Not sure this is news to most of you but VSLive is making another trip to Toronto again this year April 24-27th, 2006. It's back at the Toronto Congress Centre out by the airport again (I have mixed emotions about that one). Anyway, make sure to check it out: http://www.ftponline.com/conferences/vslive/2006/toronto/
I'm in British Columbia for a few days for the Vancouver stop of the Canadian Launch of Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005. They are expecting a great turnout - should be one of the largest MS events in town in recent memory. Last night we had a User Group reception and I got a chance to meet some of the local community leaders and technorati.
- Rob Chartier is a smart guy who is going to be working at the Ask the Experts Cabana area as well. He is also working on a Code Camp out here in Vancouver on March 18th. Registration is now open.
- Shaun Walker of DotNetNuke open source portal fame was also there. We had some interesting conversations around the challenges of managing an open source project. I was happy to hear how commercially successfully they were as well.
- My friend Mike Flasko was also up from Redmond. He is now the Program Manager for the System.Net team and is doing well in his new role at Microsoft. They have some pretty exciting stuff in the works for Orcas and beyond. He also has an open call on his blog for feedback on what you want in Orcas for System.NET.
- I also had a chance to meet Graham Jones who runs Vantug out here.
All in all in was a fun evening. Ilya Bukshteyn is up from Redmond to do the Keynote presentation which I'm looking forward too. John Bristowe and Ilya are sure to have some lively banter during the demos.
This past week we saw the final bits of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 get shipped up to MSDN Subscriber Downloads. Next week we'll see the official launch of these same products to the rest of the world, ushered in with a rolling thunder of launch events and parties stretching into the rest of the month and beyond. Microsoft does a great job of fostering community with events like this.
Technically there is a lot to like about the updates to the platform and I share most of Joel's top picks. I've been building applications, consulting and teaching developers on this platform for 4 years now and it feels quite legacy, if not common place, to me now. However, in many peoples' eyes, this becomes a critical moment in time: .NET is no longer a 1.0 product. Of course I'm speaking about groups who are not developing anything significant in .NET today, and with this maturity milestone, allows them into this “new“ world.
We've been watching the adoption and market maturity of .NET closely for the past few years, and a bit to my surprise I'm starting to see a lot of groups come to .NET for the very first time with 2.0.
This coming Tuesday I have the great pleasure of being involved in the ushering in of this new era at the Toronto launch where we are expecting between 3,000 and 4,000 developers and IT professionals come together. Early statistics are showing that somewhere between 35-50% of these folks are new to .NET. Similar events are taking place all over the world during this week and stretching out into December and beyond. For Canada, Toronto is just the first stop in a long list of cities from coast to coast. Personally, I'll be presenting at Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax.
The overwhelming registration statics tics in all cities tells me two things: Firstly that .NET 2.0 is going to be adopted very quickly. Secondly, and more importantly, is that the software development industry in Canada is vibrantly growing and that indeed....Software Matters!
Consider two things:
- Software costs a lot of money to design, build, test and deploy. Much more than it should.
- Software projects fail at an alarming rate. Failure can be defined as any of the following: Late, Over Budget, Under Functionality, Buggy, Doesn't meet requirements.
Yet despite these two glaring issues, the business value of software is so compelling, that people are willing to keep investing in building software at increasing rates.
And then there is Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005:
- One of ASP.NET 2.0's design goals was to reduce the number of lines of code in a typical application by over 50%.
- SQL Server 2005 has been enhanced to be more reliable and secure, while at the same time bringing the 4GL productivity associated with C#, VB.NET and the .NET Framework into the database engine itself.
- Visual Studio Team System 2005 was built from the ground up to help project's stay on track by integrating developers, architects, testers, project managers and other stakeholders into a common extensible repository known as Team Foundation Server.
Coincidence? I hope not ;)
Bruce Johnson is hosting our next Architect's Breakfast in Toronto this Thursday. In case you haven't been to one in the past, here's a few points of interest.
- This is more of an interactive event. Round tables of 5-8 have breakout sessions to discuss issues. Of course there are networking opportunities with your peers before, during and after.
- The content is focused at an architectural perspective, in this session in particular, SOA design.
- The meeting kicks off at 7:30am. (registration/breakfast begins at 7:AM).
- The St. Andrew's club will feed you a lovely breakfast with a great view of Toronto at the top (27th floor) of the Sun Life Building.
- You'll be done by 9:00am and back in the office in no time.
- You'll get to meet some really smart and nice people.
You can view the outline and register here. Hope to see you there.
A lot of the questions about XLinq are around how it will sit beside/replace XQuery (and other XML query/transform techniques). Back when I first started doing some .NET 2.0 training in February, I was a bit miffed that XQuery had not made it into the .NET Framework. Now don't get me wrong, it's not the most elegant thing in the world, but the excuse that “it's not a standard YET, so we can't put it in the framework“ seemed a little insincere given that the SQL team had managed to jump over that hurdle. But given LINQ/XLinq, maybe this now makes sense. We'll have to get our feet wet and see how LINQ evolves over time into a shipping product.
- Michale Rys gives his thoughts on the relation between XLinq and XQuery. Interestingly he points out that XLinq uses about 30% less memory than the DOM.
- Mike Champion's thoughts also comparing XLinq to the DOM.
- Soumitra Sengupta also adds his 2 cents on how XLinq is positioned with the rest of the XML processing technologies.
- Dave Remy gives some also talks about how XLinq's implementation was from the ground up, but inspired by lessons learned on the back of the DOM.
Other perspectives floating around....
- On an unrelated note, M. David Peterson has an interesting post from one of his colleagues, with specific mention of comparisons between LINQ, and Haskell.
- Kent Tegels also shares his first impressions.
- Paul Wilson has a critical review of DLinq. He rightly questions the “sqlserver only“ aspect of DLinq. I'm hopeful that this is only a temporal condition. Paul also mentions, among other things, poor support for stored procedures in DLinq, but at this point, I'm not convinced that is all too important. I have to think about that some more.
- Werner Moise has some in depth thoughts.
- Infoworld has an interview with Anders.
- Scott Swigart has an article on VB 9 in Dr. Dobb's with interviews with Paul Vick, Amanda Silver, Erik Meijer, Rob Copeland, Alan Griver, and Jay Roxe.
And if you are at PDC and want to get more information, Don Box is hosting a LINQ Panel discussion tomorrow and he is looking for your questions in his blog comments.
You can download session content posted here. Check daily - they post new stuff as it is delivered.
I have to say that the LINQ syntax in VB hits much closer to the mark than C#. More on that later. What is everybody else saying out there about LINQ?
- Erik Meijer says that VB has become his “programming language of choice.“
- Sam Gentile “LINQ is freaking cool“, but he's feeling the beta pain because the VB and C# tech previews work with Beta 2 of 2005 and he just installed the VSTS release candidate.
- Rédo believes LINQ “will represent a tectonic shift in the way that VB programmers will work with data“.
- Somasegar believes that LINQ is a signifiicant developer productivity enhancement and he wants to hear your feedback.
- Sean Chase points out some interesting ideas using lambda expressions with LINQ.
- Frans Bouma compares DLinq to O/R mappers and points out the negative side of attribute based mapping for use in cross db platform support. There is a good follow up discussion in the comments on that post.
- Marius Gheorghe likes the LINQ idea, but not so much the implementatio and seems to agree with Frans.
- OrangeVolt hopes that Sun will adapt this for Java.
- Ben Galbraith gives his comments on LINQ from a Java perspective. In particular, he's happy to see the type inference feature added to C# and wishes Java could do the same. The comments also contain some interesting discussion on Java and .NET.
- Over at the SPS Weblog, LINQ is inspiring a Visual FoxPro Object-Oriented SQL. Don't get crazy, he's only got 1 hour of development under his belt.
There is also an interview with Anders Hejlsberg and Paul Vick worth reading. Why does Paul look so much happier than Anders in these photos? No doubt it is the VB syntax simplicity :)
Bill Gates gave a pretty typical high level keynote to introduce the keynote this morning. He talked about the past, how far we've come, and how now is the most exciting time, and that we are in most exciting industry. Not that I don't disagree, but I swear I've heard this keynote before.
After Bill, a series of VP's and Architect's ran through more product details. Things started to get much more interesting at this point. Chris Capossela gave an end user run down of Windows Vista and Office 12 - which will be both released at the same time near the end of 2006.
The UI is just stunning (as it always is in these demos). It was also nice to see the QuickSearch text box integrated through both products. Not unlike Google Desktop Search, and using the same engine as MSN Desktop Search, the QuickSearch text box gives context sensitive searching through the application. If you're in a document explorer - you can search there for documents. If you are in the start menu, you can easily search for applications (and recent documents). If you are in outlook you can easily search your in-box, contacts, etc. Of course you can do broad computer searches too, but that context is nice.
Chris also showed off Sidebar which isn't really big news, but he also showed the audience Sideshow. Sideshow uses the same dock-able gadgets that Sidebar does, but re-use them on what I can only describe as a built in Pocket PC device that is built into the cabinetry of your laptop. This allows you to check real-time information (email, appointments, etc.) without turning on or booting up your laptop. Expedia had a nice gadget working in Sideshow that showed up to the minute flight status. Nice.
RSS is also taking a prominent position in Vista and Office. An RSS store was announced that would store subscribed RSS feed content. This content would be regularly downloaded automatically, and the content would be available to the Sidebar, Outlook, IE7, and your own applications. Cool.
Office 12 has a new user interface that hopes to make more of its features discoverable. At first glance I wasn't all too excited about this, but I'll reserve my judgment until I play around with it. The quick “wizard“ like features were absolutely stunning though.
The integration with Outlook and Sharepoint is quite impressive. We are all accustomed to having our email/contacts/appointments offline stored in our outlook store. With Office 12, you can keep in sync with any Sharepoint folder to keep those files on your local store. Sweet. Better yet, a special new Sharepoint List for sharing PowerPoint decks. When you upload a PowerPoint file, an item appears in the list for each slide. From within PowerPoint, I can create a new deck, and pull individual slides from the Sharepoint server. You can optionally have it keep that slide up to date so if a new version is uploaded to the server, you'll automatically get it. Corporate plagiarism has just become so much easier.
After Chris's “consumer“ demos, Jim Alchin came out with Don Box, Chris Anderson, Anders Hejlsberg and Scott Guthrie. Jim started by giving some demos of some interesting plumbing bits. One cool thing in Vista is Super Fetch. Super Fetch is a preloaded memory cache of things you'll likely need, but unlike typical hard drive caches, it basis it's decisions on analyzing your behavior over days, weeks, months to determine what an idle machine should be preloading. The second part of his demo tied in very nicely where he showed that any USB Memory Stick could be plugged into a Vista machine and it would automatically start using it for expanded virtual ram. That totally rocks for laptops which can quickly max out their ram capacities.
Don and Anders went on to talk about some big news, namely the Language Integrated Query (LINQ) project. Linq provides a query engine on top of XML, Object and Relational data stores using a common query language reminiscent of SQL. No, this isn't an O/R mapping tool, but you can see how they may have wanted to delay ObjectSpaces until they got Linq out the door. I'll have more on this in my blog in the coming days. Attendees at PDC are getting Linq bits to try out, and don't forget to stop by the track lounge to pick up a copy of a Linq whitepaper.
To close out the lengthy presentation, Jim brought out a few other people to demonstrate complete applications to bring up the wow factor, including Microsoft Max and a kiosk application created for the North Face.
UPDATE: Dinesh Kulkarni gives some inside scoop on how ObjectSpaces is dead, or rather morphed into DLinq. It would appear ObjectsSpaces is not something you'll see built down the road on top of Linq.
The MicrosoftMax application that was demoed today at PDC is now available for download here.
The application allows you to share and publish photo slide shows using an Indigo Peer to Peer channel. The beautiful presentation layer is provided by Avalon.
The community preview site for ATLAS is now available as announced by Scott Guthrie at today's keynote during the PDC Conference in LA.
Now availalable is:
- Quickstart Tutorials
- Project add-in for Visual Studio 2005 Beta2 (with it's own hands on labs)
UPDATE: Scott Guthrie has code snippets posted from the keynote demo.