Trip report – PDC05 (day two)

As I was waiting for day two to begin, I got to thinking about the vast amount of content available to anyone concerning PDC05 whether or not you are an attendee. With slides, photos, blogs, news, audio, etc. what remains? Is it just the live experience? Is it the face-to-face networking? Is it hearing the word not said or seeing the non-verbal disposition of the speak and/or the audience? I happend to answer “Yes” to all of my questions, but others may not. In their case, how do they justify physical attendance? Note: although a few PDC05 speakers have made their slides generally available, most slide decks are only available via CommNet, which requires a valid Passport that has PDC05 registration associated with it.

Wednesday 9/14/2005

Keynote #3 – Tools for Innovation – Eric Rudder (video)(transcript)

  • Six demos in 60 minutes.
  • “An architect is someone who is over 40 and over-confident.” -Don Box (clip from channel 9 video)
  • Announcements – Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF, same engine used by Office “12,” aka “WinOE”?, provider architecture, DVD #1 (Beta 1 state), Microsoft Expression product family – Acrylic (graphics), Sparkle (interactivity) and Quartz (web) – designers for designers!, and Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA) as “”
  • Emphasis on workflow – human and system, Visual Studio integration (designers and debugging support – C# & VB.NET)
  • (e.g. a set of readily available “activities”)
  • XAML is the bridge (i.e. persistent, high fidelity medium) between designers and developers (e.g. no need for developer to (mis)interpret a design)
  • Expression demos were compelling by unfortunately lost some “pop” due to developer makeup of audience (not designers)
  • Adobe + Macromedia vs. Microsoft (Expression)
  • Sparkle and Visual Studio integration – same project artifacts (i.e. one model and role-appropriate views – intuitive and familiar – high productivity), same MSBuild subsystem and XAML as common file format (i.e. all represent a great example of modularity, contextual UI and composition/re-combination
  • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) controls expose templates, which are recognized by Sparkle
  • Deal with 3D models (e.g. from StudioMax)
  • Enable roles to work more closely and productively (i.e. capture and harness true synergy)
  • VSTA demo – AutoCAD based
  • “XAML Integration for PLM/CAD” by UGS – data sharing focused among knowledge workers; collaborative process enablement – involved more people in the process when it matters most without taxing participants with a ton of software; allow each actor in a business process to leverage the tool of choice; all that is required is a WinFX-enabled desktop => Microsoft must make this runtime pervasive!
  • Structure applications today for WWF
  • Tools will be provided so that WWF designers can be embedded in own applications

Keynote #4 – Office “12” – Steven Sinofsky (video)(transcript)

  • This keynote featured a strong emphasis on ECM (i.e. the technology more than the business scenarios, “ECM framework in Office ’12’,” “Office ’12’ ECM platform,” etc.).
  • This was a first for Office–to be really talked about at a PDC let alone be at the center of a keynote.
  • Steven Sinofsky gave the entire hour-long keynote including all of its demos. Not bad for a Senior VP.
  • Central to his message was SharePoint and he spoke about investment and commitment of this core and its surrounding technologies.
  • SharePoint has a nice development story around ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts.
  • Metadata-driven solutions were highlighted.
  • The notion of a “Content Type” in SharePoint “3” was announced (i.e. an object-oriented definition of content that supports hiearchical relationships). EMC | Documentum has had this for more than 15 years now.
  • New “property sheet” function/UI/user experience (can be InfoPath form) – XML data binding
  • RSS feed for a document library (i.e. for any list!)
  • Retention
  • Workflow – task integration and form integration
  • FrontPage “12” as a “SharePoint designer” – interesting positioning (i.e. delegating Dreamweaver competition to…”Sparkle” et al?)
  • Implication: Forms Server requirement enables browser-based access of InfoPath forms without requiring InfoPath on the client machine.
  • Forms as a great tool for data collection and info gathering
  • “Best Bets” on a site when searching (i.e. promoted resources by site members or admins)
  • Search – Documents, People, Customers (i.e. all of the above)
  • The fundamental SharePoint concept/abstraction/entity is a List (SQL table via SharePoint web services API (SOAP)). A List represents a significant developer opportunity to tap corporate assets.
  • SharePoint “3” will make certain application functions pervasive (e.g. project management via built-in Gantt view on a list; forms; etc.).
  • “Ease of use + nice UI” (in SharePoint) was the value-add statement offered to external systems in exchange for integration with their master data (e.g. CRM).
  • Re-upped commitment to Access “12” – the “landing pad for data”

PRS317 WPF: Beautiful Code, Beautiful Design – Robert Ingebretsen

  • I attended this session because I’m attracted to good design and strive to produce it both in terms of infrastructure and user experiences.
  • “Avalon lets you build the applications you always dreamed of.”
  • Powerful, clean, great tools
  • Current developer/designer workflow issues (e.g. designer is unable to directly impact to the product, design is turned off and subject to interpretation (e.g. loss of fidelity, missing pieces left to developer, etc.))
  • Designer as independent UI creator – no more “translation” errors, parallel workflow, realtime iteration and feedback
  • Understand the (Visual Studio/Expression) project structure and its separation of concerns (e.g. contains, created by, design experience; relationship (contract) among artifacts; etc.).
  • XAML is XML; XML is for machines, not human => visual tools required/expected to be reasonable medium.
  • Sparkle + Cider (sparkling cider…Martinelli’s :-)) – “Cider” refers to forthcoming Visual Studio designer extensions; Brian Pepin offers a good explanation of both designers.
  • Styling = resources, styles, templates, triggers, storyboards
  • This speaker’s slide style reminds me of Hillel Cooperman‘s presentation at PDC 2003–never did see his slides released (and his blog appears to be no more, too).
  • Controls are what they do and how they look (e.g. the “buttonness” of a button)
  • WPF, XAML, etc. requires one to rethink controls (e.g. leverage new separation between structure and appearance).
  • Design facilities/promotes/encourages (or the reverse) connections (e.g. connections with software)
  • “Good design means that beauty and usability are in balance.” -Donald Norman

TLN306 The .NET Language Integrated Query Framework: An Overview – Anders Hejlsberg

  • I attended this session because LINQ represents an emerging language trend and its creator is speaking.
  • Slides are in red to reflect the future (no ship date, yet) of the subject matter
  • The LINQ Project is about solving the following problem: Data != Objects
  • Programming exercise vs. plumbing exercise
  • LINQ is very important where CM, ECM, ILM is concerned.
  • “Dlinq” is the codename for a future version of ADO.NET
  • “Xlinq” … System.Xml (expressive power of Xpath/Xquery but in C#)
  • “foreach” as a code emitting pattern; so too for SQL (i.e. LINQ translates queries into method invocations)
  • Queries as projections (of data (sub)sets)
  • There is a strong type system behind what appears to be regular script (i.e. “var” is simply shorthand for knowledge the compiler already has).
  • Extensibility model is open and generally available (i.e. queries are now as ephemeral as for and if statements; applies to anything (e.g. Reflection metadata))
  • Is this just about queries (i.e. Select statements) or does LINQ also support Update, Insert, Delete?
  • Unified programming model
  • Xlinq strives to have symmetry between elements and attributes
  • LINQ is targetting C# 3.0 and VB 9.0. Although not necessarily the opinion of the speaker, some here have said that VB.NET has the best LINQ support due to its flexibility compared to C# (e.g. select … from vs. C#’s from … select).
  • Paging is supported
  • Debugging and profiling is supported (e.g. Visual Studio supports mid-line breakpoints (not well known) and this feature applies here, too)

Barry Gervin posted an useful list of LINQ resources.

TLN307 C#: Future Directions in Language Innovation – Anders Hejlsberg

I attended this session because C# is one of my primary languages and its creator is speaking.

The design goals (value system) for this language revision were presented as follows:

  • Integrate objects, relational and XML.
  • Generics, nullable types, etc. in 2.0 pave the way for 3.0.
  • Run on the .NET 2.0 CLR (LINQ runs on top of 2.0 bits).
  • Don’t tie language to specific APIs; “Languages live longer than technologies.” -Anders
  • Remain 100% backwards compatible; CTP may not satisfy this goal, yet, but it will be satisfied.

PRS312 ASP.NET: Future Directions for Developing Rich Web Applications with Atlas (Part 1) – Shanku Niyogi

  • I attended this session to better understand Microsoft’s entry in the AJAX field.
  • Web applications are known for their reach and ease of deployment. However, with Atlas (i.e. AJAX) you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice user experience in the process.
  • This is about taking better advantage of the browser (i.e. application container; local processing power, resources, etc.).
  • Big questions for Atlas: IIS required? ASP.NET 2.0 required? IE required?
  • Even if framework is biased/limited to ASP.NET, understand its patterns
  • Script core brings type safety to JavaScript (i.e. a set of patterns to guide)
  • This session would have had far greater impact if it had focused on visual/graphical expression rather than the declarative focus it tools (i.e. XML hand-coding).
  • Perhaps the necessary tooling is not ready, yet.