October 2003 - Posts
Well, it was a great PDC. I am completely pumped about what's to come, and yet my most immediate attention will continue to be on Whidbey. You will see lots of posts on things that I've done with it in the months to come. I've been so focused on the PDC and .NET Rocks! with my posts, that I have yet to talk about anything real for developers. That will change.
It seems like everyone knows about .NET Rocks! here, and wants to be a guest (this is a new concept for us), so we've got about 15 shows to schedule and work out starting with Don Box. Chris Anderson said he wants to be on the show, as do several other people from MS. But, don't worry, we're not turning the show into a Microsoft marketing platform. We will continue to talk to YOU GUYS as well, the people in the trenches who make things work. In fact, we will be doing more to publicize who will be coming up and what they will talk about, so you'll have a chance to call in with questions. We have also thought about doing some call-in shows.
It's an unfortunate situation timing-wise with our bandwidth changes and the MSDN site, but I assure you that once all the kinks are worked out it will be smooooth sailing. Thanks for being patient.
Bloggers: Let's meet tonight at 8PM at the Hollywood grill inside of Universal Studios (#19 on the map, close to the entrance) http://www.pazsaz.com/unimap.html.
This week on .NET Rocks! (as promised) it's an interview with the blogmeister, Robert Scoble.
Robert Scoble is a technical evangelist with Microsoft Corporation, which means he's going to try to get you to write great software for the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn. Prior to that he was a sales support manager for NEC, and sold Microsoft its first NEC Tablet PC (well, not quite true -- Bill Gates flew to Japan to get the first one, but Vic Gundotra was the first guy to call up and say "I want one."). For the past 3.5 years he's been writing the Scobleizer weblog, which can be followed at scoble.weblogs.com. Robert can be reached via email or IM at: RobertScoble@hotmail.com.
Carl and Mark talk to Robert about Blogging, Longhorn, and the PDC. Lots of great stories, blogging for dummies, and a sneak peak at what happened at the PDC. They also talk about security, and Merrill Lynch's open letter to Sun, among other things.
Our local server is still down, so you may not have access to this right away. However, you can now download the shows from MSDN at http://msdn.microsoft.com/dotnetrocks. Please allow a couple days for MSDN to get Robert's show online. It might not be available until after Midnight.
OK, this is what I'm talking about...
WinFS is much more than a “new file system based on Yukon“, which sort-of makes you think of a search tool for finding files on the disk. You need to forget about the treeview metaphor for a minute in order to get how good this is. First of all, all files have metadata associated with them in the form of XML schema. There are standard schemas built-in and you can extend the OS with your own. Documents, People, etc... OK? Files have built-in relationships!
Here's a statement made by Lenn Pryor that hit home. How long does it take you to search for a file on your machine? Now how long would it take to google that file on the Internet? Why do we have desktop icon clutter? We organize shortcuts to make them more accessible. We are instincively providing ourselves with a “human indexing service” that far outperforms the built-in indexing service based on 10-year old technology.
There was a demonstration in which a list of over 1000 files of various types (documents, notes, videos, images) were shown in a thumbnail view. By the time the presenter had typed in a filter string of “longhorn” the list had shrunk to 30 or so. You can then show a group of documents in “pile view” based on certain criteria in which each criteria shows a number of documents that match, and the “pile” of documents is higher or lower depending on the number of hits. In short, take everything you do with SQL and apply that to the base file system, and expose the functionality in a .NET framework extention... I haven't even started talking about Avalon, the new UI API due to ship in a beta version next year.
In Longhorn there is a single schema for a person. Outlook, IM, Quickbooks, whatever app is written for longhorn will know about the people that you have relationships with. One of the coolest demos I saw was one Amazon.com did, in which they showed an app that used the web services layer to access data at amazon.com. They showed a calendar view of new releases (when certain books, movies, and CDs are coming out), and with a single button click, the guy overlaid his personal calendar onto the amazon.com new release calendar. With the graphics stuff in Avalon, the personal dates just “faded in” to the amazon calendar.
The Avalon API is vector-based, meaning instead of working with pixels you work with angles and points. Not a new idea, but this has incredible ramifications for solving screen/printer resolution problems, and transmitting screens from one PC to another in real-time. Yes, Don Box did a demo of that with wireless lan right onstage.
The new “framework” of managed code specific to LH is called WinFX. So, you won't write a .NET application, you'll write a WinFX application. I for one am glad that Microsoft came up with a better moniker than “A Windows Forms application written against the Microsoft .NET Framework”
The C# compiler comes standard on Longhorn. That's just a tidbit I think is very cool. Don said he could go over to his mother's house, open up a console window, fire up emacs, and write and compile an app right before her eyes. She would then tell him not to use so many angle-brackets and clean up his whitespace.
By the way, there are several new security features you'll hear a lot about soon, including the ability to deem an area of the heap “non-executable“ for data only, and hardware support for key management.
They've also introduced a new declarative CLR language called XAML. XAML is an XML-based markup language that lets you write User Interface code like this (I'm doing this from memory):
<Button ID=“Button1“>Press Me</Button>
It sort of looks like HTML but it's for writing native LH apps. These applications have the same strechy characteristics as web apps. That is, they scale and move around as you resize.
Don and Chris Anderson (sp?) did a demo where they wrote a windows app in emacs that had a movie for a background (which , by the way uses the GPU on the graphics card, removing intensive video processing from the CPU). They wrote the UI in XAML, wrote the code (event handling, etc) in C#, and even wrote a Longhorn service in VB.NET whidbey that made a UI piece for the Longhorn toolbar called a Tile (I believe) that hooked a web service. In a previous demo this same app posted an entry to Don's blog, which you can see for yourself is still there. They did this live onstage.
The new web-service layer in Longhorn is called Indigo, and won't be feature complete for a long time. However, as Jim stressed, everything we saw was real. The bits they handed out do NOT have the new UI and some other things, and performance is bad, but they wanted to give everyone an early start learning about what MS is doing.
So, to answer the OSS naysayers who think this is all hype, you just go right on thinking it's hype, and someday you'll be asking me if I want fries with that.
Let it be known that weblogs are an all-powerful and virtually free way to get the word out about things that matter.
We advertised our PDC .NET Rocks! show only on blogs and email to a few lists. We thought we were done for when the mini-schedule didn't even list the room number for the event. Well, an estimated 600 people showed up. How do I know they didn't just read the schedule and find the room? We asked for a show of hands of how many people knew what .NET Rocks! was, and only about 15% raised their hands. That tells me most of the people heard about it on the blogs or from friends who blog, and went on a recommendation.
What a great time we had, too. We gave away lots of stuff and had some real fun too. My thanks to the final list of panelists (some got stuck in airports because of local wildfires): Scott Hanselman, Pat Hynds, Kate Gregory, Michele Leroux Bustamante, Russ Fustino, Robert Scoble, Tim Huckaby, and Randy Judkins (Sunny Day).
Thanks to everyone who spread the word!
I got to sleep late and that was cool enough. Then I wandered down to the MVP Summit and Lenn Pryor absolutely blew my mind with what may have been the first public look at Longhorn from a developer perspective. I can't say anything about what I saw, but I'll say this much: When the beta of longhorn comes out that has the new UI (which you get a glimpse of at the PDC I think) all these open source linux people and Java people are going to say to themselves “what the f**k were we thinking?” You will never want to go back to any older versions of Windows. It's that awesome.
I don't think it's just for developers either. I think the benefits of this new stuff will extend to Joe user in a big way. It just makes things so much better and easier to deal with.
And if THAT were'nt enough to make my day, I went to a band rehersal with the now infamous Band on the Runtime. Band on the Runtime is a parody band that does geek versions of songs you know and love. This incarnation is Don Box on bass and vocals, Ted Pattison on guitar and vocals, George Bullock on guitar, David Chappell on keys, Sarah Wilton Shor and Steve Lucco on vocals, Josh Cohen and yours truly on drums. Interestingly, Limp Biskit (sp?) was rehersing down the hall at the same studio.
We're going to be playing Monday night on the roof of the Standard hotel (don't know what the event is actually), and on Wednesday night at the RD dinner. This is the first time I've played with them, but Don and George tell me that they think we are going to ROCK THE HOUSE.
What a great day this has been. Have a great show, everyone. As for everyone else, you'll have to listen to the next several .NET Rocks! shows to learn all this stuff. We plan on having all the big guys on soon: Don Box, Lenn Pryor, Chris Sells, Robert Green, and more.
What: .NET Quiz Show sponsored by Microsoft where contestants from audience agree or disagree with answers to questions given to expert panelists. 2 out of 3 right answers wins a prize.
Where: Room 403AB
When: Sunday Night 6PM-7PM
Hosts: Carl Franklin and Mark Dunn
Panelists (MSDN Regional Directors):
- John Box
- Andrew Brust
- Michele Leroux Bustamante
- Sunny Day
- Scott Hanselman
- Billy Hollis
- Tim Huckaby
- Pat Hynds
- Kate Gregory
- Chris Sells
Prizes (subject to change):
- XBoxes from Franklins.Net, Code Magazine, and DevConnections
- XBox Games from Franklins.Net, Desaware, and Microsoft
- Wireless XBox Controllers from Franklins.Net, Microsoft, and CoDe Magazine
- Software from Microsoft and Farpoint
- T-Shirts from Microsoft and Franklins.Net
- Subscriptions to Club .NET Rocks!
- $50 Shopping Spree at .NET Rocks! Store
See you there!
I'm having a hard time judging how many people will show up for the .NET Rocks! show at the PDC. We've done all the advertising we can, but we can't send email to the PDC attendees, and we can't pass out flyers, so we have to rely on blogs, ads on the show, the website, and our mailing list.
If you have a blog or a newsletter, can you please spread the word? Please?
When: Sunday night 6PM-7PM
Where: Room 403AB (near BOF sessions)
Prizes are going to include X-Boxes from CoDe Magazine, Franklins.Net, and DevConnections, Logitech Wireless X-Box Controllers, X-Box games from Microsoft and Desaware, T-Shirts, a .NET Rocks! shopping spree at the .NET Rocks! store and other cool prizes!
Let's pack the room!
Well, you knew it would be a matter of time before we had Robert Scoble on the show! Unfortunately, since he talked so much about Longhorn, we have to wait until the PDC to release the show due to NDA restrictions.
But, the show is not just about Longhorn. Robert talks all about blogging. If you're new to blogging, you have to listen to this. If you're not, you may pick up some new information.
So, we'll announce the show for real next Monday! In the meantime, enjoy the archives!
Pssst.. Getting .NET Rocks! delivered on audio CD costs less than 5 bucks a week! You spend more than that on BOTTLED WATER!
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