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Microsoft's Connections Conference - Keynote

This last week I attended Microsoft's Connections Conference in Las Vegas, NV (I managed to spend the week in Vegas and not loose any money in the casinos). This post will be about the conference keynote given by Steve Guggenheimer with posts on other sessions that I attended coming soon.

The big information that was presented was about the upcoming releases of Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008. It was announced that the launch party for the products will be February of 2008 (the actually release dates are Visual Studio 2008 - Q4 2007, Windows Server 2008 - Q1 2008 and SQL Server 2008 - Q2 2008.

The first product demonstrated was Windows Server 2008. Below are some of the promised improvements or features:

  • Easier system management
  • Presentation virtualization
  • Ability to run applications remotely (they don't have to be web based)

The next product demonstrated was SQL Server 2008 and it looks like it is getting closer to being able to compete with Oracle in the enterprise space (although it is still limited by operating system issues) . Some of the promised improvements and features are:

  • Easy to use report designer (designed for business users)
  • Geography data type stores latitude and longitude coordinates (can you say Google Maps mash-up).
  • Policy based management framework
  • Ability to define limits on resources

The final demonstration was of Silverlight (the Microsoft framework for Rich Internet Applications). Silverlight appears to be based on using Visual Studio 2008, Expression Designer, Expression Blend and Expression Encoder. Visual Studio is used to create the Ajax applications (both JavaScript and ASP.NET). Expression Designer is used to create Vector Graphics (similar to those created in Adobe's Flash). Expression Designer saves the images as XAML files which are imported into Expression Blend (which I found odd as I would prefer to have these two tools packaged into on application so that the export was not needed). Expression Encoder is used to incorporate video into applications and seemed to do something similar to the Flash FLV file.

I thought the new products where very good and are great for a .NET developer. If you don't develop in .NET then I would suggest using different existing applications. Look for my next post which will be on Share Point Governance and Information Architecture Guidance.