DOM (Document Object Model), CSS2 (Cascading Style Sheets) and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

Sinofsky did not talk about a release schedule for IE9, or when a public preview would be available

Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Platform, showed how Silverlight provides rich cross-platform experiences that power three screens. He announced the public beta of Silverlight 4, only four months after delivering Silverlight 3. The beta can be downloaded at http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight-4-beta.

Guthrie noted that the newest version of Silverlight includes features such as these:

- Extended out-of-browser capabilities to enable deeper desktop experiences without additional code or runtimes

- Enhancements for enterprise application developers, including full support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, providing access to Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint Server, and improved printing, networking, reporting and charting capabilities

- New webcam and microphone capabilities, native multicast support for wide-scale media content delivery, and more than 60 customizable controls to build interactive applications

Kurt DelBene, senior vice president of the Office Business Productivity Group, closed the keynote session by announcing the release of the public betas of Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010, Microsoft Project 2010, Microsoft Office Mobile 2010 and Office Web Apps for business customers. The betas can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/2010.

New features in the betas include these:

- Outlook Social Connector. A new capability that brings communications history and business and social networking feeds into the Outlook experience. The Outlook Social Connector Software Development Kit (SDK) is available today for developers to build connectors to third-party social networks. The Outlook Social Connector will enable both business and social networking by working with SharePoint Server 2010 at beta and Windows Live at launch. LinkedIn is the first to commit to provide a connector early next year.

- Office Mobile 2010 public beta includes mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and new SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010, and is available worldwide in Windows Marketplace for Mobile for Windows Mobile 6.5 phones.

- SharePoint Server 2010 and Office 2010 provide additional features that help developers build an array of Office and SharePoint content and collaboration applications faster. Developers have the choice and flexibility to write code for deployment on-premises or with SharePoint Online. For instance, integration with Visual Studio 2010 gives developers the tools they are familiar with today. It also includes rich APIs and support for Open XML, Silverlight, REST and LINQ, which help developers build applications quickly on the SharePoint and Office platform.

- Technology and design advancements. Advancements include a better connected experience between Office 2010 and Office Web Apps, improved navigation, visual design and icon updates, a new Office logo, and increased performance and stability.

- With Visio 2010, Microsoft focused on three key things. First is ease of use with Visio 2010 incorporating the Office Fluent user interface and design philosophy to help people complete tasks and create better-looking diagrams with greater efficiency. Second is Visio Services, which lets end users publish dynamic, data-driven Visio diagrams to SharePoint for broad distribution to anyone with a Web browser. And third is business process management enhancements, including creating SharePoint workflows, to build on the strength of Visio in this area.

- Microsoft Project 2010 was described as "the most significant release of the product in over a decade". For this version Microsoft is making investments designed to help individuals, teams and organizations prioritize investments, better manage resources and gain control across all types of work. Project 2010 delivers new capabilities including the use of the familiar Ribbon UI that was part of the 2007 Microsoft Office system release. Microsoft has combined the existing offerings in project and portfolio management into a single server to provide end-to-end capabilities ? a consistent Web interface, common data store, and centralized administration. With Project being built on SharePoint, Microsoft has brought together a project and portfolio management software with the SharePoint business collaboration platform.

Microsoft also announced plans to deliver a new product named Duet Enterprise for Microsoft SharePoint and SAP. Duet Enterprise for Microsoft SharePoint and SAP will provide customers and partners with the opportunity to compose solutions based on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and SAP, enable additional interoperability. The solution is planned to be released in the second half of 2010.


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