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An Code Monkey Goes to Tech Ed 2006 - Day One - Keynote

November 7, 2006 13:00 by Andrew Westgarth

Wow! What a day! My head is completely crammed with new information and my apetite for more has been severly whetted.

This morning, I attended the keynote from Eric Rudder, Senior Vice President Technical Strategy, and he talked about and demoed, with the help of a few colleagues, the power of Office 2007, Windows Vista, AJAX and Exchange Server 2007. Eric announced that Office 2007 was Released To Manufacturing yesterday, Monday 6th November 2006, and that Windows Vista was very close to being completed. Indeed Office 2007 and Windows Vista should be available to MSDN Subscribers by the end of the month.

Eric also announced the full release of .Net Framework 3.0!

I am currently running Windows Vista RC1 (I have RC2 but haven't got round to loading it yet) and Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh at home on my main machine. I have to say I have been impressed by both. I find the ribbon bar and the user experience now presented with Office 2007 excellent and enjoy using the product. I haven't dived in as far as I'd like yet, however what I have seen/used so far has impressed me.

As for Windows Vista, I find myself using lots of the features and I love the Aero Glass effect. It's almost a shame to switch to Windows XP! However, I have been disappointed with the time we waited for a beta of Windows Mobile Device Center, which is used for synchronising with Windows Mobile based devices. This left me unable to synch with Outlook for a while (Yes, the perils of using beta software).

At the recent VBUG Conference, I spent some time discusing with fellow delegates, what was a compelling reason for upgrading to Windows Vista? After a lot of discussion, I am still unsure as to a major business reason for upgrading, what are your thoughts? I personally cannot wait to get my hands on a full release of Windows Vista, but that's the geek perspective who can't wait to play with the SideShow, Aero Glass and improved Search, to name but a few of Windows Vista's new features. However it would seem a lot of the technology in .Net Framework 3.0 is going to be applicable to Windows XP, such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation.

As regards Exchange Server 2007, I wasn't aware of an impending release will just recently, when I received an email regarding it. I still know very little so won't comment on it too much. However I was intrigued to hear that it exposes a number of web services for developers to use and I'll be looking to investigate this further in the coming months.

Finally, I'd like to briefly mention AJAX. I have been implementing this in anger since March and the CTPs of the ATLAS codename builds. For Web developers, like myself, this is a very powerful set of extensions and helps with minimising the amount of JavaScript we have to write. I was first introduced to the technology back in October last year by James Crowley at Developer Developer Developer Day, and then was shown how to use it by Gary Rowntree in March at a VBUG session we held in Newcastle. I love the power of asynchronous processing and have identified many uses for it and the ease with which it can be implemented is phenonmenal.

The keynote was very inspirational, my first at a large Microsoft conference, and certainly gave me plenty of food for thought.


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