Entering the Auditorium; graffiti artists spraying their art live, deep bass from techno music are pumping from the speakers, loads of geeks in anticipation of what to come.
A really cool opening for a developer key note....
They keynote for TechEd Developers -07 is delivered by S. Somaseger (http://blogs.msdn.com/somasegar/contact.aspx), Corporate Vice President for the Developer Division at Microsoft and the rumors on what he might have to say has been flowing around the conference venue all morning.
This is my live report from the keynote:
Announcement: Visual Studio 2008 will be available as RTM download from MSDN before the end of November. See my earlier post for a picture.
Announcement: Microsoft Sync Framwork Community Technical Preview. The sync framework is built to easily support occasionally connected clients and have local cached data that can be synced to a central data store. I'll be blogging more about that.
Announcement: Popfly Explorer to build Popfly reusable and sharable silverlight controls to share functionality across applications. Available in public beta today.
Announcement: Software + Services Blueprints from Patterns and Practices ready to use building blocks and plug-in for visual studio will be available from MSDN shortly to start building S+S applications. First blue print will be to build an Outlook add-in to work in S+S scenarios.
Tool advancement, One of the key messages from Somaseger was that the code for Visual Studio 2008 was to 96% compiled by the new MSBuild engine and Microsoft has been "dog fooding" VS and team system for the last 9 months building the new Tools and Frameworks.
He also talked about Visual Studio Shell and the open licensing for Visual Studio IDE and how that is really important in supporting partners building their own products and supporting their own languages in the Visual Studio environment. The demo was really cool and showed how to use Visual Studio Shell to build addons for World Of Warcraft, generating LUA and the XML needed with intellisense and other VS features fully supported. Check this out:
This has to be the first time Microsoft openly shows WoW on a conferance.
The Visual Studio LUA editor will be available as open source from CodePlex. I really need to start play again :)
Community interaction, Somaseger also talked about their vision with MSDN forums, where he says that if I as a developer bet my profession on the Microsoft stack, I will get a rapid response on any questions I have. Today 80% of the questions in MSDN forums (http://forums.microsoft.com/) are answered but the goal is 99%. Somaseger will commit to making the MSDN forums the number one resource for getting your questions answered. That's really interesting and even though it's a jungle there today, looking forward I can see how MSDN forums will be a very important player. Not only for getting questions answered, but also if Somaseger throws his PM and TL into the forums, there will be great opportunities to influence the developer stack from Microsoft.
Microsoft wants MSDN to be a community platform for developers can contribute as well as being a resource where to find information. They will be doing that with MSDN Code gallery, MSDN Wiki where developers can add to the documentation and a translation wiki where developers can translate the documentation to local languages
Plattform advances, in the orcas timeframe Microsoft is betting on a new DataStack with LINQ, on the user experience with Silverligt and WPF and the communication/enterprise grade applications with WCF and WF.
Microsoft is betting hard on three things going foward with their platform, first of all the .NET 3.0 stack with Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation (and Cardspaces) will be upgraded with .NET Framework 3.5. The second bet is LINQ and all LINQ To X and making data a first class citizen in the framework and the languages. I'll have reasons to get back on LINQ several times this week. The third is user experience with SilverLight and AJAX. The tool stack with Visual Studio 2008's new features are almost all targeted at supporting these three technologies. There are some changes like Visual Studio Tools For Office being integrated into the Professional version of Visual Studio and not as a separate install.
After doing some research the last couple of weeks one could really see that, looking at 3.5 all the big advances is in the W*F space, Silverlight Support and in LINQ. The same goes for Visual Studio 2008. I get the feeling that VS2008 is a minor upgrade where most news are to support W*F and also extending the Application Lifecycle Management initiative which was started by the first version of Team System.
Product usage, According to numbers from Microsoft over 1 miljon developers are today using Visual Studio 2005 with at least 25% of them using Team System for Application Life Cycle Management, adding the 17 million downloads of Visual Studio Express versions, this is quite a impressive number but looking historically there where over 6 million VB6 developers and a lot of C++ developers, where are they? In VS2003 space? Still in VB6?.