As a Microsoft Regional Director I’m often prepared to stick my head out and stir a bit of shit. One of the things I’ll often bleat about is the appearance of Flash on Microsoft properties. It therefore behooves me to put my money where my mouth is and deliver up great Silverlight sites ourselves.
In the past we’ve done some really cool ‘hardcore’ Silverlight projects that we’ve shown of at events like Mix. These include TextGlow and Buttercup. This time around we’ve delivered a Silverlight based site to help support the Technical Preview of Office 2010.
It’s 100% Silverlight and I’m not going to go into the technical details as a bunch of the team (linked below) will be doing that.
We kicked around the idea of using Silverlight 3.0 for this project- we knew the ship date and given that it was just three days before our go-live we decided that we’d err on the side of caution. This really comes down to the adoption of the plugin; Silverlight 2.0 has pretty good adoption, particularly among our target demographic but 3 days just isn’t long enough to get the number of plugin installs up to a decent level. At the end of the day whether your running with Flash or Silverlight you are making a trade-off between plugin availability and functionality even if just choosing between versions on the one platform.
We’re running Silverlight streaming. The video clips that are coming from the production company are have fantastic production values: certainly make me jealous. It would be a shame to stick them in a nasty grainy low bitrate codec but at the same time we’re catering to a global audience. Silverlight Steaming means that we can delivery a good experience for everyone around the world and then for those of us with great internet connections (thanks Telstra Clear cable!) we can deliver a full 720p HD stream in the same UI. We worked with iStreamPlanet who are providing the streaming services over the LimeLight CDN.
The main application is hosted in the Rackspace Texas data center. It just wasn’t practical to run this out of the Intergen Wellington data center in the short time frame we were working to. The backend platform is, unsurprisingly, Microsoft server products: Win2k8 and SQL2k8.
So there you have it. Money where my mouth is I think you’ll agree.
Links to posts from the team:James Newton-King who built out the server side technology and headed up our release management blogs on more of the technical details: http://james.newtonking.com/archive/2009/07/14/backstage-with-office-2010-website-live.aspxAaron Hall from our Dunedin Office jumped on the Tin Budgie and spent 2 weeks in Wellington working on the mobile version (visit it on your WinMo or iPhone device): http://aaronhall.co.nz/Blog.aspx?BlogTopic=Microsoft#Backstage with Microsoft 2010
Chris Klug who lead the Silverlight development side of things: http://chris.59north.com/post/www-office2010themovie-com-is-now-live.aspx Chris also has some tips we learnt along the way…. in fact make that Chris has crap load of great technical deep dive content that I emplore you to go and read so you can learn from our experience.
I’ll call out the rest of the team as they blog or tweet about this.
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