PDC09 – Day Three

by Van 20. November 2009 21:18

This is the last day of PDC09. There is no keynote today and I have nothing schedule for the first session (this is the only time slot for this conference I had nothing planned). I decided this would be a good time to start playing with the new technologies I have been seeing the last couple of days. I have downloaded Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio (November 2009) before I left my hotel room. I was planning to work with it in Windows Virtual PC. Then I realize I have not created one with Windows 7 and Visual Studio 2010, this will take me a while to set up; so Azure will have to wait until I get home. I had also downloaded everything for Silverlight 4 development. I have an XP virtual image with Visual Studio 2010 which I started installing on the software on. Once that was completed the Silverlight 4 setup, it was time for the next session.

For the second session of the day I had scheduled “What’s New for Windows Communication Foundation 4”. I decided not to go to that session, but to do some HOL (hands-on-labs) instead. While on way to the HOL’s, I saw a great demonstration at the Live Labs product team’s booth on Pivot. I got information on how to start using this technology; another thing to try when I get home. I then started working on the “Develop Visually Engaging Applications with Bing Maps Silverlight Control” (HOL). This was a great lab it showed me that it is easy to incorporate this technology in a silverlight page. It did have some trouble with the developer code, but it told me how to get one I will do this when I get home. I am planning to do a talk on Silverlight with DotNetNuke (DNN) for the C-DUG, I believe I will incorporate this in to my presentation.

The Next three sessions of the day are for me the most interesting ones of PDC09, since my area of focus currently is developing business applications with Silverlight. These sessions are “Building Amazing Business Applications with Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft .NET RIA Services”, “Developing Testable Silverlight Applications” and “Mastering Microsoft .NET RIA Services” will help me do this. .Net RIA service was introduced at MIX09. At MIX09,  I missed Brad Abrams session but went to Nikhil Kothari session. For me “.NET RIA Services” was highlight of MIX09.

Therefore next session I went to was “Building Amazing Business Applications with Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft .NET RIA Services” presented by Brad Abrams. Since MIX09, I have watch Brad’s presentation many times and follow his blog, These resources has helped the most with the web application I am developing for Prince Williams Special Olympics. He covered some of the new features on what now is called WCF RIA Services and Silverlight4; such as the data binding picker, increase support for converters, “connect-the-dots’ data binding, improved validation support.

Today, I decided to go to a lunch session on “Developing Testable Silverlight Applications”. I arrived late, because I decided to eat lunch first. This was a good talk, will have to see this session again online. They demonstrated using the MVVM pattern and the Silverlight Unit Test Framework which will be very helpful to me with the application I am developing.

My next session of the day was “Mastering Microsoft .NET RIA Services” which was great follow-up to the Brad Abram session. They talk about that while “RIA services” is now for Silverlight, but there are future plans for it to be use with ASP.NET AJAX and ASP.NET Web Forms among other technologies.  This session demonstrated how the “unit of work” gets done in “RIA services”. This session also demonstrated how to do authorization. This was my last session of PDC09,

I decided not to go to “Unleashing the Power of Excel on the Web” session which was on my schedule for the last timeslot at PDC09.  This was a great PDC.



PDC09 – Day Two

by Van 19. November 2009 14:01

At the keynote; Steven Sinofsky talked about delivering Windows 7 to the marketplace. Then he talked about what’s coming next in IE9 and how IE is working on improving their ACID test scores. He then announce that all a PDC09 attendees will be receiving a brand new Acer laptop with Windows 7 64 bit; 2 gb of memory; with touch hardware (set up for developers).

Now Scott Guthrie, takes the stage. He announces Silverlight 4 beta is available for download. He shows some of the new features. They also added new sessions to show off the new features in Silverlight 4(there goes my perfectly planned schedule). Also .Net RIA Services (one of my favorite technologies) has been renamed WCF RIA Services.

Kurt DelBene then takes the stage and announces Office 2010 public beta and Sharepoint 2010 public beta is available for download.

As I planned I went to the Microsoft Silverlight 4 Overview; it was renamed because of the Silverlight 4 announcement.  They demonstrated the new features in Silverlight 4 such as Webcam support; printing support; the ability to build context menus and the addition of Rich TextBlock.


I was planning to go to a lunch session today; however it was canceled. In fact, I had planned two sessions on office today both have been canceled. It was just as well since there are 3 new Silverlight 4 sessions I now need to consider. Picked up t-shirts for the product teams and again looked at the HOL (Hands-on-labs).


For the next session I had 3 sessions on my schedule; the canceled office session; “ADO.NET Data Services: What’s New with the RESTful Data Services Framework”; “What’s New in Microsoft ASP.NET 4 Web Forms and Dynamic Data”. I choose the new session “Building Line of Business Applications with Microsoft Silverlight 4”. I saw demonstrated the data source window for the datagrid; VS2010 increase XMAL support including binding UI;  setting string formatting in the XMAL binding; binding to a command and a new interface for validation. There was more.


For the next timeslot; I had two sessions on my schedule “Microsoft AJAX Library, jQuery, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010” and “Networking and Web Services in Microsoft Silverlight”. They had also added the new session “Improving and Extending the Sandbox with Microsoft Silverlight 4’. I decided to go to the networking session, because it is more in line with the application I am working on. I saw demonstrations on the improvements in RIA services; the new ClientHTTP networking stack and the TCP support now in Silverlight. Also the client policy files now have a template in VS2010.


For the last session I had “Microsoft ASP.NET MVC 2: The New Stuff” on my schedule; I however decided to go to the (HOL).  But before I went to the HOL; I picked up my new laptop. I then went to the HOL on Entity Framework 4; I will be using this stuff on my next project. I did not finish it, but it was great.


This was a great day. (new free laptop)

PDC09 – Day One

by Van 18. November 2009 15:25

This was the first keynote ever that I was late for; I missed the first five minute. I will have to go back and watch it on line to see what I missed. The highlight of the keynote was, of course, the enhancements to Windows Azure. One of the big things for me was Ray talking about private clouds; hosted clouds and public clouds; this I think will be good way to get the major Corporations on board. They show partners with good stories on why the cloud is important. Another announcement that made at the keynote is that Windows Azure was going to support other development tools like PHP. This could be game changing, because Microsoft is including all developers(I heard them using the word Tomcat).  At the keynote there were also demonstrations with the new Identity frame. The keynote shows functionality in Visual Studio 2010, that I was not aware of like support for multiple monitors. This was also the first Keynote that I can remember that finished early (they usually finish late).

After the keynote was a snack break, good thing there was no breakfast because I would have not been able to resist the doughnuts.

Next on my schedule I had “FT02 - Data Programming and Modeling for the Microsoft .NET Developer “, which I chose, and “FT11 - Future Directions for C# and Visual Basic”. This session was really talking about modeling with the ADO.NET Entity framework. It is focusing on the new features in the Microsoft Entity Framework Feature CTP 2 for Visual Studio 2010.  This session demonstrated the modeling tools “M” and “Quantant” with Entity Framework. This one of the technologies I will be trying out when I return to Virginia.

The lunch buffet followed, I grab too much food, could not finish the salmon (it was good). I did however finish desert.   After eating I did quick walk around the “Big Room” saw the HOL (Hands-on-labs), some looked interesting will have to go back later. There however was a long line for the Windows Azure HOL (there are giving away a Flip Camera for completing one). I decided to go to a Lunch session (It was on my schedule), “CL30 - Microsoft Expression Blend 3 for Developers: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices”. I am trying to use Blend and have been many sessions on it this year (Mix, Tech-ed, local user groups and code camps).  I also bought a book on it. I believe the more exposure the better I will become at it. This session showed me things I need to try. I will have to watch this session again online with Blend opened.

Next on my schedule I had “FT18 - Microsoft ASP.NET Futures”.  Since I am an ASP.Net developer, this was a great session for me.  This session showed the features the ASP.Net team is working on. The ASP.Net Helpers I thought was very interesting (email verification; background task; file upload progress).     

The next session I went to was “FT10 - Evolving ADO.NET Entity Framework in Microsoft .NET Framework 4 and Beyond”, which was on schedule, this was a great follow-up the “FT02 - Data Programming and Modeling for the Microsoft .NET Developer”, I went to earlier. This session show how to use your POCO classes to generate a database from them (very cool). Other things that were demonstrated; the use of Store Procs, doing lazy loading, and the use of the repository pattern in EF.

For the last session of the day I had “CL23 - SketchFlow: Prototyping to the Rescue” and “FT32 - Code Contracts and Pex: Power Charge Your Assertions and Unit Tests”. However at that point in the day I was not in a mode for either topic, so I went to “FT08 - Code Visualization, UML, and DSLs” instead. This session demonstrated some of the new architect features and why they are useful for developers. I especially liked thing how it handle existing code with diagrams to help a developer figure out what the code is doing.

I was then off to the Partner Expo. I have a goal on trying not to bring home too much SWAG. There were great T-Shirts as always. Free beer, hamburgers; still full from lunch (there was a lot of food there).

The highlight of PDC09 Day One – the changes in EF

PDC09 – Day Zero

by Van 17. November 2009 14:17

I went to the Los Angeles Convention Center late morning; this was to avoid the rush of the people who were attending the workshops so I would not have to wait. This year there are no busses from the hotel to the conference center on day zero, I was able to get a ride on a bus for the crew, but I had to walk back. It was a beautiful day and the walk is good for me.

I decided again this year not to go to the workshop even though there seem to be some very good ones.  Last year I heard rave reviews from other attendees of how good these workshops are, but the thought of spending a whole day on one topic just doesn’t appeal to me; I guess it must be my short attention span.

I registered and I received my conference bag; I like it better than last year, but missed the bags that I could carry my laptop in. However, I really don’t need another conference bag have a bunch at home and I never seem to use the PDC bags after the conference. This year there is no PDC store where I usually get a PDC hat and PDC polo shirt on day zero (oh well).  They did however gave us a 20% discount on Microsoft merchandise (I will order something when I get home less to carry back). They also gave us a coupon for a Certification test.  While going through the conference guide in the conference bag. I notice there will be no breakfast, I not a big breakfast eater and this will probably help me from gaining weight at the conference (a very good thing).

I recheck my schedule for the week; I right now have a session (sometimes two) for every time slot except for the first timeslot on Day 3. This will most likely change (for me it always does), because I want to do some hands-on-labs and the Keynote usually makes me decide to check out some session that was not in my plans.

I went to Visual Studio documentary; I got there a little early; which was good because it got crowded. The documentary was very good if you have not seen it check it out on Channel 9. After the documentary I went to the Tweet-Up (free beer) at the Hotel Figueroa and ran into some Mid-Atlantic tweeps. It was a great evening preparing me for PDC09 Day One.

I does seem that Microsoft is cutting back on the extras at PDC this year, something I believe are to save money while other are for going green (for instance I have been on the day zero busses to the conference center and sometimes it could be just me on the bus a waste of gas). The main reason I come to PDC is for the content; I like the extras but if the content was not good I would not come.


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Preparing for PDC 09

by Van 13. November 2009 14:18

 Back in August I registered for PDC09 and made my Hotel and Airline reservations. Over the course of the last couple of months, I have been watching various videos series (Countdown to PDC09, PDC Classic and The Knowledge Chamber) on Channel 9 . Last week, I picked the sessions I am interested in attending. This week I started packing.

In preparation for PDC,  I also downloaded and installed Visual Studio 2010 Beta2. I started doing some Silverlight 3 development with it. I am still hoping to work with some of the new technologies before I go the sessions at PDC. I also downloaded the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit . It has great hands-on labs that I hope to try before getting there. I have been following the announcements on Twitter, and PDC  blog, and  website.




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PDC: Stay ahead of the curve on Microsoft technologies

by Van 11. November 2009 17:57

On November 17, I will be attending PDC09. This will be my 5th one. In 2000, I chose not to go to the PDC because it was in July, and I was already planning to go to Tech-ed in June. I said to myself what could happen in the software development world within a month? How wrong I was! That was probably the most important PDC ever because of the introduction of .Net! Later that year, I went to VS-Live Orlando and found out what I had missed. This is where I first saw .Net (VB.Net, C#, ASP.Net, ADO.Net). At that conference, the presenters were all using Visual Studio .Net, which I had never seen before. Then I found out the only way to have that software was by atteding PDC.  It does not matter if you have an MSDN subscription; there is always software at the PDC that you can’t get anywhere else.

PDC is where Microsoft unveils software that may not appear in final versions for years. At PDC 2000, it was, of course, .Net.; PDC 2001, .Net Compact framework; PDC03,  Longhorn(Vista), Widbey (Visual Studio 2005), Yukon(SQL Server 2005), Indigo(WCF), Avalon(WPF); PDC05,  LINQ, ASP.NET Ajax; PDC08, Windows Azure. There are always great announcements at PDC about Microsoft direction. Beside great sessions on these new technologies, there are also hands-on-labs where you can go and play with these new technologies.

All in all, if you want to keep up with and stay ahead of the curve on Microsoft technologies, PDC is a must conference.  You will always get software you can get no place else and you get to hear firsthand about Microsoft’s direction.  I can’t wait to get there.

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About Van

Van, a Senior Web Developer for Innervisions Software, Inc. since 1996, started programming Mainframes using COBOL, JCL for AT&T in 1979. While at AT&T, Van was part of many development teams that produced enterprise level applications and systems using CICS, IMS and other mainframe technologies. 

Van bought his first personal computer in 1982, an Apple II+, and started to write programs for home use in Applesoft (Basic Microsoft created for the Apple II) . 

Van first started working with Microsoft technologies using Access 1.0 and Visual Basic 3.0. In 2000, Van attended VS Live in Orlando where he was first exposed to .Net. He started programming .Net with Visual Studio .Net Beta 2. He became an Independent Consultant in 1996 and started Innervisions Software, Inc. 

In 2003 he wrote his first professional ASP.Net app. Since 2004 Van has been subcontracting on an IRS project using ASP.Net, VB.Net, and SQL Server.

He spends his spare time working on the web site for Prince William Special Olympics which was created using Dot Net Nuke.   Van is currently working on a Silverlight app for Prince William Special Olympics to manage their volunteers.

Van has a BA in Mathematics from Lehman College in New York City and a MS in Computer Science from George Washington University. Van holds MCP certifications in Visual Basic, Access, ASP.Net and SQL Server.

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