Live from PDC 2003: Day 2, Tuesday

Another early rise

Given the fact that neither one of us is exactly a morning person, these early days at PDC 2003 are starting to hurt. Coupled with the three hour time change ... you get the idea. Anyway, on today's docket are two keynotes (Eric Rudder and Gordone Mangione), a bunch of sessions (including several on Avalon features, which should be good). Off to the coal mines of LA...

10/27/2003 7:26AM PST

No wireless during keynotes

Yesterday, we struggled to get wireless access during the Gates and Allchin keynotes, but they made it very clear today   that wireless wasn't happening in Hall A. So we sat through Eric Rudder's keynote knowing it was impossible, which was fine, since it let us focus on the task at hand: Sucking up as much info as possible about Visual Studio .NET "Whidbey," which will likely ship late next year.

10/28/2003 9:05AM PST


Don't hold your breath for WinFX

One of the facts that shouldn't be lost in all the hype is that WinFX is the API of the future, but since it won't be shipping until Longhorn (late 2005 at the earliest), it's mostly theory, not reality, for now. So much of what we're seeing--especially the Whidbey stuff--boils down to "here's what you can do for the short term." That's not to say that Whidbey will only be applicable to today's Windows versions; Microsoft expects developers to use Whidbey to deliver the first generation of Longhorn apps and services too. But if you're waiting for the wonders of WinFX, keep waiting. It's going to be a while.

10/28/2003 9:08AM PST


Holy PDA, Batman!

Microsoft Product Manager Kevin Lisota took the stage in full Batman regalia, touting the latest Pocket PCs, Pocket PC Phones, and Smartphones from the company's hardware partners. Lisota had to be embarrassed by the costume, but we'll have some good shots up on the SuperSite later today so you can all enjoy it. "Some of these devices have more processing power than \[the systems we targeted for the first version of Exchange Server\]," Rudder noted. "That doesn't mean you'll be running Exchange on a Pocket PC, of course..." Lisota also mentioned the incredible HP Pocket PC discounts PDC attendees are getting; We both purchased a HP iPAQ 4150 (more info here) yesterday, actually, with a nice $100 discount. How could we resist?

10/28/2003 9:36AM PST



Microsoft General Manager Rick LaPlante introduced a new set of Whidbey designers, dubbed Whitehorse, that allow you to visually design your service-oriented application infrastructures. Part of Microsoft's wide-ranging Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), Whitehorse is sort of like BizTalk Lite or Visio for systems architects, developers, and administrators who need to tie together the design of your infrastructure, whether all the parts are correctly deployed, and how the logic for the various components tie together.
10/28/2003 9:48AM PST

Tablet PC SDK 1.7 details

We met with the Tablet PC team today and scheduled a follow-up for COMDEX, at which time we'll find out what's happening in the next major Tablet PC version, codenamed Lonestar. Today's announcement concerns a new version of the Tablet PC Edition SDK. The first version, 1.0, shipped alongside the new OS last fall; 1.5 followed earlier this year, adding an Ink Divider object for differentiating between text and drawings in Ink areas and a pen input panel that let you add a pen input panel to any text box using just one line of code. The new version, Tablet PC SDK 1.7, is the best version yet, and it adds four major new features: A context tagging tool that constrains input to certain data types, making recognition much more accurate; Web support for ink; support for .NET no-touch deployment; and new real-time stylus APIs that give developers better control over the way they sample data from the stylus as it moves over the digitizer.

10/27/2003 12:18PM PST

Avalon: Thinking different about media

Windows Longhorn Graphics and Media Lead Program Manager Cyra Richardson described the company's take on media consumption and use in Longhorn: Text, 2D graphics, 3D graphics, photos, audio, video are all media, and any combination of them, typically through composition and animation, represents the media revolution in Longhorn. Interestingly, from a developer's standpoint, these new APIs are an evolution over previous versions, and very simple looking, which is excellent. Avalon tenets are, in order: Security (quality and stability), managed code, a scalable and consistent programming model, and hardware acceleration throughout the system. Amazing and powerful stuff. I videotaped a number of Avalon demos during this session, and I'll post excerpts soon.

10/27/2003 1:26PM PST

Fun new videos now available on SuperSite

We just posted two new videos to the SuperSite for Windows, one that shows off some Aero transparency features from the keynote, and another that's a rock video of sorts, following my path from the end of the Eric Rudder keynote up to the press room in the LA Convention Center. Good stuff.

10/27/2003 1:49PM PST

ClickOnce: Bring The Power of Web Deployment to Client Applications

PDC is filled with an enormous amount of sessions and information. Today we split up to try and cover the most we could possibly cover. Keith went to a session on ClickOnce, which is a new deployment technology that will debut in Visual Studio "Whidbey" and be improved with the release of Longhorn. Jamie Cool, Program Manager with Microsoft, showed off the ease of deploying and updating client application over the Web using ClickOnce. The technology is designed to bring the ease and reliability of Web application deployment to client applications. ClickOnce will include two modes: "Installed" application mode and "Launched" application mode. An "installed" application can be installed from the Web, network, file path or CD. The application would add start menu icons, an entry to Add/Remove programs, and everything else you'd expect from a regular Windows application.. A "launched" application is launched from the Web, similar to a Web page and is just cached on a user's system. ClickOnce will be in the .NET Runtime that will be included in Whidbey and will be supported on platforms from Windows 98 up.

10/27/2003 2:18PM PST

WinFS: Windows Future Storage changes everything

While Keith was off slacking around in another session, Paul attended a session introducing WinFS (Windows Future Storage). Quentin Clark, the Director of Program Mgmt, WinFS had a nice way of explaining WinFS that I'll relate here (this is directly from my notes):

WinFS is...

- All end-to-end data lives in Longhorn

- New user experience in the Longhorn shell

- A trustworthy place to store data

- Data model built on relational database technology

- File system capabilities built on NTFS

- Everyday info - domain specific schemas - Longhorn will come with set of schemas Services that make data interactive

WinFS is not...

- Abandoning legacy applications

- Forcing the world to rewrite everything

- Complete yet

            PDC is good preview of model, feedback welcome

            Fundamental model complete for Beta 1

            Platform and UE complete in Beta 2

- Just a database - MS has set of relational assets, WinFS is pulling techs from NTFS, SP, and CLR too

10/27/2003 2:36PM PST

The Future of The Windows Mobile Platform

Fresh from his keynote demo, Ori Amiga, Lead Program Manager in Microsoft's Mobile Devices Product Group, presented to a packed room the future of Microsoft's mobile technologies. The demonstration was filled with coding examples and plenty of crowd interaction, including a "staged" hijack of the demonstration by a Microsoft marketing representative showing off the available Smartphone 2003 SDK (with phone) available for sale at the show. Future mobile platforms will include much more unified .NET code that will make it extremely easy for developers to interact with mobile features like SMS and Pocket Outlook. The demonstration included a roadmap of the mobile related platforms with "Macallan" as the next CE OS platform. The next version of the Pocket PC and Pocket PC Phone Edition (codenamed "PPC + PE v Next" in the slides) will include native support for VGA displays and landscape display mode. The next version of the Smartphone platform will include support for QVGA and standard displays.

10/28/2003 2:39 PM PST

Google party

Thanks to new friends, we were able to secure an invite to the Google party this evening, held at the Hyatt in downtown Los Angeles. Google is an amazing company, albeit a bit cultish, with a Dot Com attitude but the bottom line of an old world company. Google has big plans for the future and is a surprisingly customer-centric company. They realize most of their users are using Windows, and were trolling a bit for potential employees. But it was a good time, with good food and none of the weirdness of the previous night's Don Box monstrosity.

10/28/2003 10:03 PM PST

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