We spent two days in the Sheraton Pilar hotel in Buenos Aires, in the Regional Architect Forum 2008, a once in a year event that gathers "architects" from argentina, bolivia, chile, and uruguay(at least the raf south cone version does). It was my first RAF, and I was very impressed, not only by the level of the presentations, but by the networking we could do in such a short time, exchanging ideas with some of the most experienced .net guys of the region.
We even had a chance to share some of our experiences in Infocorp in the enterprise 2.0 arena, leveraging web 2.0 practices in the corporate world, like internal blogs, wikis, and social bookmarking within the enterprise, using MOSS as a platform and extending it.
It was nice to get a glimpse of the upcoming technologies and services in the Microsoft world, but I left a bit concerned about the level of overlapping between the features of the following services:
Microsoft Office Live Workspace
Microsoft Office Live Small Business
Microsoft SharePoint Online
Since I can, with SharePoint, host a site suitable for sharing files and collaborating beyond the corporate borders (also offered by workspaces), and have personal sites to store personal files (live mesh) and all this can be applied to small business (small business). It´s like why not improve SharePoint, rather than create other three things. Besides, Office Live Small Business looks like a toy to me, one of those things so simple that in the end they can´t be used in production environments. Of course from this you may tell I´m a MOSS user and fan, and you are right. At the same time I acknowledge that MOSS was not build from the ground up to work as a service, since if you really want to extend it there´s a lot a twitching to do beyond the IIS 6 Manager, the Central, and the sites configurations. It may be that MS strategy is survival of the fittest and span several things just to see which one of them survives, time will tell I guess.
The RAF´s most remarkable presentations for me where,
The one about problems with layers, by Diego Gonzalez, Lagash. It was refreshing to hear someone talking about the cons of adding more layers to a design, stressing simplicity in design (remember KISS), and providing guidance on what questions to ask when about to introduce a new layer.
MS Robotics, by Angel Lopez. I had only heard about MS Robotics, and it looks a very promising platform and foundation for agent based architectures. It´s a very interesting trend to follow, besides it always fun to be able to move something with a joystick.
UX for Architects by Diego Gonzalez, and some else from Icograma. Probably the best presentation of the whole event, those guys nailed it.The best presentation on UX I´ve ever attended (ok, i didnt go to that many UX presentations). It was a fun presentation, and at the same time it involved a formal approach to the problem of UI and UX design, including a comparative analysis between two versions of a video rental software.
All the presentations where supposed to be shared, and if you want, and if I'm allowed to I will publish the corresponding slides (take into account they are all in spanish).
On and all, I´m looking forward to the next RAF, I got to meet a lot of people and put faces to blogs I´m subscribed to, and I was even encouraged enough to start my own geek blog.