In keeping with the planned mid-2006 release of Longhorn, Microsoft is planning the first widespread Longhorn beta release in 2005 and will again prep developers for the upcoming monumental release with another PDC event. PDC 2005 will be held in September in Los Angeles, Microsoft revealed late yesterday.
"The Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) is the definitive developer event focused on the future of the Microsoft platform," a post on Microsoft's Web site states, noting that PDC 2005 will run from September 13-16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, site of PDC 2003. "PDC 2005 offers attendees the opportunity to learn, connect and engage with Microsoft's platform developers and the global developer community with keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive labs, access to the latest code, community forums, and much, much more."
Much more indeed. Some of the PDC 2003 keynote addresses were like rock concerts, with Microsoft executives showing off, for the first time, tantalizing peeks at their Longhorn plans. PDC 2005 will likely be an even bigger event because developers will have feature-laden Longhorn betas, not early Longhorn alphas, with which to work. And a lot has changed since PDC 2003: In August, Microsoft decided to port key Longhorn technologies such as Avalon (presentations) and Indigo (Web services) to Windows 2003 and XP and to remove WinFS, a database-backed storage engine, from Longhorn. WinFS will ship as a free Longhorn add-on when Longhorn Server ships in 2007, Microsoft officials tell me.
"The Windows Division, and Microsoft in general, is really getting geared up and ready for Longhorn," Microsoft Group Program Manager Todd Wanke, who oversaw development of XP SP2, told me recently. "With the Longhorn wave, we stopped the train, went back, and fixed some problems in XP. Now we're ready to focus on Longhorn."
On a personal note, PDC 2003 was a watershed event, and Keith Furman and I plan to cover PDC 2005 next year with the same aplomb we displayed at PDC 2003. Still available on the SuperSite for Windows are our exploits from PDC 2003, during which we posted continuous blog-type updates, photos, screen-shot galleries, product reviews, and even videos.