Monday, April 21, 2008

LIVE from ASP.NET Connections ScottGu Keynote

Note: Due to connection problems, this coverage was previously recorded.

8:00 AM - Okay, we're here, settled in to our seats, trying to get the Sprint wireless Internet to work. Hopefully things will work soon. Scott's on stage finishing some Starbucks and waiting for people to finish streaming-in.

8:03 AM - Here we go. Scott's welcoming us to the show and commenting on his past trips to speak at DevConnections. He's also running through the crazy list of teams he manages. This guy is a machine.

8:05 AM - Talking about VS 2008 and .NET 3.5. Just running down the basic list of features and benefits of these new releases. Nothing new if you've been following .NET and Visual Studio actively.

8:08 AM - Shreeeeeek! His wireless mic just had some major feedback that really woke-up this sleepy-eyed crowd. Now everybody's paying attention.

8:09 AM - Still talking Visual Studio features. Talking now about support for debugging in to the .NET framework. He polled the audience to ask how many people have used the feature before. No many people here have.

8:10 AM - Demo time! Scott's showing-off the ability to browse and debug the core ASP.NET code in Visual Studio 2008. The feature downloads the .NET source on-demand from Microsoft's servers so you can view it in the VS debugger. Pretty cool learning tool, if nothing else.

8:13 AM - Back to the slides and now time to talk about IIS7 and ASP.NET. Again with the basic feature coverage.

8:17 AM - Time for another demo. This time we're going to look at some IIS features and how they integrate tightly with ASP.NET. Scott reminded us that the IIS7 Manager communicates over HTTP, which means you can easily use the IIS7 Manager to manage servers through firewalls wherever they're hosted. Pretty cool. He's also showing us how you can use the IIS7 Manager to directly manage your ASP.NET Membership users and roles. You no longer have to build your own custom page or UI to manage your .NET Membership users- just use IIS7.

8:20 AM - Slides again. We're now talking IIS7 support for web farms. Mentions that and some other huge commerce site are already running on .NET 3.5 and IIS7. Point: IIS7 can scale very well.

8:22 AM - Time to shift gear and talk about what's coming (vs. what we already have). Finally.

8:23 AM - First-up is talk about the extensions being added to ASP.NET this year, like Dynamic Data, history support in ASP.NET AJAX, and MVC. He said we can also expect additional improvements in VS 2008 that deliver better JS formatting and that make it easier to support other Ajax libraries (like JQuery).

8:25 AM - Demo. He's now showing us how Data Dynamics works and how you go about creating a Dynamics site in VS 2008. Just a minute before he polled the audience to ask how many people build SQL driven websites and again got crickets. This audience is -really- dead and just not than excited this morning. Scott made a joke that he thought he may be at the wrong conference speaking to an audience that's never heard of .NET that was received to chuckles.

8:33 AM - Still showing a Dynamic Data demo and how the scaffolding automatically builds a CRUD interface. He's also talking LinqToSQL/LinqToEntities and how those technologies play a central row to Dynamic Data's features. Actually, he's going to show us how to use LinqToSQL to do business rule validation when data is updated. With this dead crowd, though, nobody is "oohing" or "awing" when he shows a what is supposed to be a cool feature. Poor Scott. It's like talking to an oil painting. Finished the demo by saying Dynamic Data stuff would be officially released later this summer.

8:38 AM - Back to the slides and now on to ASP.NET MVC. Scott started talking about MVC as a "new way" to do ASP.NET programming then quickly caught himself when he switched slides and revised his language to "new option." It's clear they're -really- trying make sure people understand MVC is not going to replace WebForms. Case in point: the first bullet on his MVC slide called it a "new option," the last bullet said "it's not for everyone." Get the theme?

8:42 AM - Just talking about how MVC works. Nothing new or shocking here, but definitely look for Scott's slides later if you're interested in his diagrams.

8:44 AM - Now for the demo. Scott's going to show us how to build a MVC site in Visual Studio. It's just another MVC catalog demo (showing Product, Category, Detail views), which seem to be about as common as carousel demos for WPF. I understand that this is a very clear and easy concept to demo MVC's functionality, but 'common. Let's see some more creativity with MVC! Scott's also showing us how to write unit tests for MVC, which is actually a good way to demo MVC and get people familiar with seeing TDD.

8:55 AM - ...writing code for MVC demo...

8:58 AM - We're finally done with MVC and now we're back to the slides. Scott's talking ".NET Continuum"- essentially, the story of Silverlight. "We're coming-up with a plug-in called Silverlight." Really?! Shocking. Honestly, who is forking over $1800 to attend this conference without knowing about Silverlight?

9:01 AM - Scott's covering Silverlight's basic feature list (multi-language support, WPF UI framework, LINQ support, etc.). Says Silverlight is about 1000 times faster than JavaScript running in the browser in terms of processing time!

9:04 AM - Scott says Silverlight currently has 35 UI controls. Really? Last time I counted there were no more than 29. Maybe there are some new controls that haven't been revealed he's counting. He also says there will be over 100 controls provided in Silverlight in a years time! That's news (finally).

9:08 AM - Silverlight demo time. Scott's getting things started by showing us the Hard Rock Memorabilia site (that premiered at MIX) that showcases Deep Zoom. More evidence that Deep Zoom is a cool demo technology, but hard to demo for practical uses. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Memorabilia app has generated the most crowd excitement and interest so far. Let me rephrase, the most impractical technology shown by Scott today is the only one that got people stirring. Go figure.

9:15 AM - Scott's now moved past the Hard Rock site and is showing us how to build a simple Silverlight site in Visual Studio. Says 99% of the time a Silverlight content will be running in the content of an ASP.NET website. Thinks of it more as rich content enhancements you can add to your ASP.NET site. Interesting perspective.

9:21 AM - ...still building his basic Silverlight demo. Using Blend to show-off design-time features. Showing workflow integration between Visual Studio and Blend. He's now building the simple IM application in Silverlight that he's built a number of blog posts around. If you're interested, refer to his blog posts.

9:27 AM - Demo is still going. Looks like Scott is going to run a little past his 9:30 cut-off.

9:31 AM - "In the future, you may see an ASP.NET server control that uses Silverlight for rich UI presentation but keeps data processing on the server." Interesting! Microsoft is thinking about making Silverlight a core front-end option for ASP.NET.

9:33 AM - Scott's wrapping things-up now. Reviewing what we "learned" today. Still saying Silverlight is due "later this year"- no willingness to get more specific on the time frame.

9:35 AM - And that's it! Hope you enjoyed the coverage (even if there wasn't anything particularly "exciting" in this keynote). Clearly, a keynote at MIX and a keynote at DevConnections mean very different things.

With the keynote coverage wrapped, stay tuned for some live booth blogging from the expo floor soon.