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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

PDC 2009 Day #2: Silverlight 4

Lots of great new stuff in today’s beta.  A few things that stand out:

  • Hosting HTML
  • Context menus
  • WCF and REST enhancements
  • Support for RIA Services
  • Drag & Drop
  • Running out of sandbox for trusted apps
  • Sharing components between .NET 4 and SL 4

Lot of other things too.  I’m excited to start using this.  Also a shout out to Tim Heuer – he has helped me on a few things before and I got a chance to meet him today.

Those of you following NewsGang will know why I am very excited about these Silverlight developments.

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From PDC 2009 Day #2: Windows 7

Sinofsky talked about the new features of Windows 7 and some of the new hardware.  I didn’t think it belonged in the keynote, because there weren’t any announcements.

He did announce they are giving away laptops to all attendees, though, so I suppose it was worth it.  :)

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From PDC2009 Day 1: Entity Framework 4

Lots of improvements to EF for 4.0:

  • Model-first development.
  • Lazy loading through relationships (i.e., no longer have to call Load)
  • POCO (i.e., define your own data classes against a model).
  • POCO only (i.e., define the model fully in code).
  • Code Generation options using the new T4 facility of VS 2010.
  • Testability improvements through IObjectSet
  • Can override SaveChanges
  • Better disconnected workflow (both by writing a little code and a no-code option that uses a different code generator).
  • Much better SQL (more compact, more efficient)
  • Execute arbitrary SQL
  • Easier Stored Procedures
  • Functions (a little strange how this was implemented, but now they are available).
  • Foreign Keys in the entities (no more manual interpretation of the Reference!)
  • Better Binding for forms apps and WPF

Pandelis, what do you think?

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From PDC2009 Day 1: Azure & AppFabric

At last year’s PDC, I posted

It is the openness of this platform, the ability of developers to mix and match the different components, and to do it between the cloud and in-premises solutions that makes this such a winner. 

This last point is an important one.  Microsoft is in a unique position to help enterprise IT bridge to the cloud.  While I don’t think Amazon and Google will cede that market to Microsoft, their current offerings aren’t a natural fit. 

The offering was rich then, but since then Microsoft has continued to push these offerings forward dramatically. 

At the time, my biggest concerns were the one-size-fits-all approach to their provisioning model and their lack of full trust (two things that could make it harder to deploy the Digipede Network onto Azure).  Today those issues have been taken off the table and help support many more use cases, opening up Azure even more to non-Microsoft technologies and fortifying the extremely important IT bridge.

So what are the improvements in openness?

Allowing full trust opens up the door to, well anything.  Unmanaged code,  PHP, MySQL, Java, TomCat, etc. can all run on Azure.  Matt Mullenweg of Automattic demonstrated a WordPress instance running that way.  Kind of anti-climactic, because it would have been a big deal if was moving to Azure.  Simply running a WordPress instance isn’t really that interesting.

Custom VM images are also coming to Azure which will make it much easier to put whatever you want on a VM and deploy it efficiently.

For IT?

Too many items here to enumerate.  SQL Azure integrating into SSMS; Azure integrating into MOM; SQL synchronizing with cloud instances; (this list really does go on and on . . .).

Another important part of this IT bridge?  Not Microsoft’s new App Server, AppFabric.  Though I am excited about this – it is something that has been missing from the Microsoft stack – the key point here is that it runs on premises and in Azure.


These new features in Azure push Microsoft out even further than the other cloud vendors.  No one else has the depth and breadth in tool support and service offerings.  No one else is innovating so quickly on so many parallel fronts. 

Will Amazon and Google cede the space?  Of course not, but I think they’ll need  to reposition their cloud brands.

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