PDC 2010 Day 2

Before the PDC sessions started, there was already an interesting message distributed from Mary Jo Foley from an interview with Bob Muglia: Our strategy with Silverlight has shifted.

The core messages:

Silverlight is the development platform for Windows Phone. Silverlight also has some “sweet spots” in media and line-of-business applications.

HTML is the only true cross-platform solution for everything.

So, HTML 5 gets a really big focus. Microsoft is heavily investing in this technology.

Developer trends in the area of Web development:

  • HTML Interop – across different browsers, platforms…
  • Performance
  • Websites like native applications

If you check several HTML 5 specs, Microsoft plays a major role with the standards body. Interop is an important scenario.

Today I’ve been at a session on performance. Several subsystems of IE have been completely rewritten. JavaScript is now a 1st class citizen with IE. VBScript is still supported via COM interop, but JavaScript is directly integrated and thus marshalling becomes a lot faster. There was a good idea on the JavaScript engine. Having an interpreter has the advantage on the startup, a JavaScript compiler is better on the long-run if a script executes more than once. IE9 has both that run in parallel (usually there’s at least a dual-core CPU in the client systems), and these engines communicate to define who’s taking over.

Microsoft can differentiate by giving a great Windows 7 integration. Similar to features that have been added to WPF with .NET 4, Web applications can be pinned to the taskbar, Jumplists can be defined, and also custom actions such as play/pause buttons can be added to the preview.

IE9 preview 6 can be downloaded from http://www.ietestdrive.com.

What about Silverlight and WPF with such a big focus on HTML 5 and JavaScript? Of course, Silverlight plays a big role with Windows Phone 7. But there’s more! Looking at the sample applications from HTML 5 – these are in the areas of games, graphics demos, fancy animations… What about a DataGrid? Data binding? For LOB applications, HTML is by far not there what Silverlight and WPF has to offer. With Visual Studio LightSwitch a data-driven Silverlight application can be done in a matter of… WPF and Silverlight offers much more productivity compared to HTML, and I’m sure it leads several years ahead.

What other news from PDC?

Mark Russinovich dives deep into Windows Azure and has written his first WPF application:  Windows Azure Storage Explorer.

Part of Windows Azure AppFabric, Access Control Service hosts an STS in the cloud supporting WS-Federation, WS-Trust, OpenId, OAuth… what makes it easy to use FaceBook, Windows Live identifiers for authentication with cloud applications.

WCF gets enhancements with WCF Web APIs – see http://wcf.codeplex.com. First-class support for HTTP/REST

Windows Workflow gets enhancements, where the first bits are shared as well: http://wf.codeplex.com. A state machine is now available, C# expressions, versioning with persistence, enhanced workflow designer with e.g. annotations, new activities, partial trust…

For sure there’s a lot new stuff to explore, and I’m happy to have attended PDC. The next days I’ve to explore the pre-recorded sessions as well as many sessions missed as I cannot split Winking smile


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