The Midweek Download: Sept. 28th Edition–Microsoft Research Turns the Big 2-0 plus Windows 8, Windows Phone, Metro Design Style & Internet Explorer

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories about the 20th anniversary of Microsoft Research, how Nokia developers can learn Windows Phone even faster and a look at another feature of Windows 8.

The magic behind the curtain: celebrating MSR’s 20th anniversary. September 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of MSR. To celebrate the occasion, MSR is hosting a day of conversations at many Microsoft research labs around the globe to discuss the key technology trends—like natural user interface, “big data,” and machine learning—that are transforming the way people use computers and what they can do for us. Want to know more? Check out this Tuesday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Signing in to Windows 8 with a Windows Live ID. “With Windows 8, we introduce the optional capability to sign in to your PC with a Windows Live ID and, by doing so, gaining the ability to roam a broad range of settings across all of your PCs,” writes Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division on Building Windows 8. In this Monday post on Building Windows 8 by Katie Frigon, the group program manager of the You-Centered Experience team, describes the feature and its benefits. Don’t miss it.

Nokia Developers: learn Windows Phone even faster. Microsoft recently announced a comprehensive package to leverage your development skills while learning to build applications for Windows Phone. The Microsoft and Nokia agreement has been described at length over the past few months and, like Matt Bencke highlighted, one of our goals has been to make it easy for Nokia Symbian developers to learn Windows Phone. So, folks from Microsoft and Nokia worked together to build a great package to help you get started. This helpful package contains an assortment of tools and documentation to help you along the path to learning Windows Phone development. Read this Sept. 21st post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog to get more detail.

Building on the BUILD momentum. Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton is a self-described “sucker for anything related to design.” In this Monday post, Clayton highlights one of his favorite sessions from the recent BUILD conference held in Anaheim, Calif. – “Designing Metro style: principles and personality.” Check it out. Speaking of BUILD, The Official Microsoft Blog recently held an online poll asking readers what piece of news announced at the conference excited them the most. Well, the results are in! Go see for yourself!

Internet Explorer 9 mobile developer overview. One of the most common questions that we field from Web developers is “What does your browser support?”, or, conversely, “Does your browser support ‘x’?” As previously mentioned, as part of the Mango release, we unified the code base for Internet Explorer across Windows and Windows Phone. This enabled us to make a huge leap forward in the platform, taking advantage of all of the latest and greatest work done in the Internet Explorer Web platform. It also means that the simplest way to answer these questions is, “It supports what IE9 supports!” For more on this story, read this Sept. 22nd post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Creating websites that work offline. Users expect their websites and apps to work well even when the network isn’t available. With data increasingly stored in the cloud, developers want to enable fluid experiences that allow access to data when there is no connectivity, when devices are disconnected from the network or when they encounter dead spots in coverage. In this Wednesday post on the IEBlog, the IE team shows how to create well-behaved offline sites and apps using a number of HTML5 features.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download. Thanks for reading and stop by The Official Microsoft Blog for another news roundup this Friday.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog