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Microsoft's MIX06 to bring Web developers, designers together

UPDATED -- With MIX06, Microsoft hopes to start a conversation between developers and designers that results in better-looking, and better-running, Web apps. The event is sold out, but will be there to give you news, advice and commentary.

Back at PDC 2003, Microsoft introduced Avalon and XAML. The impetus was a desire to get Web application designers and developers working from the same code base.

Two and a half years later, that plan has materialized as MIX06, a Microsoft show focused on uniting those two groups not just in code base but in UIs, business model, content and security. Some are touting the show, which is March 20-22 in Las Vegas, as a low-key complement to the PDC. (The event is sold out, though a waiting list has been set up for those who are interested.)

"It's a conference for designers and developers, for people who are betting their business on the Web. We've been thinking about bringing these groups together for a long time," said Tim O'Brien, group manager, platform strategy group, Microsoft.

One main theme for MIX06 is a break from the traditional "sit and listen" conference format. In The Sandbox, for example, developers will have a chance to play around with Windows Presentation Foundation, Atlas, Windows Communication Foundation and, when work is finished, the XBox 360. The event will also offer an IE7 Compat Lab where attendees can test their own sites and extensions on the new browser.

The speaking events kick off with a keynote from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, a conversation between Gates and O'Reilly Media Inc. founder Tim O'Reilly and, lastly, a discussion led by IE general manager Dean Hachamovitch.

From there, sessions are divided into two main tracks -- Beyond the Browser, which covers getting the most out of existing technology, and Next Generation Browsing Experience, which examines emerging tools such as IE 7, Atlas, the Expression suite and Office 2007. The lineup of speakers, which includes technical evangelists from companies like MySpace, Amazon and eBay, reflects the focus on new tools and techniques.

"If you're a Web developer, and you want to take the user experience to the next level, beyond Ajax and html, it's going to involve code on the client," O'Brien said.

Bloggers have certainly noticed MIX06, with much attention given to the Remix contest, which gives folks a change to redo the MIX06 homepage and win an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas. The majority of bloggers seem excited about the show (or disappointed that they can't make it), though there are a few, such as consultant Mike Trips, who have decided to pass.

More on MIX06 topics from

Atlas: Atlas means 'Ajax for the masses'
Windows Presentation Foundation: Views on building .NET smart clients
Expression:Microsoft releases Expression interface designer CTP

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