Thursday, October 30, 2008

PDC 08 - Day 4

Final day of the conference. My day actually started at 3am. One of the giveaways at the show was a bouncy rubber ball that emits shrill sounds while bouncing. Sadly, this specimen decided to start chirping at that odd hour. I was startled awake and it took me several minutes to locate the source of the noise. This thing has no 'off' button. I thought about hurling it out of my window, but 21st floor rooms' windows cannot be opened (although it does bring to mind an interesting question in physics: if you drop a bouncy ball from the 21st floor, how high does it jump back? surprised). Finally, I resorted to throwing it to a trashcan outside my room.

I attended 2 lectures today: one on RESTful web services (how to switch from SOAP and other heavy web services protocols to REST), and the other on extending Visual Studio.

The second lecture had some eye-opening samples on how VS can be extended - even in the current version. Several things we can do today:
  1. Download (or develop and upload) extensions from the Visual Studio Gallery.

  2. Build scripts and automation into VS, using DTE.

  3. Distribute applications that look like the VS UI, using VS Shell.
Then came the VS 10 samples. Since VS 10 is written entirely in WPF, it is extensible by nature:
  1. The Start Page can be configured and reprogrammed.

  2. Extensions can be developed and distributed by just copying assemblies around.

  3. You can even manipulate the way VS shows code, or comments - the sky's the limit.
Finally, I took a hands-on lab on WebSlices, a new IE8 feature. I liked it so much that I'm now at work on incorporating it into my blog (stay tuned).

I actually got to the airport ahead of schedule and managed to catch an earlier flight home. I just received an email from Microsoft informing me that all lectures and material have been uploaded to - go check them out. I was also invited to next year's PDC (November 17th '09 - mark your calendars).

Final observations:
  1. Many people were blogging and twittering from the show. Some just typing, others snapping pictures or filming. All in all, I assume many people around the world got the news in near real-time. The internet is amazing.

  2. There were far less presenters this year (did I hear someone in the crowd say "recession"?). I couldn't understand the business models of some of the presenters - why put so much money in designing UI controls that Microsoft provides for free?

  3. Over the last 2 years, in Tech-Ed and in online education videos, developers and presenters used Windows XP and 2003 to demo. No more. This time ALL presenters used Vista (or 7) on their presentation machines. Guess Microsoft finally started forcing people to eat their own dog food (although one Microsoft developer I spoke to confessed that internally they are using proprietary bug tracking system and source control system, rather than using VSTS and SourceSafe, like they want us to).
That's all for this PDC. I'm now hard at play... I mean work at testing the new operating system, frameworks and demos. Software development is fun again... smile

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