This morning I have attended the following:
Both of these sessions were very intriguing, indeed I decided to attend the ADO.NET session rather than Bradley Millington's session on LINQ as I felt this would be of more relevance to my professional work.
Jackie spoke on a number of topics and produced a large number of demoes to illustrate his points. He spoke about using the DataSet Designer within Visual Studio and indeed highlighted this as an under utilised tool in Visual Studio. Jackie also covered using DataViews, handling mutliple table updates and controlling XML Data. What I found really intriguing was the power of performing asynchronous data access, therefore enabling your page ui or forms ui to build whilst the data access is occurring in the background, this is something I will look into further. Another topic of interest was Batch Updating, instructing the DataAdapter to update the data in use in batches as opposed to per row a database call. This has serious performance issues when working with large amounts of data.
Danny Thorpe, on the other hand, gave a presentation on the Windows Live Developer platform. Many of you may be aware of Live.com, Live Messenger, Hotmail and the Live identification service (formerly Passport). These are applications that we use already in our daily live and touch hundreds of millions of users everyday. This is a massive potential audience. Danny introduced us to the SDKs that are available for the Live Platform - you can download them from http://dev.live.com. These include SDKs for Virtual Earth and Messenger to just name two. This is an area of expansion for Microsoft and is all about taking the burden from the server side and using the vast array of power available at Client Side to shoulder the burden of the request and build of various elements in the application. I have already used Microsoft Gadgets, which is a site whereby third parties post details of their gadgets - small applications which provide a function, such as weather forecasts, share monitoring, and clocks to name just a few. These are extremely powerful and very portable, they can be hosted in Live.com, Windows Vista Sidebar. Check them out they are really cool!
Virtual Earth is a web based implementation of a mapping facility which can be overlayed with data and functionality which is suitable for your organisation or purpose. We were shown a demo of how a Real Estate Agent in the states has utilised Virtual Earth to provide a very rich User Experience. Also recently released, Virtual Earth 3D, allows 3D renderings of buildings within the maps and full terrain imagery! I can certainly see some avenues which I want to explore in the use of Virtual Earth as an alternative to MapPoint. A question raised was how do these two relate and the answer is unclear, there is no definition as yet as how far this could go although they have distinct audience markets. I can see a use for Virtual Earth in some work I have done and am planning to do. I'll let you know how I get on with the SDK, and if any of you try it let me know how you get on!