Back from Tech-Ed EMEA developers, running from 10 to 14 November 2008 in Barcelona. It was a very interesting week in turns of content but also in terms of meeting up with lots of interesting people. And proud to be a Belgian at this conference: besides Hans Verbeeck as the business owner we had a Belgian winner at the Speaker’s Idol: Kurt Claeys.
Congratulations to Kurt, looking forward to his first session at TechEd next year in Berlin!
This year it was my first time at the Silverlight “Ask the Experts” booth where I had the pleasure to meet with some peers of mine, and MVPs that were ready to answer questions from attendants. Having booth duty did not prevent me from following some of the sessions. I especially enjoyed getting even more PDC content like Angus Logan’s session on Mesh enabled web apps, Windows 7, and David Chappell’s session on Geneva (codename for Microsoft’s identity and claims based framework). Non-PDC content like Bob Beauchemin’s sessions on SQL Server 2008 or Stephen Forte’s interactive session on data access were some of the other sessions I followed.
Opening keynote was presented by Pierre Liautaud, Vice-president Western Europe for Microsoft and Jason Zander was the overall keynote speaker.
Taking place just one week after the Professional Developer’s Conference (PDC) in L.A., it’s not an easy task to bring more new stuff to the event. However, without leaving behind the importance of PDC the keynote did present us with quite some new information on VS2010.
Jason Zander did a great overview of some of the new things to be found in Visual Studio 2010, and included lots of demos which is really what any developer wants to see!
Visual Studio 2010 highlights:
Check it out: download the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 CTP here.
In addition to VS2010 goodness, PDC content was not forgotten. The event had a special PDC Highlights track bringing the best of PDC to Barcelona. I thought this was a very useful decision to bring the PDC content to TechEd. Waiting one year would create too large a knowledge gap. This track included sessions on Windows Azure, Oslo, Live Framework and Windows 7.
Finally, having the possibility to meet up with a lot of Belgian developers and exchanging views and ideas was another highlight for me. Thanks all for joining the conference and hope to see you around at another event in Belgium or at TechEd in Berlin next year!
After a jetlag, a few days of e-mail immersion and inbox cleaning, finally some time to get into the real stuff and get you a summary of the event. For some non-technical experiences about the event, scroll to the bottom.
First things first, getting into the PDC information is really easy: you can follow ALL sessions online on Microsoft PDC site: https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/timeline.aspx. There are downloads to the PPT presentations, some have mp4 downloads and all of them can be watched online on Channel9. This is an extremely good resource to keep close.
Tip: Greg Duncan has put together the list of all sessions on a single page, with links to each of the video formats and PPT. All in one page, really handy! Thanks Daniel for this tip.
A second tip for a more Belgian insight into the conference is to check out the blogs of Gregory Renard (French) and Gill Cleeren (English), both Regional Directors. They were blogging quite a lot before, during and after the conference.
Hereunder you can find the links to the most important downloads and info pages related to PDC 2008.
The Azure Services Platform was announced during the opening keynote, this is Microsoft’s cloud computing and services platform. Now announced as a CTP you can already download the SDKs and play with the technology locally on your own computer. At this stage the number of developer accounts is restricted though. Sign-up at the Azure site and you might get lucky.
If you are using Java or Ruby you can also start experimenting with Azure as we have released alpha versions for:
On a funny note, I know people are wondering how to pronounce Azure. Even after watching this I still don’t know :-)
Windows 7 has been unveiled at PDC, however this does not mean it’s available for end-users. This is a first preview and at this stage pre-beta bits were given to the PDC attendees. Windows 7 Developer Guide available at MSDN Code Gallery
We saw Surface tables all over the conference. I think this was the first “coming out” of the Surface team as they are preparing for wider commercial launch. The SDK is currently not widely available. In the meantime, check out there two sessions:
CTP for the next version of Visual Studio and the .NET Framework was also announced.
And I’m forgetting lots of other stuff that was released during the PDC week… should update this post as I see them.
On a non-technical level, I had the pleasure to meet with lots of people during PDC, many of them Belgian. We had a drink at the Hard Rock Café with about 30 Belgians at PDC. I would like to thank U2U for sponsoring this drink together with us. It was a perfect time to meet Belgian peers at the also at the conference.
The party at Universal Studios on Tuesday was also lots of fun. The whole park was reserved for the PDC attendees, so no lines anywhere! I had lots of fun in the Simpsons ride (don’t remember the actual name of the ride).
And of course, weather in Los Angeles was just wonderful: 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Almost too hot but as we didn’t see much of the daylight just great for a few moments outside between sessions.
See you next year for PDC 2009.
Peter Himschoot and Gill Cleeren, Regional Directors, both share their thoughts on what PDC 2008 is for them: from the main announcement around the new cloud platform to Windows 7 to new features in C# and .NET 4.0.
Watch the video we shot on location during the PDC conference and learn what you should be doing today to be up to date with the latest developments on the Microsoft platform.
Be sure to check out their blogs: Peter Himschoot, and Gill Cleeren who has basically all the information you need to get synced on all the PDC stuff.
Note: this video is in Dutch.
After a very exciting week in Los Angeles to attend PDC where Microsoft has announced its new Software + Services Platform, Windows 7 pre-beta, Live Framework and much more, I’ve uploaded a video with Regional Director Gregory Renard.
Want to know why Gregory thinks this PDC is his best PDC ever? Tune in to the Chopsticks video interview where Gregory shares his passion for the announcement and how he thinks this will impact you in the future as a developer. Let me tell you, it’s all good!
Note: The recording is availalbe in French.
Also check out Gregory’s posts on PDC 2008, he has a ton of very interesting information on the whole event.
While in the keynote of day 1 we saw the light of Windows Azure Platform, the Microsoft Software + Services platform, on day 2 we actually had two keynotes: a lot of stuff!
Keynote 1: Ray Ozzie, Steve Sinofsky, Scott Guthrie, David Treadwell – on Windows 7, WPF, .NET 4.0, VS2010, Live Framework, Mesh, Office 14 Keynote 2: Chris Anderson and Don Box – A lap around Azure Services platform
As yesterday, I really appreciated the speech by Ray Ozzie, he started out by pointing us to the importance of client user interfaces and how the web can actually improve the value of the PC. By overlapping from PC / Web / phone, the use of these together is more value than just the sum of their parts.
As there were a lot of announcements and demos, I’m listing things I wrote down during the keynote. A lot of them I will come back to later in a more detailed post but this should give an overview of what we saw.
And now I would like to get a few of the CTPs. Will do that after taking the chance to follow a few sessions still today.
I arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday, with a warm and beatiful day welcoming me in California. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to L.A., being the first US city I visited it represents the typical America. But enough about this, let’s get to the PDC stuff.
We have just had the keynote with Ray Ozzie announcing the Windows Azure, with interventions by Amitabh Srivastava, Bob Muglia and David Thompson.
Azure is the name for Microsoft’s Software + Services platform. With this announcement today we are talking about a platform that includes the following:
Windows Azure: operating system in the cloud providing services for hosting, management, scalable storage with support for simple blobs, tables, and queues, as well as a management infrastructure for provisioning and geo-distribution of cloud-based services, and a development platform for the Azure Services layer. Today already Live Mesh and Live Meeting are already using Windows Azure.
Azure Services Platform, developer services with support for familiar tools, languages, frameworks, such as ASP.NET, C#, LINQ, WCF, WF:
On top of that there is the finished services layer, with Windows Live, Office Live, SharePoint Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. All of these hosted in the cloud and commercially available today. We saw a few demos of these services with CRM and SharePoint online.
Now ready for my first session “A Lap Around Cloud Services Part 1”, and tomorrow we’ll have yet more announcements!
Watch tomorrow’s keynote that will be streamed live at www.microsoftpdc.com.
Update: you can download the Windows Azure SDK from www.azure.com, play with it and test locally on your own machine. Access to the online hosted version is currently limited to PDC attendees but will probably be extended later this year.
PDC2008 is just a few days away, I’m leaving tomorrow very early for a flight through London Heathrow.
Making session choices It’s hard with so many sessions at the same time, I have about 4 sessions checked per time slot… that doesn’t look good. At least I won’t miss any of the keynotes since no other sessions go on at that time :-)
Some sessions I hope not to miss: https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/timeline.aspx
Download the full sessions schedule here, check out the latest buzz on www.microsoftpdc.com and don’t feel left behind if you are not going: keynotes will be streamed live. Yes, that’s right!
Ever wondered how we work here at MS BeLux? Check out these two videos and you might feel the itch to joins us :)
Video presented at our Q1 Company meeting, created by the new MACH hires. They did a very nice job there. Posted by my colleague Miel: http://micromiel.com/2008/10/20/life-at-microsoft/
Second is a video of the opening of our new offices last month. This video is available on our Chopsticks video platform: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/nl/chopsticks/ default.aspx?id=610 (Dutch only).
Don’t miss the 100th episode of Going Deep on Channel9, this episode stars Bart De Smet. In case you don’t know Bart, he is a Belgian genius that is now working at Microsoft Redmond on the WPF team after being an MVP for four years.
In this episode Bart De Smet is interviewed by expert Erik Meijer, co-creator of LINQ!
Bart has done incredible things on LINQ, including LINQ-to-SharePoint, LINQ-to-MSI and more (humm like the Simpsons?)… check out his blog for all the goodies.
After the RC0 a few weeks ago we a, Silverlight 2 RTW (Release to Web) is here, it’s official!
This is great news as for a lot of people, where putting something in production on a non-release version was out of the question. Now that we are out of beta, I created a list of links and resources to get you through migration, installing updates and running Silverlight 2.
Getting started with Silverlight 2 RTW
All the links to get you on RTW speed:
Migrating from Beta 2 to RTW
As a developer you will need to update your tools and SDK to be using the RTW version. Take into account that applications targeting Beta 2 will now break. For a lot of applications recompiling and changint the MIME type will be enough. Be sure to keep the Breaking changes document handy for migrating your applications.
From RC0 to RTW If you have already migrated your application to RC0, you will still need to recompile your application using the updated RTW Tools and SDK. Not because there are breaking changes between these two but because EULA prevents you from going live on RC0.
End-user upgrade For a user that has installed Silverlight 2 Beta 2 (or beta 1), Microsoft Update will start to roll out updates. If the user still has a pre-RTW version installed when visiting an application in RTW, a message will be shown and the user can click to upgrade.
The <object> tag to instantiate a RTW object is application/x-silverlight-2.
A plug-in for Eclipse
Microsoft is also investing in the development of a plug-in for the popular Eclipse IDE: Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight. This will allow Java developers to create Silverlight applications and integrate more easily with Java web services using REST, JSON, SOAP, etc. The plugin will include a XAML editor with code hinting, preview mode, compiler for packaging the Silverlight application.
These projects created in Eclipse will also be compatible with Visual Studio and Expression Blend.
Download the preview bits from http://www.eclipse4sl.org, expect a candidate release somewhere in Sprig 09.
If you are planning to attend PDC 2008 you will not regret the investment. Check out all the Pre-PDC buzz here.
Now, related to this: good news if you were planning to join the Belgians at PDC drink on Monday 27th of October: U2U has kindly offered to buy us all a drink at the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood. Quite some of the U2U consultants and teachers will be present at PDC, they must know what is coming :-)
As proposed by U2U, meet us at the Hard Rock Café. Time: 9PM, October 27 2008 Where: Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood 1000 Universal Studios Blvd. Universal City, CA 91608 See details here: http://www.hardrock.com/locations/cafes3/cafe.aspx?LocationID=63&MIBEnumID=3
Driving directions to café here (click to open):
First of all, what is XNA? If you haven’t read upon this, XNA is a framework and a set of tools that allow you to create games on Windows and even Xbox 360. Check out these resources to get started: XNA Developer center on MSDN: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/xna/default.aspx Community site at http://creators.xna.com
Official release is now XNA 2.0 but recently the Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP was announced. This version has several updates that allow you to more seamlessly integrate and deploy games for the Zune family. Now, I know this product is not on sale in Belgium but if you can get your hands on one you can do really cool stuff with XNA on it.
Interview with MVP and author Riemer Grootjans
Last month I sat down with MVP and author Riemer Grootjans to talk about his new book on XNA. “XNA 2.0: Game Programming Recipes”, by Apress was released in July 2008 so it was about time we interviewed Riemer. Check out the video on Chopsticks, there are some very nice demos from the book in there as well.
By the way, did you know there are four other videos on XNA from an event done last year in Belgium. Check it out: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?list=tag&id=20
XNA-BUG – User Group event
In addition to Riemer, we have a second XNA MVP in Belgium: Brecht Kets. Together they started up the XNA Belgian User Group. I already announced it on this blog previously but in case you haven’t registered: XNA-BUG is doing a launch event for the user group on November 6th in Ghent. Register here and find out about XNA here in Belgium: www.xnabug.net
Kurt Claeys (http://www.devitect.net) has just been awarded the MVP award in the category “Connected System Developer”. Congratulations Kurt, you deserve to get this recognition!
Kurt is also a certified trainer and has participated as a technical learning guide at the Tech Ed US labs zone. He is also very active in the Belgian community: VISUG presentations, schools, a very active blog, and more.
Go meet Kurt at the Ask The Experts booth at Tech Ed EMEA in Barcelona on November 10th to 14th this year.
Are you looking for more technical information on creating RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) and RDAs (Rich Desktop Applications)? MSDN BeLux is organizing a road show around these technologies. This is your chance to learn about Silverlight, new ASP.NET Ajax features and learn about the .NET Client Profile with WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation).
Hereunder you can find the description of the event, please note that sessions are in different languages: 1 session in English, 2 in Dutch and 2 in French. All sessions take place in October so be quick to register in time.
Français: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/fr/events/msdnroadshow/default.aspx Nederlands: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/nl/events/msdnroadshow/default.aspx
MSDN Road Show: Build Rich Client Experiences with Silverlight 2 and WPF Delivering rich client experiences to users is becoming an important aspect of new applications. Join us for the MSDN Road Show to keep in touch with the latest innovations. Learn how you can develop rich applications that deploy to the web and go beyond what you can typically do inside of a browser based application. We will cover 3 main topics:
See you there!
Yes, we have two new user groups with a launch event on November 6th, 2008 in Ghent! Register at http://www.xnabug.net or http://www.besug.be.
I’m very happy to see the XNA Belgian User Group (XNABUG) doing their launch event together with our very first Belgian Silverlight User Group (BESUG). The launch event will have a demo session by both user groups, and a great chance to meet people doing XNA or Silverlight. No knowledge of either technology is required to attend this event.
XNA BUG has been online with a website and a contest since last year, being led by two XNA MVPs: Brecht Kets and Riemer Grootjans.
The Belgian Silverlight User Group has Frederik Duchi as its driving force. Frederik is a teacher at the PIH in Kortrijk as has worked hard over the Summer to get the site up and all contacts for getting the user group and event going.
I’m looking forward to meeting you all at the event, get it in your agendas and register.