DAT318 Microsoft SQL Server: Data-Driven Applications from Device to Cloud
This session was about SQL Data Services in the cloud. Currently all the sessions on the cloud have been on the Windows Azure Platform which only has a basic storage service. With SQL Data Services it gives you more complex type hosting with support for queries and reporting. The SQL Data Services is a modified version of SQL 2005 running on Microsoft cloud. They are working on upgrading the service to run SQL 2008 under the hood to get all those nice features. All the data and queries are run via REST services so you can just access them through a browser if you want. They have built a nice LINQ provider to access the cloud services. The SQL Data Service play nicely with the sync framework giving you offline data in a local store if you need it. Currently the first version of the data services does not support tables (as we know them). The later versions will be coming with traditional table support once they work out the best way to manage them.
TLA316 CCR and DSS: A data-driven approach to distributed, concurrent software
I entered this session knowing nothing about CCR and DSS. Turns out its a really lightweight concurrency manager that allows you to run code concurrently leveraging multi core processors. The session had some nice demos on calling the CCR and how you would write the handlers code. I believe this technology could be helpful when we need to off load work to different threads in our asp.net pages, like emailing and sms (Nakheel).
PDC307 Microsoft Visual Studio 10: Web Development Futures
Having seen some sneak preview shots of Visual Studio 2010 in the Key Note speech, this session gave a full run down on the features coming out with 2010 relating to Web Development. A few key areas are being worked on, Html snippets, improved javacript intellisense and overhauled deployment features. The killer feature for us is to be able to have different web.config files for different enviroments. This is done by using transform on the existing web.config.
PDC305 Overview of .NET Framework 4.0
This session gave a flash tour of the new feature they are working on for .NET Framework 4.0. The main focus areas are Web, Client Apps and MEF. One goal with the new version is going to be to unify all the features between C# and VB.NET. That means that C# will be getting named parameters like VB and VB will be getting all the nice features of automatic properties and initialisers. The thing that was mentioned that put me off a little was that they will be removing the ref keyword requirement from c#. I liked this enforcement so its a shame they are removing it. Hopefully we will be able to turn it back on. On the web side, they are doing loads of work on AJAX to support loads more client side binding to reduce the number of server calls you need to make. Client side is getting lots of nice feature when working with WPF and WCF. One of the features that excited me the most was the preview of MEF, Microsoft Extensability Framework. This will be an awesome framework for loading and managing plugins. This is something I really need for Tim the Enchanter as the plugin loader code in there doesn't work as well as I would want!