I flew into Boston on a red-eye this AM and boy are my arms tired (sorry!).   Last year's TechEd was in Orlando, this year we're in Beantown.   The conference seems to be about the same size which is, in technical terms, friggin' huge!  I'll snap some pix later if I can find some new batteries for my camera.  :(
 
I attended Ron Jacobs' pre-conference on Software Architecture on Sunday.  This was a series of "intro to architecture" sessions from Ron and other smart guys like Vivek Bhatnagar (Microsoft Architect from India - get a blog so I can link to you Vivek!),  Scott and David.   The sessions did a good job of covering the basics of software architecture for people interested in becoming architects.  This was a typical Ron session - entertaining and informative.   Ron 's presentations included several pictures from his past ArCast trips around the world.  He used a nice analogy about the pyramids of Egypt and architecture planning - there were lots of pictures of pyramids and Ron :) 
 
The session ended with a panel Q&A that Roger and I were honored to be a part of.  There were some great discussions about risk mitigation and the role that workflow plays in a solution architecture (my favorite topic!).
 
The Architecture Cabana is the place to be at TechEd 2006.  We've got Chalk Talks, presentations, demos, one on one discussions and lots of free stuff.   Some of the more interesting free stuff includes:
  • "Readings in Service Orientation" - this is the second book in the Architecture Chronicles series and is filled with valuable, actionable information on how to design and implement your own service-oriented solutions.
  • The Architecture Journal - the latest issue of Architect Journal focuses on data.   You can get your own free subscription to Architect Journal here.
  • "Web Services Security" - this is a new Patterns and Practices book that focuses on securing the services you design and build using WSE 3.0.
  • SPARK (ppt) - copies of the SPARK materials, designed to "spark" discussions about current and future trends regarding solutions architecture. 
  • Other free stuff (the standard gimmies one might expect at a conference of this scale)
 
I'm giving a couple of "chalk talks" in the Architecture Cabana on Monday and Tuesday:
  • 6/12  1:30-2:35pm:
    Developing Interoperable Business Processes: The State of the Standard
    Over the past few years several standards have emerged to address the coordination of messages and transactions within a web services infrastructure. The volume of implementation options can be overwhelming, especially when one considers these options in conjunction with the broad range of advanced web services specifications (WS-*).  Standards such as WS-BPEL have been identified as one possible way to provide interoperability across service-enabled processes.  BPEL, however, is only one of several standards in the business process space.  Which standards should you care about and why?  How does one standard differ from another in terms of features?  Which standards are being adopted by the platform vendors and which are not?  In this chalk talk we will discuss these questions and more.  Come discuss the state of business process standards and debate their impact on your current and future development efforts. 
     
  • 6/13 4:40-5:45pm
    A Workflow "Manifesto"
    The emergence of a flexible, extensible framework like Windows Workflow Foundation enables the application of workflow in ways that may have been impossible in the past.  We have defined a “workflow manifesto” to help us to better consider some of these new frontiers for workflow.  This talk focuses on the benefits that workflow can bring to your solutions architecture - from service orchestration to page flow and user event brokering.  Come discuss, debate and analyze the various opportunities and challenges that exist in applying workflow oriented solutions across a broad range of scenarios.
 
I'll also be hanging about the Cabana for general schmoozing and architect discussions.   C'mon by if you are at the show!  (If you are not at the TechEd, the above chalk talks were inspired by presentations I have given at other conferences in the past.   Ping me if you would like a copy of either or both of them.)
 
Ray Ozzie gave a wonderful keynote later in the evening, reflecting on his career (using Virtual Earth to illustrate where he worked) and discussing the future of the software industry.    The most interesting concept he discussed was MaaS - Management as a Service.   MaaS is the concept of using services to manage remote devices.   Interesting idea. 
 
Surprise guest Chloe showed up later - she seemed as confused as we were about why she was there.