Searched for : pdc
The PDC was a little different last year. It was held on the Microsoft Campus, meaning that only a thousand people could attend, when usually it's 5 times that. But it featured an amazing player that opened the whole conference up to the world. I was one of the 100,000 (yes, 100,000!) who watched online. If you are interested in some of the technical details, there's been a whitepaper released. You can read about it
on the Windows Azure Team Blog. Makes sense, since Azure was a big part of the solution.
I finally caught up some of my PDC-watching and really enjoyed this Herb Sutter talk
on C++0x lambdas. I'm well known to be a huge lambda fan. Herb made this talk enjoyable for me by bringing his personality to the table. He showed aspects of C++ that are not exactly elegant, and how using lambdas can make some much neater code possible. Sure, lambdas are "just" syntactic sugar, but they add up to a new way of thinking about writing applications in C++. Well worth watching.
One warning though - I generally download videos and watch them at 1.5 or double speed. I highly doubt you want to do that with this talk - it's dense!
It's time for another release of the Windows® API Code
Pack for Microsoft® .NET Framework. Yay! This is a pretty small release (which is why the version just went from 1.0 to 1.0.1) with some bug fixes, performance improvements, and more documentation and samples. It's getting a little attention
- Yochay gives the excellent advice to "consider this library as if you wrote it yourself, as if it is your
own code" and reminds you that while it's "the closest thing to an “official” managed API for Windows", it is not a supported product you can call somebody for help with.
- Mahmoud, who's actually running a Code Pack blog (though I think both Yochay and I have more Code Pack posts).
- Sasha, like me a friend of the Code Pack, also has a summary of Yochay's PDC talk - you should download and watch it.
- Kevin Griffin wrote a nice Code Pack article a day before the new version was announced, but all his praise is still valid
If you're already a Code Pack fan, just go get the latest version. If you're not, you should be - it means just a line or two of code to make your application look and behave like a real Windows 7 app.
And are you wondering what's next for Code Pack?
See why I said to download and watch Yochay's talk?
Scott Hanselman has done quite a few posts
on Windows 7 topics already. But now he's done a lollapalooza
! He covers:
- The Code7 contest - How to get a trip to PDC and $17,777. Not bad eh? Also covered by Yochay.
- XP2Win7 (aka PhotoView) - I've covered it before and I won't repeat the links from that post. Scott includes a gratuitous underwear shot you're going to love.
- Code Pack - you know it almost deserves its own category here on my blog. Like Scott says, a gold mine of samples in both C# and VB.
- 16 bonus links and the "lightweight" parameter for MSDN.
Speaking of the PDC, they've released a bunch more sessions... it's looking very good. I have to pull the trigger soon on a decision about going straight to the PDC from Tech Ed Europe. It's calling me...
What are you waiting for? You need to read Scott's post.
Of course the most important sessions at PDC couldn't possibly be announced yet. The best are the ones that are TBD in the session list and schedule right up until the keynote. That's how you know something big is going to be announced. Imagine something where just hearing its code name, just knowing who was going to give the sessions, or even a single sentence of description would spoil the whole announcement. Those are the sessions you go to PDC for, so it's a bit like a Christmas present ... you can't know in advance what it will be.
But it's a four day conference with a lot of sessions and some of them can be announced in advance. I can see that this year some folks have decided to have slightly more interesting session titles (along with the more traditional titles):
- Zero to Awesome in Nothing Flat: The Microsoft Web Platform and You
- Windows Workflow Foundation 4 from the Inside Out
- Windows Identity Foundation Overview
- Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Kernel Changes
- Using Classification for Data Security and Data Management
- Under the Hood with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Programmability
- The State of Parallel Programming
- The DirectX 11 Compute Shader
- Simplifying Application Packaging and Deployment with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
- Petabytes for Peanuts! Making Sense Out of “Ambient” Data.
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2010: The "Accelerated" Way of Building Applications
- Microsoft Unified Communications: Developer Platform Futures
- Microsoft Silverlight Roadmap and Futures
- Microsoft Silverlight 3 Advanced Performance and Profiling Techniques
- Manycore and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4: A Match Made in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
- Development Best Practices and Patterns for Using Microsoft SQL Azure Databases
- Developing xRM Solutions Using Windows Azure
- Developing .NET Managed Applications Using the Office 2010 Developer Platform
- Developer Patterns to Integrate Microsoft Silverlight 3.0 with Microsoft SharePoint 2010
- Data Programming and Modeling for the Microsoft .NET Developer
- Building Applications for the Windows Azure Platform
- Automating “Done Done” in the Dev-to-Test Workflow with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010
- Accelerating Applications Using Windows HPC Server 2008
My favourite title in there is definitely "Manycore and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4: A Match Made in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010" but there are other contenders for sure. As for the topics themselves, I think many of us have still not given concurrency/parallelism/manycore the attention it deserves, and all of us are guilty of compartmentalizing what we learn about so I bet you have probably ignored something (Silverlight, or SharePoint, or Azure, or the full power of VSTS). That means these sessions alone will make us better devs. If these titles are enough to get you signed up, do it now
while you can get a $500 (US) discount - from $2095 for the whole conference (except workshops) down to $1595 until Sept 15th. Wait till Labour Day to start bugging your boss about it and the discount will be gone, plus the plane tickets will be more expensive. (Oh, if you're a student or teacher, you pay only $595, which gives you an astonishing way to get head and shoulders above those around you.)
There are also some seriously intelligent workshops scheduled:
- Getting the most out of Silverlight 3
- Patterns of Parallel Programming
- Developing Quality Software using Visual Studio Team System 2010
- Architecting and Developing for Windows Azure
- Microsoft Technology Roadmap
- Software in the Energy Economy
- Developing Microsoft BI Applications - The How and The Why
Four of those seven workshops are being given by RDs, meaning you'll get real world experience along with the technical product knowledge. What a way to get caught up on something you weren't paying attention to!
Going to conferences is getting harder and harder to justify in this climate. But that doesn't mean you stop going to conferences - it means you only go to those that are relevant to your work and offer amazing value (content, people, atmosphere, and otherwise-unavailable bits) in return for your registration fee, travel, and time away from work. The PDC offers just that for devs on the Microsoft stack. It's the only conference I've ever paid my own money to get to. Be there!
Want to go to PDC but not sure you can afford it? How would this work for you: a trip to PDC including flights, hotel, and conference admission?
That's the grand prize in the INETA Component Code Challenge. Write an app (web, client, whatever) that uses at least two different components (a grid and a chart? a PDF creator and a calendar? a report and a spreadsheet? You decide.) from the sponsors.
Try it! And maybe see you in LA!
What do you do if someone blogs about you? It's kind of rude to ignore such a nice thing. I suppose it might be rude (braggy) to draw attention to it, also. In this particular case, I'm very pleased by the specific things they're saying about me, and the occasion is a good one, too, so I'm going to go ahead and brag a little: Joey (I jumped up and down with delight when Microsoft hired him) says I was the first non-Microsoftie to welcome him to the Empire. I can believe that, but only because we were both at a reception the day before the PDC so I got to him before the rest of the community. Julie (a long time friend, and inspiration to me for her ability to remember so many people and what they care about) declares that I am wise, something I truly aspire to be.
Both of them are celebrating Ada Lovelace, who wasn't the first "woman in technology" but was perhaps the first programmer of any gender. It's nice to know our history and to feel a connection that stretches back a little further than 1970. 166 years ago, she wrote out a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with (the nonexistent) Analytical Engine. Pausing to remember that, and to call out good behaviour when we see it, is a good thing.
2008 was a tumultuous year for me so I thought I would start a new tradition of doing a retrospective post.
In January, I started doing something at Trent that I had never done before in ten years of teaching there a course or two a year – teach the same course twice at once, on different nights in different locations. I think the Tuesday night people got a better course since I in effect rehearsed for them each Monday morning . The marking load was a little difficult but I managed it. Also in January I had a geekspeak appearance, and the planning started in earnest for Tech Ed.
In February I spoke at my own user group, which is always a treat, and the Toronto Heroes Happen Here event introduced Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Windows 2008 to Toronto.
March kicked off with SD West, where I did two sessions (Vista programming for half a day, and some Practical VSTS tips) and recorded a video interview. I really enjoyed SD West’s sense of difference – the attendees, speakers, and topics all had a little fresh and unusual twist to me compared to the conferences Microsoft runs. My schedule doesn’t often let me get to third party conferences but it’s definitely enjoyable when it does. Also in March, we closed our Peterborough offices after nearly a decade there, and consolidated back to a single office attached to our home. Times have changed since we set up the Peterborough offices – we have high speed Internet at home, couriers are no longer an important delivery mechanism for us, and we haven’t employed a university student for many years – so we decided paying rent and commuting 45 minutes each way every day was a foolish habit. It really has been one of my best decisions of the year.
April’s big fun was the MVP Summit. My schedule was jam-packed and my only regret was that the C++ team didn’t schedule any boring or irrelevant parts of the day that might have let me go visit another team to broaden my horizons.
In May, Chris Dufour and I held our own Heroes Happen Here launches in Peterborough and Whitby. We had a scaled down version of the Toronto event and enjoyed it a great deal. Then DevTeach came to town – my absolute favourite third party conference always. As well it provided an opportunity for the Canadian RDs to get together and that is never a bad thing!
June, of course, meant Tech Ed. A precon, lunch with Bill Gates, three breakouts, two podcasts, assorted booth duty / ask the experts / etc plus dinners, receptions and side meetings made for a whirlwind week. The sort of thing I work all year to get, to be honest ... I loved it!
I started July by recording a .NET Rocks episode. Another thing I don’t get to do enough of. Then I just settled down and worked on projects for a while. Community activity is always a bit slow in the summer. As my project work intensified (nothing I can announce at the moment) I stayed heads down right through to the end of October when the PDC rolled around. We were all full of pent-up PDC demand after so long without one, and it was good, really good.
Just one week home after PDC, and trying to catch up on that project work, and it was off to Barcelona (maybe for the last time?) for Tech Ed Europe. I would have had an amazingly great time even if I hadn’t placed a talk in the top ten, but I was lucky enough to do just that. The food, the scenery, the weather – I am really going to miss Barcelona.
In December I got back on the community stage by visiting three southern cities to tell the story of Vista Bridge. I got caught in a snowstorm in Baton Rouge, the like of which they get once or twice a century, just to add a little spice to the tale. And that brings us around to the end of the year. What's next?
Soma is blogging about C++ again. I liked this quote:
Over the years, we have heard a lot of C++ developers refer to the old days of Visual C++ 6.0 as the glory days of Visual C++ tools. Many of the comments reminisce about the snappy and productive IDE. With Visual C++ 2010, we strive to create a new benchmark for Visual C++ IDE productivity. We will couple this IDE with our superior support for the C++ language and significant improvements to the libraries.
He talks about Intellisense, the build system, tools for exploring a large codebase, the native Parallel Patterns Library (PPL), lambdas, and MFC updates. There really is a ton going on in Dev10. A lot of it was covered at PDC so if you haven't watched those videos yet:
https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/timeline.aspx search for "C++", "MFC", and "native". Enjoy!
It's so hard to remember, while you attend a conference, that the convention centre is essentially a blank canvas on which your conference is drawn. Between shows most of the space is a giant empty room with concrete walls and floor. All the lighting, draping, signs, and screens are installed for the show itself - even the chairs are temporary. This amazing timelapse video shows you the keynote room at PDC over the days before, during, and after the show. One of the things I like is that you can see how often the keynotes were rehearsed in the actual room on stage with all the screens going. Full-on dress rehearsals are vital to a good presentation.
It's about 6 minutes long and parts of it are a bit dull (imagine what they would have been like at normal speed) but I'm glad I watched it.
Tech Ed draws to a close and the website of videos gets updated. This is a general-access-no-login-required highlights site. The mechanism for extracting individual links seems broken, so I'll show you what to click on:
Thursdays wrapup includes footage of the Norway country party (North American speakers typically pick a country to visit for country drinks, and my gang chose Norway) and the Speaker Idol finals (I was recruited as a last minute replacement judge for the finals only.) Speaker Idol impresses me every year because it shows all of us (speakers, track chairs, etc) people who are really good but have not spoken at Tech Ed before. How good? I have a session in the top ten this year, and one of the very few people who is outscoring me is last year's Speaker Idol winner, Jeff Wharton.
The afore-mentioned session in the top ten is here, the full video. Doesn't seem to be downloadable, so set aside 80 minutes and learn about shared_ptr and lambdas. The abstract is inaccurate - I didn't do anything on STL/CLR or marshalling - that was last year. The attendees didn't seem to mind that I tossed out half my planned talk and replaced it with content that had been announced at the PDC .
There are 63 videos all told (though 5 are from last year) and they range from a few minutes long to, well, 80 minutes. See what you missed, and maybe see you next year!
Guess where I plan to be mid-November next year?
What will they talk about? Let the speculation begin.
Jesse Kaplan gave a GREAT talk at PDC called Managed and Native Code Interoperability: Best Practices. I really enjoyed it, and it actually covers a great deal of ground. Sure, some of the diagrams expressed concepts I have expressed before, but that's a vote of confidence as far as I'm concerned.
This is a dense talk that assumes a fair amount of background knowledge, but well worth the hour to watch. And then he plugged my marshal-as site, too!
Dude, you had me at "interop boundary" and it just got better from there. But this was a great finish!
More PDC goodness.
Steven Sinofsky is the senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group at Microsoft. He was awesome in the Day 2 keynote. Then he walked down to The Big Room and did a half hour Open Spaces talk with attendees. I recognized fellow RDs Tim Huckaby and David Yack among them. The sound quality varies but the recording is well worth watching to see how comitted he is to the Engineering 7 blog and to communicating with developers.
Then there's Joey deVilla. I've been reading his personal blog for ages and his technical blog once in a while - he was an open source guy so it wasn't always relevant to me. I love his sense of humour and spirit of community. I was delighted to learn that he would replace the departing Jean Luc David (our loss is Redmond's gain.) While at PDC, he interviewed Don Box, Miguel de Icaza, John Lam, Phil Haack and some of the .NET Micro Framework team. Great ways of learning some of what happened at PDC and getting to know Joey a little better.
But he wasn't the only one! John Bristowe was also busy with the camera. He interviewed Joel Semeniuk (another RD) and some people from Windows Home Server. This is a product I am hearing a lot of praise for that I really should install on a spare machine.
I love these videos because they start to capture some of the non-session parts of the conference. If you're wondering why on earth you would go to a conference and not go to sessions, look at these conversations. Also look in the background at the other conversations and interactions. Face time is why we all come to the same place. Sessions are a bonus.
An interesting thing happened towards the close of Thursday's MFC session at PDC. Damien Watkins was taking questions, and as so often happens, some of the questions were really more comments or suggestions, feature requests and so on. It's rare for the speaker to be the person who can act on these requests. Normally we're reduced to saying "send me an email and I'll forward it to the right people." Sadly, very few attendees do that. I know it takes a great deal of initiative and even courage to ask a question at a big conference (I do remember my pre-speaker days) and when asked to send email instead, that is sometimes too high a hurdle. As a speaker I can try to make a note of it, but if it's outside my area I may not write down the most important word of the request and that may leave the team unable to respond.
So during Thursday's session, after the third or fourth "OK, I'll pass that along," Damien volunteered:
I know you're thinking "he's just nodding his head and not paying any attention", but if you're using the mike it's all getting recorded. Everybody back on the team says "hey, as soon as it's online, let us know so that we can go ahead." It is getting recorded so it's all going back.
After the talk, Damien told me that they recorded the MVP Summit sessions and replayed them frequently to hear the attendee comments in context and with precision. For the PDC talks, when they need to share comments with another team, it's as simple as sending them a URL and a minute mark and asking them to listen. In fact I've done that myself this week when asking a question of someone in Redmond who couldn't attend - I sent the URL to the talk, a screenshot of the slide, and the minute mark. One of the easiest followup emails to compose ever. It really makes it possible for the conversation to continue long after the conference. I hope the trend spreads to all my conferences.
Even those of us who are here can't see all the sessions we want to. I have three and four stacked across in most timeslots - and then I might end up spending that timeslot getting some vital "face time" with an RD or blue badge I don't otherwise get to see. But never fear, they're online within about 24 hours of happening! And what's more, you don't have to be registered to see them!
So, that Parallel native C++ talk that put me in the overflow room? http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/TL25/ - watch the video, download the deck. The terrific Boris Jabes talk I lined up for? http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/TL13/ - same deal. The MFC talk that hasn't even happened yet? The page is waiting at http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC26/ and the video should probably show up Friday.
Want to find some more? https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/timeline.aspx. This is just an amazing thing to do. It really increases the value for me of being here because it lowers my stress and worry about choosing the right session. It lets me concentrate on going to talks where I want to meet the speaker or ask the speaker a question, on going to the Labs and Lounge area to meet product team folks, and on enjoying the experience instead of frantically taking notes (or snapping pictures of demos). I think this makes me MORE likely to attend future PDCs, believe it or not.
An astonishing thing happened to me on the afternoon of Day 1. I went to the room for the "Parallel Programming for C++ Developers in the Next Version of Microsoft Visual Studio" talk, and the redshirt guarding the entrance said "the room is full you have to go to the overflow room." I tried logic with her "It's a C++ talk! It's can't possibly be full!" but she chose to believe her own eyes. So I walked the hundred miles or so to the overflow room, which itself became full. The audience really enjoyed seeing how simple it can be to take advantage of multicores using templated functions. Lines and lines of boilerplate goo disappear into a library instead of your code, which means people might actually do this. Nice stuff.
Having learned my lesson, I lined up immediately for "Microsoft Visual C++: 10 Is the New 6." The room filled up just as fast:
I don't think I had heard Boris Jabes present before. He was very good indeed. The slide you see in this picture lays out the mission statement for "Dev10", the next version of Visual Studio, as far as the C++ team is concerned: Make VC10 the most productive IDE for native development. Then he proved it to us. Since it was the last talk of the day, people stayed with questions for a long time afterwards. I really enjoyed listening in on those.
Tuesday started with a keynote that really impressed me. Azure is amazing but the gritty details are not there yet. But Windows 7 - it's on the hard drive! It's real! So they showed it to us. Then they started talking about client development. Ray pointed out a number of advantages of writing a Windows application instead of (or as part of a suite that also has) a web app.
I loved the Windows 7 demo. Lots of features there I really want right now. I love Vista, but this is even nicer. And I hear the stability is great already so you could really use it. Julie plugged the Engineering 7 blog I've plugged myself.
Scott Guthrie said C++ five times. I don't think I've ever heard him say it once before.
Don't worry, he talked about managed code too. You may think of ScottGu as "the web guy" but he gave client development in general, whether C++ or WPF, some serious love in this talk. Great announcements too - grid control for one!
Want one more inside joke explained? (I just love the RD alias for this sort of stuff!)
David Treadwell's shirt had 0x007FFF embroidered on it. Think of it as 00 7F FF. RGB. Go try it in some HTML. Then think back to Day 1.
Update: better picture of the shirt by Angus Logan. Subtle-as-a-brick demo of the colour by Steve Clayton.
Missed the keynote? Based on the URL to day 1, try http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/KYN02/
Now the fun begins.
If you were there, or watched it streaming, did you wonder about the shoes?
Azure and its subsystems had a number of code names, one of which was "Red Dog" and the team got red shoes (dogs being a slang term for feet) in honour of the name.
If you missed the keynote, you can watch it at http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/KYN01/
I had heard some of this before, but not all of it, and I need to digest it a bit, but I think the key difference between Azure and hosting, between Azure and the Amazon offerings, is this: it's one thing to offer you a machine (real or virtual) and tell you "feel free to remote desktop into this and do what you need to do, install things, configure things, it's a machine" but it's a completely different thing to publish your app to the cloud and to configure the cloud rather than your target machine. I like it.
What can I tell you about Day 0? Well I am not allowed to tell you much, the RD side meetings on Day 0 are always strictly NDA. But I can tell you I am getting excited, I'm really glad I came, and I'm changing my IM display picture for the week to this:
LA is warm, the convention centre is as huge as I remembered, and I am pumped up!
Some schedules I have flagged with "must attend" in my calendar:
TL13 Microsoft Visual C++: 10 Is the New 6
Get more done. The next version of Visual C++ is all about improving developer productivity for large-scale applications. Learn about the IntelliSense and browsing experiences, changes to the project and build system, project-less browsing, collaboration through remote symbol indexing, and custom visualization of symbolic information.
Tags: Advanced, Languages
PC26 Microsoft Visual Studio: Building Applications with MFC
The next release of MFC will provide encapsulations around a number of new Windows platform features. With this functionality you can easily build applications that integrate into features such as desktop search, application restart and recovery functionality, leverage the new Windows UI metaphors such as Live Icons and Rich Preview. These features represent one of the most significant updates to MFC in years. Come learn the details on all these new classes so you can rapidly build Windows applications that stand out from the crowd.
Tags: Advanced, Visual Studio
TL25 Parallel Programming for C++ Developers in the Next Version of Microsoft Visual Studio
Build more responsive C++ programs that take full advantage of multicore hardware. We demonstrate how the new Parallel Pattern Library (PPL) enables you to express parallelism in your code and how the asynchronous messaging APIs can be used to separate shared state and increase your application's resilience and robustness. Finally, we take a look at some of the new capabilities of C++0x and Visual Studio to help you efficiently code and debug your multi-threaded applications.
Tags: Advanced, Parallelism, Visual Studio
Do you recognize this man?
Maybe that's too recent a picture... try this one:
Combine these tickets with the PDC location and I have an earworm that should be with me till the end of the month.
Headed to the PDC this month? Is it your first? Or did you go once before but ended up feeling you somehow wasted the opportunity? A huge part of conferences is the face time. The really popular sessions will be blogged (so go to sessions on more obscure topics), there will be other ways to get some of the information (not all, so choose wisely), but no screencast can compare to chatting to people who know things you need to know, to making friends, and to seeing some of your heroes as actual human beings and learning what beer they prefer. Thomas Lewis has an intruiging Guide to the PDC that covers slightly different ground than the usual guides. An intruiging combination of how to learn the most and how to get free drinks as well.
Alas I am not staying at the Westin, but the Marriot. The good news is I have an invitation to a party at the Standard .
See you there!
The Engineering 7 blog is really something. These guys are sharing a TON of information about how they decide what will and won't be in the next version of Windows, how it will work, how they will know they're done, and so on. I enjoyed this summary of UAC issues - what they learned from Vista and what they intend to do in Windows 7. Interesting points:
- Intuitively we all know the number of UAC prompts you see should go down over time, because once you have things installed and configured, you don't run the admin apps any more. But they also go down because you used to run old versions of apps that weren't UAC-aware (think Visual Studio 2005 and having to run it elevated most of the time, especially for ASP.NET work) but later you install a newer version that is aware and doesn't have to run elevated (Hello, Visual Studio 2008!)
- The number of different applications that cause UAC prompts "in the wild" is down to about one-fifth of what it was when Vista first released. That's a great success for persuading software vendors to get new versions UAC-aware.
- They plan to add information to the dialogs in Windows 7 so you will understand more clearly what you are being asked to approve.
Can't wait to get to the PDC and learn even more about what Windows 7 will have in store for us!
The PDC site is full of announcements (and there will be more in the days to come, based on some emails I've received) so there are even more reasons to attend than before. The number one reason to come to PDC is to LEARN. Well some topics just don't fit into 75 minutes, and attending 3 different 75 minutes sessions by 3 different speakers who may or may not have co-ordinated their coverage is a strategy that might work if you're lucky, but might not work either. Enter the PDC Symposia - co-ordinated coverage of the two MUST LEARN topics this year - concurrency and cloud computing. Don't worry, you don't pay any extra or anything, just choose to attend these sessions on the last day.
The second reason to go to the PDC is to GET THE BITS. PDC has always been the place to get the fresh-out-of-source-control latest build of something that won't see beta for a long time yet. It's already been announced that those bits will include Windows 7 and will come on an external drive, not a big stack of DVDs. Cool!
The third reason to go to the PDC is to MEET PEOPLE. An utterly astonishing array of executives and wonder-brains are giving the keynotes. As well, the speakers are essentially all internal Microsoft people who've been working to create the technologies they're showing you. And the attendees are a cross section of developers and architects who really care about staying ahead of the curve and learning what's coming before it comes. A single lunch with any of these folks could change your life, or at least your job.
Register while you can! And if you see me there, say hi!
This year we FINALLY get a PDC. I have been looking forward to it for a long time, but booked my attendance and my flights during one of this year’s blogging hiatuses (hiati?). If you are responsible for any kind of strategy or planning, if you are starting a project that will take several years to finish and you want to use the latest technology while you’re building it, or if you just love making software and can’t wait to see what’s next, then the PDC is for you.
It’s the last week of October, in Los Angeles (the only thing about it I don’t really like) and it will just cram your brain with information you actually can’t use to write code quite yet -- but that you really need to plan your own roadmap over the next few years. If you want to know something about a product that is already shipped (say, Visual Studio 2008) then this is not the conference for you. Even if your area of interest is software that is mostly written, maybe has a CTP out already, and will be released during 2008, then again, PDC is not really going to help you. PDC is about stuff that is just starting now. PDC is about getting a big headstart on those who waited till a product was released or a public beta was available. Here’s the list using their own keywords (the numbers are how many sessions are on that topic)
|Ad Platform 
Cloud Services 
Dynamics CRM 
Entity Framework 
Internet Explorer 
Live Mesh 
Live Platform 
SQL Server 
SQL Server Data Services 
Sync Framework 
Unified Communications 
Virtual Earth 
Visual Studio 
|WCF  |
Windows 7 
Windows Home Server 
Windows Mobile 
Windows Server 
Wow - 27 sessions on cloud stuff? Pay attention.
I also chose a random session so you could get an idea of the level of conversation PDC is for:
Unified Communications: Futures
Kyle Marsh, Chris Mayo
In this session we unveil the future of Microsoft Unified Communications (UC) technologies. Be among the first to see the UC roadmap, watch the new features in action, and walk though the code that makes it all possible. Come see how you can deliver breakthrough applications by embedding rich presence, build click-to-call features including voice and video, create communication workflows using speech and IM, and integrate Microsoft Exchange 2007 features and data.
Tags: Advanced, Unified Communications
This is one of the few conferences in the world that I get myself to (that's right, my own money) as an attendee. I'm not there to speak, work a booth, or be on a panel. I'm there to learn, and you should be too. See you there!
This fall there will be a PDC. Yay! What will it be about? Some hints are starting to emerge. I predict you will hear the word Cloud a lot. I predict things I blog about pretty regularly will get some serious coverage. I predict I will be there. That one's a sure bet actually ... I'm registered and everything.
Yeah, I know, LA again, but hey! It's the PDC! How bad can that be?
Microsoft has announced that the next Professional Developers Conference (PDC) will be October 2-5, 2007 in Los Angeles, with two days of pre-conference on September 30 and October 1. That's good news and bad news for me. I'm glad we're having a PDC this year because it means there's something to announce and something to get early bits of. The official word is:
The PDC is the definitive developer event focused on the future of the Microsoft platform. PDC 2007 attendees will have the opportunity to access new code, learn about the latest Microsoft product offerings and hear from Microsoft executives about the various platform developments.
Check http://msdn.microsoft.com/events/pdc/ for updates; you can also subscribe to the RSS feed to find out more information about the event as we get closer. Registration will open in the May/June timeframe.
So what's the bad news? LA, again. This will be three in a row. I wouldn't miss the PDC for anything but can't we go somewhere else?
The word is starting to spread about the concurrency skills we are all going to need sooner rather than later. And work is underway at dev-tool-makers to offload some of that work to the "system" -- maybe the language, the compiler, a library, the framework, the operating system -- anything other than the programmer because most of us are even worse at threads-and-locks than we were at malloc-and-free or new-and-delete or any other kind of memory management.
If you were wondering about Microsoft's committment to this (and the PDC talks on the topic weren't enough to convince you) then read Kang Su's latest blog entry about the new Bay Area Office they are establishing for this sort of progress... and wait till you see who's going to be working there...
I love being "in the loop" on new software. It can get kind of surreal, though, when you are at a conference and find a technology kind of boring and everyday, and skip the sessions on it since it's "old stuff" ... and then realize it isn't even shipping yet! I spend time in betas, alphas, SDRs and the like, so it's often years between the time I start working with a technology and the time it releases. When I speak at Tech Ed I tend to hang at the cabanas where I can hear real stories of how people are using the tools and the problems they need help with.
The PDC though, that's a different story. Well, it should be anyway. The PDC is all about the future, right? The workflow announcement was a big deal, but the material wasn't new to me. I began to worry if I would ever attend a session that sparked my interest in something new and important. Then I found it. I've waited to blog it until the sessions were available online.
What Jan Gray had to say in FUN302 and Herb Sutter introduced in TLN309 totally grabbed me. Because clock speed cannot go up any more we all have to write concurrent code even if it's single user:
And since most people can't write good concurrent code (see Herb's Singleton example which still doesn't work even with the double checking and the volatile keyword, at least not all the time) then the OS or the framework or the language needs to do it for them. Herb and Jan are proposing different approaches, but these two guys are among the smartest I know (I've known Jan almost 30 years) and if they are both into this, then I need to learn more about it. You probably do too.
At the PDC, we were shown what Office 12 is going to be like, and it was impressive. But since then more announcements keep coming out about it that in many ways are more impressive than the new user interface. (If you're thinking "what new user interface?" you need to check out the future Office page at MSDN for details.) Apparently the Channel 9 Video has been insanely popular also. In some ways the Open XML formats are more exciting than the UI , especially for developers. And now this: Office 12 - not just Word, but Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, everybody - will all know how to publish their documents as PDF. No third party tool, no add in, it will just work. I read about it on Brian Jones' blog, but there are also details on that future Office page.
I fly quite a lot. Over the first six months of this year (I pretty much stopped travelling after TechEd USA) i flew 25,000 miles. That's not a lot compared to those who reach Air Canada Super Elite status at 100,000 miles (a handful even fly 300,000 miles a year) but it felt like a lot to me. I'm about to fly another 30,000 in just a few weeks... to South Africa and back, then a week later to Las Vegas and back. But it's nothing compared to what someone I know is up to.
Air Canada is selling an "unlimited" North America travel pass. $7000 gets you all the flights you can stand in October and November. A fellow Flyertalker with two months off has bought one and is trying to get the maximum possible mileage from it. Because he's already Super Elite, he gets a 50% bonus on every mile he flies, and there's a promotion on to get a 25% bonus as well (I earned a 542 mile bonus to and from LA for the PDC). Add in threshold bonuses and he has determined he is going to earn a million Aeroplan miles for just $7,000 ... and two solid months of his time. Most of it will be up front, thanks to the upgrade certificates he's going to earn as he goes, and his status moving him to the front of the line for "op-ups" on full flights. His sleep, what there is of it, will be exclusively on overnight transcontinental flights.
He's blogging his progress... a must read!
Update: there are now four Flyertalkers doing this, but Marc is the one blogging it. Today he mentioned on FT: "I was home last night, had dinner with family. Leaving at 820 am. Its a job like any other. I am home 4 nights a week. On overnight trips the other three."
The Regional Directors had so much fun doing the GrokTalks at Tech Ed USA, we just couldn't leave it as a one-time thing. So at the PDC, we've arranged an event called PDC Underground. While we won't be filming and uploading the talks, we will be able to accomodate an actual audience. If you're going to be in LA, or if you're there all the time anyway, you want to come to this event. Ten RDs, fifteen minutes each, just the essence of what you need to know about one topic.
I'm doing "C++ is alive and well":
Abstract: The "C++ for the runtime" in Visual Studio 2005, C++/CLI, features everything developers love about C++ -- including templates and deterministic destruction -- and everything we love about the CLR -- including generics and garbage collection. This best-of-both-worlds approach enables the fastest and easiest interop between managed and unmanaged code. Preserve your legacy without a port, use the same binaries to support old and new clients, control the cost of interop: that's what C++ does so well.
More details and a registration link at http://www.pdcunderground.com/. If you're a member of a user group in the LA area, contact your leader who probably can get you a button to wear.
See you there!
Kang Su kicks off his blog (two and a half weeks ago, I can't believe it took me this long to notice) with a big red HIRING in the middle of his first post, then goes on to give you the C++-eye view of PDC including the so-worth-your-while upgrade lab. Then he tells you how to find out what the Profile Guided Optimization process discovered about your code. Excellent and you know I'll be reading regularly.
Next time I get out to Redmond, though, I am going to have to ask for a tour of the office so I can see where they keep the “your turn to blog regularly” baton or hat or whatever they use. It seems as soon as one or two start, the others all stop. :-(.
In less than three weeks I will be at the PDC! On the first day, I'll be a panelist at the Women in Technology panel. If you've been to one of these at TechEd, all I can say is PDC isn't TechEd. Things will be a little different this time. Here's the abstract that's going in the guide:
This panel will cover how women have used their intelligence and creativity to excel in the software industry. Hear from women IT professionals who are successful in a male-dominated industry. Learn, connect, and engage at this networking panel, where your questions drive the agenda, and hear tips and tricks on how to succeed as a woman developer or technical professional in the computer sciences and technology marketing. Both men and women are invited to join in the conversation, and learn from each other about how to grow diversity in the IT industry.
One thing that will be the same is the quality of the panelists. I'm not going to brag about myself, but let me tell you the other panelists are fantastic: Angela Mills (Microsoft), Anne Thomas Manes (Burton Group), Dee Dee Walsh (Microsoft), Michele Leroux Bustamente (IDesign Inc.), Shoshanna Budzianowski (Microsoft) and our moderator, Esther Schindler (Ziff-Davis). I've been lucky enough to watch most of them in action before and you're sure to pick up valuable career insight.
And in case that sentence from the abstract didn't quite click the first time, let me paste it again: Both men and women are invited to join in the conversation. See you there!
I'm registered and I've reserved a hotel room. Just the little matter of plane tickets to take care of now...
With the seven-city Smart Client Deep Dive tour done, I thought it would be appropriate to summarize my upcoming speaking and training schedule.
- May 23-26. Ascend Training (Smart Client Track) Redmond, WA. Teaching Microsoft people and special guests (MVPs, RDs, partners) all about Smart Clients (VSTO, WinForms, and more) in Whidbey.
- June 3. Ascend Training (one day ultra condensed) Orlando, FL. This is a pre-conference event for Academic Days at Tech Ed.
- June 6-10. Tech Ed USA, Orlando FL. Two talks (Monday morning and Tuesday morning - both are C++ talks and who would go to only one of them? See the new syntax, new optimizations, new power for an old friend - search for DEV330 and DEV331), one panel lunch (women in technology), and helping out with the way cool thing the RDs are doing that I can't quite discuss yet.
- June 18-19. DevTeach, Montreal Quebec. A Canadian User Group Leader get-together, and my two C++ talks glued into one “What's New in C++“ presentation.
- October 23-26, Tech Ed Africa, Sun City South Africa. OK, I'm not officially accepted as a speaker yet but I'm pretty sure I'll be there, topics TBD.
- Nov 7-10. C++ Connections, Las Vegas, NV. How real customers are moving to the new C++.
This is just the stuff I'm on stage for. I'm planning to be in the audience at either or both of the PDC and the MVP Summit, both in September. And oh yeah, I have a company to run and some projects to finish. Gotta dash!
My 2005 plan is starting to take shape a bit better now.
- VSLive Toronto April 13-16, downtown this year.
- Tech Ed June 5-10, Orlando (some info on the Tech Ed 2004 page for now)
- PDC September 13-16, Los Angeles
I'll be attending for sure. Will I also be speaking? Writing the Hands on Labs? Sitting on cool panel discussions? Time will tell... and so will I when the plans are firm.
Like a lot of RDs (about half of us worldwide) I'm in Redmond this week for some training. Most of it is NDA but I have to share this quote from Don Box (who rocked) tonight:
Visual Studio rocks; I have not used Emacs since the PDC.
Wow! If you need context, he was discussing XML editing and Visual Studio “Whidbey“.
I do believe I'm ready for TechEd.
The suitcase is packed -- but not too packed, have to leave room for swag. I have my passport for the border and my driver's licence for registration (I had a huge delay at PDC because I arrived at the conference centre without photo ID). I have my eyeshades and earplugs for the plane. I have my Regional Director program button and my little Canadian flag to put on my badge holder. I have some US cash so I can get overpriced coffee in the Chicago airport. My demos work. The webcast software is on the new laptop. The VPC and my session are on my little 20 gig USB drive as well as the laptop. I even found my MSDN card. I have sunscreen in my carryon, I have the MP3 player and the digital camera, chargers for everything (it's going to be another long trip through security) and all the bits and pieces of paper that make me feel warm and fuzzy -- hotel reservation, plane ticket, my schedule, ... yep, I'm ready!
Yesterday I wore my Tech Ed 99 Tshirt. That conference really changed the way we make software and changed us as a company. I hope Tech Ed 2004 does the same for you, if you're going.
I spent all day Monday hanging with almost all of the Canadian RDs. If you were wondering who we all are, you can find nine of us at http://msdn.microsoft.com/canada/rd/. Or check the individual pages such as http://kate.regionaldirector.ca. (If by chance you're reading this blog entry at http://kate.regionaldirector.ca, then you need to check out http://www.gregcons.com/kateblog/ which is my regular home.)
About the picture: I hate it. What can I tell you, I hate pretty well all pictures of me but the ones that people get hold of electronically I hate even more. Enough about that until I managed to replace it with one I can stand.
What do RDs talk about when you get us all in a room? Business challenges, personal challenges, what's coming in Whidbey, what we're excited about for Longhorn, patch management, and a bunch of other stuff that's under NDA for a while yet. We also talked about user groups, Deep Dives (like this Smart Client one in Toronto or this Web Services Security one in Toronto; there are some in Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto too) and conferences. VSLive starts tomorrow, then all the TechEds through the summer and the Microsoft Partner Conference in July. Lots of chances for us all to get on stage. We also talked about the things we do beyond speaking, webcasts, and other community touches. Things like my Code Guru column, the RD column on MSDN, books, and developing content. Most people never think about where all the whitepapers on MSDN, the Hands on Labs and PDC and TechEd, and the presentations for tours and events actually come from. Sure, lots are written by Microsoft people, but plenty are written by smart folks who are really into the topic, and a lot of those are RDs. And of course, we talked about our day jobs and the work we're taking on. Don't forget, pretty much all the RDs are available for consulting gigs although some of us are less available than others.
Looking forward to the next one already.
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