Technical Content of this issue - 2.5 out of 5

Final Day!

This is the first time that the PDC has gone on 6 days for me, and I gotta confess: I'm outta jokes - I got nothin'. I'm even boring myself. Oh well, maybe something will come to me as I go along.

The newsletter did something different this year. Last night we rented out a hotel ballroom and had a huge party for the entire staff. We even hired a photographer to take candid shots during the soioree. Finally there is a real photograph in our Photo Album.

Finally - Press Coverage for BPN!

After 7 years of doing this newsletter, someone has finally noticed - check out the press coverage that we received this year here! (go ahead - click!)

The Goods

I mentioned on Sunday that there would be more handouts on Tuesday, but I never followed up. The Tuesday handout was all the software bits discussed this week, augmented by another small handout today. Here's what we got-

  • Windows Vista Beta 1 ISOs for x86 and x64
  • Windows Vista Beta 1 SDK
  • Visual Studio Team System Beta 2
  • Visual Studio Team System Release Candidate
  • SQL Server 2005 June CTP (Community Technology Preview) for x86, x64 and IA64
  • Virtual PC 2004
  • Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise Edition (fully licensed copy)
  • Virtual Server 2005 R2 Beta for x86 and x65
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition RC0 ISOx for x86 and x64
  • WinFX Runtime Components September CTP
  • WinFS September CTP SDK
  • Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for WinFX September CTP
  • WinFS Beta 1
  • Compute Cluster Solution Beta 1
  • LINQ Project Tech Preview
  • Windows Vista CTP: PDC05 Ultimate Edition ISOs for x86 and x64
  • Windows Vista CTP: PDC05 SDI
  • Windows Vista CTP: PDC05 Shell Sample Code
  • RSS Platform
  • Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" CTP: PDC05 Advance Server Edition ISOs for x86 and x64
  • Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" CTP: PDC05 Enterprise Edition for IA64 ISO
  • Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" CTP: PDC05, Server core ISO for x86 and x64
  • Voucher for Office 12 beta
  • Voucher for SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition

Wow, that's alot of stuff to carry on the plane.

Today's Sessions

On Friday, attendees start taking off. Because of this, few of the really crucial presentations are held on Friday. I went to one session that was a panel discussion on designing APIs for public web services. It wasn't particularly special, so I ended up going to the Hands On Labs and doing WWF projects for most of the day. Good for me, bad for you if you're looking for more session info here in the newsletter.

Don Box Quote of the Day

When discussing security-

"Can we trust Microsoft? We all know the answer to that"
Wrap Up - My Annual Bloviations

It's Saturday morning just past dawn here in LA. I'm in a taxi heading for the airpoint. As I watch the sun rise, I take a moment to reflect upon my time here, sharing with my fellow developers and benefiting from the kind Microsoft gurus who so generously share their wealth of knowledge. It occurs to me in the morning stillness that we are actually a sort of family, and as I watch the coutryside gently roll by I realize...hey, the countryside is rolling by kind of quickly...how fast are we go...ohmygod this crazy bastard is going 95 miles an hour - I'm going to die in the back of a weaving taxicab on the LA Freeway! The trip to the airport that the front desk suggested would take 30-60 minutes took this idiot 20 minutes. Obviously I am writing this so I did not expire in a fiery crash. Since I was spared by fate, I will take a few moments to comment on some of the various technologies spotlighted this week.

Windows Workflow Foundation

Highly functional, but perhaps overhyped. Judging from the folks at Microsoft, this will completely revolutionize how all software is written - apps will be building blocks of activities, with the business logic encapsulated transparently in XML defined workflows that can be rearranged post deployment for cheap and efficient maintenance. Humbug. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty cool and it's got alot of power - I just don't see it completely revolutionizing the enterprise software universe. Since it will be bundled in the OS, I do think more teams will explore the workflow aspects of their apps (correctly and incorrectly). The dream of a marketplace producing libraries of pre-packaged activities seems unlikely, with the exception of activities surrounding third party products such as Peoplesoft, SAP and the like. IT shops should explore it to satisfy their workflow needs, consultants that get in front of it before release should have big opportunities as companies start rolling it out.

Windows Presentation Foundation

WPF looks really sharp - the samples they showed this week were glamourous and compelling. In the consumer marketplace we will start seeing really flashy stuff, probably games, start driving adoption. I heard recently that Intel is upset with Microsoft that they haven't done their part to promote Moore's law and drive new hardware sales recently - WPF ought to take care of that. All that flash is cool, but must involve some CPU penalty. I didn't write down the details, but Microsoft quoted some huge projected hardware sales drivien by the WinFX/Vista release. I don't see IT shops taking significant advantage of this, I don't see business units spending extra funds on designers and development to make their documents open and close with flashy video animation. Big winners here should be designers who will find much higher demand as the potential increases. Big losers should be users of apps where a developer added alot of WPF features without the aid of professional designer because they were cool. Shudder.

Windows Vista

I don't know - it's an OS. Now that WinFX is extracted as a separate product that can run on XP and W2K3, I don't see copies moving out of Best Buy and Circuit City like Windows 95 and Windows 98. On the IT side, I didn't learn about all the infrastructure and management features - maybe there's a compelling story. One thing for sure, Microsoft will be pushing the bejeepers out of it in the retail and corporate channels and your rep will almost assuredly be comped on how many adoptions they drive.

Windows Communication Foundation

This cannot possibly get here fast enough. Based on session attendance for both WSE and WCF, the Windows community is anxious for the ability to write services that implement the recent industry WS-* standards and WCF will provide that with safety and flexibility. Even the J2EE community should applaud this as WCF will improve interoperability between J2EE and Windows services. Implementing services under the WCF model will also tend to force developers to think about services correctly, as messages passed between endpoints rather than just RPC-like calling of object methods. IT shops should pay close attention, and consultants that can claim expert status when this comes out next year should not spend alot of time sitting on the bench.

Tomorrow

There is no tomorrow folks - I'm outta here. See you at the next PDC.

Biff
Corporate Travel Planner, Biff's PDC Newsletter

PS - The movie on the return flight was Herbie, Fully Loaded.