Upcoming PDC09 Sessions

Strangely enough, the official web site of upcoming PDC09 doesn’t allow to bookmark interesting sessions on-site, so I’ll gather all interesting stuff in this article hoping that the pages behind the links will feature video recordings of the sessions after the conference.

There are only sessions interesting to me, somewhat sorted accordingly.

Directly related to my job

Interesting stuff that can be helpful

To better understand general roadmaps of Microsoft technologies

Just some random fun

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  1. “REST Services Security Using the Microsoft .NET Access Control Service”

    I like the presentation style. Justin has just explained the scenario they have probably used internally to drive the project and which is a foundation for their business model. I like this kind of openness, in my eyes, it puts commercial software development on the same fairness level than open-source software.

    The product itself is not immediately appealing to me. First because it is in Azure, and Azure is way too expensive. I mean, small businesses don’t need the scalability and availabitily it promises (at least, not at this price level), and the big ones like popular social sites would want to invest into own cloud anyway, due to a number of reasons.

    The second problem is that it is too much a bare platform. Typical Microsoft way of thinking – we create a platform, and our partners make it meaningful for the end customers. The problem with that approach is that nowadays, in times of open source, “anybody” can create a popular platform, or standard, or protocol. You don’t need to be Microsoft for that. So what’s the value of a bare platform? I could re-implement the main features of ACS in two weeks (excluding AD stuff).

    The value of ACS can only be increased by implementing particular integrations that are of value for end customers. Future integration with Facebook, Google, Yahoo and LiveID goes into right direction.

  2. “Building Live Media Viewing Experiences Using Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming and the Smooth Streaming Player SDK”

    The announcement of the Smooth Streaming Porting Kit is an obvious but important step, because absence of players except Silverlight seems really to be a limiting factor to Smooth Streaming adoption. I hope that the recent XBOX update enabling support of the Smooth Streaming has been developed with that porting kit so that Microsoft can release it soon. I wonder why the hell they don’t develop a DirectShow filter using that kit, so they could bring both SmoothStreaming and PlayReady support to WMP.

    Smooth Streaming SDK is a sad decision. The previous versions of Smooth Streaming were available as source code, and I’ve really needed to change a couple of simple things there, to accomodate it to my project specific requirements. Now, with the SDK, it is possible to compose a player in Blend. Don’t really see any need doing that. You can’t finish the whole frontend in Blend anyway. Besides, I would’t allow our designers to tamper with a MediaElement, knowing how critical its proper usage for performance and ability of playing “HD” is.

    Silverlight Media Framework is something I don’t get at all. Silverlight is more than 2.5 years old, and during all this time, ISVs who were SL early adopters, were creating their own media frameworks. Now, everybody has their proprietary solution. Why would I want to port everything I have to this new media framework? Another question: there is an OVP initiative supported by Akamai and others. It was announced at last MIX. OVP has at least a (dubious, but understanable) advantage of providing similar feature set for Flash and Silverlight… Sorry, don’t get this announcement at all, will have to look at it.

    And please, guys, puhleease, stop explaining again and again how chunks in the Smooth Streaming fly. You are doing this for years now and everybody who cares already knows the principles :)

  3. “ADO.NET Data Services: What’s New with the RESTful Data Services Framework”

    Great presentation by Pablo Castro, and cool that more and more products and services support OData.

    I’m only a little wary about the deep integration with WCF, because using WCF in my typical projects is a major pain in the a$$ due to its over-engineered nature. WCF is perhaps best suited for enterprise intranet and federation scenarios, but not for a really simple internet site. My favorite war story is that when you create a new WCF service in VS2008 under Windows7, and then deploy it to Windows Server 2008, it stops working, because VS2008 uses some configuration parameters that are not available on WS2k8, at least not without additional installation. And to fix it, you have to understand the WCF configuration settings. And to be able to understand WCF configuration, you have to understand all their terms like endpoints, various binding and behaviors, channels, messages, etc — all that stuff I don’t want to know. That’s a lot of unnecessary work if everything you wanted is to expose a trivial REST interface to manage objects in a database.

    I only hope the integration of Astoria into WCF would simplify and de-crapify the WCF following the example of Astoria, and not vice virsa. And that they make REST to a first-case citizen in WCF ideology, not just a special case of a weird SOAP like it is now (WCF tracing capabilities of REST, anyone?)

    The OData initiative is just great; I believe it is a major step towards a better, HTML-less Internet. The next important steps could be
    a) to make Bing to search in Dallas and other public available OData repositories,
    b) to extend the format with the possibility to define a standard renderer for the data. Something like an additional url for each entity; and when you open it in the browser, you’ll get an app (be it html or silverlight based) capable of rendering the info contaned in the entity in a user-friendly way,
    c) to research the possibility of using OData as a protocol of real-time apps (Twitter, IM)

  4. “Scaling Your Data Tier with Microsoft Project Code Name “Velocity””

    Entertaining presentation style and I like the categorization of data into the three buckets. But the most valuable takeaway is the appfabric keyword – I will look it up for sure, hoping it is what I always missed in the .NET web ecosystem.

  5. “Extending Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.x”

    I havent’s expected that this session will contain such a fundamental announcement. And it is almost shocking to see how its audience has barely reacted to it.

    I’ve met IIS7 since a beta version of Windows Vista and I know about its tight coupling to .NET — something Microsoft prefers to call extensibility. Well, since implementation of the PHP support, I think they have the right to call it so. So writing managed modules isn’t something new to me. Moreover, we could do that for most practical purposes also with IIS6.

    What really an important move is that they announce IIS as a (business) platform for web applications.

    The Web Platform Installer resembles your typical package/repository infrastructure similar to apt, RPM or other package managers we know from the Linux world. Only it is specific to web apps and its repository is fully controlled my Microsoft. Everyone can submit their web app to the repository, and there is an export tool allowing you to create a package by executing a simple wizard. Typical Microsoft, this export tool is only usable for a very limited set of simple scenarios, but 3rd party ISVs can, as always, write their own tools. I wonder if InstallShield already offers a more powerful tool.

    But I digress. In addition to web apps, the new market niche of IIS modules has been created. A module in this sense is a plugin extending IIS with a functionality all web apps running on that IIS can benefit from. Modules can have management UI that nicely integrates into the IIS manager. Typical examples of such modules:
    * a failed requests tracker (you can configure it to gather tracing and performance info for requests whose execution took longer than some threshold — very nice!),
    * a database manager automatically detecting connection strings from your web app configuration and allowing you to manage the databases directly from within the IIS manager UI,
    * a SEO toolkit,
    * a load-balancing module called Application Request Routing (I suppose it is something similar to nginx or lighttpd),
    * if I’m not mistaken, the Dublin and this appfabric story is also integrated with the IIS manager.

    What’s still missing is a geo-location and -blocking module and a health dashboard module.

    Generally, IIS slowly evolves from a simple Microsoft’s http server implementation into an operating system for http-based server side applications. Microsoft is constantly emphasizing how important web for their operating system strategy is. I think, the latest development of IIS is a part of this puzzle. I mean, already today, you can export your app from your development server and deploy it to your production server with a couple of clicks (if your app is simple enough). May be, in the future, you will be able to deploy your app into Azure with a couple of clicks, and manage your Azure instances just like another IIS servers. And with integration of database management and workflows facilitating import/export and other background working proceses typical to web sites, you can end up with an ultimate infrastructure and management suite…

    We’ll see what future brings.

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