Wow! What a first day!

Given the amount of hype prior to the PDC, it was almost inevitable that the conference itself would be something of a disappointment. Yet nobody I spoke to last night expressed anything but enthusiasm for the platform vision unveiled at the keynote sessions. There's a seismic shift about to take place in the way people build applications, and a qualitative change in the kinds of applications it will be possible to build.

Two things particularly struck me out of the first day's material.

1. The web browser is dead for anything apart from internet sites
...and even on the internet, its value will be reduced. Many people have been building intranet sites because of the ease with which they can be updated, deployed and manipulated. Avalon certainly seems to provide the best of both the Windows and web models and then some - highly graphical, media-rich applications that integrate into the shell but involve no more "deployment" than a web page does to load on a browser. In JimAll's keynote, amazon.com demonstrated an Avalon version of their website that really showed this off well - rich Windows controls like the carousel being used to browse the items on sale, and the metadata (i.e. properties) of items being integrated for easy searching and manipulation. I can quite imagine that in five years time when you go to a large commercial website, the HTML view will be a secondary option for broad reach, with an Avalon version becoming the default for most (Windows) users.

2. The Service-Orientated Architecture is here to stay
Indigo finally provides the last piece of the jigsaw for distributed computing. Since the first PDC release of the .NET Framework, people have had a hard architectural choice to make between ASP.NET Web Services, .NET Remoting and .NET Enterprise Services. Indigo will reduce the number of choices that have to be made and guide developers towards the best architectural approach.

What's particularly interesting is the combination of everything together - from Avalon (for UI) to WinFS (for storage) to Indigo (for communications). It will be of great interest to see how customers are able to exploit this as a broad platform. My initial fear on seeing the initial keynotes was that there's a large mental leap people need to make in order to piece the puzzle together, but you can see the cogs whirring and chatting to other developers this morning people are starting to appreciate the full potential of this platform.