Impressive First Day at Tech-Ed 2007

teched2007 I returned home on a high after day 1 of Tech-Ed. There were so many unexpected new and exciting technologies/tools/development kits for my own area of Web 2.0. I feel I had my money’s worth in this first day alone.

The day kicked off with the impressive keynote from Michael Twigg of Animal Logic, the CG specialists from Sydney with movie credits like Babe, 300 and, of course, Happy Feet. It is hard to imagine 2000 dual-processor Winserver boxes providing almost 100,000 hours of rendering each day. Even that is not enough and they hook their desktops into a grid overnight to help out!

The first break-out session started the technology surprises rolling. Nikhil Kothari from the ASP.NET/Ajax/Silverlight team showing us Ajax Patterns supported by the ASP.NET Ajax extensions. I didn’t realise the power of the Ajax JavaScript OO extensions that introduce order and power into the otherwise messy JavaScript integration scenario.

Then followed a sweeping introduction to the Orynx project that brings us the new  dynamic data controls. Just pointing the dynamic data bits at a database generates a complete set of ASP.NET pages to display, update, insert and delete records from all data tables. simple customisation then allows a polished web site to be built with virtually no additional coding. Sweet.

Then came lunch and a short demo of the full and clean support for REST in the Windows Communications Foundation, something I did not know existed.

the first afternoon session featured Mahesh Prakriya from the dynamic languages team who showed us IronPython and how it integrates so well and simply with .NET. MSagent (Merlin) can be made to perform amusing movements in 3 lines of interactive command line Python (suitable for very young programmers). He also showed Windows forms and Ink from the tablet pen – all further 3-4 lines of Python examples. The Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) sits on top of the CLR and now supports IronRuby, managed JavaScript and the new dynamic VB that is returning to its roots. Then followed Python in XNA (Xbox game generator) and the Robotics Studio (cool Roomba robot demo). I can hardly wait for his DLR and Silverlight talk tomorrow.

The next talk on Web 2.0 Programming by Michael Platt (chief Web 2.0 architect)was a delight. I knew most of it but he showed us how committed Microsoft is to REST despite them being so strong in web services and SOAP. Apparently all the Windows Live service APIs offer REST and he is fighting for the documentation to reflect that. REST allows the very impressive Popfly mashup generator to function so well. New to me was his discussion of the security features of REST. I can’t wait to try some mashups for teaching and learning tools.

The final talk of the day was Nikhil again taking us deeply into Silverlight. Apart from its obvious use to display video and audio Silverlight can also be used for some local storage and very simple browser-based file uploads amongst other things. I found many developers expressed fear and trepidation in using Silverlight with JavaScript and even C#. They seem to mistrust anything with full media capabilities – they need to adapt or watch the tide roll over them.

At yesterday’s opening party it was very pleasing to meet up with 6 or 7 Bond IT alumni from Canberra, Sydney and SE Qld who are all doing well as Microsoft developers of various kinds. All love the technology.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

One Response to Impressive First Day at Tech-Ed 2007

  1. Pingback: JavaScript: the Assembly Language of the Web « Impressions Scholarcast

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