I am currently in New Orleans, Louisiana for Microsoft TechEd. So far it has been an absolute blast, but I think by Thursday, my head might explode! While I don’t intend to live blog the event (one of my co-workers recommended I bring a Go Pro to the event and have that attached to my head for the entire time I was here), I do intend to offer a recap of what has been going on from a developer’s perspective. I meant to get this post out last night and intend to post each night if possible, but see the next paragraph as to why I didn’t get it out last night…
I am writing this blog post on my new Surface Pro! Microsoft gave all the attendees a ridiculous deal on Surface tablets (they limited each of us on the number we could get so no, I cant get you one). Here is a picture of it as I was getting ready to write this morning.
The conference started off in true Louisiana style with the Trema band coming on stage to perform. They were awesome!
Next came the keynote by Brad Anderson and a whole host of other Microsoft VIPs. The two main takeaways for me from the keynote were:
- No developer who has an MSDN subscription has any excuse not to use Windows Azure for their dev and test environments.
- I can’t wait for Visual Studio 2013, it looks awesome! The heads up display blew my mind!
The foundation session that I went to was Building Modern Business Applications. Some key takeaways were:
- Developers are dumb if they don’t embrace cloud VMs for their development.
- It is possible to set up private VPNs with Azure so that your boss/security guys don’t have to freak out about you pushing things to the cloud.
- The Visual Studio/TFS 2013 combination is a very powerful combination.
The next session was Microsoft ASP.NET, Web, Cloud Tools Preview. This was an awesome session aimed directly at developers. In this session the presenter demoed a bunch of the One ASP.NET toolset that is coming with Visual Studio 2013. Some key takeaways were:
- By default in the One ASP.NET model websites styling will be based on Bootstrap. Mind.MentalState == MentalState.Blown. I had been meaning to look into Bootstrap for our group, now I HAVE to look into Bootstrap for our group.
- The out of the box scaffolding that is available means you will probably never write an admin page by hand ever again!
- Cassini is dead…long live IIS Express.
- Web API routing is now an inline ability instead of having to provide long drawn out routing files.
- They plugged Xamarin for mobile development.
My next session was on developing for Windows Phone 8. This session was a high level overview so it was not as in depth as I would have liked, but it gave a really nice overview. This talk was when it really hit home how much Microsoft is working on convergence. It is starting to become a major theme to what I am seeing. It was also one of those great times where you can learn so much by watching someone use a tool that they are extremely familiar with.
The session that I attended was titled Partner Solutions for Modernizing Your Applications, there were 3 companies that presented.
- Mobilize.net – This company has an application that will take your existing Visual Basic 6 code and convert it to .NET code. It can even go a step further and take that .NET desktop app and turn it into an ASP.NET web application (albeit a very ugly one). We didn’t get to see the code that was actually created, but by looking at the file structure generated I was able to infer that the conversion was a straight one to one conversion, meaning that the semi-object oriented code that was VB6 was converted straight across into semi-object oriented code on the .NET side.
- Xamarin – Xamarin is taking the world by storm. They have an awesome product that allows you to write native Android, iOS, Mac, & Windows Store apps using C#. If you architect your code correctly, you can get complete code reuse out of your business and data layers. If you are using Visual Studio, you can even have 1 solution that has all three front ends in it. Xamarin stole the show in this because they were able to demo the same app on both a windows tablet and an iPad emulator (by running the source from Visual Studio) to show the native look and feel of the apps on their respective devices.
- Citrix – I felt really bad for the Citrix guy because he had to follow Xamarin with a product that didn’t have the visual flash that Xamarin did. If I were to have any advice for the coordinator, they should have put Citrix before Xamarin.
After the last session, the Tech Expo grand opening kicked off. I ended up making it to most of the booths with only 2 bags full of stuff (less to pack on the way home) so that was good. I was able to meet Chewbacca and Princess Leia at one of the booths which was pretty cool. Overall, I was very impressed with the breadth of products that were represented at the conference, some I plan on using (or am currently using) and some I won’t.
I had a great Day 1 at TechEd…I’ll post another entry after Day 2 is over.