DevConnections Day 2 – The Before-Lunch Mint Post (A.K.A The Light Stuff)

I have a brief break before the final session for the day (AJAX… er, Atlas) and I thought I’d brain dump some things in the free time I have (rather than standing in line for swag… I know, you’re ashamed of me. You’ll get over it.) This morning I attended three sessions that had some useful information in the minutae, but were basically a Microsoft rehash of what we already know. Some of it is stuff that Microsoft has been travelling-around talking about for months. Some of it was even a rehash of stuff I heard Paul Litwin and Scott Guthrie share yesterday. I could have used a bit less, but I understand that most attendees of these sessions didn’t spend the day with Paul and some didn’t attend Scott’s talk. In any case, I did extract some new gems that I had heretofore not heard. Not suprising though, I do miss things… I’ll be happy to share below. BTW, I have been taking copious notes (using MindManager 6.0) and I do intend to publish these notes when they are a) free from my frantic typing mistakes and b) I decide which format to publish them in (HTML, PPT, PDF, Word, etc.) In the meantime, I want to keep it brief and give you some of the most useful things I’ve seen and heard. Inside SQL Server 2005 (Matt Nunn) Summary: This was basically another “Launch” talk about the benefit of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk 2006, with the focus being on SQL Server. While the presentation was heavy on selling me on Microsoft tools, (I’m already here!) there are a couple of interesting points I pulled out:

  • Matt had an interesting number about purchase decisions being made in the enterprise. According to the presentation, 77% of managers were aware of bad purchase desicions at their companies that were made due to limited information about tools and options.
  • Big selling point for Microsoft: Platform integration means you don’t have to worry about which application can talk to which other application. I can see the lure of this, but isn’t that why we are all mad for web services? Platform integration just isn’t an option for most enterprises, so I don’t really see this as a selling point for the majority of prospective customers.
  • Microsoft’s drive to be the platform of choice for enterprise applications appears to be working. Matt threw up a stat claiming that enterprises are choosing .NET 35% of the time versus 25% of the time for J2EE. I wonder if that “Platform Integration” point isn’t working after all?

Lap Around the New Enhancements for Web Developers in Visual Studio 2005 (Jeff King) Summary: In some ways, this was a rehash of things we’ve been seeing for months (They’re loving that XHTML compliance and the fact that the IDE doesn’t muck with formatting anymore). That being said, I did find some good stuff in between the cracks. Some examples:

  • Document outline view – lets you see the structure of your HTML in a neat, collapsed view.
  • Dynamic complilation Model – the compiler even checks your web.config now… No more spinning up the dev site and seeing cryptic web.config errors due to syntax or capitalization issues.
  • Obfuscate your HTML – believe it or not, you can actually deploy your site in a manner than puts everything in the bin directory. All you see in the web directory is nearly-empty stub files.
  • You can pre-compile your site when you deploy it – No longer does the first user on the site have to sit and wait for the site to load the first time. What that probably means is that you’ll no longer be that first user, right? I know that’s what I’m thinking….

Data Access in ASP.NET 2.0 (Bradley Millington) Summary: This was another rehash as the new DataAccess features are something Microsoft has been evangelizing for a while. However, I got some great depth on the ease of two-way data binding and the new ObjectDataSource. Some info:

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