Orcas Training Day 3


June 27

8:30 9:00 Breakfast
9:00 10:15 Building WCF and WF Applications with the .NET Framework 3.5
10:30 12:00 Web Programming with WCF
12:00 1:00 Lunch
1:00 2:15 Workflow Services
2:15 3:30 Hands-on lab
3:30 5:00 Building Mobile Applications using Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Compact Framework 3.5
5:00 6:00 Company Store Visit
I remember a few years back all the furour around Indigo.  I remember watching Don Box (http://www.pluralsight.com/blogs/dbox/) hugging a cringing developer on stage at the PDC to illustrate the concepts of loose and tight coupling.  Well it looks like its all coming to fruition now.  Justin Smith gave a great presentation extolling the virtues of this new technology.  The key ‘take aways’ for me were the promise that Microsoft has removed the requirement for ‘plumbing code’ when communicating with other parties and also a consistent interface to all the related methodologies for communication (all of which may be valid in different scenarios).  They look to my mind to be ahead of the game in this area, and there is a compelling business/commercial case for adopting WCF within an Enterprise to facilitate competitive advantage!  There was also some talk of the role of ESBs (Enterprise Service Busses) and the difficulties that organisations face when a CEO gets it into their head that they need to purchase one!  A new phrase was also raised by Justin: “Internet Service Bus” that makes a lot more sense, the idea being that instead of organisations having their own bespoke  ESBs, the notion of the availability of an ESB on the Internet itself. (Where WCF is made available as a service on the web).  Interesting.
Justin told us that Orcas beta 2 is going to include the syndication stack that is currently available as a part of the Biztalk API (http://labs.biztalk.net/downloads.aspx) Apart from providing all the common functionality associated with syndication a nice feature is the ability to handle any RSS version using a consistent format, (without loosing the ability to output in a specific format).  I can see people making a lot of use of this once it is available (apparently the Biztalk bits work just fine with Orcas beta one if anyone wants to give this a go now).
Workflow is at the core of MS.Net now (although the way it has been implemented if you don’t need it, it doesn’t get in the way)  The tool support and integration into the language is first rate, and must raise some concern in the hearts of independent workflow vendors.  I got to play a little with some workflow scenarios and was please with how intuitive it all was.  That’s not to say it isn’t a complex subject, the requirement for workflow in the first place often stems from the fact that the business rules associated with workflow are complex enough to require a workflow based methodology to make it all appear simple again!
Mobile Applications
We finished the day with a couple of excellent presentations from Anand Balachandran and Mark Prentice.  The mobile applications support is now very mature and there do seem to be a lot of opportunities for organisations that are prepared to take this technology seriously.  I was a little surprised to hear about support for new technologies such as LINQ (albeit limited by size constraints) within the new mobile stack!

Orcas Training Day 2

Tuesday, June 26 8:30 9:00 Breakfast
9:00 9:30 Introduction to the Microsoft Client Continuum
9:45 11:00 Building Web Applications with Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5
11:15 12:30 Introduction to Silverlight
12:30 1:30 Lunch
1:30 2:30 Essential Windows Presentation Foundation
2:45 4:00 Building Smart Client Applications with Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 using WPF and “Cider”
4:00 5:30 Hands-on lab
6:30  7:30 ADO.Net Entity Framework
Another busy schedule,  largely covering the more visible (exciting?) aspects of the new technology.  After being given an overview of the various client technologies, we were given given a demonstration walk through of a  VS2008  application.  Apparently the code is the same as that used in Expression Blend (1.0).  I had already played a little with Silverlight but picked up some useful tips from the Silverlight presentation.  Most of the group were following along with the sessions on the supplied high end machines, I took the time to try again at configuring the manifest file for my copy of the “Silverlight Surface” demo (see previous blog post).  It actually took me most of the day, but eventually I got around to reading the documentation (!) and uploaded my stuff to my streaming account: (a quiet, internal ‘woop’ followed)


The machines we were given were pre-configured with the following software and a number of Virtual Machines configured with hands-on labs:

Windows Vista
Office 2007
Visual Studio 2005 Team System Suite
.NET Framework 3.0
Windows Vista & .NET Framework 3.0 SDK
Visual Studio Extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation
Visual Studio Extensions for WPF & WCF November CTP
Visual Studio “Orcas” Beta 1
Virtual PC 2007
Virtual PCs:
WPF Labs
Silverlight Labs
Longhorn Server Beta 3

At 12:30 I headed over to building 20 to meet up with some of the guys from Channel 9.  We stopped by Tim Sneath’s office, I had chatted with him at the Remix event in Madrid and remembered him from days of old in Reading where he used to speak at various dev events.  I left his office with a book on WPF under my arm and a smile on my face (these guys are real jokers,the place looks more like I imagine a ‘frat’ house looks than a global corporation!  Lunch in the staff canteen followed (real nice place, thanks Joseph) and it was a real pleasure spending time chatting about their various Microsoft histories.  These guys have great jobs, they know it, and rightly love it.  I headed back to building 18, my bag stuffed with Channel 9 guys courtesy of Charles! (I promised to distribute them to worthy causes back in the UK!)
The afternoon kicked off with a healthy dose of useful WPF information, courtesy of Kevin Moore – man this guy talks fast, but gives an excellent presentation.
Check out his demo at his Blog http://work.j832.com/.  A demo of the WPF designer in VS2008 followed.  Essentially this is the same codebase used in Expression Blend 1.0.
I spent the hands on labs time sussing out the Silverlight Streaming surface (managing to drown a couple of beers from the accompanying barbeque at the same time).  A bonus presentation from Eric Thompson followed which covered the use of, and thinking behind the new ADO.Net entity framework.

Orcas Training Day 1


I walked down to building 20 in about 15 minutes, arriving to find a big group of fellow developers all waiting for the timed lock to open the door at 8.00am!

A quick breakfast ensued where I chatted to some of the other delegates who all seemed as enthusiastic as me about the forthcoming events, a true geek!

I got permission to take a few photographs which will find their way onto this blog when I get home next week.

The agenda for the day follows:

Day Start End Session
Monday, June 25 8:00 9:00 Registration & Breakfast
9:00 9:15 Welcome & Introductions
9:15 10:00 Lap around Visual Studio 2008 & .NET Framework 3.5
10:00 11:00 .NET Language Integrated Query (LINQ)
11:00 12:00 Using LINQ with relational data
12:00 1:00 Lunch
1:00 2:00 Hands-on lab: LINQ
2:15 3:15 What’s new in C# 3.0?
3:30 4:30 What’s new in C++ 9.0?
4:45 5:45 What’s new in Visual Basic 9.0?
So a pretty feature packed first day with today’s focus largely on LINQ (Language Integrated Query).
This seems like a genuinely useful direction for Microsoft to be going in, I recall posting somewhere else that for me this harks back to the days when I used to be able to make a living in the UK coding with Visual Foxpro.  Basically the concept is that the data manipulation, that we all have to do in almost every worthwhile application can now be dome using native language syntax.  So rather than being forced to switch to a separate coding entity with its own rules and syntax developers will only have to learn 1 more query syntax which will work with (pretty much) any  data source* – Cool! 
Other notable parts of the day revolved around the new features in VS and the principal MS.Net languages.
These are probably best covered by reviewing the original specification documents here:
*VFP takes a similar approach -I recall that I had a nice introduction to SQL Server 6.5 as a result of VFP utilizing its own, familiar cursor system for data manipulation.

Orcas Training – Day 0

It was a long day yesterday – up at 7a.m (with a stinking cold!). to catch the 8.am trip up to Manchester airport, across to Calgary, on to Vancouver then the short drive across the border and down to Seattle.  I finally got to the hotel at 7am the next day! (11pm local time).

Breakfast courtesy of the local Safeway (yes, same as in the UK) .  A little revision then out to scout the local area (Best Buy, Target, Circuit City etc).

The hotel is great by the way – just across the road from building 27 on the Microsoft Campus so I should be able to walk over to building 20 tomorrow morning.

Silverlight Hosting

I thought it would be cool to use my silverlight hosting account to show some of the photos of the Remix event in Madrid.
New to Silverlight I thought I would kick off with something pretty easy and I took the code for the ‘Silverlight Surface’ demo app and proceeded to modify the background to include thew Madrid Remix logo, and replace the photos with some I took of the event itself (and the surrounding area).  A matter of minutes later (OK about an hour or two including software installs) I was up and running with my own localised app.  It works like a dream and I set about uploading it up to my silverlight account. 
Well, I seem to have hit a wall as try as i might i cannot get the bits uploaded.  Possibly there is an incompatibility somewhere, or maybe I just havn’t got the manifest file configured correctly (I’ve tried everything I can think of).  No more time to spare on this as I have a lot to gen up on … and so little time …
<edit> Finally sussed it: http://webservicesuk.com/remix.html </edit>
The Madrid Sky Clip photo makes a nice windows background …

ReMix Spain

With the PDC cancelled and a feeling that i am in danger of getting de-skilled I signed up for the ReMix event in Madrid  (I got to go to Mix06 but couldn’t make it to Mix07 this year).
First thing that amazed me was on arriving at the conference everyone was waiting quite patientlyfor the start – but wait! just a few yards from the congregation were tables of goodies (Croisants, Coffee and the like).  In the UK/USA this is where the congragation would be taking place but in Spain, everyone was just waiting  (presumably everyone knew that the coffee break in a couple of hours time was when these items were supposed to be consummed).  I broke with convention and gobbled a couple of mini-croisants – this was, after all, my breakfast!