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3/12/2010
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MIX10: Microsoft, PreEmptive To Launch Silverlight Analytics Tools

Microsoft will unveil Silverlight Analytics Framework at the Web designers & developers conference kicking off March 15 in Las Vegas, while Preemptive will launch Runtime Intelligence Analytics Provider for Silverlight.

On Monday, Microsoft will unveil its new Silverlight Analytics Framework at Mix10, its annual web developers brouhaha in Las Vegas, and it will reveal support for six web analytics solutions, including PreEmptive Solutions, which offers code protection, instrumentation, and performance analysis across a variety of application types, including Silverlight. Most important in all of this is the ability to maintain analytics in off-line and out-of-browser Silverlight applications, a major Microsoft initiative, especially for enterprise Web applications.

Silverlight Analytics Framework will let designers and developers visually build analytics into their Silverlight applications using Microsoft's Expression Blend. PreEmptive Solutions Runtime Intelligence Analytics Provider lets Pre-Emptive Runtime Intelligence work with this new framework.

Microsoft has made tremendous strides with Silverlight, not only with marquee projects like the recent Winter Olympics and the upcoming March Madness On Demand, but also with some interesting corporate applications as well. (You can hear more about this, along with some debate about Silverlight, Flash and HTML5 here.)

In fact, while much of the buzz around Mix10 has been focused on what Microsoft will offer developers for the new Windows Phone 7 Series, attendees will likely get a heavy dose of enterprise insights and tools as well. (You can watch some of the keynotes live here .) For rich Internet applications, and for the creative designers and developers of those applications, Microsoft wants Silverlight to be the platform of choice.

Analytics is vital to any application deployment, but certainly for corporate-class applications, on the Web or otherwise. Web analytics tools depend of course on interaction with an HTML page. But with Silverlight 3, Microsoft began its quest to allow applications to run outside of the browser, and even in offline mode.

Any analytics, Microsoft Media Experience Evangelist Michael Scherotter said, would essentially be broken, and would affect the application's performance. The new Analytics Framework works regardless of how a Silverlight application is deployed, and any of the six analytics companies that will be announced on Monday will be able to take advantage of this. (Microsoft would only reveal PreEmptive Solutions as one of those six partners.)

PreEmptive Solutions, known largely for its Dotfuscator technology, which provides code protection, also instruments applications for performance and usage monitoring. Its Runtime Intelligence technology also correlates what site visitors are doing with actual business outcomes. These technologies do this across a variety of Windows application types -- back-end office systems applications, ASP.Net, Silverlight, WPF applications.

PreEmptive's CEO, Gabriel Torok said that his company not only wants to make it extremely easy for designers to build performance metrics into their Silverlight applications, it wants to make the entire application workflow, from the front-end user interaction down to the back-end application performance, visible through a single view. In fact, Torok said, much of what's really happening with an application isn't visible unless you have that global view.

Torok said that this capability is also useful in agile development, because it gives developers a sense of where the problems are, what users are doing with an application and how it can be improved. For designers, Preemptive's tie into Silverlight Analytics Framework makes all of the performance choices a button-click affair. That is to say, it doesn't require any code. Designers can check off how often application is run, look for stability issues, and other analytics around application usage.

Microsoft's Silverlight Analytics Framework lets designers build these analytics tools easily and visually. (Microsoft's designer tool is Expression Blend.) The framework also supports Sketchflow, which is used to create rapid prototypes without writing any code -- so designers can actually test the use of their applications in this stage.

PreEmptive and Microsoft noted that developers want to measure everything from the quality of the video experience, to audience metrics, to usability, and to track things like video starts and stops, where users go first, what they click on first and so on.

These tools will be announced at 2 pm Pacific on Monday, and will be available immediately. The Silverlight Analytics Framework is open source, and will be available on Codeplex.

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