BUILD 2014 – Day 2 Keynote

BUILD 2014, San Francisco
Keynote 2 – Scott Guthrie, Rick Cordella (NBC), Mark Russinovich, Luke Kanies (Puppet), Daniel Spurling (Getty), Mads Kristensen, Yavor Georgiev, Grant Peterson (DocuSign), Anders Hejlsberg, Miguel de Icaza (Xamarin), Bill Staples, Steve Guggenheimer, John Shewchuk

Day 2, 3 Apr 2014, 8:30AM-11:30AM

Disclaimer: This post contains my own thoughts and notes based on watching BUILD 2014 keynotes and presentations. Some content maps directly to what was originally presented. Other content is paraphrased or represents my own thoughts and opinions and should not be construed as reflecting the opinion of Microsoft or of the presenters or speakers.

Scott Guthrie – EVP, Cloud + Enterprise

Azure

  • IaaS and PaaS
  • Windows & Linux
  • Developer productivity
  • Tons of new features in 2013
  • Lots more new features for 2014

Expanding Azure around world (green circles are Azure regions):

Run apps closer to your customers

Some stats:

Did he just say 1,000,000 SQL Server databases? Wow

Great experiences that use Azure

  • Titanfall
    • Powered by Azure

Video of Titanfall / Azure

  • Data centers all over
  • Spins up dedicated server for you when you play
  • “Throw ’em a server” – constantly available set of servers
  • AI & NPCs powered by server

Scale

  • Titanfall had >100,000 VMs deployed/running on launch day

Olympics NBC Sports (Sochi)

  • NBC used Azure to stream games
  • 100 million viewers
  • Streaming/encoding done w/Azure
  • Live-encode across multiple Azure regions
  • >2.1 million concurrent viewers (online HD streaming)

Olympics video:

Generic happy Olympics video here

Rick Cordella – NBC Sports (comes out to chat with Scott)

Scaling

  • All the way from lowest demand event—curling (poor Curling)
  • Like that Scott has to prompt this guy—”how important is this to NBC”?
  • Scott—”I’m glad it went well”

Just Scott again

Virtual Machines

  • Can run both Windows and Linux machines
  • Visual Studio integration
    • Create, manage, destroy VMs from VS (smattering of applause)
  • Capture VM images with multiple storage drives
    • Then create VM instances from that capture
  • VM configuration
    • Use frameworks like Puppet, Chef, Powershell
    • Use modules to set various settings
    • Deploy to Puppet Master or Chef Server
    • Spin up server farm and deploy/manage using this master server

Mark Russinovich – Technical Fellow

Demo of creating VM from Visual Studio

  • Create VM
    • Deploy into existing cloud service
    • Pick storage account
    • Configure network ports
  • Debug VMs from Visual Studio on desktop
    • E.g. Client & web service
    • Switch to VM running web service
    • Set breakpoint in web service
    • Connect VS to machine in cloud
    • Enable debugging on VM
    • Rt-click on VM, Attach Debugger, pick process
    • Hit breakpoint, on running (live) service
  • This is great stuff..
  • Create copy of VM with multiple data disks
    • Save-AzureVMImage cmdlet => capture to VM image
    • Then provision new instance from previous VM image
    • Very fast to provision new VM—based on simple Powershell cmd
  • Integration with CM, e.g. Puppet
    • Create Puppet Masters from VM
    • Puppet Labs | Puppet Enterprise server template when creating VM
    • Create client and install Puppet Enterprise Agent into new client VM; point it to puppet master
  • Deploying code into VMs from Puppet Master – Luke Kanies (Puppet Labs)

Luke Kanies – CEO, Puppet Labs

Puppet works on virtually any type of device

  • Tens of millions of machines managed by Puppet
  • Clients: NASA, GitHub, Intel, MBNA, et al

Example of how Puppet works

Puppet demo

  • Puppet module, attach to machines from enterprise console
  • Deploy using this module
  • Goal is to get speed of configuration as fast as creation of VMs

Daniel Spurling – Getty Images

How is this (Azure) being used at Getty?

  • New way for consumer market to use images for non-commercial use
  • The technology has to scale, to support “massive content flow”
  • They uses Azure & Puppet
  • Puppet – automation & configuration management
  • Burst from their data center to external cloud (Azure only for extra traffic)?

Back to Scott Guthrie

Summary of IaaS stuff:

Also provide pre-built services and runtime environments (PaaS)

  • Focus on application and not infrastructure
  • Azure handles patching, load balancing, autoscale

Web functionality

  • Azure Web Sites

  • Push any type of application into web site
  • AutoScale—as load increases, Azure automatically scales
    • Handle large spikes
    • When traffic drops, it automatically scales back down
    • You save money
  • Staging support
    • Don’t want site in intermediate state, i.e. always available
    • Create Staging version of web app
    • Used for testing
    • Once tested, you push single command (Swap), rotate Production/Staging
    • Old Production still there, in case something went wrong
  • WebJobs
    • Run background tasks that aren’t HTTP response threads
    • Common thing—queue processing
    • So user response better because you just submit task to queue, then later process it
    • WebJobs—in same VM as web site
  • Traffic Manager
    • Intelligent customer routing
    • Spin up multiple instances of site across multiple regions
    • Single DNS entry
    • Automatically route to appropriate geographic location
    • If there’s a problem with one region, it automatically fails over to other regions
    • For VMs, Cloud Services, and Web Sites

Demo – Mads Kristensen

Mads Kristensen

ASP.NET application demo

  • PowerShell editor in Visual Studio
  • Example—simple site with some animated GIFs (ClipMeme)
  • One way to do this—from within Browser development tools, change CSS, then replicate in VS
  • Now—do change in Visual Studio
    • It automatically syncs with dev tools in browser
    • BrowserLink
  • Works for any browser
  • If you change in browser tools in one browser, it gets automatically replicated in VS & other tools
  • Put Chrome in design mode
    • As you hover, VS goes to the proper spot in the content
    • Make change in browser and it’s automatically synched back to VS
  • Example of editing some AngularJS
  • Publish – to Staging
    • Publishes just changes
    • “-staging” as part of URL (is this configurable? Or can external users hit staging version of site)
  • Then Swap when you’re ready to officially publish
    • Staging stuff over to production
  • WebJobs
    • Run background task in same context as web site
    • Section in Azure listing them
    • Build as simple C# console app
    • Associate this WebJob with a web site
    • In Web app in VS, associate to WebJob
    • Dashboard shows invocation of WebJob, with return values (input, output, call stack)
    • (No applause??)
  • Traffic Manager
    • Performance / Round Robin / Failover
    • Failover—primary node and secondary node
    • Pick endpoints
    • Web site says “you are being served from West US”—shows that we hit appropriate region

Back to Scott

Summary of Web stuff:

SSL

  • Including SSL cert with every web site instance (don’t have to pay Verisign)

ASP.NET MVC 5.1

Every Azure customer gets 10 free web sites

Mobile Services

  • Develop backends with .NET or Node.js
  • Can connect to any type of device
  • Data stores supported: Table Storage, SQL Database, Mongo DB (No SQL)
  • Can push messages to devices
    • Notification hubs – single message to notification hub, then broadcast to devices
  • Authentication options
    • Facebook, Google, now Active Directory
    • Uses standard OAuth token – use to authenticate on your service
    • Can use same token to access Office 365 APIs
    • Works with any device (iOS, Windows, Android)

Yavor Georgiev

Demo – Mobile Services

Mobile Service demo

  • New template for Mobile Service (any .NET language)
  • Built on Web API
  • E.g. ToDoItem and ToDoItemController
  • Supports local development
  • Test client in browser
  • Local / Remote debugging work with Mobile Services

Demo – building app to report problem with Facilities

  • FacilityRequest app
  • Using Entity Framework code-first with SQL database
  • Mobile Services Table Controller
  • Derives from TableController<T>
  • Add authentication to API by adding attribute to controller (assume service already supports Active Directory)
  • Publish – deploy to service
  • App logic put in portable class library – can use on a variety of platforms
  • Authentication
    • Use Active Directory authent library—gives you standard login user experience
    • After login, pulls Active Directory assets into client
  • Can integrate to SharePoint
    • Call out to Office 365 via REST API
    • SharePointProvider

Another great Microsoft demo line: “it’s just that easy”

More demo, Xamarin

  • Portable library, reuse with Xamarin
  • iOS project in Visual Studio
  • Run iPhone simulator from iOS
  • Switch to paired Mac
  • Same app on iOS, using portable class library

Yavor has clearly memorized his presentation—nice job, but a bit mechanical

Back to Scott alone

Azure Active Directory service

  • Active Directory in the cloud
  • Can synch with on premises Active Directory
  • Single sign-on with enterprise credentials
  • Then reuse token with Office 365 stuff

Grant Peterson – CTO, DocuSign

Demo – DocuSign

  • Service built entirely on Microsoft stack (SQL Server, C#, .NET, IIS)
  • Take THAT, iPhone app!
  • 3,000,000 downloads on iPhone so far
  • Can now authenticate with Active Directory

  • Then can send a document, etc.
  • Pull document up from SharePoint, on iPhone, and sign the document
  • He draws signature into document

  • Then saves doc back to     SharePoint
  • His code sample shows that he’s doing Objective C, not C#/Xamarin

Back to Scott

  • Scott confirms—you can use Objective C and have Active Directory API
    • iOS, Android SDK

  • Offline Data Sync !
  • Kindle support

Azure – Data

  • SQL Database – >1,000,000 databases now hosted

SQL Server improvements

  • Increasing DB size to 500GB (from 150GB)
  • New 99.95% SLA
  • Self service restore
    • Oops, if you accidentally delete data
    • Previously, you had to go to your backups
    • Now—automatic backups
    • You can automatically rollback based on clock time
    • 31 days of backups
    • Wow !
    • Built-in feature, just there
  • Active geo replication
    • Run in multiple regions
    • Can automatically replicate
    • Can have multiple secondaries in read-only
    • You can initiate failover to secondary region
    • Multiple regions at least 500 miles away
    • Data hosted in Europe stays in Europe (what happens in Brussels STAYS in Brussels)
  • HDInsight
    • Big data analytics
    • Hadoop 2.2, .NET 4.5
    • I love saying “Hadoop”

Let’s talk now about tools

.NET improvements – Language – Roslyn

Anders Hejlsberg – Technical Fellow


Roslyn

  • Compiler exposed as full API
  • C#/VB compilers now written in C# and VB (huh? VB compiler really written in VB??)

Demo – C# 6.0

  • Static usings
    • You type “using Math”
    • IDE suggests re-factoring to remove type name after we’ve adding using
  • Roslyn helps us see preview of re-factored code
  • Can rename methods, it checks validity of name

Announcement – open-sourcing entire Roslyn project

  • Roslyn.codeplex.com
  • Looking at source code—a portion of the source code for the C# compiler
  • Anders publishes Roslyn live, on stage ! (that’s classy)

Demo – use Roslyn to implement a new language feature

  • E.g. French-quoted string literals
  • Lexer – tokenizing source code
  • ScanStringLiteral implementation, add code for new quote character
  • That’s incredibly slick..
  • Then launch 2nd instance of Visual Studio, running modified compiler
  • Holy crap
  • Re-factoring also automatically picks up new language feature

Can now use Roslyn compilers on other platforms

Miguel de Icaza – CTO, Xamarin



Demo – Xamarin Studio

  • Xamarin Studio can switch to use runtime with Roslyn compiler
  • E.g. pick up compiler change that Anders just submitted to Codeplex

Miguel gives a C# t-shirt to Anders—that’s classic

Back to Scott

Open Source

  • .NET foundation – dotnetfoundation.org
  • All the Microsoft stuff that they’ve put out as open source

  • Xamarin contributing various libraries
  • This is good—Microsoft gradually more accepting of the open source movement/community

Two more announcements

New Azure Portal

  • Scott mentions DevOps (a good thing)
  • First look at Azure Management Portal
  • “Bold reimagining”

Bill Staples – Director of PM, Azure Application Platform


Azure start board

Some “parts” on here by default

  • Service health – map
  • Can I make this a bit smaller?
  • Blade – drilldown into selected object – breadcrumb or “journey”

  • Modern navigational structure
  • Number one request—more insight into billing

  • “You’re never going to be surprised by bills again”
  • Creating instances:

  • Browse instances

Demo – Set up DevOps lifecycle

  • Using same services that Visual Studio Online uses
  • Continuous deployment—new web site with project to deploy changes

  • Open in Visual Studio
  • Commit from Visual Studio—to local repository and repository in cloud
  • Drill down into commits and even individual files
  • Looking at source code from portal

  • Can do commits from here, with no locally installed tools
  • Can do diffs between commits
  • Auto build and deploy after commit
  • “Complete DevOps lifecycle in one experience”

DevOps stuff

  • Billing info for the web app
  • Aggregated view of operations for this “resource group”
  • Topology of app
  • Analytics

  • Webtests – measure experience from customer’s point of view

  • “Average response time that the customer is enjoying”
  • Can re-scale up to Medium without re-deploying (finally!)

  • Database monitoring
  • I just have to say, that this monitoring stuff is just fantastic—all of the stuff that I was afraid I’ve have to build myself
  • Check Resource Group into source code – “Azure Resource Manager Preview”

PowerShell – Resource Management Service

  • Various templates that you can browse for various resource groups
  • E.g. Web Site w/SQL Database
  • Basically a JSON file—declarative description of the application
  • Can pass the database connection string from DB to web app
  • Very powerful stuff
  • Can combine these scripts with Puppet stuff

Azure portal on tablet, e.g. Surface

  • Or could put on big screen
  • Here’s the Office Developer site

  • Can see spike in page views, e.g. “what page was that”?

Azure Gallery:

“Amazing DevOps experience”

Back to Scott

Today

  • New portal
  • Resource Manager – single deployment of a resource group
    • Can include IaaS and PaaS pieces
  • Visual Studio Online general availability

Get started – azure.microsoft.com

Steve Guggenheimer – Corp VP & Chief Evangelist, Microsoft


Dialog starts with type of app and devices

Areas of feedback

  • Help me support existing investments
  • Cloud and Mobile first development
  • Maximize business opportunities across platforms

Should at least be very easy to work with “common core”:

“All or none”? — not the case

John Shewchuk – Technical Fellow


 

Support existing technologies

  • Desktop Apps
    • WinRT, WPF (e.g. Morgan Stanley)
    • Still going to build these apps in WPF

Demo – Typical App, Dental thing

  • Standard WPF app
  • Notice appointments in Office 365 for dentist
  • Active Directory in cloud is one of the big enablers
    • Full access to users’ calendar
    • Set ClientID GUID to hook application to Active Directory
  • WPF app that talks to Office 365 calendar service

New Office 365 APIs:

 

Demo – VB6 app – Sales Agent

  • VB6 App to Win Forms app
  • WebMap 2 transformation – UI projected out as HTML5
    • Win Forms form running as HTML5
  • Then move same app to phone

Internet of Things:

 

Demo of Flight app for pilots, running on Surface:


  • Value is—the combination of new devices, connecting to existing system

AutoDesk:

  • Building complimentary set of services

Flipboard on Windows 8

  • Already had good web properties working with HTML5
  • Created hybrid app, good native experience
  • Brought app to phone (technology preview)

  • Nokia 520, Flipboard fast on cheap/simple phone (uses DirectX)

Foursquare – tablet and Windows Phone app

  • Win Phone Silverlight 8.1
  • Geofences, little program packaged with app
    • Run operation goes to see nearby venues
    • E.g. Person goes to a geo location and live tile for Foursquare app pops up content

App showing pressure on foot – Heapsylon Sensoria socks

John Gruber – Daring Fireball

  • Video – partnership

  • Vesper – Notes app
  • Using Mobile Services on Azure
  • Wow—we’ve got John Gruber evangelizing about Windows? Whoda-thunkit!

Gobbler – service for musicians and other “Creatives”

  • Video

  • Communication between musicians and collaborator
  • DJ/Musician – sending files back and forth without managing data themselves
  • Everything on Azure – “everything that we needed was already there”

Gaming – PC gaming, cloud assistance

  • Destroying building, 3D real-time modeling
  • Frame rate drops
  • Overwhelms local machine (even high-end gaming gear)
  • But then run the same app and use cloud and multiple devices to do cloud computation
  • Keep frame rate high
  • Computation on cloud, rendering on client (PC)

Cloud-assist on wargaming game on PC:

Demo – WebGL in IE, but on phone:

Babylon library (Oculus):

  • Oculus rift, on PC, WebGL
  • Running at 200Hz

Cross-platform, starting in Windows family, then spreading out

  • Fire breathing with a 24 GoPro array
  • Video

  • Not really clear what’s going on here.. Skiing, guy with tiger, etc.
  • What’s the connection to XBox One and Windows 8?
  • Ok, In App purchases ?

Doodle God 2 on XBox:

  • Also running on PC
  • C++ / DirectX
  • Same set of files, running on Phone, XBox, PC
    • Just a couple of minor #ifdefs
  • Take an existing investment and spread it across multiple environments
  • Use cloud to connect various aspects of game together

Partnership with Oracle, Java in Azure

  • Demo in Azure portal
  • Click Java version in web site settings
  • Java “incredibly turnkey”

Accela demo

  • They want to create app powered by Accela data
  • Split out pieces of URL
    • data – from azure-mobile.net
    • news – elsewhere
    • etc
  • Common identity across many services
  • Code is out on codeplex
  • Application Request Routing (ARR)

Make something in Store available as both web site and app

  • New tool – App Studio – copy web site, expose as App
    • Then drop app into Store
  • App Studio produces Web App template
    • Driven by JSON config file
  • Challenges in wrapping a web site
    • What do you do when there is no network?
    • App just gets big 404 error
    • But you want app responsive both online and offline
  • New feature – offline section in Web App template
    • useSuperCache = true
    • Store data locally
    • Things loaded into local cache
    • THEN unplug from network
    • Then fully offline, but you can still move around in app, locally cached
  • Do the same thing, app on Windows phone
    • Dev has done some responsive layout stuff
  • Then Android device
    • Same web app runs here

Zoopla app on Windows Phone

  • Can easily take web content, bring to mobile app
  • Include offline

Xamarin – Bring Windows app onto iPad

  • Windows Universal project
  • Runs on iPad, looks like Win 8 app with hub, etc.
  • Also running on Android tablet
  • How is this working? HTML5?

Stuff available on iOS and Android:

All done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Keynote #2 – Ozzie, Sinofsky, Guthrie, Treadwell

PDC 2008, Day #2, Keynote #2, 2 hrs

Ray Ozzie, Steven Sinofsky, Scott Guthrie, David Treadwell

Wow.  In contrast to yesterday’s keynote, where Windows Azure was launched, today’s keynote was the kind of edge-of-your-seat collection of product announcements that explain why people shell out $1,000+ to come to PDC.  The keynote was a 2-hr extravaganza of non-stop announcements and demos.

In short, we got a good dose of Windows 7, as well as new tools in .NET 3.5 SP1, Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and the future release of Visual Studio 2010.  Oh yeah—and an intro to Office 14, with online web-based versions of all of your favorite Office apps.

Not to mention a new Paint applet with a ribbon interface.  Really.

Ray Ozzie Opening

The keynote started once again today with Ray Ozzie, reminding us of what was announced yesterday—the Azure Services Platform.

Ray pointed out that while yesterday focused on the back-end, today’s keynote would focus on the front-end: new features and technologies from a user’s perspective.

He pointed out that the desktop-based PC and the internet are still two completely separate world.  The PC is where we sit when running high-performance close-to-the-metal applications.  And the web is how we access the rest of the world, finding and accessing other people and information.

Ray also talked about the phone being the third main device where people spend their time.  It’s always with us, so can respond to our spontaneous need for information.

The goal for Microsoft, of course, is that applications try to span all three of these devices—the desktop PC, the web, and the phone.  The apps that can do this, says Ozzie, will deliver the greatest value.

It’s no surprise either that Ray mentioned Microsoft development tools as providing the best platform for developing these apps that will span the desktop/web/phone silos.

Finally, Ray positioned Windows 7 as being the best platform for users, since we straddle these three worlds.

Steven Sinofsky

Next up was Steven Sinofsky,Senior VP for Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group at Microsoft. Steven’s part of the keynote was to introduce Windows 7.  Here are a couple of tidbits:

  • Windows 7 now in pre-beta
  • Today’s pre-beta represents “M3”—a feature-complete milestone on the way to Beta and eventual RTM.  (The progression is M1/M2/M3/M4/Beta)
  • The beta will come out early in 2009
  • Release still targeted at 3-yrs after the RTM of Vista, putting it at November of 2009
  • Server 2008 R2 is also in pre-beta, sharing its kernel with Windows 7

Steven mentioned three warm-fuzzies that Windows 7 would focus on:

  • Focus on the personal experience
  • Focus on connecting devices
  • Focus on bringing functionality to developers

Julie Larson-Green — Windows 7 Demo

Next up was Julie Larson-Green, Corporate VP, Windows Experience.  She took a spin through Windows 7 and showed off a number of the new features and capabilities.

New taskbar

  • Combines Alt-Tab for task switching, current taskbar, and current quick launch
  • Taskbar includes icons for running apps, as well as non-running (icons to launch apps)
  • Can even switch between IE tabs from the taskbar, or close tabs
  • Can close apps directly from the taskbar
  • Can access app’s MRU lists from the taskbar (recent files)
  • Can drag/dock windows on desktop, so that they quickly take exactly half available real estate

Windows Explorer

  • New Libraries section
    • A library is a virtual folder, providing access to one or more physical folders
    • Improved search within a library, i.e. across a subset of folders

Home networking

  • Automatic networking configuration when you plug a machine in, connecting to new “Homegroup”
  • Automatic configuration of shared resources, like printers
  • Can search across entire Homegroup (don’t need to know what machine a file lives on)

Media

  • New lightweight media player
  • Media center libraries now shared & integrated with Windows Explorer
  • Right-click on media and select device to play on, e.g. home stereo

Devices

  • New Device Stage window, summarizing all the operations you can perform with a connected device (e.g. mobile device)
  • Configure the mobile device directly from this view

Gadgets

  • Can now exist on your desktop even without the sidebar being present

Miscellaneous

  • Can share desktop themes with other users
  • User has full control of what icons appear in system tray
  • New Action Center view is central place for reporting on PC’s performance and health characteristics

Multi-touch capabilities

  • Even apps that are not touch-aware can leverage basic gestures (e.g. scrolling/zooming).  Standard mouse behaviors are automatically mapped to equivalent gestures
  • Internet Explorer has been made touch-aware, for additional functionality:
    • On-screen keyboard
    • Navigate to hyperlink by touching it
    • Back/Forward with flick gesture

Applet updates

  • Wordpad gets Ribbon UI
  • MS Paint gets Ribbon UI
  • New calculator applet with separate Scientific / Programmer / Statistics modes

Sinofsky Redux

Sinofsky returned to touch on a few more points for Windows 7:

  • Connecting to Live Services
  • Vista “lessons learned”
  • How developers will view Windows 7

Steve talked briefly about how Windows 7 will more seamlessly allow users to connect to “Live Essentials”, extending their desktop experience to the cloud.  It’s not completely clear what this means.  He mentioned the user choosing their own non-Microsoft services to connect to.  I’m guessing that this is about some of the Windows 7 UI bits being extensible and able to incorporate data from Microsoft Live services.  Third party services could presumably also provide content to Windows 7, assuming that they implemented whatever APIs are required.

The next segment was a fun one—Vista “lessons learned”.  Steve made a funny reference to all of the feedback that Microsoft has gotten on Vista, including a particular TV commercial.  It was meant as a clever joke, but Steve didn’t get that many laughs—likely because it was just too painfully true.

Here are the main lessons learned with Vista.  (I’ve changed the verb tense slightly, so that we can read this as more of a confession).

  • The ecosystem wasn’t ready for us.
    • Ecosystem required lots of work to get to the point where Vista would run on everything
    • 95% of all PCs running today are indeed able to run Vista
    • Windows 7 is based on the same kernel, so we won’t run into this problem again
  • We didn’t adhere to standards
    • He’s talking about IE7 here
    • IE8 addresses that, with full CSS standards compliance
    • They’ve even released their compliance test results to the public
    • Win 7 ships with IE8, so we’re fully standards-compliant, out of the box
  • We broke application compatibility
    • With UAC, applications were forced to support running as a standard user
    • It was painful
    • We had good intentions and Vista is now more secure
    • But we realize that UAC is still horribly annoying
    • Most software now supports running as a standard user
  • We delivered features, rather than solutions to typical user scenarios
    • E.g. Most typical users have no hope of properly setting up a home network
    • Microsoft failed to deliver the “last mile” of required functionality
    • Much better in Windows 7, with things like automatic network configuration

The read-between-the-lines takeaway is we won’t make these same mistakes with Windows 7.  That’s a clever message.  The truth is that these shortcomings have basically already been addressed in Vista SP1.  So because Windows 7 is essentially just the next minor rev of Vista, it inherits the same solutions.

But there is one shortcoming with Vista that Sinofsky failed to mention—branding.  Vista is still called “Vista” and the damage is already done.  There are users out there who will never upgrade to Vista, no matter what marketing messages we throw at them.  For these users, we have Windows 7—a shiny new brand to slap on top of Vista, which is in fact a stable platform.

This is a completely reasonable tactic.  Vista basically works great—the only remaining problem is the perception of its having not hit the mark.  And Microsoft’s goal is to create the perception that Windows 7 is everything that Vista was not.

Enough ranting.  On to Sinofsky’s list of things that Windows 7 provides for Windows developers:

  • The ribbon UI
    • The new Office ribbon UI element has proved itself in the various Office apps.  So it’s time to offer it up to developers as a standard control
    • The ribbon UI will also gradually migrate to other Windows/Microsoft applications
    • In Windows 7, we now get the ribbon in Wordpad and Paint.  (I’m also suspecting that they are now WPF applications)

  • Jump lists
    • These are new context menus built into the taskbar that applications can hook into
    • E.g. For “most recently used” file lists
  • Libraries
    • Apps can make use of new Libraries concept, loading files from libraries rather than folders
  • Multi-touch, Ink, Speech
    • Apps can leverage new input mechanisms
    • These mechanisms just augment the user experience
    • New/unique hardware allows for some amazing experiences
  • DirectX family
    • API around powerful graphics hardware
    • Windows 7 extends the DirectX APIs

Next, Steven moved on to talk about basic fundamentals that have been improved in Windows 7:

Decrease

  • Memory — kernel has smaller memory footprint
  • Disk I/O — reduced registry reads and use of indexer
  • Power  — DVD playback cheaper, ditto for timers

Increase

  • Speed  — quicker boot time, device-ready time
  • Responsiveness  — worked hard to ensure Start Menu always very responsive
  • Scale  — can scale out to 256 processors

Yes, you read that correctly—256 processors!  Hints of things to come over the next few years on the hardware side.  Imagine how slow your single-threaded app will appear to run when running on a 256-core machine!

Sinofsky at this point ratcheted up and went into a sort of but wait, there’s more mode that would put Ron Popeil to shame.  Here are some other nuggets of goodness in Windows 7:

  • Bitlocker encryption for memory sticks
    • No more worries when you lose these
  • Natively mount/managed Virtual Hard Drives
    • Create VHDs from within Windows
    • Boot from VHDs
  • DPI
    • Easier to set DPI and work with it
    • Easier to manage multiple monitors
  • Accessibility
    • Built-in magnifier with key shortcuts
  • Connecting to an external projector in Alt-Tab fashion
    • Could possibly be the single most important reason for upgrading to Win 7
  • Remote Desktop can now access multiple monitors
  • Can move Taskbar all over the place
  • Can customize the shutdown button  (cheers)
  • Action Center allows turning off annoying messages from various subsystems
  • New slider that allows user to tweak the “annoying-ness” of UAC (more cheers)

As a final note, Sinofsky mentioned that as developers, we had damn well all be developing for 64-bit platforms.  Windows 7 is likely to ship a good percentage of new boxes on x64.  (His language wasn’t this strong, but that was the message).

Scott Guthrie

As wilted as we all were with the flurry of Windows 7 takeaways, we were only about half done.  Scott Guthrie, VP, Developer Division at Microsoft, came on stage to talk about development tools.

He started by pointing out that you can target Windows 7 features from both managed (.NET) and native (Win32) applications.  Even C++/MFC are being updated to support some of the new features in Windows 7.

Scott talked briefly about the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, which has already released:

  • Streamlined setup experience
  • Improved startup times for managed apps  (up to 40% improvement to cold startup times)
  • Graphics improvements, better performance
  • DirectX interop
  • More controls
  • 3.5 SP1 built into Windows 7

Scott then demoed taking an existing WPF application and adding support for Windows 7 features:

  • He added a ribbon at the top of the app
  • Add JumpList support for MRU lists in the Windows taskbar
  • Added Multi-touch support

Scott announced a new WPF toolkit being released this week that includes:

  • DatePicker, DataGrid, Calendar controls
  • Visual State Manager support (like Silverlight 2)
  • Ribbon control  (CTP for now)

Scott talked about some of the basics coming in .NET 4 (coming sometime in 2009?):

  • Different versions of .NET CLR running SxS in the same process
  • Easier managed/native interop
  • Support for dynamic languages
  • Extensibility Component Model (MEF)

At this point, Scott also starts dabbling in the but wait, there’s more world, as he demoed Visual Studio 2010:

  • Much better design-time support for WPF
  • Visual Studio itself now rewritten in WPF
  • Multi-monitor support
  • More re-factoring support
  • Better support for Test Driven Development workflow
  • Can easily create plugins using MEF

Whew.  Now he got to the truly sexy part—probably the section of the keynote that got the biggest reaction out of the developer crowd.  Scott showed off a little “third party” Visual Studio plug-in that pretty-formatted XML comments (e.g. function headers) as little graphical WPF widgets.  Even better, the function headers, now graphically styled, also contained hot links right into a local bug database.  Big cheers.

Sean’s prediction—this will lead to a new ecosystem for Visual Studio plugins and interfaces to other tools.

Another important takeaway—MEF, the new extensibility framework, isn’t just for Visual Studio.  You can also use MEF to extend your own applications, creating your own framework.

Tesco.com Demo of Rich WPF Client Application

Here we got our obligatory partner demo, as a guy from Tesco.com showed off their snazzy application that allowed users to order groceries.  Lots of 2D and 3D graphical effects—one of the more compelling WPF apps that I’ve seen demoed.

Scott Redux

Scott came back out to talk a bit about new and future offerings on the web development side of things.

Here are some of the ASP.NET improvements that were delivered with .NET 3.5 SP1:

  • Dynamic Data
  • REST support
  • MVC (Model-View-Controller framework)
  • AJAX / jQuery  (with jQuery intellisense in Visual Studio 2008)

ASP.NET 4 will include:

  • Web Forms improvements
  • MVC improvements
  • AJAX improvements
  • Richer CSS support
  • Distributed caching

Additionally, Visual Studio 2010 will include better support for web development:

  • Code-focused improvements  (??)
  • Better JavaScript / AJAX tooling
  • Design View CSS2 support
  • Improved publishing and deployment

Scott then switched gears to talk about new and future offerings for Silverlight.

Silverlight 2 was just RTM’d two weeks ago.  Additionally, Scott presented two very interesting statistics:

  • Silverlight 1 is now present on 25% of all Internet-connected machines
  • Silverlight 2 has been downloaded to 100 million machines

IIS will inherit the adaptive (smooth) media streaming that was developed for the NBC Olympics web site.  This is available today.

A new Silverlight toolkit is being released today, including:

  • Charting controls, TreeView, DockPanel, WrapPanel, ViewBox, Expander, NumericUpDown, AutoComplete et al
  • Source code will also be made available

Visual Studio 2010 will ship with a Silverlight 2 designer, based on the existing WPF designer.

We should also expect a major release of Silverlight next year, including things like:

  • H264 media support
  • Running Silverlight applications outside of the browser
  • Richer graphics support
  • Richer data-binding support

Whew.  Take a breath..

David Treadwell – Live Services

While we were all still reeling from Scott Gu’s segment, David Treadweall, Corporate VP, Live Platform Services at Microsoft, came out to talk about Live Services.

The Live Services offerings are basically a set of services that allow applications to interface with the various Windows Live properties.

The key components of Live Services are:

  • Identity – Live ID and federated identity
  • Directory – access to social graph through a Contacts API
  • Communication & Presence – add Live Messenger support directly to your web site
  • Search & Geo-spatial – including mashups on your web sites

The Live Services are all made available via standards-based protocols.  This means that you can invoke them from not only the .NET development world, but also from other development stacks.

David talked a lot about Live Mesh, a key component of Live Services:

  • Allows applications to bridge Users / Devices / Applications
  • Data synchronization is a core concept

Applications access the various Live Services through a new Live Framework:

  • Set of APIs that allow apps to get at Live Services
  • Akin to CLR in desktop environment
  • Live Framework available from PC / Web / Phone applications
  • Open protocol, based on REST, callable from anything

Ori Amiga Demo

Ori Amiga came out to do a quick demonstration of how to “Meshify” an existing application.

The basic idea of Mesh is that it allows applications to synchronize data across all of a user’s devices.  But importantly, this means—for users who have already signed up for Live Mesh.

Live Mesh supports storing the user’s data “in the cloud”, in addition to on the various devices.  But this isn’t required.  Applications could use Mesh merely as a transport mechanism between instances of the app on various devices.

Takeshi Numoto – The Closer

Finally, Takeshi Numoto, GM, Office Client at Microsoft, came out to talk about Office 14.

Office 14 will deliver Office Web Applications—lightweight versions of the various Office applications that run in a browser.  Presumably they can also store all of their data in the cloud.

Takeshi then did a demo that focused a bit more on the collaboration features of Office 14 than on the ability to run apps in the browser.  (Running in the browser just works and the GUI looks just like the rich desktop-based GUI).

Takeshi showed off some pretty impressive features and use cases:

  • Two users editing the same document at the same time, both able to write to it
  • As users change pieces of the document, little graphical widget shows up on the other user’s screen, showing what piece the first user is currently changing.  All updated automatically, in real-time
  • Changes are pushed out immediately to other users who are viewing/editing the same document
  • This works in Word, Excel, and OneNote  (at least these apps were demoed)
  • Can publish data out to data stores in Live Services

Ray’s Wrapup

Ray Ozzie came back out to wrap everything up.  He pointed out that everything we’d seen today was real.  He also pointed out that some of these technologies were more “nascent” than others.  In other words—no complaints if some bits don’t work perfectly.  It seemed an odd note to end on.