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Mix07: Silverlight Streaming Service Launches, Expression Studio Ships

Microsoft set a flood of technology loose at Mix07, including the official release of its Expression Studio suite of Web design and development tools and the first beta of its highly anticipated Silverlight multimedia platform.

Microsoft also introduced Silverlight Streaming, a multimedia hosting site intended to promote Silverlight adoption by offering developers a repository for bulky video files. During its pre-release phase, the site will offer free storage and delivery of 4 GB of material. Eventually, Microsoft plans to cut its free services back and charge a "nominal fee" for users that choose not to allow advertising on their streams.

Two Silverlight previews surfaced Monday: a beta version of Silverlight 1.0 and an alpha version of Silverlight 1.1, which includes broader .Net support and language support for JavaScript, Visual Basic, C#, Python and Ruby. Silverlight 1.0's beta comes with go-live licensing, meaning that developers using the fledgling technology are free to publicly release their creations.

Silverlight 1.0 is slated to ship by August. A timeline isn't yet established for 1.1 and future releases, according to Brian Goldfarb, the group product manager overseeing Silverlight.

The Silverlight 1.1 alpha incited joy among programmers for the significant milestone it marks: For the first time, Microsoft has built a cross-platform .Net subset, one that will run on operating systems other than its own -- most notably, Mac OS X. Microsoft is also extending its embrace of dynamic languages, with a new Dynamic Language Runtime that takes work Microsoft did for IronPython and extends it for use in supporting other dynamic languages. First up: IronRuby.

Microsoft bills its Mix07 show as a "72-hour conversation," and attendees are obliging by offering public running commentary on the show in blogs and other social chatter sites like Twitter and Flickr. Technorati has already rolled up more than 500 blog posts about Mix07. So far, the Silverlight demos and dynamic-language support are drawing the loudest applause.

"Silverlight looks really, really cool," posted David Laribee, president of development firm Xclaim Software. He's also enthused about IronPython.

"It's been hyped for the past few weeks that we were going to see many new things announced by Microsoft this morning. The hype didn't keep up with reality. It was WAY better than sold," wrote Jeff Blankenburg, a project engineer with solutions provider Quick Solutions.

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