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Thursday, September 15, 2011 #

This week I’m at the Microsoft Build/Windows conference.  Now I’ve been to many conferences throughout the years and this is the first conference where I literally knew nothing about including the agenda.  When I signed up for my badge on arrival we got a conference guide with all the hours of the session but no sessions.  Very secret, very cloak and dagger.  This created a huge buzz but also upped the expectation quite a bit…

So with the tabled laid out and the expectation high I sat down and waited for the first keynote to start, the atmosphere was really good and the crowd was exited and waiting for it to start…  Now in the last two days I’ve had a lot of conversation with colleagues and Microsoft employees and I’m still making up my mind on the what was said in those two days… and well I was very impressed about the new look and feel of windows, I know my wife, kids and parents will really like it.  I think the Metro apps will really serve well for the slate devices. 

I’m old… that’s a comment I got from one of my Microsoft fried when I was explaining a scenario I was trying to accomplish on the slate we were given, I installed Office and was only trying to start Word, I had to find the icon (bad in Metro world) and click on it, then it “flipped” to desktop mode and started Word.  Now his first reaction was “You won’t do that from a slate device!”.  According to him the digital generation only want live information tiles and beautiful design, ok I buy that.  I’m still a very digital person (ask my wife Winking smile) and I think there will be merit to this application model.  But I also live in a corporate world… and well the corporate world is hum… very conservative, I was thinking ultra but went down a notch to very.  Another of my fried is convinced that when enough people with slate request access to corporate assets that the IT folks will bend and let them see the info and we’ll need to write apps for them to consume it.  He might be right, time will tell…

Microsoft unveil YART (Yet Another RunTime) called WinRT.  Now from the keynotes, it was YART, but then it wasn’t, it was .NET with new hooks in Windows Core, then it was in it’s own sandbox with no access to anything outside, then we could access stuff outside the sandbox but it required PINVOKE calls, then we couldn’t… This is how it went in the last two days.  Let’s say I’m still not sure what it is.  It looks like it will replicate .NET BCL stuff, but it’s not the BCL, so we’ll now have another set of APIs to learn… Ok.

I’ve been seeing this as another presentation layer for specialized for windows 8 with better performance and deep roots into the core windows OS.  So we’ll now have HTML, XAML, Silverlight and WPF (almost feels like legacy now), and Metro.

As an architect, I’m happy with this, it will be another possibility when I design application, as a developer, I’m not sure how I feel… I’ve invested 10 years of my career with .NET and I know I’ll be able to reuse most of that (that is the best news) but I will also need to dig into another API and set of options when building application. Ok.

In a few years everything will be touch… hum… I love my WP7, I love the touch interface on it, it make sense, it’s natural at the tip of my fingers.  Slates, there will be more and more.  It’s an information consumer, it’s not a information creator.  So Metro apps well natural on those.  On a Laptop… I don’t “feel” it.  But there is a desktop mode (which makes me old…) so I’m good.

Rolling out a new OS is complicated and costly… word on street is that a lot of enterprise will skip Windows 8 completely because they are currently rolling out Windows 7 and won’t do another one so close after.  I think they will be a massive consumer push for Windows 8, I think my wife, kids and parents will be happy with it.  I’m also sure a lot of enterprise will migrate to it.  but we’ll see Windows 7 for a long time… Windows XP finally dipped below the 50% mark a couple of weeks ago, 10 years after it released… I think we’ll see corporate computer images with Windows 7 for another 10 years.  So .NET is still very relevant and will continue to be a development platform of choice for years to come.

Azure is a big elephant in the room, it’s there, everyone knows it’s there, but we then to look if we can move around it without stepping on it’s toes… I looked at Azure about 2 years ago when it first released, I quickly put it on the side because it was clunky and really not very mature.  I revisited it in the last couple weeks and… wow… it’s not yesterdays Azure.  It’s much more robust, the tooling is awesome and well I’m impressed.  There is something to do here.  I’m still playing with it so I’ll have a better idea later.  If like me you looked at it 2 years ago, have a look at it again, I think you’ll be impressed.

So back to the elephant, I think that Microsoft want’s us to develop for Azure and will make sure all of our data is in Azure.  Let’s say that it would be an understatement to claim that Azure was not everywhere in their plans.  So I guess my point is, think about how you could offload some information or processing to Azure, it may pay off in the end if you can manage a recurring fee services that can pay for the monthly charges.

Lots of amazing Visual Studio 11 demos, remote debugging, GDI/DirectX profiling, Team Foundation Server in the Cloud, porting a SL2 application to Metro, to WP7. etc.  VS11 and TFS11 will be awesome products and I can’t wait to start doing demos and talks about the new features and how it will really increase productivity.

Now that the Keynotes are finished we have two days of deep dive sessions on what was announced… lots of great info to come.

There was a lot of information fire hosed down our gullet in the last 2 days and  I’m still digesting it… the natural defense mechanism of hiding behind a wall of know variable is up right now and it will slowly go down to embrace all the new stuff… If that make me old… well I’ll got we wise, it feels better than old Smile.

 

When I get a chance to play and create a Metro application I will have a better opinion, right now we only saw demos.  Bobby McFerrin said it well

 

“Don’t worry be happy!”

 

I’ll go with that…

Cheers,

ET

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