Sunday, April 22, 2007

WCF+WF in ORCAS: Deep Dive Training at Redmond

I spent 3 days at Platform Adaptation Center in Redmond, taking a dive in hot Microsoft technologies. The focus was on Orcas, the upcoming version of Visual Studio and .NET 3.5. We also got insights of the current .NET 3.0, and features beyond ORCAS.

My professional focus was on Windows Workflow Foundation. My geeky side was fascinated by LINQ. Windows WF worths a dedicated post. For details on LINQ I’d rather refer you to someone who can tell the story: Anders Hejlsberg! Watch a video interview from here. To taste it, follow "The road to Linq: C# 3.0 for mere mortals" paved by Alex Thissen.

It is intriguing: ADO.NET team comes with Entity Framework, new and cool, along with ESQL query language. It directly competes with LINQ to SQL (aka DLINQ); and we got competing evangelists from the two competing teams presenting. The obvious question "what Microsoft’s recommendation on choosing between the two" was answered with pretty much "the jury is out".

Every time I see PowerShell, I am excited and ready to install & play & learn & use it right away. Never gotten beyond installation yet . After David Aiken’s show, I will do it. David had delivered Using Powershell to manage WF & WCF – great demo! Later he spoke about application manageability, WMI, events and their play in M$ Dynamic Systems Initiative.

Rules rulez! Moustafa Ahmed made it clear. Rehost a rules engine whenever you pleased, and what a great power. Rules Editor, on the other hand, is not so cool. Technically it is rehostable, but only developers can possibly use it. For normal users, you’re on your own.

What else? Three presentations on Windows Communication Framework. Justin Smith was talking about Syndication and later on WCF performance. Pravin Indurkar shown in-depth interplay of WCF and WF. I liked Justin’s thinking broadly of syndication, beyond blogs and news. Think of an event log as a syndication of events, a record set is syndication of data rows, a web page as a syndication of data backed controls, and so on. WCF is promising support for Atom & RSS.

AJAX: two presentations, by Steve Marx and Eugene Osovetsky, and the lab on JSON & AJAX win WCF. Workflow Driven User Interface: web application “HelpDesk” example demoed by Shelly Guo. Compact framework and Office/Sharepoint – not interested.. Federated Identity was presented in greatly understandable way by CardSpace team – now I can explain it myself! Brian Keller was showing off VS Team System. It was off-beat for the general theme, but for me both the presentation and after-talk with Brian was so interesting… I gotta blog on this separately.

The audience of around 50 was a mix of innovators from blogging and training cutting edge, on one side, and pragmatics from the dusty field of daily industrial development, on the other. Innovator Alex wanted to know where LINQ is going after ORCAS. I wanted to figure if I could use WF right now. Satisfying both sides presented a challenge to the organizers. At the end, though, both sides got their questions answered.

Overall – good organization, smart guys, great event.

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At 4/24/2007 02:00:00 PM , Blogger Alex said...

Hi Dmitri,
Just wanted to drop by and say hello. It was nice meeting you at the Deep Dive training. Good to see you also took the dive afterwards.
Alex Thissen


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