LAS VEGAS — The MIX conference for Web developers wrapped up Wednesday afternoon but here is what a random sampling of attendees had to say about Microsoft products such as Silverlight and the Windows Phone 7 Series. Eyeballing the crowd, it looked like attendance was about 1,000.
Francisco Loureiro, a Web designer and developer for environmental engineering firm Brown and Caldwell in the Bay Area, develops in Adobe Flash, but he said Silverlight, the competitor from Microsoft, is appealing. “Silverlight has a lot of promise,” he said. “Adobe really dropped the ball on delivery of multiple platforms,” especially mobile devices.
After seeing the demos of the Windows Phone, he said, “I’m ready to switch. I’ve had an iPhone for a few years. I’m sick of it.” He liked the Windows Phone layout, the “sophisticated” design, the interface and “how fluid everything looks.”
He also appreciated the conference’s emphasis on usability and design, especially Microsoft research Bill Buxton’s keynote speech on design. “The applications I develop internally have to have quick adoption. If I don’t consider usability, the application will fail.”
Chandu Dondeti, a communications manager and Webmaster at the University of Rhode Island, came to figure out which way technology is moving, both for his job and his personal development. “I try to take in as much as possible so I can play around with new technology and build new stuff,” he said.
He was particularly interested in OData, which Microsoft built for developers to make Web services that pull information from databases.
Dondeti was unsure about the demos he saw of the Windows Phone. The phone didn’t look responsive on stage, he said. But he liked the other demos of potential mobile apps that could be built on it.
“The demos like the cannon, those were awesome,” he said. “It’s way, way better than what they had before. … The biggest advantage is you don’t have to learn a new language, whereas if you take Android or iPhone, you need a specialized SDK (software development kit),” he said.
Jeff Hoffer, an entrepreneur from Los Angeles, came to network and meet potential partners and was possibly the only guy at the conference wearing a tie. After getting laid off from a software company last year, he wants to start a new business that would provide a framework and development tools for building mobile apps and content Web sites.
“Windows Azure is very intriguing from a startup perspective,” said Hoffer, who writes a blog called www.theguywithatie.com. “It probably provides $100,000 in infrastructure that I don’t need to find funding for. I don’t need to hire a network guy.” He also liked where Silverlight was going as a platform for three screens and a cloud. The screens are the PC, the phone and the TV.
Overall, he said, “the shift Microsoft has made to UI [user interface] and user experience is impressive.”