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BrustBlog Pontifications on Microsoft and the Tech Industry

What a difference a day makes…at least to some.  While the Day 1 keynote at PDC seemed mostly like a news update on last year’s announcements, and a somewhat dry one at that, Day 2 gave developers some real “red meat.”  It began with a presentation by Steven Sinofsky on Windows 7’s progress since its launch last month, including demos of the diverse array of hardware on which it now runs.  Sinofsky then offered the ultimate crowd pleaser: he described the specs for a multi-touch Microsoft-designed laptop manufactured by Acer, and then explained that all attendees would be receiving one for free.  That greased the wheels for sure, and was followed up with a glimpse of IE9. 

The pièce de résistance was a presentation by developer folk hero Scott Guthrie describing features that would be in the forthcoming Silverlight 4, the beta of which he announced was being made available immediately.  We learned from Guthrie that this release of Silverlight will add an impressive array of client capabilities, from things like printing and microphone/webcam access to applications running in full trust and performing COM automation of Office.  Scott Hanselman showed us how Silverlight 4 and Visual Studio 2010’s Data Sources window make this new version of the RIA platform keenly well-suited for data-over-forms line-of-business applications.  All of this really showed the audience that WPF was becoming more and more of a technology for ISVs (and Microsoft itself), and that custom app developers will find their rich client home in Silverlight.

After Guthrie finished his presentation, the audience was shown some of the cool new dev-features in SharePoint 2010. Much of this was a summary of stuff shown at Microsoft’s SharePoint conference a few weeks earlier.  Given that, and the fact that Guthrie’s a hard act to follow, the keynote ended somewhat anti-climactically. At about that time, my live and prolific “tweeting” of the keynote encountered an anti-climax of its own: Twitter told me I had exceeded my allowance of status updates and shut me down.

As annoyed as I was by Twitter’s forced interruption of my reports, I thought about it and realized that it was OK.  I really didn’t need to give people the blow-by-blow.  Why?  Because this Day 2 keynote, at which we saw new Internet Explorer and new Silverlight, was still really about incremental developments at Microsoft, as opposed to giant leaps.  Giant leaps are more fun to tweet.  Giant leaps are more fun to see covered at a $2000 conference.  Pondering giant leaps can invoke excitement, optimism and inspiration.  And that’s not what this PDC or this keynote, despite its improvement over Day 1’s, was about.

Maybe that’s OK.  Maybe it’s alright that this PDC was more like a mid-year parent-teacher conference than starting a new grade and learning new subjects.  The pipeline of the 2010 (and 2008 R2) new releases is dizzying, and developers really need help in absorbing them.  Perhaps now is not the time for bold new vision, but rather for doing the homework and housekeeping necessary to ensure last year’s vision is implemented calmly, clearly and competently.  There’s little point in planning a new game while we’re still in an active one and we need to win.

Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 10:19 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: #PDC09 ’s Final Verdict: Eyes on The Prize, Not in the Sky

# re: #PDC09 ’s Final Verdict: Eyes on The Prize, Not in the Sky
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It was also a strange PDC from the fact that there were many announcements about stuff Microsoft DIDNT do. PDC being a forward thinking conference.. backtracking might seem at bit scary at first but to tell you the truth im happy about that. I like this Microsoft that seems to take in more feedback to shape products, take features out to fix or remove ideas altogether. There is another revolution in computing happening and we need to get that foundation right. so that in the next 10 years we can build powerful systems for customers, make money, and have fun all while not having to stay up till 1AM in the morning to do it.

With many of thier products taking a cloud angle, slowing down and taking a deep breath is not a bad thing.
Let the devs and archs catch up, crunch the ideas together and spit the answer back to microsoft.

Throw out a vision, some features and futures and let it all swim in our heads and validate it.

Open source thoughts man.

It was nice to see Microsoft presenters/reps being open and honest about certain things.
Its like that guy that has such good thing he doesnt mind telling you its warts or some other wart about himself.

Totally different from when all the evangalists were running around trying to get you to use Vista when it turns out even they didnt like it.

I used to be a Linux/Lamp guy back in the late 90s early 2000s and i remember the flame thrown at Microsoft for various things. I was young back then and prone to follow the crowd so i didnt it to.

I cant imagine what hate can be spewed upon Microsoft now... they are giving us what we want, free code, free software, and the next great computing platform.
they even gave us a free laptop!

Go Microsoft! Best choice ive made in my career was switching over when .NET 1.0 launched.
Left by JuanSueroNYC on Nov 23, 2009 11:48 AM

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