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Back From Microsoft DevCon

OK, early this week I posted why I was not able to attend Advisor DevCon, but now I am declaring I have returned from Microsoft DevCon? What’s up with this? Well apparently Microsoft thinks the DevDays is better called DevCon. Yesterday I attended the one day Microsoft DevCon which highlighted Visual Studio 2005 (web and smart clients), Team System, and provide a 50,000 foot view of the Visual Studio and Longhorn RoadMap.

I had three goals for the day. One was to meet local Microsoft reps here is Detroit, find out who is replacing the local Microsoft Developer Evangelist (an official job at Microsoft), and make some connections with other Microsofties. The second goal was to get a jump on ASP.NET 2.0 and the third goal was to learn as much about SQL Server 2005 as possible.

The first goal was accomplished in short order. Drew Robbins was very kind and even knows of Visual FoxPro MVPs in Canton, Ohio (actually Andy and Marcia are in Akron). Drew noted he worked on one VFP project, but asked me not to quiz him on VFP syntax. I mentioned that Michigan has three VFP MVPs and he was surpised how many VFP MVPs were concentrated in the Midwest. We talked about the user groups in Michigan as well. It was nice to get a positive reaction to the groups and VFP in particular. I also talked to several .NET MVPs and user group leaders.

The sessions started out early in the morning and I had to drive across town in rush hour traffic, which I normally avoid. The keynote speaker obviously did not rehearse because he went over by 50% for a 60 minute session with few questions asked during his time. I cannot imagine how frustrating it is to work every day in VS 2003. The crowd got excited at things I have taken for granted for the last 15+ years like a window to evaluate expressions (Command Window) and Visualizers (the BROWSE).

The morning sessions I attended covered the new features in ASP.NET 2.0. The sessions were okay, but the presenters were not prepared. They did not cover all their material, the demos crashed, and that morning they found out their 75 minute sessions needed to fit into sixty minutes. A tough task for experienced speakers. The product looks promising despite the sessions not going well. I felt bad for the presenters. One thing is obvious though, you need a serious machine to run Visual Studio 2005. The presenters all used Virtual PC to present the material and it looked very sluggish. I am not sure if it was VPC or if it was the Beta 2 version of the product, but every presenter said you need a serious machine to run this product.

At lunch I talked to a couple if “kids”. One is starting college in the fall, the other is a developer at a company, but is definitely in the early years of his career. It was interesting listening to their perspective as they are in the midst of being brainwashed by academia with respect to the “Evil Microsoft”. The college freshman definitely loves LAMP and was only at the conference to connect up with some Microsoft people and see what it takes to become a Microsoft Ambassador for his college (Michigan Tech). The other developer is working on financial web apps. I think it would be good to wear the rosy-colored glasses once again.

The afternoon sessions were great. The ASP.NET session covered the separation of presentation from the business objects and data. It looks like the data binding is a lot easier in ASP.NET 2.0. One of the design goals with ASP.NET is to reduce the coding by 66% and the speakers demonstrated several ways this is true. It was pretty impressive. The binding initially looks a lot like the VFP CursorAdaptor object. The other session I attended was on the Compact Framework, SQL Server 2005 Mobile, and deploying apps on PocketPCs and SmartPhones. Despite the struggles with VirtualPC, the speaker did a great job to getting the message across and showed how to deploy an app and do merge replication with SQL Server.

The day wrapped up with a peek into the Microsoft future and the promised delivery of VS.NET 2005 on November 7th (the announced release date). Lots of information in a 75 minute session about Longhorn, WinFS, Indigo, Avalon, WinFX, SQL Server 2005. Interesting, there was nothing about Orca (the version of VS.NET after 2005). Looks like the developers in Redmond are going to be very, very busy over the summer. I get the impression from the speakers and Microsofties that the schedule is very aggressive and announcing the release date this early is nuts.

I really enjoyed the day, learned a lot, and walked out with three books, two t-shirts, and several VS.NET press on tattoos (giving a whole new meaning of product branding {g}).

One Response to “Back From Microsoft DevCon”

  1. June 20th, 2005 at 21:49 | #1

    It was nice to meet you too. Hope you enjoyed your day at the DevCon. Wear your tatoos with pride. :)

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