Monthly Archives: September 2005

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This year's PDC is now officially over. I changed the flair on my blog. The hallways in the Convention Center are slowly starting to drain. If this post suddenly ends, you know I have been kicked out of the building.

I'll be in the States for another two weeks on holiday, so my blog will probably go quiet for that period. Any US or Canadian citizens reading this, who are jealous of that many holidays: it's one of the perks of working in the Netherlands. But hey, we Europeans don't get the free SQL Server license that was promised in the keynote!

I liked most of what I saw here at the PDC. The bad news:

  • We have no idea when C# 3.0, VB 9.0 and (D/X)LINQ are going to be released.
  • IIS 7.0 will be a long wait.
  • Mary Jo Foley was right again: there are no Office 12 and Sparkle bits handed out to attendees. All PDC attendees will get access to Beta 1 of Office 12 when it is released in a couple of months. But Sparkle will only be opened up for those of us who can present a "business need" to have access to a preview version. I fear working in the Financial Services sector will not count as a business need.

It was very nice to meet two Microsoft employees in person after their talk: Adam Nathan and Matt Warren. Well, Matt didn't speak in person, but it was a lot of his work on (D)LINQ that got presented by Anders Hejlsberg and others.

Adam was actually the only presenter of a talk I went to, that had bumped up the font size of the non-code windows in Visual Studio. It's amazing that so few speakers at Microsoft know how to and/or take the effort to do so. Thanks Adam, for that courtesy to the audience.

The best talk this year for me was COM325 Workflow + Messaging + Services: Developing Distributed Applications with Workflow. It really openened my eyes on the new possibilities with Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF) and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF aka Indigo). Of course, Don knows how to present his and Dharma's stuff.

Workflows are transparent, Activities/Services are opaque. But as Don said don't go put that on a T-shirt or present it as a tenet of workflow.

More to come after I get back home.

[Update 2005-10-04: fixed hyperlink for Adam Nathan's blog]

As you may have noticed I have been pretty quiet on the blogging front during this PDC. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • There are so many interesting sessions here, including lunch sessions, that it is very hard to find the time to blog if you can't or won't blog during sessions. The program extends far into the evening and in order to be awake the next day, it's necessary to catch some sleep.
  • I don't want to blog just about what I saw because so many people are already doing that.
  • It takes time to digest all the new stuff and write a good blog post about it. This post alone took 40 minutes.

That said, let's go the the subject of the title of this post. This was something that I didn't want to hold back on.

As you may have seen already at the PDC, on blogs or on Channel 9: the new IIS 7.0 rocks! The complete modularization of the IIS functionality and ASP.NET like distributed XML based configuration system, makes this a much better and manageable web server than IIS 6.0. IIS 6.0 is of course already a great web server in terms of performance, stability and security.

Now the bad news. Microsoft's current plans are that IIS 7.0 will only be available on the Longhorn Server platform and not on Windows Server 2003. This means that we will have to wait till at least 2007 before we can use IIS 7.0 for production web sites. It will be released as a crippled pre-release in Windows Vista. I say crippled because it will be limited in some way (connection or bandwith limit) so we won't be tempted to use Vista (the client platform) as a server platform.

Of course I understand the business reasons for doing this. IIS 7.0 is a good driver to sell more Longhorn Server licenses. But linking releases together like that means that it will take way too long to ship IIS 7.0. It looks pretty well baked already. Of course PDC demoers know which things to avoid to give the impression that a product is stable and almost finished. But I don't believe it will take another two years to ship it.

IIS 7.0 as it stands today goes way beyond the capabilities of Apache. But where will it stand in 2007? The development of other web servers is not going to wait until Microsoft is ready to release the shipping vehicle that makes money.

This is a good example of where Microsoft's concept of  Integrated Innovation really hinders Microsoft's ability to ship software and stay ahead of the competition. Shipping version 2.0 of the .NET Framework and related technologies has taken already way too long.

Of course I can appreciate the benefits that Integrated Innovation brings when aligning a lot of products on one version of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio. But in the case of IIS 7.0, I really see no technical merit whatsoever. When I asked a Microsoft employee at the IIS booth at the PDC about the availability of IIS 7.0, he first started by claiming that there were technical reasons why IIS 7.0 could not be released on Windows Server 2003. He also stated, quite honestly, that there were business reasons for doing this. Then I told him I heard that IIS 7.0 was being developed on Windows Server 2003 and not on Longhorn Server. He admitted that was true and that the technical reasons are not really there yet.

I am afraid that customers will not migrate immediately after the release of Longhorn Server just to get IIS 7.0. That means we wil have to wait till 2008 and beyond before adoption will take off.

This is why I hope Microsoft will rethink its strategy and make IIS 7.0 available for Windows Server 2003. This will not be a backporting effort as IIS 7.0 is already up-and-running on Windows Server 2003. Microsoft, please release IIS 7.0 as early as possible and include an even better IIS 7.1 in Longhorn Server if you need a business driver!

Robert Scoble raises the expectations of the PDC05 so high that I really wonder if Microsoft can live up to those expectations. He uses the words shock and awe.

Luckily I have already gotten my shot of awe yesterday. Beta 1 of Windows Vista certainly didn't come near such an experience. Sure the glass effect is nice, but it was not put to any good use in the shell. Internet Hearts (Avalon based) comes much closer, but it will not ship in Vista ;( I was in shock and awe after PDC 2003, but after Microsoft's failure to deliver on the vision presented there, I have grown to be more critical of things shown in demos.

Like Mary Jo Foley, I have been anticipating some very cool things to be shown here at the PDC. The signs have been there that Sparkle (the design experience for Avalon and related technology) will finally be announced. There is bound to be some cool Office 12 news. Language Integrated Query will hopefully be amazing. MSN will publish a lot of developer APIs.

Scoble is talking about something not leaked by Microsoft, and not foreseen by anybody yet. I certainly don't have a clue. Okay, I will stop speculating and will try to be patient for an additional 22 hours. If you know me, you know that patience is not one of my virtues 😉

But before I end. I have an even more critical note. I thought one of the prerequisites for teams to able to present at the PDC, is that they have bits to ship. At PDC 2003 this was true for Longhorn, WinFS, Avalon and Indigo. Unfortunately this shows that being able to ship bits, does not mean you are able to deliver a product within two years after shipping those bits. Now Mary Jo is predicting (and she is usually right) that Office 12 and Sparkle will not be in the bits handed out to the PDC attendees. I certainly hope she is wrong for once.

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Frits (a non-blogging colleague and friend) was commenting that he was looking forward to Grand Canyon related pictures.

I have gotten a very nice preview of the Grand Canyon yesterday. British Airways was kind enough to fly straight over this awesome piece of nature. As I was looking at the inflight display I noticed we were heading to LA on a path just north of Flagstaff. Take a look at this hybrid picture of Flaggstaff and the Grand Canyon from Google Maps.

I was not sure if I was sitting on the right (as in not opposed to left, but as in correct 😉 side on the plane, so I asked a stewardess if she could find out at which side of the plane the view would be best. She was kind enough to ring the cockpit and told me the view was just about to begin on the other side of the plane. Luckily I managed to get to a window on the right side of the plane before the captain made a general announcement. From the window I was able to take a couple of  very nice pictures. I wonder if the pilots can notice the weight shift when a significant number of passengers move to one side of the plane.

Now if only I could find a way to get a picture from the Compact Flash card in my camera to the Internet. My PocketPC only reads SD cards. The PDC terminal I am using now to type this post does have a USB port but I don't have a card reader with me. Please leave a comment if you can help me out.

BTW: @Frits, I managed to not noticably scare anyone during the 25 minutes walk to the convention centre.

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Like Rene and Rob I have also made it safely to Los Angeles. A day later, because I am not going to a precon. I am traveling on a slightly smaller budget than my colleagues (I guess because I am from a poorer part of the company). Hey Rene, a shuttlebus from LAX costs only 15$! Fortunately my 60$ a night motel has free wifi, so this post comes from my Smartphone with wireless access somewhere on West 7th Street, Downtown LA. The Convention Center is in walking distance, but it seems to be ill advised for security reasons. But I'll take my chances during daylight. If anyone knows how I can create a hyperlink in a post on Community Server from a Pocket PC, please let me know by posting a comment.

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Come and play WinFX Hearts! I am waiting for three more players to be able to start a game 😉

WinFX Hearts is the old Internet Hearts application with a new look. Adam Nathan upgraded the application to use "Avalon" and other .NET related technologies. But is also uses a lot of the old C++ code and Win32. It is actually a case study for the interop between Windows Presentation Foundation and Win32.  More details can be found on Adam's blog. Here's one of his pictures:

The old and new look of Internet Hearts

What do you need to play? Well since it uses ClickOnce technology, managed code and Windows Presentation Foundation:

  • Beta 1 (or Beta 1 RC) of the WinFX Runtime Components
  • Beta 2 of the .NET Framework 2.0
  • 128MB+ dedicated VRAM

On my blog you can see a so-called PDC 2005 flair image. I have used my poor Photoshop skills to create two additional PDC 2005 flair images. It would be pretty lame if I would leave the "I'll be there" flair on during and after the PDC.

PDC 2005 - Before flairPDC 2005 - During flairPDC 2005 - After flair

Photoshop's healing brush is great, but unfortunately there is no feature to magically match bitmapped fonts that are already present in the image. Or it might be there and I just could not find it in the myriad of options. Anyway, this is the best I could do in the limited amount of time I was willing to spend on it. Feel free to rip off these images or let me know if you have better looking versions.

Adam Nathan has a nice example of the use of animation for a property using XAML. And it's a funny post to read as well.

Two pictures of Jim Miller (one of the CLR architects) are stacked on top of each other. The animation changes the value of the opacity of the upper image from 1 (completely opaque) to 0 (completely transparant) and back again. Because the subject of the two images is the same and the two image are lined up, this gives a nice morphing effect.

I wanted to try this myself, so I searched my image archive for two similar looking photographs. I found two, but lining them up was more work than I expected. In PhotoShop I had to adjust for subtle differences in focal length, rotation, aspect ratio etc. Plus one of the photographs is one and a half year older than the other one, so the trees have grown 😉 You can see the result below.

 

To see the morph between these two pictures, paste this code into XAMLPAD

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<Grid xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/avalon/2005">
<Grid.Storyboards>
<SetterTimeline TargetName="kerckebosch2" Path="(Image.Opacity)" AutoReverse="true" RepeatBehavior="Forever">
<DoubleAnimation From="1" To="0" Duration="0:0:4" />
</SetterTimeline>
</Grid.Storyboards>
<Image Name="kerckebosch1" Source="http://bloggingabout.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2014/01/kerckebosch1.jpg"/>
<Image Name="kerckebosch2" Source="http://bloggingabout.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2014/01/kerckebosch2.jpg"/>
</Grid>