The industrial smell of aerosol spray tastefully underlined with hints of drum and bass beats mixed together by Spain’s hottest upcoming DJ. What a way to start a TechEd Keynote. The auditorium is packed, the wireless lan rendered useless as a result and everyone is eagerly awaiting the beginning of what is surely to be a great conference, if not the greatest conference of the year? Yes, this is Alex Duggleby, your Microsoft Student Partner live from Barcelona (more or less) keeping you up-to-date about devtopia. Enough of my cumbersome attempts of becoming a crackerjack reporter.
The first part of the keynote was held by Microsoft’s Corporate VP of the Developer Division Soma Somasegar. I personally have a hard time calculating the return on my investment when spending time at keynotes. They all seem to follow a similar schema. First there is general talk about products, the usual number bashing and how great we are. If this part is done well, then its bearable and you head on to part 2, which in Microsoft term’s always follows corporate guidelines (as I have heard). You must include a -make it look improvised- dialog part between the main presenter and someone standing next to him. And then the obligatory video. I must say the video had no relevant content at all, but was very amusing to watch. Others didn’t think that at all, like my ex-colleagues Axel Heer and Andrej Salnik who are attending as well.
Once you have sat through these two parts, one of two things can happen. They either announce something really new and great or they don’t. The latter is always a disappointment, but Somasegar chose an interesting alternative route. He introduced two great things, talked about them for about 20 seconds and then continued with marketing material for Visual Studio 2008 (which by the way was announced to be available in November 2008, but the business launch will be in February next year). I personally have seen all the new features (mind you I haven’t gotten round to using them all yet) and I don’t really like the “I’ll show you lot’s of features and Ill be really quick” kind of presentation, but ok I was going to write this post during the keynote because there wasn’t anything too interesting left to listen to.
A little exception was the Visual Studio IDE usage for a Warcraft plug-in which was entertaining. But to my surprise I looked at what was really behind the Microsoft Sync Framework that was mentioned and described as “Offline capability for your apps”. I thought it might be a new version of the Offline Application Block that some of you might now, but it goes far further than that. So far even that I’ll make it a seperate post. The second announcement they made was the availability of “Software + Services Blueprints”. Check it out here.
To sum up. It was a typical Microsoft keynote. The news was downplayed a bit and it probably wasn’t worth sitting in there for 1,5 hours, so if you missed it, download the slides or read my next blog post.