Whidbey is looking good

Yet another long day, I feel like I have been at this conference for a week already, I'm exhausted.

At this moment I am installing Longhorn on one of the extra laptops we brought for just such an occasion. I hope they don't monitor hydro usage per room because between the wireless router, 2 phones, 3 IPAQ's, and 4 laptops plugged in we must be over our quota.

After I install Longhorn, I'll be installing Whidbey. For those who don't know, Whidbey is the code name for the next release of Visual Studio. I'm a software developer and have been for 20 years. So when presenters are on stage using old editors and compiling on the command line. I'm with them and sometimes feel a little nostalgic. As much as I once loved K-edit I wouldn't trade Visual Studio .net for it now. Like any software VS.net has it's problems. But the development teams at Microsoft have done a wonderful job addressing a lot of the issues. Assuming they deliver what I saw today.

So what did I see today?

  • I saw tools to make interactive development easier. Like smart tags. You can drop a control on a form then right click and make it something else. Maybe it was a textbox at first but them you decide to make it a date time picker. Just right click select DateTimePicker and you’re done.
  • Ever want to try something by coding it? As a result you end up with WindowsApplication1, WindowsApplication2, WindowsApplication3 ... on your machine. Whidbey works like word, your project is not saved until you save it. So you could create a project write some code compile it and run. Then exit without saving and discard the whole thing. (Honest that's what he said.)
  • I saw Paul Yuknewicz create an employee.user.vb. What's that you say? Well it's what Microsoft refers to as a partial class. You can have a class split across multiple files and they will be compiled into one. So the file employee.user.vb goes with employee.vb which goes with employee.xsd. You guessed it. It's an extension of a Typed DataSet. :)
  • The new snap lines for aligning controls are wonderful. If you are adding multiple labels and controls just drag one near another and it shows you lines to tell when it's lined up with the other controls and the labels. It's hard to explain how nice it looks. I'll be happy to demo it when I get back.
  • There is this thing called a DataSource Picker. To bind a control you can simply drag from you DataSource to the control and it binds it.
  • There is this new control called a DataContainer, all I can say is PowerSoft DataWindow. (I'll save the comparison for another Blog)
  • There are some enhancements to the XML editor. Nothing else to see here move along.
  • Actually one really note worthy XML addition. You can set breakpoints in an XSLT file and debug it.
  • Oh yeah I remember this is nice. When you add a datasource to DataBinding in the property window. You can grab the editor and stretch it out to see everything. It's really nice

Enough about Whidbey for now.

The exhibition hall was cooking tonight, must have been the free drinks. We stopped into a few booths, chatted with some folks, did a little shopping in the Microsoft Store. Can't tell you what I bought. My Daughters have been reading along, and it's for them.

It's time to unwind and relax, another long day tomorrow at PDC.

General Session at PDC

So I sit here eating my Chinese food for lunch. Barry went to a session. He's a trooper. I'm thinking about the cool things I saw in the general session. I'm new to blogging and I am not going to try and dump everything I saw here in one entry. I'll leave that to the more serious bloggers and writers out there.

However I will tell you a little about the general session.

  • No bathroom breaks
  • 8000 or so people, watching at least 16 giant screens.
  • Check out the pictures. It was pretty cool just from a logistics point of view.

Some demo highlights while I sip the last of my ice tea here:

  1. XAML (pronounced Zamil) is a new buzz word. From what I can gather it's code behind for windows and web. If you have been trying to peg yourself as a windows or web developer stop, it won't matter soon. XAML is an XML language that lets you write your user interface.
  2. Doing cool graphics is easy. Or at least Don Box and Chris Anderson made it look easy.
  3. Very cool demo by Amazon.com. If you get a chance check out the carousel control, Very cool. If anyone knows where you can see a sample of it let me know.
  4. Another cool demo was paging up and down in a document. If you click on the scroll bar a thumbnail appears that shows you where that is in the document. In the demo that particular section of the document had a video playing. It played in the thumbnail too. :)

There was a lot more and a lot more important that these for example the new file system is very exciting. But I have session in a few minutes and I have to find it. I'll try and get on again later today.

Thanks Paolo

Someone who attended the Tips and Tricks BOF session took notes. We tried but it was going pretty fast.

Thanks Paolo for posting these tips in your blog.

Tips and Tricks Birds of a Feather @ PDC

Tonight at 8pm we hosted a “Birds of a Feather” session. These are meant to be round table discussions for people with common interests. This one was a little large to be an effective round table. But it turned out good.

We took our projector to setup, because we thought we might have to show a few to get the group warmed up. As it turned out there were between 100 and 200 people at the session. So we showed a few tips each, all the while prompting the floor to submit some.

And they did! It was great, the session attendees got right into it. With that big a crowd is was a challenge to stay organized. Barry Gervin did a great job of facilitating.

People always think their tip will be silly and everyone will know it, but the truth is we can all learn from each other. Every time someone gave a tip someone else in the audience gave the “oh good one” response.

I thought I would share a couple of my favorites here on the Blog.

  1. To select a vertical block of text you can alt-drag. I knew word had this feature but I didn't know VS did. The last editor I used with this was K-edit back in my C programming days.
  2. Ctrl-Pgup or Ctrl-Pgdn to flip between editor views. (i.e. Design/Html or DataSet/XML)

There were plenty more. I'll add some more in as the week goes on.

Tomorrow the sessions start. I'm really looking forward to a lot of them. I want to be well rested and ready, so I'll say good night now.

Registration

We are now at the conference centre. We registered and got our free gifts. Yet another laptop nap sac, a t-shirt and a coupon that is good for a bunch of CD's we can't get until tomorrow. Now we'll have to put the coupon in the room safe so all the other attendees don't try steeling it from us before we can redeem it tomorrow. :)

We got a copy of Office 2003, which is very nice.

The wireless access is excellent in the conference hall. I'm on it now. You can see how good it is eh?P>

Tonight We are hosting a Birds of a Feather (BOF) Session at 8:00 in room 402AB entitled VS.NET Secret Tips & Tricks
I may attend this BOF session  Web Services Orchestration: More Than Just Getting the Weather and Checking Your Stocks at 7:00 pm

I'll let you know how they turn out.>

Time Change

I left home at 4:45 am so I would have time to pick up Barry Gervin and get to the airport for our 7:20 flight. I stopped for coffee knowing it would be the last time for a week that I would enjoy the sweet aroma and flavour of a Tim Horton's large black 2 sugars. I was hungry so I pick up a couple of blueberry muffins for breakfast.

Our flight left on time, and the first leg was quick. Between Toronto and Cleveland we got coffee and a blueberry muffin. It was OK.

Between Cleveland and LA we had in flight entertainment. The movie Legally Blonde II and episodes of the TV shows Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Wings.

Next thing you know they start serving breakfast. I sat eagerly awaiting some eggs and of course one of the standard breakfast meats. The flight attendant pulled her cart up to our aisle and set down a lovely healthy breakfast. Cereal, milk a banana and a blueberry muffin. It's a good thing I really like blue berry muffins.

That was a long day. I was in bed by 9 pm and them up at 6 which of course I thought was 7. Now I am going to get that breakfast I have been waiting for, then off the convention centre to register for PDC 2003.