It’s that time of year again, when 5000+ programming geeks descend upon a European city of Microsoft’s choice (in the last few years it’s usually been Barcelona, intermingled with Amsterdam) in this case Berlin.
TechEd* is an unrelenting ‘fire hose’ of knowledge about Microsoft products and for a few years TechEd Europe has been split into two tracks, IT Pro’s (let’s be kind about them or they may delete our email and restrict our internet access) and Developers. Each is a separate conference and attracts around about 5000 people.
As an aside I find the split it kind of disappointing as you could always walk into some insane low level systems discussion to really blow your mind and test your stamina like some sort of weird Japanese game show. This is obviously a game show where people are forced to watch really complex technical discussions in an almost empty auditorium (I’m sure somewhere it’s on in Japan), maybe it could replace big brother after next year?
Last year TechEd came on the back of the PDC and some major announcements around the Cloud and Azure, this year the PDC comes the week afterwards so I’m wondering whether a) the same level of presenters will be at the event and b) whether any scoops will be left till the US conference. Time will tell.
This year there are some big products on the home straight for completion and release. Azure is almost out the door, my last testing email said there would be new functionality announced in the next few weeks which could be tested after the PDC and before go live around Q1 next year. Still need to make time to drill into all the nooks and crannies but the hands on labs allow you to get some ‘quiet time’ at the event to do some digging and last year there were some really good labs.
Visual Studio 2010 has some big changes and developments with the IDE and .NET 4.0, but for me I’m interested in seeing how the modelling and architecture tools are coming along. They looked ok last year but should be getting closer to Enterprise Architect and save much pain! There is a nice run down here, again I’ll use some hands on sessions to get myself acquainted with them.
There are many great presenters at the event, but since Don Box retired (or was he ‘retired’) from sitting in a bath on stage, then David Chappell has always been a good draw for getting a more ‘balanced’ view of the way Microsoft’s development platform is shaping up. I use brackets because he used to side more with the Java camp but has slowly been assimilated toward Microsoft and he has good reasons why and is very compelling in his arguments. David also gave an excellent talk at the ESRI Developers Summit this year (2009), hopefully they can get someone equally as good to do next years. In fact his papers are a must read before any of these events as they give a good back story to much of the big picture happenings:
SharePoint 2010 is another area with which it will be good to see what’s going on, especially in the light of the integration of it ESRI MapIt and SharePoint. Where a lot of functionality can exposed with no coding at all using standard Web Parts, hmm sometimes I wonder if it’s a good thing for us programmers. I do know that there were quite a few people interested in obtaining these parts for use with ArcGIS Server directly as well as working with them with MapIt, so there is definitely a growing market out there.
- The final area I am interested in is the area of scalability, specifically in the way that cloud-like technologies are becoming more and more available within the enterprise. Last year I happened on a talk on Project Velocity which is a memcached like in memory distributed caching framework that allows you to share objects around machines. It’s not a new idea but if it works its way seamlessly into Server 2008 or even Hyper-V then it could make for an even nicer scalable enterprise application platform.
- See I’ve done a whole post about a Microsoft conference without mentioning Windows 7. To me, unlike Vista, there isn’t much to say about it now. It just works well, nothing to gripe about, it’s what Vista should have been. I’m installing it on all the machines I have courtesy of an Amazon family pack.
- Anyway in case that’s wetted your appetite and
you wanted to come, you can’t as its sold out.
Fortunately though if you can’t make it Microsoft make it easy to keep up to date with what’s going on with their TechEd Online service. This allows you to keep up with all the sessions and interviews so it’s almost as good as being there.
If you are going, see you in Berlin, it should be fun.
* I’m not going to bother to use the dot in the middle as it’s too hard to find on my keyboard.