Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Day two of the TechED 2006 for Developers

Because the first day of the 2006 TechED for Developers in Barcelona was actually a pre-conference day, the second day started with the traditional keynote. I thought that the first speaker (don't recall his name), was a bit uninspiring for the 3800 developers. But they called a little eleven year old Pakistan girl on stage who obtained her first MCP exam already! Her future is guaranteed I say…

The keynote speaker, Eric Rudder, was followed by two rather impressive demos. The first one showed the full potential of combining the power of Sharepoint 2007, Office 2007 and .NET 3.0. They even used a WPF control library from Infragistics. The second demo was even impressive since it demonstrated the possibilities of the new C# 3.0 LINQ functionality, both in a database and an XML centered context.

Right after the keynote session, I met Tom Hollander to prepare for the Software Factories presentation later on that day. I even gained access to the Speaker Area :-)

The first real session of that day was about Commerce Server 2007 by Ryan Donavon. Since a client of ours is considering migrating from 2002 to 2007 (and from .NET 1.1 to 2.0), I was quite interested. Unfortunately, the session was rather moderate from a content point of view. It basically listed the differences and new features, but did not show any real code-examples or more in-depth details. What the speaker did mention was that migrating to 2007 means nothing more than running a wizard (in most cases). I would have loved to know what those exceptions were. Prices will stay the same, and there will be a free developer version. The old COM codebase is still there though.

During lunch, I had to meet-up with the Idol Contest crew and the other contestants. According to the crew, about 20 submissions have been received of which nine were selected for the real deal. However, three wildcards will be provided for daredevils that want to try it without preparation. That makes a total of 12 contestants. Three guys are natively speaking English, so that's a disadvantage for me. The Greek guy (Evangelos or something) is part of the Ask-The-Experts team so he may already have more stage experience than me.

I was planning to go to a live demonstration on Sharepoint 2007, Windows Workflow Foundation and Infopath, but that session was already full in minutes, so I had to fall back on a presentation on C# language innovation by Karin Liu. No tears necessary though, since she give a very nice presentation on how typical limitations of one C# version have been addressed in the next version, up to and including C# 3.0. I really liked the stuff on how LINQ works under the hood and what C# 3.0 functions have been introduced to make this all possible.

The last session of the day dealt with all the new stuff for Web developers that becomes available in Visual Studio "orcas" (and .NET 3.5). Expect a lot of cool stuff to improve the productivity of the design-tools within Visual Studio such as: improved ASP.NET designers, seamless integration of new technologies such as AJAX, Intellisense and debugging support for JavaScript, and finally, LINQ designers. One notable aspect of LINQ was that it provides a full-blown object-relational mapper making products like Nhibernate obsolete. They also showed a command-line tool that generates a complete and fancy ASP.NET 2.0 website that provides extensive maintenance screens using a database schema as its source.

The day concluded with an introduction reception at the central Exhibition Hall. Microsoft has a history of spectacular parties (even the one at the DevDays 2006 was nice), so imagine the disappointment when there was no party at all. No music, no (exotic) dancers, no nothing. Well, the snacks were nice and there were some dressed up actors pretending to be fortune tellers, santa clause or something else peculiar. Hopefully, the Dutch party at the Barcelona City Hall Nightclub on Wednesday will be better.