MIX11 – Day One Recap

HTML5 mattersEvery MIX conference has an overreaching theme it seems. In 2008 – my first year – the theme was the Dev-Igner – the developer – designer hybrid – and how that person was going to find a place in the web development universe. This was spurred on by the launch of Silverlight and all the tools associated with it. 2010 (I didn’t go in 2009) was all about Mobile and the launch of Windows Phone 7 later that year. This year the focus is HTML5, illustrated by the picture above. It may seem surprising, it may be confusing, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

For anyone not working within or closely associated with the Microsoft universe the seemingly sudden shift to a focus on web standards, open source and interoperability may seem as a sudden and irratic shift. But it has actually been going on for a long time. It’s just that with the release of IE9 just a few weeks ago Microsoft suddenly went from being the reason why web standards and cutting edge web technologies couldn’t be implemented to a company leading the way and in many respects leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. So with that in mind the focus on HTML5 isn’t so strage after all.

The first day of MIX in many ways felt like a formal staking out of a new path for Microsoft. Yes, there was the ever present celebration of the .NET framework and all the technologies associated with it, but there was also an inescapable and refreshing focus on open standards, forward thinking and interoperability. If there was any doubt, the keynote, and the sessions that followed made it pretty clear that Microsoft is now fully backing open source, being it based on .NET, JavaScript, PHP or whatever other code language you swear by. And that’s a good thing. No. That’s a great thing. It means we are moving forward and can start pushing the limits rather than working on making everything comply with old and broken applications. And more importantly it means us open source programmers have well and truly been let in from the cold and accepted as equals.

The sessions I attended on the first day were on infographics, HTML5 standards and JavaScript – all non-platform specific, all cutting edge, all promising. And even the Ask the Experts session carried with it a vibe of moving forward together to make amazing things happen on the web.

Not to sound like a crazy cheer leader or anything, but the future looks bright. Or to put it in my own humble terms: Microsoft has seen the light and is accepting what we have known all along: Web standards and open source is where the future lies.

I’m really looking forward to the Keynote tomorrow where there are rumours they will be announcing some cool stuff that will make our startup even more revolutionary.

Oh yeah, if you haven’t done so yet, go to, check out the app and sign up for the beta. That was just my little plug.

Check out my continuously updated photostream from MIX11 on Flickr.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Morten Rand-Hendriksen is a Senior Staff Instructor at LinkedIn Learning (formerly specializing in AI, bleeding edge web technologies, and the intersection between technology and humanity. He also occasionally teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He is a popular conference and workshop speaker on all things tech ethics, AI, web technologies, and open source.

One reply on “MIX11 – Day One Recap”

I thought the drawings being drawn as the keynote was going on was a nice touch. Unfortunately, I had to watch online, but it was good to see the change in focus as well.

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