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Overview

Last November (28-30), I presented at TechEd Israel 2010. TechEd Israel is a good-sized event, with 3000 people in attendance this year (which is a huge number given the size of the country). There was a lot of focus on the Cloud at the conference. Israeli developers are taking the cloud very seriously, and demonstrate a lot of interest in moving to Windows Azure. Israel is a hotbed for innovation and startups, and is the first country in MEA (Middle East + Africa) to obtain access to Windows Azure. The conference attendees were fairly up-to-date with current with Microsoft technologies. I also spoke at TechEd Israel and local user groups in 2008, and I often run into the attendees I met there at other Microsoft events around the world, especially at PDC. Most of the conference was in Hebrew, except for the sessions by Redmond speakers. There was also an IT Pro side to the conference, which covered technologies like Office 365, Lync, and SharePoint 2010.

Sessions

Jason Zander presented the Developer Keynote, as well as a CTO session, entitled A Decision Makers Perspective on Development on the Microsoft Platform Now and In the Future. These sessions provided an overview of Microsoft developer technologies, and included many demos. Stephen Toub was at the conference and gave two parallel computing talks, including .NET 4 TPL, PLINQ and more & Patterns of Parallel Programming, and Shy Cohen presented Why move to .NET 4.0?. You can find the full list of Dev Tools & Framework track sessions here and the CTO track here.

I presented a session on “Visual Studio 2010 Tips and Tricks”. You can find the video recording here. There was also a blog post about my session by Gad Meir. The original post is in Hebrew, but you can view translations using Microsoft Translator or Google Translate. The session covered a lot of tips across .NET 4, Languages, and IDE, and was very well received. I showed a Twitter demo which searched for trends about the conference using hashtag #teched_il, and then used the DLR to script against the application with a custom search for “משינה” or “Mashina” (the English & Hebrew versions of the same word). Mashina is the name of a popular band who had broken up 15yrs ago, then got together again and played at the attendee party, which generated a lot of excitement at the event!

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Here’s the full list of session materials:

Here are some questions and feedback I received at the session:

  • Excitement for block selection typing and align assignments features
  • One attendee told me that Move Line Up/Down is her favorite feature in the Pro Power Tools
  • Request to see the Image Insertion extension (Demo’ed)
  • Question about how to invoke intelliSense when it’s not active (Ctrl+J to List Members)
  • Question about the performance of dynamic versus reflection (dynamic will be faster in many cases due to DLR call site caching)

Ask the Experts

Guy Burstein (Microsoft Developer Evangelist) was the track owner, and he organized an “Ask The Experts” panel session with all the Dev Track speakers. The session started off with questions Guy had collected and had been hearing from the Israeli community. Then he opened up the floor to questions from the audience. Here are some of the questions we received:

  • Should I take the Cloud seriously? (Short answer: Yes. :-) Longer answer: We have a lot of confidence in the cloud. There are many examples where we’re betting on it within Microsoft, such as Hosted TFS.)
  • Are Cloud Applications secure? (Shy enumerated the 5 elements of application security, and explained how cloud applications can actually be more secure than on premises.)
  • Is Silverlight dead? (Jason explained Microsoft’s two-pronged strategy, and cited examples of Microsoft products taking dependencies on each. He also pointed people to the Silverlight Firestarter event.)
  • What are the current trends in Programming languages? (I described the declarative, dynamic, and concurrent trends, and talked about the work we’re doing on Async.)

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Customer Meetings

There were a lot of MVPs at the event, so it was great to meet them in person, and discuss our community engagements. This included Ohad Israeli, Sasha Goldstein, Alon Fliess, Pavel Yosifovich, and Eyal Vardi. We met up at one of the evening events, and also coordinated a lunch meeting.

I recorded a CodeRadio podcast with Ariel Ben-Horesh and Shay Friedman. Shay is a C#/IronRuby MVP and author of IronRuby Unleashed. They asked many questions about the developer community, as well as Visual Studio, and working at Microsoft. The questions are recorded in Hebrew, but my answers are in English. You can find the recording here:

http://www.coderadio.co.il/?p=48

I also joined Jason in a meeting that Guy had arranged with the Microsoft MVPs. The meeting was sponsored by Sela. Sela is a large technology company in Israel, and does a lot of work with Microsoft. There were also a group of MVPs present from a new company called CloudValue, who’s developing a product to analyze the dollar cost of each line of code in the cloud.

Here are some question topics from the MVP meeting:

  • What are some areas you’re working on for the future? (Hosted TFS, Async, Pro Power Tools)
  • How do you decide when to make things obsolete? (There’s a high bar for this. Security flaws are an example. We show warnings while phasing out.)
  • Questions about the break from WM6.5 (Unfortunately a hard break was needed here, but this is rare for our products which usually place a high bar on compatibility.)
  • When will Visual Studio run natively on 64bit? (We don’t have plans for native 64bit, but are investing in memory consumption and performance.)
  • What Microsoft technologies are built on Silverlight? (LightSwitch, SharePoint parts, Windows Phone 7)
  • Microsoft should have a centralized list of all the current releases, and also better integration between different sites – MSDN, DevLabs, MSR, Visual Studio Gallery, CodePlex, Etc. (Feedback taken)

Below is a picture from the meeting.

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