Notes from Microsoft PDC 2008

This week, I’m attending Microsoft’s PDC in California. There are a lot of announcements being made and paradigms being changed in regard to development. Although I’d like to tell you everything being said and announced, I’d have to skip out on sessions to do so. As such, I wanted to go ahead and drop some notes about a few comments made here at the conference. Expect articles and more information on all of this soon after PDC is over!

Windows Azure

Microsoft announced that they are creating Windows Azure. Consider this “Windows in the Cloud.” It is Microsoft’s operating system for “the cloud.” What is “the cloud?” It was defined in one session as a group of connected servers. In general, the Internet is a group of connected servers, so it is considered “the cloud” as well. A CTP of Windows Azure is available for download now.

C# 4.0

C# 4.0 is coming. C# 1.0 focused on providing managed code. C# 2.0 extended this with concepts such as generics. C# 3.0 was the first time Microsoft was able to focus on extending the language and it added LINQ. In 4.0, it is moving towards dynamic programming. What does this mean? Look for more on this in an upcoming article. I will say that the demos were impressive.

It is also worth noting that Microsoft recognized and admitted that Visual Basic and C# are being used for the same things. Thus, it is no longer going to try to create artificial differentiations between the two languages. It will allow them to co-evolve. In general, most people simply use the language they are already know or have used before. Going forward, if one of these languages gets a new feature, then most likely, the other language will eventually get a similar feature. These won’t necessarily be done in the same manner or at the same time, but the feature sets will co-evolve.

Microsoft Windows 7

Windows 7 was announced prior to the PDC. In the keynote today, Microsoft demonstrated several of the features of Windows 7. This includes multi-touch features, libraries, updated applets, jump lists, an updated task bar, better docking, homegroups, a device stage, and more. There is also a revamped UAC. Microsoft has identified a number of areas for developers to target for Windows 7. These would be great areas for articles for Codeguru! These include the Ribbon User Interface, jump lists, libraries, multi-touch, speech, ink, and the DirectX family.

There are lots of other cool features happening in Windows 7. Following are just a few of them:

  • VHDs can be created natively in Windows 7. These can be both dynamic or fixed. It is much easier to manage and work with VHDs.
  • Support for up to 256 CPUs
  • Windows key + P will allow you to set monitors As such, you can use it to set up dual monitors and so forth.
  • You can now customize the shut down button.
  • Slider control to set how much of the UAC you want to see on your machine.

So, when is Windows 7 going to happen? Windows 7 Pre-beta is releasing today. The actual beta (which will be feature complete) will be released early next year. The beta will be widely released.

Scott Guthrie—Windows 7 Development

Scott Guthrie also talked on the programming topics of Windows 7. For developers, you will have new APIs to use. These will include access to many of the features mentioned earlier including Ribbon, Jump Lists, Libraries, Multi-Touch, DirectX, and more. There will also be updates to MFC to support Ribbon, Multi-touch, Search, and more.

On a different note, Visual Studio 2010 will be coming. It will include support for very large code bases as well as support for multi-core application development. The multi-core support will also include debugging tools so you can tell what issues are happening and on what core.

Here are a few bullt points on some of the comments Scott Guthrie made at PDC:

  • New components are being released this week for WPF including <DataGrid/>, <DataPicker/>, <Calendar/>, <Ribbon/>, and a Visual State Manager.
  • In .NET 4.0, there will be support for Multi-touch, Deep Zoom, Viusal State Manager, and Text.
  • .NET 4.0 will support In-Process side-by-side support, Managed/Native code interoperability, dynamic languages, and an extensible component model.
  • Visual Studio 2010 will be improved. Most interesting is that it will be built on WPF. That will add multi-monitor support and more.
  • Much more extensibility will be added to Visual Studio 2010.
  • A final version of the ASP MVC will be released in the next few months.
  • JQuery support will be added into Visual Studio 2008. Starting today, you can download the jQuery intellisense file for Visual Studio (available at the web site).
  • ASP.NET 4 will have improvements in Web Forms, MVC, AJAX, and distributed computing.
  • You’ll be able to set up different settings for debugging, releasing, and staging projects in Visual Studio 2010.
  • Nearly 100 million machines are already running Silverlight 2.0 that was relased a couple of weeks ago.
  • IIS will now contain IIS Smooth Streaming.
  • The Silverlight 2 Toolkit si now releasing. It contains charting controls as well as TreeView, DockPanel, WrapPanel, ViewBox, Expander, AutoComplete, and NumericUpDown.
  • Silverlight 2 designer will be built into Visual Studio 2010.
  • The next version of Silverlight (expected next year) will be able to run inside or outside of the browser.

Live Framework

Microsoft also announced the Live Framework at PDC. This allows you to access the Microsoft Live Services programmatically. This includes the features like Live Mesh. You can connect your devices as well as synch them. The Framework provides the APIs to do this programmatically.

I’m not even scratching the surface on what is happening at PDC this week. If you aren’t here, look forward to lots of new things to learn and new paradigms to master!

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