Friday, November 10, 2006

TechED is over

Oh my, this was already the last day at the 2006 Barcelona TechED for Developers. Tomorrow around noon, we'll fly back to cold and rainy Holland. That will sure be big a disappointment after enjoying a full week of warm and sunny days here in Barcelona. Anyway, still a few sessions to attend today.

The first one, Developing Smart Clients with the Smart Client Software Factory and the Composite UI Application Block covers many subjects that are very close to me. It was presented by an architect from Microsoft Austria which has been using both blocks in real-live applications. He elaborated a fair amount of time on defining the scope of CAB workitems based on functional requirements such as use cases. Because that part of the SCSF is the least well explained, I especially liked that. He also showed some nice extensions they've been creating to improve the overall design of a SCSF-based Smart Client. I forgot how much I like Smart Client applications. I foresee a happy future since new components and technologies such as software factories, WPF and Synchronization Services are arriving real soon.

I skipped the second session of the day to meet up with Don Smith, product manager for Microsoft's Web Service Factory and a colleague of Tom Hollander. He missed our demonstration of our SMART-Microsoft Software Factory during Tom's session last Tuesday. We've been talking for more than an hour to show off our DSLs and the way we have approached our productivity efforts. He has also shown recent technologies such as the Guidance Automation Extensions and how they can help us to improve the use of our factory even more. We are sure going to stay in contact. What is great to hear is that the Patterns & Practices team really listens to developers and customers working in the Microsoft community.  

I did however visit the third (and one-but-last of this year's TechED) session. One of the founders of Thinktecture. Christian Weyer, presented a level 400 (!) demo on building distributed applications with .NET 3.0 technologies. He created an awesome multi-media system consisting of several WCF services, web clients, WPF Windows clients, while employing all aspects of .NET 3.0. Stuff I've seen: WCF custom behaviours, workflow extensions, streaming video over multiple WCF channels, MSMQ queing through WCF, a WPF media player. I'm going to download that code as soon as it is available. Absolutely awesome!

Next came another Windows Forms/WPF session by Brad Adams, this time elaborating on the Windows Forms stuff and how that will work together with WPF in Visual Studio Orcas. According to this guy, Windows Forms should be used for rapid application development while WPF is great for graphical-rich applications such are often used by hospitals, control pads for operating factory machines or public systems. However, you can actually host a WPF control in a WinForms application as he proved in a demo. Shame though that they were repeating the synchronization stuff that I already saw in a previous session by Brad. Not the best presentation of this week.

And what that session, the formal part of the TechED completes with a day full of Smart Client technology. Let's enjoy this last night in Barcelona...