Can you believe it? A year flown by already since I jetted off to LA, reclined to the soothing sound of Scott Gu's Keynote, and all-round indulged in a general geek-out at Microsoft PDC 2008! And already Microsoft PDC 2009 is upon us.
Windows 7, which we gawped at for the first time twelve months ago, is now gracing our desktops; Windows Azure is almost ready to go live; and after a good 52 weeks of head-scratching developers are just beginning to work out what Oslo is and isn't good for.
What with our baby being born and Bankers busting our economy, I'm not going to be present in person at the PDC this year. But the Directors at Paragon have very kindly granted us all a couple of days to be present in spirit by taking advantage of the session videos that Microsoft generously post online within 24 hours of the event.
So which sessions will I be watching?
Top of my list are the PDC specialties, the sessions usually flagged up with the magic word "Future" in their title. What developer doesn't go to PDC with an ear greedy for announcements of shiny new features for their favourite platform?
- The ever-entertaining Luca Bolognese will be telling us all about Future Directions for C# and Visual Basic. Maybe he'll have news on Ander's Compiler as a Service?
- Karen Corby will be on hand to show us the Microsoft Silverlight Roadmap and Futures. How many items will Microsoft have checked off the suggestion list? There are at least indications that Data Binding is being enhanced. It looks like we’ve heard all that Microsoft are ready to say about WPF for the time being, but there is at least a session on XAML Futures in Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft Silverlight and Tools.
- Windows Azure might be almost ready for prime-time, but Amazon's Cloud has been going for years. How is Microsoft going to compete? I'm guessing that Manuvir Das (Windows Azure Present and Future) Yousef Khalidi (Bridging the Gap from On-Premises to the Cloud) and David Robinson (The Future of Database Development with SQL Azure) will be showing us the view through their crystal ball.
- Microsoft still have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to Oslo - some of the Oslo developers confess to only recently getting to grips with what it is. Earlier this week Doug Purdy caused consternation in the blogosphere when he announced that Oslo is going to be renamed “SQL Server Modelling”, and will be delivered as part of a future SQL Server release. He has since gone on to clarify that the DSL tools are alive and well, and that Oslo will be part of the broader SQL Server platform, not the core engine, and that this will be no means limit its availability.
All of which is no doubt calculated to stir up interest in the many Oslo sessions at PDC. The dynamic duo, Chris Anderson and Don Box will be kicking off with Data Programming and Modeling for the Microsoft .NET Developer. Then, in Evolving ADO.NET Entity Framework in Microsoft .NET Framework 4 and Beyond, Anderson will be teaming up with Shyam Pather to explain how Oslo is making connections with the Entity Framework. Chris Sells and Doug Purdy are doing a session the following day on “Quadrant”, the friendly graphical face of Oslo, explaining the art of Building Data-Driven Applications Using Microsoft Project Code Name "Quadrant" and Microsoft Project Code Name "M". Digging a bit deeper, Don Box and Jeff “Pinky” Pinkston will be explaining Microsoft Project Code Name “M”: The Data and Modeling Language.
The other thing PDC is famous for are “deep-dives”: talks by the architects and developers of the various technologies on show, laying bare the inner workings of their creations. This year I’ll probably focus on WPF and Silverlight.
- Blake Stone, presenter of Windows Presentation Foundation 4 Plumbing and Internals warns us to bring a hard-hat for his session
- Any nay-sayers avoiding WPF because Microsoft aren’t using it for any significant applications should be silenced after Paul Harringtons talk, How Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Was Built with Windows Presentation Foundation 4
- .Net RIA Services (RIA = Rich Internet Application) holds a lot of promise as a framework that provides a measure of RAD without compromising on all of the principles that make the Alt.Netters hot under the collar. Make sure to watch Building Amazing Business Applications with Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft .NET RIA Services for an introduction, and Mastering Microsoft .NET RIA Services for more depth.
- One thing that has impressed me with Silverlight is how WCF “just works”. Networking and Web Services in Microsoft Silverlight promises to explore that whole area in some depth
As well as watching these sessions, I hope to find some time over the next week for blogging about my discoveries. So why don’t you follow along?