I just came back from Microsoft TechEd 2009 conference in Los Angeles. This year's conference was smaller than usual registering only about 7,000 attendees. If you did not get a chance to attend, take a look at the highlights below.
Windows Azure is a run-time environment in the cloud that provides an ability to host, seamlessly scale, and manage web applications and services. I was amazed by how many sessions this year were dedicated to Windows Azure as well as Azure Services Platform which includes .NET Services, SQL Data Services, and Live Services. Although the detailed pricing and service-level agreements have not been announced, it is clear that Microsoft is seriously investing into their cloud infrastructure with the intention to offer .NET developers a choice to host web applications on-premise, externally, or in the cloud.
Microsoft Silverlight is a web browser plug-in for delivering Rich Internet Applications (RIA). I attended a day-long seminar on Silverlight led by Jeff Prosise. Jeff took a deep dive into capabilities of Silverlight 2 and 3 and explained the logic and philosophy behind many Silverlight design decisions. This was one of my favourite TechEd sessions this year.
Note that according to http://riastats.com/ as of May 19, 2009, Silverlight 2/3 is installed only on 27% of client computers. While not a concern for an Intranet application, it presents a challenge when you have no control over your client environments.
Surprisingly, ASP.NET core classes have not changed much, which is an excellent news for your existing web infrastructure. Our security, logging, exception management, content management, branding, internationalization, and other infrastructural libraries are likely to integrate seamlessly with the new version of ASP.NET.
The features that make me excited about the upcoming release of ASP.NET 4.0 are integration of ASP.NET with jQuery and availability of client-side templates and data binding. Take a look at ASP.NET AJAX 4.0 Preview 4 on codeplex.com to get a better idea on what is coming out.
Microsoft Hyper-V is a virtualization platform that ships with Windows Server 2008 for x64. It allows you to optimize your server hardware by consolidating multiple servers into a single physical machine running multiple virtual machines. Virtualization was a very hot topic at the conference.
Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7
Quite a few sessions as well as the key note were dedicated to the upcoming releases of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. Both products are on schedule to be released at the end of this year.
A few additional sessions are well worth mentioning:
- "The Scaling Habits of ASP.NET Applications", an excellent talk on scalability of ASP.NET by Kent Alstad, CTO of StrangeLoop Networks.
- "Cracking Open Kerberos: How Active Directory Knows Who You Are" by Mark Minasi, Chief Scientist at MR&D. Mark's presentation helped me better understand how Kerberos tickets work as well as when and why Kerberos switches to NTLM.
- "Busy Microsoft .NET Developer's Guide to F#" by Ted Neward. I am contemplating using F# for one of our financial calculators.