Last week, I spent a lot of time at Microsoft's Tech Ed conference. [This conference was June 5th through the 10th.] This conference is always great to attend because you can meet with people as well as learn a great deal of information in the sessions. This year was no exception.
While Bill Gates didn't attend, Steve Ballmer and Paul Flessner did. Both presented keynote talks outlining some of the key technologies that Microsoft has rolled out or will be rolling out in the near future. As I mentioned last week, there weren't a lot of surprises; however, a number of items were mentioned. I'll be writing more details on these items over the coming weeks. For now, I'll highlight a few items here for you:
Connectivity was a centerpiece for Steve Ballmer's presentation. While the catch phrase "New World of Work" seemed goofy to me, it was stated over and over by Ballmer and Flessner in their presentations. This "new world of work" is the fact that people need information at any time from anywhere and on any platform. This can be achieved via connectivity and standardization. [Interstingly, JavaOne is Sun's conference, which is occurring this week. Some of the big themes there are also focused on Business Process integration and the ability for openness and collaboration. It looks like Sun wants to play nicely together!]
The New World Of Work
Microsoft indicated a number of products that will help in achieving this "new world of work." Active Directory is the tool they indicated would be a key in making this all work. Additionally, new versions of SQL Server (2005), Visual Studio (2005), and other products would also help. To that end, Flessner announced that Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006 would all release the week of November 7th of this year.
RFID has been getting lots of press in the last year or two. Flessner announced an RFID Infrastructure that should be available in 2006. This will help to make using RFID in your applications much easier. As an example of using RFID, they provided all the attendees at Tech Ed a RFID tag. They were then able to monitor when these tags entered different areas of the convention center. We'll cover more on this at CodeGuru in a future article. [I had some time to talk with a few people at Microsoft last week. It is interesting to note that the initiatives for RFID are coming from the same group that does Microsoft's BizTalk Server product!]
Being that you come to CodeGuru, there is a good chance you use Visual Studio. You can already find a number of articles on the site that talk about new features in the 2005 version that will be out in November [More specifically, it will be released the week of November 7th].
Some of the highlights that Flessner mentioned include a 50 to 75% reduction in the amount of code needed for most common scenarios. Stated a different way, with Visual Studio 2005, there are a number of common situations (such as working with a database) that you will be able to code in less than half the number of lines of code than if you are using an earlier version of Visual Studio. With Visual Basic, there are many common things that can now be done with a single line of code (Look for an article on this in the near future!).
Other changes in Visual Studio 2005 include a significant improvement in performance for 64-bit development. There is also improved smart client development with the ease of using the Web, yet the power of Windows. There is also the addition of ClickOnce deployment that allows you to install and update applications easily over the Web — with a single click! There are also tons of individual improvements in each of the core language products including Visual Basic, C#, and C++. In fact, C++ developers gain a lot more this time than they have in the past. C# guys get new features as well, such as Edit-and-Continue, generics, partial types, anonymous methods, and more. VB developers will get similar things as well as a new statements (Using and Continue), new keywords (Global), the addition of the My namespace, and much more.