Michael Otey's Blog

BUILD 2011: The Two Minute Takeaway

Client

Touch - No, the iPad wasn’t enough to convince me. No, my Android phone wasn’t enough to convince me either. Windows 8 sold it. Touch is the next input medium. Call me a slow learner but the difference is in the ability to produce content. Neither the iPad or the Android provide it. Windows 8 on the tablet does -- in spades. Windows 8 on the tablet can run Office and Visual Studio and can be used to do all the the things I really need – its not just a glorified web browser. For me the iPad is dead. That said, I hope Microsoft and Samsung would get a clue and stop calling this things a slate. That is so yesterday.

On a similar note, I wish Microsoft would provide a way for us journalists (I use that in the broadest sense as I am really a developer first and a journalists second) to buy these devices. I understand why they can’t give them to journalists because of conflict of interest concerns. However, I haven’t been excited about developing apps since the browser took over and can’t wait to develop some of these touch screen Metro style applications. But unfortunately I have no avenue to get one of these devices with Windows 8 on it. I would happily buy it if I could. Oh well. I guess coverage of Windows 8 and Metro from me will just have to wait.

Server

Real Servers Don’t Use GUIs – Wow!  Microsoft has really (and I mean really) taken the server role seriously with Window Server 8. By default Windows Server 8 will install in the headless Server Core role. Multi-server management is enabled through Server Manager as well as PowerShell. This marks one of the most significant changes I’ve ever seen in Windows Server management and I know that this the right direction. For those if you (and I count myself there as well) who like GUI you can initially configure the server with the GUI and then remove it freeing yourself of all the patches that the GUI needs -- Server Core needs almost none of them. Support for Server Core also includes SQL Server which is overdue.

Developers

XAML –  Prior to BUILD there we a lot of rumors that Microsoft was changing its development technologies toward HTML 5 and javascript. These rumors implied Microsoft was abandoning it developer base. Fortunately I can say this isn’t the case. While it’s true the Microsoft uses these technologies in Windows 8 its also clear that XAML remains their core development technology moving forward. If you haven’t learned XAML now is the time because it will be a core technology for both Windows 8 and Windows phone going forawrd.

Administrators

PowerShell – I know PowerShell is difficult but Microsoft is really all in on the command line and scripted server management using PowerShell. The 2300+ cmdlets shipped with Windows Server 8 shows how serious Microsoft is about using PowerShell for remote and local server management. For Windows administrators it’s really time to buckle down and start learning and using PowerShell. Fortunately, the new ISE in Windows Server 8 has some very useful prompting and IntelliSense features that make getting into PowerShell easier than ever before.

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