Back from PDC ( Cough, Cough, Cough )

I’m back from the PDC with a cough – it occurred to me whilst there that a conference like PDC is an almost perfect mechanism for spreading a (human) virus and I noticed a lot more folks coughing as the week went on. If you’ve got “the PDC cough” then I empathise as I’ve got it too.

The best sessions that I watched whilst at the PDC were (not in any particular order);

  1. Anders Hejlsberg on C# futures.
  2. Luca Bolognese on F#.
  3. Pablo Castro on ADO.NET Data Services online/offline.
  4. Rob Relyea (and companion) on XAML futures.
  5. Don Box and Chris Anderson doing their tour of the various things that they could hit with a URI

You need to go to to download/watch the videos of these sessions.

What’s the common theme about those sessions? To me it was a combination of;

  1. Great technical knowledge.
  2. Clear, succinct walk through of the concepts.
  3. Write some code when it makes sense to write some code.
  4. Humour.
  5. Good use of time – i.e. avoidance of that easy trap of spending half the session describing “history” or an “ecosystem” or “high level architecture diagrams” or similar. Maybe I’m just a luddite 🙂

I’ve downloaded about 30 other sessions that I haven’t already seen and I’m very impressed by the quality of the recordings even if I haven’t actually watched any of them all the way through as of yet.

One thing that I was reminded of whilst at PDC was that it’s largely a “technology showcase” and I think it’s fair to say that some of the folks that turn up to show their technology can be too close to what they’re building to be able to take a big step back and explain their technology. It’s not true in every case by any means but it was definitely true in some cases but then a lot of these bits are “early” so it’s not very surprising 🙂

Here’s a particular case – I found that David Chappell’s explanation of Windows Azure which you can read here;

An Overview of the Azure Services Platform

was the most clear and complete explanation of the Azure platform that I saw all week. That’s not a criticism of any of the Azure guys but David just has a very clear way of writing/speaking and that document shows it.

The 10 things that I’m most excited about getting to grips with post-PDC (again, not in any order) would include;

  1. F# – PDC convinced me to spend some time learning here.
  2. XAML 2009 – some very nice things coming in our XAML futures.
  3. C# V4.0 – some nice things going on there especially if you write against COM, Silverlight HTML DOM, etc.
  4. Windows Azure – lots to experiment with there.
  5. Workflow Foundation 4.0 and Communication Foundation 4.0 – this looks very, very cool to me.
  6. “Oslo” – the most frequent question I heard after “Oslo” sessions was “So, what would I actually do with that?”. I’m in a similar category so need to spend some time here although the DSL aspects of it I “got”.
  7. Mesh Applications and the Live Framework.
  8. CLR V4.0 and its side-by-side capability. Does this mean we can now legitimately write Shell extensions in .NET? 🙂
  9. Windows 7 and the fact that it ships with .NET Framework V3.5 Service Pack 1.
  10. Visual Studio 2010.

Hmm. So much stuff. So little time!