First thing I found out when I got my badge was that there was gonna be lunch (didn’t know that), so kinda started the day on a good note. Grabbed a muffin and proceeded to the first session (keynote speaker). There were a couple of things that happened in this first session, which I can’t seem to recall properly (not enough demonstrations
), but there was a talk by Microsoft Canada’s President, GM for Visual Studio 2005 and testimonials from partners who have successfully implemented the newest versions of these products. Ho-hum so far, but I did get one of those glow in the dark sticks (picked purple, thinking it would look cool like Mace Windu’s lightsabre
The following sessions were more interesting, as they proceeded to do demo’s and actual development of applications using these products. There were 2 tracks, developer and database, and I went to all the developer sessions. In all, there were 3 main presenters for the developer track, and they paired up for each of these sessions. Check out their blogs:
Some of the interesting parts in each session that I noted:
Session 1 – Overview of all 3 products (more like 2, VS2005 was covered much in depth in the later sessions)
- Ability to use managed code in stored procedures / SQL Scripts
- Ability to expose a procedure as a web service
- Exception handling in T-SQL
- .NET runtime, ability to set breakpoint, debug etc.
- Mapping various objects using orchestrator maps in Biztalk is a breeze (never used Biztalk, so correct me if I’m wrong, but that looked cool)
Session 2 – Visual Studio Team System
- Various versions for various roles within software development (architects, developers, testers, PM)
- Integrated tracking of work items
- Improved Source Safe, ability to set policy on check-in / check-out, use of SQL Server 2005 data store
- Built in reporting, can be put on portal
- Shelving, allow other developer to check changes before check in is committed
- Integrated testing framework, allowing unit, load testing etc.
Session 3 – Smart Client
- Goal is to reduce lines of code written, especially the plumbing parts
- Demo the creation of online store, almost no code for UI and major functionality
- 2 way binding with database
- Tons of new controls to use including login, gridview
- Master pages (this was still painful to do in ASP.NET 1.1) !!!
- Easily implement security, authorization, built in administration page that can be customized
Overall, I was quite satisfied with the event. The demos didn’t run as smooth as expected (within the 2 first sessions, a crash in the first session and a failure in the second, causing missed demo of major parts of the applications); the presenters claimed that they were not using the release version, and it shouldn’t happen in it
Not a big deal, as it happens sometime, but shouldn’t really happen during a major launch event IMO.
The best part about this? Everyone who attended the event, received complimentary copies of Visual Studio 2005 Standard, SQL Server 2005 Standard, and a rain-cheque for BizTalk Server 2006 Developer Edition when it launces next year. In addition, we also received a coupon to waive the certification test fee for 1 course and a free T-shirt (You have to have free T-Shirts at launch events
I’m really impressed with Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005, as they look much improved from previous versions (can’t speak about Biztalk). I could picture how the new features would save tons of work in developing new applications, allowing developers like me to focus on the business logic and more important stuff. Now, I wonder when these will make their way into the office, probably not till a few years from now