Trip report – PDC05 (day three)

Thursday 9/15/2005

Keynote #5 – Server Roadmap – Bob Muglia (video)(transcript)

The overall message focused on closing the loop/gap between dev and ops.

2005 server roadmap:

  • R2 is focused on server management (e.g. WS-Management support, MMC 3.0 (featuring .NET-based snap-in development–guidelines to be published–to build a console that runs anywhere), SDM support).
  • R2 will ship with .NET 2.0 (i.e. .NET will be a “standard operating system service” in R1). When will Microsoft do itself and its ISVs a huge favor by making .NET pervasive via Windows-wide deployment of the runtime?!? Why is .NET not auto-deployed on at least Windows XP systems? (They had a reasonable opportunity to correct this in Windows XP SP2 but passed for whatever reason.)

2006 server roadmap:

  • Complete cluster solution (going after compute-intensive systems like academia; beta now)
  • This clustering technology reminds me of working on interative television (ITV) at MSI (commerical arm of Lockheed Martin Missles & Space with Microsfot in the 90s (“MMOSA” and “Tiger” systems … in competition with today’s embedded systems winner at Microsoft, Windows Embedded and Windows CE before that)
  • Monad – cmd-line scripting language; one underlying set of (managed) mgmt obj’s (i.e. MMC 3.0 and Mondad–for all server applications)
  • WinFX – coincident with Vista release (emphasis placed on WCF and WWF for server OS)

While talking about 2006, a fair amount of time was spent on identity and security under the Active Directory (AD) banner.

  • 75% AD vs. 1% LDAP
  • Moving past SSO (i.e. largely already addressed) to address/tackle service access control
  • Demo of SSO via app.config (declarative!)
  • WS* compliant identity source/service
  • RMS is now the Information Protection Service with the AD system

2007 server roadmap:

  • “Longhorn Server” (Beta 1 @ PDC05, DVD #6)
  • Focus on virtualization and hypervisor support/enhancements
  • Modular OS – only deploy/activate what is required; shrink attack surface area; shrink maintenance surface area; keep this modularity in mind up front during systems architecture and development
  • TxF – significant update to NTFS enabling all file I/O to become transactional

Toward the end of Bob’s keynote, an IIS7 demo was provided. It proved to be quite compelling and received quite positive response from the audience. IIS7 is a VERY modular system, borrowing pages from the Apache play book. “Metabase is dead!” Code, content and config are all easier to replicate (e.g. to farm). You can read more about other’s perceptions of IIS7. I, for one, tend to leverage rather than augment web servers and application servers. However, I continue to say: “Know what you leverage!”

OFF314 Developing Enterprise Document Solutions Using Office Client and Server Technologies – Rob Lefferts

  • I attended this session because of my work with Kurt DelBene’s Office “12” team including Rob.
  • This session tried to clarify what ECM means and put it into perspective. A scenario was provided to tie it all together (i.e. Vendor Contract Scenario – used as way to flesh-out details of problem and functionality of SharePoint’s solution).
  • Focus on Content Management (i.e. Document Management, Policy & Compliance, Workflow, WCM). In Office “12” ECM means building capabilities that fit into these four buckets.
  • There was significant emphasis not just on functionality but its usability.
  • One bar set by Microsoft for Office “12” is to be an auditable system of record. During the session’s Q&A, the question of DoD 5015.2 compliance was specifically asked, and the answer was that, yes, submitting the system for compliance verification is indeed on the current plan of record.
  • Knowledge Workers are smart people; so, they’ll work around issues…and be less productive in the process. Therefore, enable their maximum productivity and effectivity.
  • Events and “Content Types,” apparently “near and dear” to the speaker, were demonstrated (e.g. project provisioning (e.g. set of initial content to start project workflow – RFP); feature.xml – configuration file to deploy new functionality to a server).
  • WWF – workflow for everyone (end users, devs, etc.); great tooling via VS05; usable end experience via Office “12”
  • There is an interesting option to provide feedback during realized workflow (i.e. allow the edge to suggest refinement).
  • Oddly enough, after seeing so much WPF, Atlas and Vista visuals, the visuals during the workflow demo seemed stale.
  • The final demo centered around Records Management and the SharePoint records repository.

There was some good Q&A at the end of Rob’s presentation (e.g. the DoD color I already noted above).

  • Down-level experience asked (re: info panel)
  • Scalability? A (partial): Inside of a single library, 10 million items can be stored; views on libraries reduce the effective number of items in a library, though; 2000 items in any container before a new site collection is required; 100 million items for indexing; …
  • How are versions stored? A: Separate items

PRS420 ASP.NET: Future Directions for Developing Rich Web Applications with Atlas (Part 2) – Nikhil Kothari

  • I attended this session because Nikhil is the lead architect for Atlas; so his perspective on the framework carries significant weight.
  • This was more a session of demos than slides.
  • Atlas is about making scripting more approachable.
  • Atlas is an end-to-end framework (i.e. client and server).
  • The “nuts and bolts” demo came across as a ton of plumbing and debugging concerns. This is the exact opposite impression projected by ASP.NET 2.0 (e.g. “70% less coding” in certain regards). Why when WPF and Windows Forms are so much easier to build against and offer more substantial tooling?

In between sessions and over lunch, I had a good discussion with the Director of WinFS Program Management, Quentin Clark.

DAT320 Windows Vista: Building RSS Enabled Applications – Amar Gandhi (part of Team RSS)

  • I attended this session to see how Vista provides a platform for RSS and to better understand the need for and nature of Vista’s RSS extensions.
  • Subscription applies to much more than blogs and news
  • This talk is about these broader use cases (i.e. real business scenarios)
  • Goal of this talk: more time in code than in slides
  • DVD #5 in folder “Web Feeds …” – APIs discussed today
  • Implementation available in Oct CTP of Vista
  • RSS model overview (e.g. incremental merge to client store, etc.)
  • Feed normalization process (i.e. “jiggling”) – any fidelity implications (e.g. original format biases)?
  • “Interesting stuff is in the extension” (smells like embrace and extend to me!)
  • API is COM-based to increase its reach and to avoid loading the CLR (e.g. IE scenario; Windows Media Player scenario)
  • Consider the experience you want to provide
  • Where/how to expose feeds from your application
  • Use cases for enclosures (e.g. audio, images, video, related files, etc.)
  • Jon Udell posted an interesting interview with the speaker, too.

PRS324 Using Data in Your WPF Applications: XML, WCF, ADO.NET and More – Namita Gupta

  • I attended this session because data is the pervasive element in all applications.
  • The speaker chose to leverage slides as pictures, as visuals (i.e. very short, at least, on text). This ended up being a very reasonable way to convey important points.
  • WPF data binding – pervasive, expressive and open
  • A technology roadmap with demos was provided.
  • Control templates are a BIG DEAL (e.g. you can declare data binding in a control template)
  • Every control is bindable to data
  • Data binding + templating => POWER (in WPF)

DAT209 “WinFS” Future Directions: An Overview – Shishir Mehrotra

  • I attended this session because of my work with the WinFS team and specifically with Shishir.
  • WinFS is Microsoft’s current attempt at Integrated Storage (single, unified store).
  • The first presentation of this material was so popular that a second session (this one) was added to accommodate those interested. And the room was full on the second go-round…and an overflow was required, again.
  • It would be useful to convey some of the power of WinFS if the video presented here to invoke application ideas becomes generally available.
  • WinFS goals: Unify, Organize, Explore, Innovate
  • WinFS for developers – the PDC05 landscape compared to the PDC03 landscape
  • WinFS has two primary facets: store and API.
  • ADO.NET will be the WinFS API. This is excellent news and provides a uniform API for coding WinFS and non-WinFS data sources alike.
  • ADO.NET for WinFS will feature “Entities” (“ObjectSpaces” reborn–dropped feature in v2) and ORM. “Mapped connections” will map tables into objects. Inheritance will be supported.
  • ObjectSQL will be the query language and will generate a storage expression tree.
  • WinFS will feature a common data model–“Entity Data Model” (close to UML).
  • Metadata handlers work in pairs (promoters/demoters) and exist to resolve item/file conflicts otherwise caused by naïve Win32 applications
  • The “Life Journal” demo reminded me of exposure to NASA visualization research I saw in the early 90s; it also reminded me of views for day traders–not that I am one. :-) It would be interesting to examine the “Life Journal” code base to better understand the separation between presention, data and storage.
  • The post-PDC DVD, if it contains videos, not just slides and audio, will be quite compelling (e.g. where this session is concerned).
  • There were significantly more sessions on WinFS during PDC 2003 (i.e. nine). The industry would be wise not to misinterpret the lesser coverage during PDC05 as a decline in this technology’s significance and potential impact.
  • Play with the WinFS Beta for Windows XP available today!