Monday, April 30, 2007

MEDC 2007 - Day1

Actually the first day was yesterday with MIX, I went over there with high-hopes of watching another great key-note by Scott Guthrie, I made the trip from the Monte Carlo to the Venetian early that morning, got registered and headed up to the meeting room.  I was greeted by a not-so-friendly security guard saying the MIX sticker on my badge wouldn't let me onto the fourth floor...guess there was something in the fine print, oh well.  I came back that afternoon and went to a couple great sessions, one on identity, it really seems like OpenID is really going to merit a series investment in time over the coming months.  The other conference I went to was on security with AJAX enabled applications.  This was a great session as a refresher/reminder that building a secure application really needs to be started from day one and built into the architecture, at least its much easier that way.  Overall the $395 I paid to add MIX to the MEDC conference was well worth it

The conference started out with a bang with the Key Note by Robbie Bach the president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division.  He made a great case for developing software as a service and one of the biggest clients for those services is going to be mobile devices.  I also so some great demos on another one of the things I love to work on in my spare time (what's that?) Home Automation.  I really need to look at some of the latest developments in this area starting with Microsoft's Home Server.

Key points on what I took away from today's sessions

  • Microsoft/Verisign finally came up with a "sane" way of signing mobile CAB files for WM 5.0.  Before you had to sign all your files, send them to Verisign, let them do their thing, get those files back.  Package them into a CAB and send it back up to them to sign the completed package.  What a pain in the ass, no real way to automate.  Just introduced this week, you can just start sending up the CAB file and it only costs one signing event!  Now it seems reasonable to sign the files...
  • There is now an applications out there called fakeGPS.  I have a project coming up in May where I need to report on GPS data from a device, I'm looking forward to digging into this technology.
  • According to Microsoft, WM6.0 and the Compact Frameworks are 100% back-wards compatible.  I have a fairly large WM5.0 application I've developed so I'll put this through the test, I really hope this is the case!
  • On WM6.0 devices the Compact Frameworks 2.0 SP2 and SQL Server Compact edition are baked into the ROM...nice!
  • On the large WM5.0 application I developed there is a good chunk of the code that deals with one handed operation on a Pocket PC type device (read not smart phone) I always thought this was a real was nice to see the Microsoft presenters give a demo of how to do this (and their implementation was really even more of a hack ;) ). 
  • In Windows Mobile there is an event that I can subscribe to (something like Connection Status Changed) this will be fired when the connection via cell phone changes.  As part of my mobile application based upon a schedule I check the server for changes...kind of messy and probably wasteful the easy solution here would be to use an SMS message to kick of replication, yet this isn't that great either.  What I'm thinking about is that I'll build some sort of registration type service where the device can register with the server it's IP address as the connection status changes, then the server could make a TCP/IP call to the device to initiate replication (or maybe just send changes)
  • New terminology for WM6.0 (Don't shoot the messenger)
    • Smartphone (no touch pad) - Now called "Windows Mobile Standard"
    • Pocket PC Phone - Now called "Windows Mobile Professional"
    • PDA's (no phone) - Now called "Windows Mobile Classic"

Overall this was a great day...picked up lot's of tips & tricks and validated all my design considerations over the past year.


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