Tech Ed 2009 - Monday - Neil Bostrom

What's new in Windows Communication Foundation 4.0

I've recently started using WCF in anger on one of our projects, which is why this session interested me. The first major feature that was discussed is the new routing functionality. This feature allows a single end point to publish multiple services & protocols. This single end point will forward the request to the correct service based on path / content type.

The next sexy feature was auto discovery of services. At the moment you always need to put the connection information into your client. By using discovery we can just create a service of a contract and it will go and attempt to discover if anything is hosting that contract. This means you can easily do load balancing just by putting up more services offering that contract and the client will just pick the first one it finds. Bonus feature with this is that you can take services out without affecting the clients.

To publish your service as discoverable, you create a UdpDiscoveryEndpoint. This will use UDP packets to make the service available to clients.

Christian suggested that using ChannelFactory.CreateChannel() is better than storing the configuration in the web.config. I hadn't really got around to looking into using CreateChannel, will definitely look at making use of it.

WCF 4.0 has better REST support including JSON-P features.

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Suite 2010: A lap around the developer and tester experience

Brian Harry did a good whirlwind tour of the new features coming in TFS and VS 2010. He started off with showing the new tester experience. They have a new product coming out called Lab Management. This product is built for testers to do all types of testing including, manual testing and integration testing.

The sexy part of the TFS / Labs is that during test runs, it will record all sorts of information about what is happening. Screenshots, a live video is recorded, all the system information, historic debugging saved. All of this just happens in the background and get attached to any bugs you create. This gives the developers the maximum information about the bugs.

Another cute feature is that the tests know the code that they cover. This means when a new build gets produced, it can notify the tester of the manual test that would need to be run that have been effected by that build.

Brian moved on to TFS features next. Showing nice branch visualization, allowing you to track changes across branches and show where changes have been applied. Brian also mentioned that the conflict resolution has been improved which should be interesting to try.

TFS finally has rollback support built into the interface, meaning I don't have to use the command line to rollback changes.

One feature I'm really excited about is that TFS Build has been updated to use Workflow foundation on top of MSBuild to make building build scripts much easier. This should give us loads more power in the build script. Its been really painful up to this point building complex build scripts.

The new version of the TFS product will have three versions, Basic, Standard and Advanced. Basic gives you the base level functionality of source control. Standard includes the share point sites and sql reporting features. Advanced version allows you to tweak pretty much any configuration so you can run on a web farm or an existing SQL cluster etc.

The server version of TFS will finally come with an admin console meaning you don't have to use command line to make changes. It also includes lots of improvements for scaling out your installation by load balancing any layer, web, business or data access.

Microsoft Office System 2010 Client Overview
This was a bit of an eye opener for me as I knew very little of the latest office buzz. The guys presentation just steamed straight into new features and changes in the office products. The interesting part of this was they kinda just assumed you knew there was online versions of all the office products. That work in any browser on any platform! OMG! I was not aware of this!

It seemed like the web version would use Silverlight if its installed to give a sexier interaction but will fall back to a html / javascript version if you don't have SL installed. JS version was still fully featured and worked in every major browser!

Tech Ed Keynote

Usually the keynotes at Tech Ed are sexy and sell harder than the Berlin wall! However today's keynote seems to just be a big flop. A few random videos with no content and a long speech that seems to lack any information. The small bits I did get out of the keynote was BitLocker to go, vague cloud computing. Even the exchange demo seems to just be some random side feature.