Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 3rd Dec 2010 22:14 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
.NET (dotGNU too) "In a keynote presentation at the Silverlight Firestarter event this morning, Corporate Vice President in Microsoft's developer division, Scott Guthrie officially announced Silverlight 5, and outlined its new features and 1H 2011 beta availability. Silverlight 5 adds more than 40 new features to the Web application framework that focus on improving its streaming media functionality for users and on improving application development for engineers. Some of the new streaming additions include: GPU-accelerated video decoding, variable speed playback which allows for user-defined, pitch-corrected slow motion, improved power saver awareness to prevent screensavers from turning on during playback, and native remote control support."
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by Hiev on Fri 3rd Dec 2010 22:26 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

Before you start with your blah blah blah HTML5, may I ask when will be the final HTML5 draft will be defined?

I've seen snails faster than the HTML5 comitte.

Reply Score: 3

RE: ...
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 3rd Dec 2010 22:30 UTC in reply to "..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

We'd be a whole lot further ahead of Apple hadn't bombed the codec situation.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ...
by Hiev on Fri 3rd Dec 2010 22:47 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Include Nokia too.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: ...
by kaiwai on Sat 4th Dec 2010 02:43 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

We'd be a whole lot further ahead of Apple hadn't bombed the codec situation.


Then why didn't I see you complain about the img tag situation when they refused to state which image file that the W3C they would endorse? the video tag is in the same situation and I'm bloody well happy they didn't pick a winner either because it has actually forced the patent holders of h264/AAC to finally state what their position is rather than in the past where they would point to very open and broad language which could mean anything.

As for 'Apple bombed the codec situation' - how did they do that? Where is Microsoft stating they'll provide a WebM CODEC out of the box or as a free download for their 'Media Foundation'? Yes, I know all the cool kids these days are bashing Apple but lets step back, take a deep breath, put on a 'Cat Steven's' CD and have a cup of tea before flying off the handle.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: ...
by Neolander on Sat 4th Dec 2010 07:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

As for 'Apple bombed the codec situation' - how did they do that?

Oh, everybody knows the story...

Browser manufacturers had to include a codec in their web browser. Everybody could include Ogg Theora, but not everybody could include H.264. Therefore, the optimal solution was obvious : include Theora, and then H.264 if you want. This way, the video tag could be widely used, since people wouldn't have to put two versions of each video on their website.

Then Apple came and thought "oh no no no we have paid a lot for this silly codec and it pisses us off that everybody uploading a video does not owe us royalties". Then they said that their browser would not support anything but H.264. Therefore, everything got stuck.

At the time, people said that theora was not good enough for the web. Well, they didn't watch the average content of Youtube, but let's admit that. Now, WebM/VP8 is pretty much on par with H.264, or even a bit better, for the average guy's eye, so this doesn't hold anymore. The "no hw accelerated decoding" argument was lame from the beginning, since anyone with some GLSL skills could have corrected this, but now there's hardware WebM decoders in production anyway.

The only reason Apple has, as of today, to only support H.264, is greed. And because they are quite big in the mobile space, we can't just leave them behind. So yes, Apple are the ones to blame here, before everyone else.

Where is Microsoft stating they'll provide a WebM CODEC out of the box or as a free download for their 'Media Foundation'?

Microsoft's situation is a bit different.

At the time, they did not pretended to support the video tag at all. Proper web standards are bad for them, since they mean the end of IE, and therefore less power in the desktop computing world for them. Only recently, after discovering that Firefox had reached 30% market share in some places of the word, did they realize that IE was doomed anyway if they did not took the time to take it out of the stone age and make the first good release of IE in a while : the upcoming IE9.

By the time they were ready to implement the video tag, Apple had already made it a failure. No standard solution for the video tag was envisionable anymore. This gave Microsoft the wondrous opportunity to kick Mozilla in the butt without risking any lawsuit or bad publicity by being the only jerk to do so : all they had to do was to implement only H.264 as a default. Just like Apple.

Yes, I know all the cool kids these days are bashing Apple

Statistically speaking, if it was the case, Apple couldn't have reached a near-absolute monopoly on the DAP/PMP market.

Apple have learned the lesson Microsoft gave them in the past : they have embraced Microsoft's anti-competive tricks with iTunes, are currently extending them to a point where not even Microsoft dared to go with the iOS ecosystem, and we know how it ends in the future if nothing comes in their way...

Edited 2010-12-04 08:11 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE[4]: ...
by kaiwai on Sat 4th Dec 2010 11:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh, everybody knows the story...

Browser manufacturers had to include a codec in their web browser. Everybody could include Ogg Theora, but not everybody could include H.264. Therefore, the optimal solution was obvious : include Theora, and then H.264 if you want. This way, the video tag could be widely used, since people wouldn't have to put two versions of each video on their website.

Then Apple came and thought "oh no no no we have paid a lot for this silly codec and it pisses us off that everybody uploading a video does not owe us royalties". Then they said that their browser would not support anything but H.264. Therefore, everything got stuck.

At the time, people said that theora was not good enough for the web. Well, they didn't watch the average content of Youtube, but let's admit that. Now, WebM/VP8 is pretty much on par with H.264, or even a bit better, for the average guy's eye, so this doesn't hold anymore. The "no hw accelerated decoding" argument was lame from the beginning, since anyone with some GLSL skills could have corrected this, but now there's hardware WebM decoders in production anyway.

The only reason Apple has, as of today, to only support H.264, is greed. And because they are quite big in the mobile space, we can't just leave them behind. So yes, Apple are the ones to blame here, before everyone else.


And yet there is nothing stopping someone from creating a QuickTime plugin so that WebM support exists on Mac OS X in much the same way that if you want WebM on Windows - it is just a matter of creating a 'Media Foundation' plugin so that videos using WebM can load. In other words Windows and Mac OS X are in the exact same situation.

As for the benefits of WebM, those benefits have become a lot slimmer now that h264 patent owners have come clean about who they're going to charge and who they'll allow to use the technology free of charge.

Statistically speaking, if it was the case, Apple couldn't have reached a near-absolute monopoly on the DAP/PMP market.

Apple have learned the lesson Microsoft gave them in the past : they have embraced Microsoft's anti-competive tricks with iTunes, are currently extending them to a point where not even Microsoft dared to go with the iOS ecosystem, and we know how it ends in the future if nothing comes in their way...


What is anti-competitive about iTunes? You can purchase music from iTunes and put it on other devices - just purchase iTunes Plus music which is DRM free and you're ready to go. If you don't like iTunes there is nothing stopping you from purchasing music from Amazon or some other outlet that is DRM free either - so pray tell where is this 'monopoly' or 'abuse of power' that you referring to?

Regarding the iOS ecosystem - you think that Microsoft is different? just look at the fiasco that unfolded when WP7 was jailbroken just recently by some hardware hackers - and Microsofts response was that it opens the door to piracy. Please, all companies do what is in their own best interest first and foremost - if it happens to line up with consumer rights then it is mere coincidence rather than something designed to do right from the start.

There is a reason why I'm interested in waiting for alternatives to iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch is because I want the sort of freedom I get with a desktop computer. There is nothing stopping anyone else from doing the same thing but the reality is that for the majority of consumers they're happy with how Apple operates and no matter how much righteous indignation is screamed from the peanut gallery will change that reality for the many satisfied Apple customers.

Edited 2010-12-04 11:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: ...
by Neolander on Sat 4th Dec 2010 11:57 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

And yet there is nothing stopping someone from creating a QuickTime plugin so that WebM support exists on Mac OS X

Alright, but the problem is that website creators can't assume that WebM support is there, since users have to voluntarily install it themselves

in much the same way that if you want WebM on Windows - it is just a matter of creating a 'Media Foundation' plugin so that videos using WebM can load. In other words Windows and Mac OS X are in the exact same situation.

I did not say that the situation on Windows was better, or even good, though. Only that Apple gave Microsoft the opportunity to make it so.

As for the benefits of WebM, those benefits have become a lot slimmer now that h264 patent owners have come clean about who they're going to charge and who they'll allow to use the technology free of charge.

Have they ? Last time I rode about it, they just said "oh, you can use it freely now, but we keep the right to charge you about that later once it's gotten popular".

What is anti-competitive about iTunes? You can purchase music from iTunes and put it on other devices - just purchase iTunes Plus music which is DRM free and you're ready to go. If you don't like iTunes there is nothing stopping you from purchasing music from Amazon or some other outlet that is DRM free either - so pray tell where is this 'monopoly' or 'abuse of power' that you referring to?

There's several problems with the iTunes ecosystem :
* Not all music is compatible with all DAPs. Only iTunes Plus music will do the trick, as you said.
* You must install and use iTunes in order to transfer music to Apple devices, and you cannot use it to transfer music to other devices. Therefore, if the first DAP you buy is from Apple (which is statistically likely), Apple voluntarily makes it hard to switch to another product later, once you forcefully got used to this piece of software. I think we can safely say that this is an anti-competitive practice, be it legal or not.
* iTunes for Windows, aside from being a wonderful piece of crap used to put a bad name on that OS in a number of way, has a very long history of trying to lure users into installing other products from Apple and silently installing several background services whose exact purpose is unknown.
* Of course, you can buy things at Amazon, but iTunes also tries to lure you into not doing that by making access to the iTunes store a lot faster from iTunes - which again you're forced to use.

It's probably not illegal, but Apple certainly does its best to put competitors out of the market. Which would be okay if they did so based on their product's intrinsic merits, and not using such sneaky and morally questionable tactics.

Regarding the iOS ecosystem - you think that Microsoft is different? just look at the fiasco that unfolded when WP7 was jailbroken just recently by some hardware hackers - and Microsofts response was that it opens the door to piracy.

At the time Apple rolled out iOS, Microsoft certainly didn't got this far before in Windows (desktop and mobile). I agree that WP7 heavily mimics iOS when it comes to sandboxing the user like a mere process, but again do you imagine Microsoft could have gone this far without getting lawsuit after lawsuit if Apple didn't clear the way first ?

Please, all companies do what is in their own best interest first and foremost - if it happens to line up with consumer rights then it is mere coincidence rather than something designed to do right from the start.

And it is the job of laws to make sure that company's personal interests and consumer rights merge more often than just coincidentally. They don't always do the job well, though...

There is a reason why I'm interested in waiting for alternatives to iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch is because I want the sort of freedom I get with a desktop computer. There is nothing stopping anyone else from doing the same thing but the reality is that for the majority of consumers they're happy with how Apple operates and no matter how much righteous indignation is screamed from the peanut gallery will change that reality for the many satisfied Apple customers.

There we agree. It's sad that so many people don't care about what's happening there as long as the product is sufficiently cool on other aspects. But well, after all, there are millions of Facebook users who put most of their private life on a public space without even taking the time to consider the consequences...

Edited 2010-12-04 12:00 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: ...
by kaiwai on Sat 4th Dec 2010 14:55 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Alright, but the problem is that website creators can't assume that WebM support is there, since users have to voluntarily install it themselves.


But if end users can go off to download Flash or Silverlight I'm sure they're able to download and install the video codec if the website owner is smart enough to provide a link for the end user to download it.

I did not say that the situation on Windows was better, or even good, though. Only that Apple gave Microsoft the opportunity to make it so.


But this was the situation anyway; what ever the decision it had to get the support of Windows at least - the impact of Apple was minimal. If Microsoft took the moral high ground and supported WebM I'd say that it would be highly likely that Apple would have fallen in line eventually but called it an 'innovation of supporting industry standards' as they usually do.

Have they ? Last time I rode about it, they just said "oh, you can use it freely now, but we keep the right to charge you about that later once it's gotten popular".


I never said that it was free of charge for all - I simply stated that the h264 license holders have now stated who they're going to charge and who they aren't:

http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/08/26/mpeg.group.makes.free...

The MPEG-LA video standards group today revised its AVC License to permanently exempt free H.264 and AVC video Internet use from any royalties. It had previously planned to start charging companies for streaming H.264 at the start of 2016 but now will allow free use indefinitely as long as viewers aren't charged. Paid video, as well as corporate use of offline video, will still carry a licensing cost.

So if you don't charge, they don't charge - thats a pretty fair policy which would cover the majority of situations out there.

There's several problems with the iTunes ecosystem :
* Not all music is compatible with all DAPs. Only iTunes Plus music will do the trick, as you said.


Yes, and what is wrong with that? the only requirement is for the music to be is DRM free - how is that horrifying? the world is already moving to DRM free music so I am confused yet again how it is anticompetitive in the slightest.

* You must install and use iTunes in order to transfer music to Apple devices, and you cannot use it to transfer music to other devices. Therefore, if the first DAP you buy is from Apple (which is statistically likely), Apple voluntarily makes it hard to switch to another product later, once you forcefully got used to this piece of software. I think we can safely say that this is an anti-competitive practice, be it legal or not.


How is that any different to all the number of other devices out there that demand you use MTP for their device to synchronise? or Zune which only synchronises with the Zune software? or the WP7 phone that only uses the special software designed for it? Btw, how is it difficult to move to another product? all of my music is encoded using m4a which is an open iso standard which I can take and use with 'Windows Media Player' if I wish, or I could use it with Winamp, or I could play it back using Rhythmbox on Linux as long as I have the necessary gstreamer codecs installed. Again, I'm confused, how is it lock in other than a 'person gets used to iTunes' - in other words they might actually like the product so much that the alternatives might actually have to lift their game?

* iTunes for Windows, aside from being a wonderful piece of crap used to put a bad name on that OS in a number of way, has a very long history of trying to lure users into installing other products from Apple and silently installing several background services whose exact purpose is unknown.


Then don't purchase it - I've always assumed they make it so crap that it'll eventually force people to purchase a Mac; I'm not the only person who has such conspiracy theories. With that being said, iTunes on Mac OS X isn't all that pretty either but it doesn't help that they insist on keeping supporting a system (PowerPC) that has been dead for 4-5 years.

* Of course, you can buy things at Amazon, but iTunes also tries to lure you into not doing that by making access to the iTunes store a lot faster from iTunes - which again you're forced to use.


How does it 'lure you in'? because Amazon tells its customers to go fuck themselves if they happen to run a Mac and refuse to provide a nice client? the fact that Amazon tell their international customer based to go fly a kite if they happen to want to purchase some music off them? Amazon are sabotaging their own business model - not Apple or anyone else.

It's probably not illegal, but Apple certainly does its best to put competitors out of the market. Which would be okay if they did so based on their product's intrinsic merits, and not using such sneaky and morally questionable tactics.


Why is it Apple's fault that creative is too lazy to produce a nice media managing client for Mac OS X so that their products are a viable option for me? why is it Apple's fault that Microsoft flat out refuses to sell Zune internationally let alone support Zune on Mac OS X? why is it Apple's fault that Sony refuses to provide a decent media management and synchronisation tool? you keep complaining about Apple and yet you ignore the fact that it is them not Apple who keep screwing things up.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: ...
by No it isnt on Sat 4th Dec 2010 23:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Right. And there's nothing stopping someone from creating a QuickTime plugin for Theora on the iPhone either … except Apple, of course. Which they also do.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: ...
by kaiwai on Sun 5th Dec 2010 04:12 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Right. And there's nothing stopping someone from creating a QuickTime plugin for Theora on the iPhone either … except Apple, of course. Which they also do.


The discussion isn't about WebM on iOS nor do I condone what Apple has done with iOS but with that being said it appears to be a winning formula given the number of people willing to forfeit some freedom for the sake of ease of use. When I was discussing the issue I am talking about Mac OS X the desktop, the issue of iOS is something entirely different and should be started in its own thread rather than you coming in trying to poison the well with an unrelated topic.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: ...
by westlake on Sat 4th Dec 2010 20:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

Everybody could include Ogg Theora, but not everybody could include H.264. Therefore, the optimal solution was obvious : include Theora, and then H.264 if you want

H.264 has tremendous strength in theatrical production, home video, industrial, military and security applications and so on.

Google Shopping returns 65,000 hits for H.264.

To Google Shopping, Theora is a leather-waisted pair of pants you wife buys from Neiman-Marcus.

The list of H.264 licensees reads like an Asian Fortune 500 in tech and manufacturing. The global giants in manufacturing like and Mitshubishi, Samsung, Yamaha are all here.

Pro-sumer at $4500 or a $45 "Flip" pocket clone, the HD camcorder under your tree this Christmas will record H.264 video.

That is not going to change anytime soon.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: ...
by Neolander on Sun 5th Dec 2010 07:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Yes, but here we're talking about video on the Internet, which is a public space. If there's a quick re-encode to do at upload time in order to make the video available to everyone, it is much more okay than discriminating the users.

Forcing use of H.264 is effectively the same as calling the video markup video-webkit on Safari and video-trident on IE : putting the Internet back in the stone age of "Only works with browser X"...

Edited 2010-12-05 07:48 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: ...
by lemur2 on Sun 5th Dec 2010 10:53 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Yes, but here we're talking about video on the Internet, which is a public space. If there's a quick re-encode to do at upload time in order to make the video available to everyone, it is much more okay than discriminating the users.

Forcing use of H.264 is effectively the same as calling the video markup video-webkit on Safari and video-trident on IE : putting the Internet back in the stone age of "Only works with browser X"...


Thankfully, HTML5 with WebM video is going to be the best-supported technology in web browsers.

Opera and Firefox will only support WebM with HTML5. I think Firefox will also support Theora with HTML5. Google Chrome will also, of course, support WebM with HTML5.

IE9 will support WebM if the user installs a codec. I am pretty sure Safari is the same.

Preliminary versions of quicktime and directshow WebM support can be downloaded here:
http://code.google.com/p/webm/downloads/list

I think that the Windows WebM codec might need to be Media Foundation rather than directshow, however. How difficult is it to port from one to the other?
According to Microsoft:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa468614.aspx

Anyway, it won't be long (perhaps by the time that IE9 is released) that HTML5/WebM will become at least as widely available on all browsers as Flash is now.

HTML5/WebM capability will certainly be far more commonly found on client browsers than Silverlight 5.

Edited 2010-12-05 11:00 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: ...
by Liquidator on Sun 5th Dec 2010 11:06 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

Yes, and you don't have all the Flash/Silverlight functionalities and flexibility with HTML5 and a codec. I believe more in enhancing swfdec or Gnash and developing a free Flash-authoring tool with clear, documented standards.

Liquidator.
http://z15.invisionfree.com/osnews/

Reply Score: 2

RE: ...
by nt_jerkface on Sat 4th Dec 2010 05:49 UTC in reply to "..."
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

It's looking like OpenGL vs DirectX when it comes to development pace.

But HTML5 will have the advantage of being installed by default.

Reply Score: 2

More Info
by n4cer on Sat 4th Dec 2010 00:56 UTC
n4cer
Member since:
2005-07-06

An immediate mode 3D API and 64-bit browser support are also coming.

Scott's blog has the feature rundown...
http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2010/12/02/announcing-silver...

http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/Silverlight-Firestarter/Silverlight...

Reply Score: 3

RE: More Info
by kaiwai on Sat 4th Dec 2010 03:06 UTC in reply to "More Info"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

An immediate mode 3D API and 64-bit browser support are also coming.

Scott's blog has the feature rundown...
http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2010/12/02/announcing-silver...

http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/Silverlight-Firestarter/Silverlight...


Thank you for those links - is there any word by Microsoft when they're going to provide a WP7 Silverlight 5 update? As I understand it WP7 is shipped with a hybrid Silverlight 3.x which leaves me wondering whether it is wise for Microsoft to create fragmentation with Silverlight where something works on the desktop doesn't work on WP7.

There was an interesting article a while ago where there was speculation that rather than Silverlight being pushed as the 'Flash killer' it is instead being setup as 'the framework' for WP7 with HTML5 and hardware acceleration being instead pushed for web based applications. Silverlight 5 apparently enables one to do cool things like accessing USB devices etc. which makes me wonder whether it is also being setup as a replacement for all those quick and dirty jobs that used to be done in Visual Basic.

With that being said I was over at Arstechnica where there is this article:

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/12/silverlight-5-unveile...

Where the article writer speculates where .NET Framework sits in the whole equation. I'm probably a little less pessimistic in that the .NET Framework and Silverlight being related but targeted at different audiences who have different requirements. The only problem I have at the current moment is the lack of direction when it comes to win32 especially when one considers the lack of any direction when it comes to moving for example the common controls and dialogues (plus other GUI stuff) from GDI to Direct2D as being a symptom of a company that seems to lack direction - where stuff is thrown against a wall in a hap hazard way rather than a 'grand unified vision' where everything is directed and channelled towards that end goal.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: More Info
by n4cer on Sat 4th Dec 2010 05:35 UTC in reply to "RE: More Info"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

IIRC, it was either at MIX or one of the WP7 events where it was mentioned that Silverlight on WP7 was supposed to be reconciled with the desktop API. At the time, I thought MS meant possibly the first update to WP7 would align it with SL4, but given SL5 beta is in 1H 2011, this could be the release where that occurs. I'd have to go back and see if I can find exactly what was said to be sure.

WPF.Next also brings it back in line with many of the advances made in SL, along with enabling the embedding of SL content within WPF (also getting rid of airspace issues on the unmanaged side). It could be that v5 is the point of alignment for the platforms.

I think MS is really going to leverage the portability of SL to provide a pretty common runtime environment/app platform across a number of devices (similar to XNA). There'll be some differences depending on the capabilities of the device, but there's an opportunity for common backends/optimized UIs across the PC, phones (SL 2 is on Symbian -- will it be updated and/or will other platforms like Android be supported?), replacing things like MCML powering Media Center/MC Embedded and MediaRoom, or some of the more generic TV app platforms manufacturers are currently building, and across other CE-based platforms like MS Automotive, GPS, etc. Xbox runtime is supposedly in development (I actually don't know why they didn't do it sooner -- the Dashboard could easily be SL-based). SBS/HomeServer add-ins (other similar extensibility points)? Maybe, eventually, helping to bootstrap a Midori-like environment (which can initially run within Windows or self host on the phone since the current supported platforms are managed) with app support.

Regarding D2D/DWrite, I think the main reason they didn't use it much (particularly for core components) in Windows 7 is because it was under active development during that time, and doing that bit them in the ass with "Longhorn"/Vista. Taking dependencies on rapidly changing code meant they spent a lot of time fixing breaks that occured when the underlying API changed (and possibly cutting features is some part of the API didn't make the quality gates for a given milestone). Vista, and to a much greater extent, 7, was about limiting dependences on unstable code, and they already had milcore. Similarly, the Office team had already built a new renderer for Office 2007 while WPF was in the works, which at least in part, is why they didn't use WPF. Barring any technical issues, it would be a shame if Windows 8 didn't at least work to re-route GDI calls to D2D/DWrite similar to what they did with several legacy APIs in Vista/7.

I do think MS should put some app teams (particularly for home user focused apps) on such APIs early to go beyond samples in demonstrating the usefulness and their comittment to the APIs. The Live team, for instance, could enhance or expand their suite of apps, in turn enhancing the value proposition for Windows.

Edited 2010-12-04 05:39 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: More Info
by kaiwai on Sat 4th Dec 2010 06:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: More Info"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

IIRC, it was either at MIX or one of the WP7 events where it was mentioned that Silverlight on WP7 was supposed to be reconciled with the desktop API. At the time, I thought MS meant possibly the first update to WP7 would align it with SL4, but given SL5 beta is in 1H 2011, this could be the release where that occurs. I'd have to go back and see if I can find exactly what was said to be sure.


That is good to hear, I'm in the process of learning some C and the big question in my mind is whether I should head off to learn Cocoa for the iOS platform or whether I'm better off learning how to develop using Silverlight/C#/etc where I'm able to target the desktop and the hand held devices at the same time.

WPF.Next also brings it back in line with many of the advances made in SL, along with enabling the embedding of SL content within WPF (also getting rid of airspace issues on the unmanaged side). It could be that v5 is the point of alignment for the platforms.


True, I saw how it is being addressed in one of the PDC2010 videos - really good demonstration which makes me wonder whether the improvements that'll be bought about can be paralleled to when Apple enhanced Mac OS X as to allow the mixing of Carbon and Cocoa objects together. The consequence of that enhancement lead to a gradual migration from Carbon to Cocoa so I wonder in the case of WPF/Silverlight/Native Code whether it will allow companies to migrate their UI from what they use now to WPF now that such interoperability issues will be resolved.

I think MS is really going to leverage the portability of SL to provide a pretty common runtime environment/app platform across a number of devices (similar to XNA). There'll be some differences depending on the capabilities of the device, but there's an opportunity for common backends/optimized UIs across the PC, phones (SL 2 is on Symbian -- will it be updated and/or will other platforms like Android be supported?), replacing things like MCML powering Media Center/MC Embedded and MediaRoom, or some of the more generic TV app platforms manufacturers are currently building, and across other CE-based platforms like MS Automotive, GPS, etc. Xbox runtime is supposedly in development (I actually don't know why they didn't do it sooner -- the Dashboard could easily be SL-based). SBS/HomeServer add-ins (other similar extensibility points)? Maybe, eventually, helping to bootstrap a Midori-like environment (which can initially run within Windows or self host on the phone since the current supported platforms are managed) with app support.


I wonder in the case of the mixing of WPF and Silverlight whether the animations used in Windows will be moved to Silverlight and there is a UI shift to WPF given that Visual Studio 2010 involving doing a lot of optimisations to boost the performance and text readability. I wish that Microsoft made a formal announcement that WPF replaces all the old way of doing things and then moved their whole Windows UI and all their application UI's across to WPF. Microsoft always seem to be fearful of announcing something EOL and simply keeping it around only for backwards compatibility because right now developers wonder - what is the future direction of Windows when Microsoft is unwilling or unable to clearly state what the future direction is.

Regarding D2D/DWrite, I think the main reason they didn't use it much (particularly for core components) in Windows 7 is because it was under active development during that time, and doing that bit them in the ass with "Longhorn"/Vista. Taking dependencies on rapidly changing code meant they spent a lot of time fixing breaks that occured when the underlying API changed (and possibly cutting features is some part of the API didn't make the quality gates for a given milestone). Vista, and to a much greater extent, 7, was about limiting dependences on unstable code, and they already had milcore. Similarly, the Office team had already built a new renderer for Office 2007 while WPF was in the works, which at least in part, is why they didn't use WPF. Barring any technical issues, it would be a shame if Windows 8 didn't at least work to re-route GDI calls to D2D/DWrite similar to what they did with several legacy APIs in Vista/7.

I do think MS should put some app teams (particularly for home user focused apps) on such APIs early to go beyond samples in demonstrating the usefulness and their comittment to the APIs. The Live team, for instance, could enhance or expand their suite of apps, in turn enhancing the value proposition for Windows.


I don't see a massive change like that since I asked them when Direct2D/DirectWrite was released whether they would create a translation layer to turn GDI calls to Direct2D/DirectWrite - their answer is that they have no intention to do so any time soon. With the rise of WPF I wonder whether therefore it is the end of the line for the traditional UI components of Win32 in favour of it being replaced with WPF - if so then Microsoft really do need to get their act together as so far as getting their own products to move away from GDI/tradition win32 to WPF for the UI.

Edited 2010-12-04 06:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: More Info
by nt_jerkface on Sat 4th Dec 2010 09:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: More Info"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I wonder whether therefore it is the end of the line for the traditional UI components of Win32 in favour of it being replaced with WPF - if so then Microsoft really do need to get their act together as so far as getting their own products to move away from GDI/tradition win32 to WPF for the UI.


Win32 has to remain there for backwards compatibility. In future versions of Windows it will at least be there in a VM.

WPF mainly benefits the development of new applications. For common applications a re-write wouldn't make a difference to the end user.

You should take Peter Bright articles with a grain of salt since he talks out of his asshole. I would expect a Qt developer who doesn't use Windows to know more about .NET.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: More Info
by kaiwai on Sat 4th Dec 2010 11:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: More Info"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Win32 has to remain there for backwards compatibility. In future versions of Windows it will at least be there in a VM.


For me I am not too fussed if it hangs around simply for backwards compatibility - if it is like a garden gnome that sits at the bottom of the garden like Carbon is to Mac OS X then I don't see any harm. When I talk about 'replace' win32 I'm not referring to Microsoft removing win32 but instead Microsoft all their software to use WPF and only keep win32 for backwards compatibility rather than something that is used by the system itself.

WPF mainly benefits the development of new applications. For common applications a re-write wouldn't make a difference to the end user.


I'd argue that is incorrect - if Microsoft did all their user interface in Windows in WPF then you would have a single consistent user interface experience across the board rather than the mishmash of different UI paradigms based on the particular generation of toolkit that the application is written in. Take a look at Control Panel at the number of components designed in the 9x and pre-Aero paradigm for example. Yes these are very small things but it is about showing attention to detail - that Microsoft not only cares about the big things but also the small things as well.

Btw, I don't let Apple off the hook either but they tend to do a lot better job when it comes to remaining consistent with their underlying HIG even if their look and feel might be out of step with the rest of the operating system on occasions (iTunes and the scroll bars as one example).

You should take Peter Bright articles with a grain of salt since he talks out of his asshole. I would expect a Qt developer who doesn't use Windows to know more about .NET.


IIRC Peter's background is in Mac OS X although he talks about developing for Windows my hunch is that his understanding of Windows is pretty limited at best. A developer isn't necessarily a person who has to be versed in understanding the underlying technology of the operating system - I've actually talked to developers who develop for Windows whose understanding of the platform is very superficial at best.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: More Info
by n4cer on Sat 4th Dec 2010 15:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: More Info"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd argue that is incorrect - if Microsoft did all their user interface in Windows in WPF then you would have a single consistent user interface experience across the board rather than the mishmash of different UI paradigms based on the particular generation of toolkit that the application is written in. Take a look at Control Panel at the number of components designed in the 9x and pre-Aero paradigm for example. Yes these are very small things but it is about showing attention to detail - that Microsoft not only cares about the big things but also the small things as well.


I agree with this.
I've long thought MS should standardize on WPF for Windows' UI. They could expose XAML styles/control templates, enabling super easy customization of the OS' look and feel (and also a one-click way to revert changes) -- even obviating shell replacements. Want your taskbar to be a floating launch panel? Just edit some XAML.


IIRC Peter's background is in Mac OS X although he talks about developing for Windows my hunch is that his understanding of Windows is pretty limited at best. A developer isn't necessarily a person who has to be versed in understanding the underlying technology of the operating system - I've actually talked to developers who develop for Windows whose understanding of the platform is very superficial at best.


He's been critical of .NET's API design in the past. I think he prefers the unmanaged APIs (or did a few years go). Overall, I think he has high expectations of consistency that's an ideal for APIs and too constraining for desktop applications. Despite this (and his licking a MacBook ;-) ), I like reading his articles and comments, and think he's one of the better Ars contributors.

There is some merit in that MS could use someone who can look across divisions and try to unify similar efforts more often, and work to adopt new technologies more rapidly. MS product teams are treated as seperate companies who are largely autonomous in their decision to partner with and adopt technologies from other teams. While this is nice as the teams should know what's the best direction for their product given requirements and feedback, it can waste time in duplicating effort or adversely affect the platform as a whole by slowing down standardization around new technologies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: More Info
by nt_jerkface on Sat 4th Dec 2010 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: More Info"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

He's been critical of .NET's API design in the past. I think he prefers the unmanaged APIs (or did a few years go). Overall, I think he has high expectations of consistency that's an ideal for APIs and too constraining for desktop applications. Despite this (and his licking a MacBook ;-) ), I like reading his articles and comments, and think he's one of the better Ars contributors.


He writes articles that take pot shots at MS and makes it absolutely clear to us Windows developers that his understanding of these technologies is at a freshmen level. Of course if you don't work with these technologies on a deeper level then his articles might seem insightful. Lucky for him the vast majority of Ars visitors are not .NET developers and thus assume he is credible.

Just look at this excerpt:
There's "traditional" native Win32 development, .NET development using WPF and the full .NET Framework, and Silverlight development.


There is a massive "I'm an amateur" red flag in that sentence that an experienced .NET dev will see.

He didn't mention Winforms which is still used more than WPF. WPF is slowly gaining adoption but there is intertia behind Winforms much like XP. When it comes to competing methods of development he missed the stinking dead rhino in the room.

I'm sure he'll read this comment and get it right in the next article.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: More Info
by kaiwai on Sun 5th Dec 2010 04:26 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: More Info"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree with this.
I've long thought MS should standardize on WPF for Windows' UI. They could expose XAML styles/control templates, enabling super easy customization of the OS' look and feel (and also a one-click way to revert changes) -- even obviating shell replacements. Want your taskbar to be a floating launch panel? Just edit some XAML.


I remember seeing XAML being demonstrated for the first time in terms of UI customisation - all I could say was "that is fucking awesome!"

There is also the possibility of having a collection of technologies and XAML glue their together in a particular way for a particular task - where you can have a foundation of frameworks and have the presentation layer sitting on top where you can move from DTP work to Vector graphics then to Photo editing all using the same frameworks underneath with the only thing changing is the presentation layer sitting on top.

He's been critical of .NET's API design in the past. I think he prefers the unmanaged APIs (or did a few years go). Overall, I think he has high expectations of consistency that's an ideal for APIs and too constraining for desktop applications. Despite this (and his licking a MacBook ;-) ), I like reading his articles and comments, and think he's one of the better Ars contributors.


Which is interesting given he likes Objective-C 2.0 which provides garbage collection - so I wonder whether his complaints isn't necessarily managed versus unmanaged but the degree in which something is managed and whether there is the ability to 'opt out' when one doesn't want it.

There is some merit in that MS could use someone who can look across divisions and try to unify similar efforts more often, and work to adopt new technologies more rapidly. MS product teams are treated as seperate companies who are largely autonomous in their decision to partner with and adopt technologies from other teams. While this is nice as the teams should know what's the best direction for their product given requirements and feedback, it can waste time in duplicating effort or adversely affect the platform as a whole by slowing down standardization around new technologies.


True, that has always been my complaint - they have great technology but no coherent top down vision which brings all these 'things' together into a unified strategy. I look at their phone strategy and ask "how does this fit into their desktop and server strategy'? I look at the mass of API's they've developed over the last 10 years and I ask myself why these aren't being utilised from top to bottom rather than being an appendix. Then there is the issue of HIG where ever division seems to go off and do their own thing rather than having a singular vision that all divisions are lock-step with it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: More Info
by nt_jerkface on Sat 4th Dec 2010 17:56 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: More Info"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


I'd argue that is incorrect - if Microsoft did all their user interface in Windows in WPF then you would have a single consistent user interface experience across the board rather than the mishmash of different UI paradigms based on the particular generation of toolkit that the application is written in.

The distinguishing UI differences have nothing to do with WPF or GDI. The Office ribbon for example can be used in Winforms, Win32 and WPF applications.


Take a look at Control Panel at the number of components designed in the 9x and pre-Aero paradigm for example. Yes these are very small things but it is about showing attention to detail - that Microsoft not only cares about the big things but also the small things as well.

There is nothing in the control panel that requires WPF. I agree that it is inconsistent in how settings are changed but they have improved it over XP.

A developer isn't necessarily a person who has to be versed in understanding the underlying technology of the operating system - I've actually talked to developers who develop for Windows whose understanding of the platform is very superficial at best.

Someone who writes as if he is an expert should have at least a basic understanding of the subject. Peter Bright is clearly not involved with .NET development and should not be critiquing Windows development technologies when he can't even be bothered to gain a basic understanding of how they are used. Maybe he should go back to the Mac because not only is his understanding limited but he doesn't seem to have much of an interest in the subject outside of masquerading as an expert.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: More Info
by kaiwai on Sun 5th Dec 2010 04:15 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: More Info"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The distinguishing UI differences have nothing to do with WPF or GDI. The Office ribbon for example can be used in Winforms, Win32 and WPF applications.


A re-write using a single way of doing something across the board will harmonise the look and feel consistency across the board. WPF isn't a silver bullet but it would force the programmers at Microsoft to fix all the horrific mistakes they've made in the past in one go.

Yes, the underlying technology does matter because when you're using different underlying technologies there will be different quirks that'll appear at the user level. Using your logic we should all be happy with Java applications that have skinning because after all they look exactly like an application for that particular environment!

There is nothing in the control panel that requires WPF. I agree that it is inconsistent in how settings are changed but they have improved it over XP.


I never stated that it required WPF, I stated that I want it re-written in WPF because WPF is the future of Windows development and Microsoft should be using modern UI technology and not the crap that should have been killed off 10-15 years ago.

Edited 2010-12-05 04:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: More Info
by flotsam on Sun 5th Dec 2010 16:56 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: More Info"
flotsam Member since:
2006-01-04

Umm, you do realise that Peter Bright (who I'm not a huge fan of, though he does write excellent articles) has plenty of experience developing for Windows? He slates things with good foundation - he's had experience using them (Win32, WinForms, etc). (Are you going to claim that any criticisms he makes of Win32 are wrong or something? Go on - I could use a laugh.)

Try getting the facts right before criticising. Just because he says certain negative things about Microsoft doesn't automatically mean he's a raving zealot.

Wouldn't it be rather odd for Ars to give him a role writing front page articles predominantly about Microsoft if he knew nothing about the technologies that MS has come up with over the years and has had no experience using these technologies to develop applications?

Incidentally, he only bought a Mac laptop in the last few years, after spending ages criticising Apple and poking fun at Apple users. He's hardly an "Apple can do no wrong" person either.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: More Info
by nt_jerkface on Sat 4th Dec 2010 09:47 UTC in reply to "RE: More Info"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

As I understand it WP7 is shipped with a hybrid Silverlight 3.x which leaves me wondering whether it is wise for Microsoft to create fragmentation with Silverlight where something works on the desktop doesn't work on WP7.


They aren't bringing the full Silverlight to WP7 since part of it is desktop specific.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by dpJudas
by dpJudas on Sat 4th Dec 2010 08:10 UTC
dpJudas
Member since:
2009-12-10

When trying to understand Microsoft it is important to realize that the different divisions inside Microsoft effectively act as separate companies within the company.

In particular its important to realize that the .Net team is not the same team as the Windows team and they may not even share the same goals. In the same manner the Office team is also doing their own stuff and having their own agenda.

As an example of this the Office team initially invented the ribbon bar and introduced it in Word 2007. This was done entirely with their own code base and in their own way. Since the ribbon idea seems to be a great success, the upper management of Microsoft probably decided to make it an official OS feature and told the Windows team to implement it. The result is that the ribbon API introduced in Windows 7 has nothing to do with the original ribbons in Office and likewise nothing to do with .Net or WPF. It uses COM, Common Controls and XML.

A different example of this is the UI Automation API (System.Windows.Automation). It was originally created by the .Net team as their way of doing UI automation and accessibility. Windows itself did have an API for this already (called Active Accessibility) but at some point it was decided this new API was superior and should replace the old one. The Windows team therefore once again created official APIs for it and added it to Windows 7. It uses COM, like things always do when it comes from that team.

I don't think anyone at Microsoft really think you should use the old common controls API anymore. It is pretty obvious they only update those controls whenever the shell team needs a new feature and they barely document those new features anyway. I am sure they'd remove them from Win32 if they could, but obviously they cannot since half their own products (and anything based on MFC) uses them. ;)

So what to use instead? Well, I'm pretty sure that if you ask the tools team, they'd answer WPF, because that's what they wrote for you. The office team uses their own controls and technologies. What the Windows team would answer? Now that's the good question. I haven't got a clue. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by dpJudas
by moondevil on Sat 4th Dec 2010 08:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by dpJudas"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

They are not the only ones.

When I was working at CERN, the groups that were part of the experiment I was working on, each had their own threading library.

One of the main discussion points in some of our meetings was when would all groups would use the same library, but they could not agree which library would win being the one.

That is what happens when you mix politics with software development.

Reply Score: 2

Limited platform support
by Zolookas on Sat 4th Dec 2010 10:10 UTC
Zolookas
Member since:
2006-03-01

What Silverlight is lacking now is platform support. You can get current versions on Windows PCs and Macs, but you are not going to find it in mobile devices (WP7 does not support it in browser and it is version 3 only) or on other operating systems (Moonlight is still in version 2, with version 3 preview available).

Reply Score: 2

And the ground goes meh
by Verenkeitin on Sat 4th Dec 2010 18:20 UTC
Verenkeitin
Member since:
2007-07-01

You can already use poorly supported technology to create your awesome farmville clone with html5 or, better yet, xhtml+svg.

Reply Score: 1

Hope they fix the Atoms
by jefro on Mon 6th Dec 2010 21:47 UTC
jefro
Member since:
2007-04-13

Dummy MS coders did not get the Atom to work correctly. No one can get Netflix HD on their computers because of the error.

Reply Score: 1