Visual Studio Live New York – Day 2

Keynote was given today by two people: a senior manager from Microsoft and a CEO of a partner company. It’s funny that they refer to the whole event as “show”, as opposed to “conference”, “classes”, etc. I don’t know about other, more technical gatherings, but their act was definitely a well orchestrated show: they very smoothly passed microphone to one another without interrupting the logical train of thought. The speech was about business, the art of programming, and general questions of the Universe, life and everything.

One should listen to the users, but don’t let that obscure your own vision. “I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” (c) Henry Ford. One should be clear about one’s goals. Time to market is important: wait too long and you will lose. And so on, and so forth.

There was a not-so-subtle push towards publishing metro apps in Windows store: iPhone and Android market are saturated with apps, Windows apps are a green field. Metro apps are good, because they are “immersive”, i.e. can integrate all features of the device such as GPS, camera, etc. ‘Compatible applications are typically not immersive’. BTW, Firefox spell checker does not know what ‘immersive’ is and underlines it with red 🙂

Discussed specialization in the field of programming. Their take is that one must become a generalist, it is impossible to live off a single technology these days. While this might be true, I see deeper and deeper rifts between various technological “continents”. Technology stacks become more and more advanced and extensive, and you just can’t learn them all. It may be relatively easy to switch from B6 to Windows Forms and from Windows Forms to WPF, etc., but jumping from WPF to, say, to enterprise Java programming is damn hard, and it gets harder and harder every day.

Windows Azure came a long way since I last time looked at it. Deploying things became easier. You can RDP into the virtual machine. You can even supply your own bits for the virtual machine, just like on Amazon, and it turns out there is quite extensive support for creating such virtual machines in Windows 7, including a tool called sysprep.exe that will rid the copy of OS from all identity/license information. When you are in Vegas Azure, licensing is on Microsoft. And, on top of all that, you get 750 free minutes a month with your MSDN subscription. This is good, because debugging stuff in the cloud can get expensive quickly.

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