Friday, November 9, 2007

DevConnection 2007

I had a hard time convincing my self to go to Fall DevConnections 2007 in Las Vegas.  I was really glad I went, I think I'm finally feeling that I'm on the tail end of the learning curve with the new technology releases from Microsoft.  I can't by any stretch of my imagination an expert in any of the new technologies but at least with some recent development experiences and attending numerous sessions over the past few days at think I've got a good lay of the land, at least to a point where I have a good sense of the capabilities of the new technologies and should be able to match up a problem to the right solution. 

Here are some of my findings from this conference:
1) I'm anxious to start using VS.NET 2008 (to be released later November), specifically I'm interested in the better support for developing AJAX sites with intellisense and script debugging.  I'm also interested to see the performance enhancements in the new product.  I'm starting to get a little frustrated with some performance issues in VS.NET 2005.

2) I'm starting to "feel-the-love" with Silverlight 1.0.  Although it's extremely exciting to think that Silverlight 1.1 can be programmed with any .NET languages instead of just JavaScript as in 1.0, I'm just not there yet for 1.1.  I like it that there is a nice and small 1-2MB file that can be loaded and installed with little to no friction is great for 1.0, but although I appreciate the ambition of moving .NET into all the different worlds with Silverlight 1.1 I think there might be too many moving parts.  I think the XAML Browsers applications are probably a better alternative...we will see, I sincerely hope to be proved wrong :).

3) I think I'm starting to feel a little better about LINQ as well.  In the past LINQ seems to have been presented as a completely different way of working with data, well yes it is, but in demos I've seen this was going to start leaking into the UI layer.  It seems like there are two really different uses for LINQ, the first working with pure objects via collections of different sorts, and the second is LINQ to SQL.  As with my previous post, it seems like for the most part we should let the Database handle the getting/filtering of data and that is what LINQ to SQL does (saw some awesome demos of seeing the SQL that LINQ generates and the execute it).  I'm still not sold on the other approach (at least in the 90% apps that sit on top of a database) where we use LINQ to work with collections of objects.  I can see some edge cases where this might be kind of nice, but I just can't see this in the vast majority.  I need to get my hands dirty with LINQ to SQL, it might be a nice alternative to CodeGen which I'm still a big fan of...stay tuned.

4) I attended a session on the Microsoft Sync Platform, very cool...kind of packages up a lot of nice features I built into a client application.  It was good verification that I got the architecture right!

5) There are some new additions to WF in 2008, specifically the ability to create WCF end points for sending and receiving messages.  I can't say I completely understand this yet, but there most certainly appears to be some interesting capabilities here.  There is also a project to embed a WF designer into client applications.  This could get very interesting.

6) It seemed like in a number of sessions I went to the presenters had one problem or another with their technologies, I guess this is probably a case of being on the tail end of the betas for Microsoft's latest releases.  I also give a few presentations on some of the latest cutting edge stuff and it makes me feel just a bit better that I'm not the only one that runs into some "technical challenges" doing demos.

In summary...another good conference, the next one will be in April in Orlando


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