Microsoft announced a bevy of developer-related news this week around Internet Explorer 9, HTML5, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure.

Read on!

Developers – start your engines! Microsoft announced on March 1st the launch of Dev Unplugged, a contest that challenges Web developers to push the limits of a modern browser without the use of plug-ins. “We believe that HTML5 and related technologies, in conjunction with faster and faster browsers, finally give developers the tools they need to create experiences that are as vivid, interactive and compelling as anything you have seen in native applications,” writes Exploring IE blogger Carter Rabasa. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley covered the story in her daily All About Microsoft column.

Windows Phone developers – show us your apps! Microsoft is at the 2011 Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco and the company wants Windows Phone developers to stop by and show off their apps. According to Windows Phone Developer Blog writer Ben Lower, “We will select our five favorite apps and will bring the developers as our guests to the party on Thursday night (party starts at 9:00 PM.” In other Windows Phone developer news, Microsoft recently set up a program called DreamSpark whereby students all around the world can gain access to professional-level developer and design tools so they can start making new WP7 apps. The Windows Phone 7 Training Kit is also available for free download.

Java developers – Windows Azure wants you! Windows Azure developers already have a variety of options when it comes to programming languages and development tools. Now, they have another. In this Feb. 28th post on the Windows Azure Blog, it was announced that the Community Technology Preview of the Windows Azure Starter Kit for Java is now available.

Keep things organized while you bang out code. Too many sticky notes stuck to empty cans of Mountain Dew? Software coders, relief is here. Check out this Feb. 24th post on the Developing for Windows Blog about Tasks.Show, a new tool for developers that provides an “an easy, light and quick way to manage your to-do list,” writes blogger Yochay Kiriaty.

Microsoft Applied Sciences – building the ultimate display. Ever been curious about just what exactly goes on at Microsoft Applied Sciences? Well, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton provides a glimpse into a project focused on the future of smart displays, including a seven-minute video featuring Steven Bathiche of Applied Sciences.

InTune coming soon to a PC near you. In this Feb. 28th post on the Windows for your Business Blog, blogger Gavriella Schuster reports that InTune will be available on March 23rd. According to Schuster, InTune is “a comprehensive PC management solution designed to meet essential management needs for organizations of all types and sizes, from small and mid-sized businesses to large enterprises.”

Office Web Apps vs. Google Cloud Connect. In this Feb. 25th post on the Microsoft Office Blog, guest blogger and product manager Jennifer Kensok compares the differences between Office Web Apps and the new Google offering known as Cloud Connect. Customers using Office Web Apps and SkyDrive will want to check it out.

W3C and Web-tracking protections. In an important online privacy development, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) accepted Microsoft’s submission for an Internet standard to help protect consumer privacy. In this Feb. 24th post on the IEBlog, Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president of Internet Explorer, writes about Microsoft’s role in formulating emerging technology standards around privacy.

That’s it for this edition of the Midweek Download. Thanks for reading, and see you next Wednesday.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog