Tech-Ed Day Three Maintains the Standard

The sessions I attended on the shortened day 3 were all heavily web-based, I started with a session from Shane Morris about the new web standards-compliant publisher package, Expression Web, that replaces FrontPage. This session demonstrated the standards support, very intelligent support for CSS and dynamic web templates that are also Dreamweaver-compliant.

The next two sessions opened my eyes to the possibilities of Windows Live Services which in the main, to my surprise, have REST-based APIs. The two services for photos and contacts which includes Windows Live IDs were impressive. Also the blog-centric Spaces service is now a mashup in its own right, and we are able to add our own controls to any Spaces blog page. It also supports the full MetaWebLog API which is quite extensive.

The following talk took us on a deepdive into Virtual Earth service APIs that are now in version 5. A complete ASP.NET web app was developed using VE in only 30 minutes. At this talk I bumped into a UQ honours student whose project I supervised at the DSTC. She now works for Rio Tinto Aluminium and was then set to apply VE to her own project applications.

After lunch (sadly missed out on the Xbox, Tom Tom and iPod prizes!) was a really inspiring and very professional talk from Joe Stegman who is Group Manager of the Silverlight product group. He showed off via several examples how Silverlight can be used to support media on the web. With the full release of 1.0 imminent it is worth the effort to come up to speed and to learn XAML via use of Expression Blend.

The short ending keynote was given by the head of the cybercrime forensic dept of the the AFP and just highlighted the near-impossible task they face over cyberterrorism and child pornography. The electronic data they have to collect and analyse has increased 100-fold over 4 years. The audience also farewelled Frank Arrigo who has headed the MS Australia developer evangelist team (who coordinate Tech-Ed) for 7 years and now heads to Redmond to do the same for the world.

There were no major software launches but seeing the new betas of major products like Visual Studio, SQL Server, IIS and Expression, and the very significant web-based Silverlight, dynamic languages, dynamic data controls and Live services made the whole conference immensely educational and stimulating.

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

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