Tuesday, November 07, 2006 8:42 AM bart

TechEd 2006 Developers - Second day report

The keynote

Axiom: Conferences start with keynotes. Sometimes these are boring, sometimes not. Guess the more geekier one is, the more you know already about it. However, there was some cool stuff once more that has blown me away. Or better, things I saw in action for the very first time. Now, that's not too difficult at all if you show off some Office-related technologies. Custom taskpanes were still a known field for me (played around with that in the Office 2003 era) but when things get WSSy and SharePointy, I'm open to a new experience :-).

Thanks to the VSTS and TFS gods I'm using SharePoint, but the new version coming with the 2007 Microsoft Office System is way cooler. Take that for granted. That brings me seamlessly to the conversion I had yesterday at the MVP dinner with Joris Poelmans, Jan Tielens and David Boschmans, two of them being hardcore SharePoint developers and fans. I'll be the last to say SharePoint is for dummies or is all about drag-and-drop, it really is a full-fledged development platform that has grown a lot in maturity over the last couple of years. And I think everyone should at least know what it's capable of, especially now in the 2007 Office System ages. I'd recommend you to try to write a simple webpart and maybe even a control part (thanks to Jan for reminding me of the word yesterday). I did so some time ago, and have to say it's fun. There's however one quote (I won't reveal the source) I'm not 100% agreeing upon, and that's "the next version of ASP.NET will be SharePoint". Without ASP.NET there won't be the current SharePoint technology stage, but I agree there is some convergence going on, e.g. with the webparts framework in ASP.NET 2.0. Anyway, web development and web-based applications are becoming cuter and cuter once again, thanks to Web 2.0, AJAX, SharePoint, etc.

The keynote was full of Fabrikam stuff once more, bringing the power of WPF live on stage, as well as a great web app that became so much better once the AJAX update component was added to it. Or: getting rid of these silly postbacks all the time. If you want to get a jumpstart with AJAX, definitely check out the Get Started section on http://ajax.asp.net, which includes links to the CTP download, Scott Guthrie's overview video, samples and documentation, community resources and not to forget the AJAX Control Toolkit.

Update: I almost forget to tell about LINQ. Did I get too used to it already? You see what kind of an effect all this SharePoint stuff has on me. Anyway, here's the report. Anders Hejlsberg did a great job once more during his LINQ demo, introduced as one of the key pillars to Orcas. The basic idea to bridge the gap between relational data, hierarchical data and objects based on language and framework support is such a common requirement, it's very hard (if not impossible) not to be interested in it. If you haven't done so, please download the latest Orcas CTP over here. And definitely check out Edit, Paste as XML in Visual Studio 2005 with "Orcas", you're absolutely gonna love it (so did the crowd with fuzzy noises everywhere and spontaneous applause).

Ask-the-Experts

I'm writing this post from the Delegate Work Area, a few meters away from the ATE booth on Windows PowerShell (colocated with the Longhorn Server folks). Beside some questions on Longhorn Server we couldn't answer directly (that's what the feedback terminals are for, please use these if your question wasn't answered and you want follow-up), it was really fun to see people getting excited about the Windows PowerShell technology. I got some very interesting questions on layering MMC 3.0 on top of Windows PowerShell (that's exactly what's happening in the Exchange 2007 product, as well as in the MOM v.Next release). I'll blog about this later on, it essentially comes down to hosting the Windows PowerShell engine, as described by Lee Holmes some time ago. So if you have some free time left, pay us a visit at the PowerShell booth for a cool demo and, even better, to hear the PowerShell philosophy from the PS father himself: Jeffrey Snover. If you have the opportunity to attend one of his sessions, just do it. Really recommended. Next generation manageability, here we come! Later tonight, from 7 PM to 9 PM, the Exhibition Hall is open again, so still one hour left to do some (deferred) blogging.

Speaker Idol

In the meantime, there was a short briefing about the Speaker Idol competition I'm participating in. Great to see colleague-competitors, the jury and the hosts of the show. Not too much to tell about it yet. I'll be on stage on Thursday, from 12:40 to 12:50. So if you want to see some cool Windows Vista development stuff, come and see me. A blog post about the technology I'll be discussing is in the queue and will appear online this weekend.

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# re: TechEd 2006 Developers - Second day report

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 12:17 AM by Jan Tielens

Hi Bart, I enjoyed our conversation as well! Just to let you know, for your "Hello World" web part demos you can now make use of VS 2005 Extensions for WSSv3 (http://weblogs.asp.net/jan/archive/2006/11/07/Seriously-Cool-Stuff_3A00_-Visual-Studio-2005-Extensions-for-WSS-v3.aspx). It includes a VS 2005 project template that gives you 'F5' deploy/debug functionality. (no more copying, xml editing etc). So you later at Tech Ed.