Build Windows day 2

Ok, so Build is onto it’s second day. A second day that has been a lot “slower” than day one. The keynote contained a lot of different information, mostly focused around connected apps and Windows Server 8, which I assume was to be expected.

The keynote did contain some gems though…

1. Massive network throughput. They showed off Windows 8 networking with multiple connected NIC’s copying data at speeds up to 2 GByte/sec, which is quite impressive…

2. They showed that it is possible in Server 8 to move a VHD of a live machine to a new location without interrupting the service. So basically it is possible to move a VHD of a running machine from a local file to a network based storage for example without interrupting the machine… neat!

3. ScottGu made an appearance talking about AS.NET MVC 4 apps, and Azure. The demo as such wasn’t that impressive, but we are still talking Scott Guthrie. The demo did include some cool things though, such as support for mobile apps, inclusion of jQuery.Mobile in next version of ASP.NET and a few other things. But probably the sweetest thing in my mind must be the fact that ASP.NET 4 will include minification and joining of JavaScript and CSS files on the fly. Serving up the minified and optimized versions through a simple address.

4. A demo of a product called Viper, which is installed in you car giving you access to location and telemetry data from your car in near real-time through Azure. It also supported starting and stopping the engine, setting up warnings to show up on you WP7 phone…and more. It seemed like and awesome product, albeit a scary if used to monitor your family like the guy on stage suggested…

5. Connected to the Viper demo, the owner of West Coast Customs came on stage and announced that they are building a car together with Microsoft, and that it will be a massive mash-up of Microsoft technology and muscle car. It is supposed to include Kinect, augmented reality, Azure connection and things… It sounds awesome! Not to mention that it is together with West Coast Customs, who generally just rock… The car is to be produced in cooperation with Discovery channel, so stay tuned for that when it is aired!

What else…? Well, I went to a session about the Metro style app lifecycle, which is basically just a clone of the WP7 one. I assume that was to be expected, and is good I a way as we can re-use knowledge and patterns developed for the phone.

I do however have 2 major concerns about  the whole “Metro style app” thing. First of all, Metro is a design guideline. And by that I mean a VISUAL design guideline. Not a special kind of apps for Win 8, which is now being used as.

Secondly, I want to highlight that this new kind of applications is not a mandatory kind of app to build. A regular Windows app is still valid, and offers things that the Metro apps doesn’t. It has multi-tasking for example…and you can have multiple windows…and so on. So I think there will still be a lot of scenarios that will be a better fit using good old WPF or something. Especially in LOB apps or apps that will not generally run on a tablet.

Anything else…? Well, I did have a great talk to Tim Heuer, who used to be a PM for Silverlight. Currently I don’t actually know what his title is, as I forgot to ask, but he is now working for the Windows team.

He agreed that there had been a lack of communication about the future of Silverlight, but hoped that it would open up a bit more now. Still to be seen though, but I really hope so!

Next to Tim was Unni Ravindranathan who is a PM for Expression, so I ended up having a way to long talk to him about Blend 5 and its integration into VS2011, which was really interesting. He talked a bit about the tools that were released in developer preview, and how the Blend integration is still not perfect, but still shows where it is heading. He was however mostly concerned about the polish and visual integration, which is cool, cause that makes me pretty confident that it will be awesome when done.

The discussion did start regarding the fairly narrow subject of the databinding dialog in Blend vs VS. And even if I haven’t seen where it is at at the moment, he did say that my comment regarding the VS one being better was fair, and that the new one will be even better.

And that last part about developer releases brings me into the fact that we have actually got some new toys to play with if we want. They have released a developer preview of Windows 8, Visual Studio 2011 and Blend 5.More about that here:

I think that is it so far!

Or wait…I just found another thing in my pocket…and no…I am not happy to see you… Smile

As we got our devices yesterday, we got little business card as well, telling us to go to an address after the keynote today. That address redirected me to the Team Foundation Service preview page. And yes, I said Team Foundation Service. They have opened up a preview of a cloud hosted TFS, which sounds awesome. I heard about this 6 months ago under NDA, but never got to try it as the project never kicked off. But I have been looking forward to seeing it go live. As long as it is cheap, I will definitely keep it in mind even for my private projects. But it seems awesome for bigger projects as well, as it has support for work items, and sort of a scrum dashboard and things. Guess I will just have to have a look at it when I get back home, and see if we can use it on any of our projects at work.

Ok, time to head off and look at some more stuff. I once again apologize for the crappy quality of my posts. I can feel the quality slipping, but it is kind of hard writing them sitting on the floor with loads of things going on around you…

I will keep on posting fragmented posts like this one throughout the conference, but I will also try to collect my thoughts and add a couple of follow up posts afterwards. But if you want the information ASAP, you will just have to accept my somewhat fragmented writing style. The coffee grinder and smoothie mixer behind me makes it impossible to focus and write at least decent posts. Sorry! Smile

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