Me goes to Redmond. Day 2.

Continuing the story …90% of this Microsoft Technology Summit are non-Microsoft developers, but they were recommended by someone from Microsoft. They want to show what “s new and exciting happening at MS so people would take a look at it as opposed to just blindly assuming that if it “s coming from Redmond, it “s not worth even looking at. MS wants us to either say something like, “Wow, I did not know that such thing even exist rdquo;, or say “Nay, so-an-so has a much tool/technology for this rdquo;. They also want to achieve a multiplying effect: the attendees might tell about MS products to their customers. Any feedback is welcome.

It “s Monday morning, and we “ve arrived to Microsoft Campus at Redmond. It “s huge. At least three dozen of large office buildings in a park-like settings by the lake. The lady behind the coffee counter is serving everything-you-can-get-at-Starbucks coffee. After a short wait in line, I “m ready to order. The lady apologized ndash; please wait a couple of moments ndash; the coffee machine needs to re-power itself. Can “t resist myself from saying that at Microsoft even coffee machines need to be rebooted.

During the breakfast I was sitting at the same table with a guy wearing a sweatshirt with the AJAX logo. I “ve attended his presentation on AJAX last year. So I introduced myself, and said the I “ve attended his talk.

“Did you like it? rdquo;.

“You are a good speaker, but I do not like Ajax that much rdquo;

The guy immediately raises his sweatshirt showing a red t-shirt with the sign “Apollo rdquo; ( a product by Adobe). This was funny. Three other guys at the table are from Vietnam, and Microsoft flew them over to Redmond as well as some people from Thailand, Australia, Malasia and South Korea. Most of the people are from the USA though.

Entering the conference room hellip; first thing I usually do is hellip; try to guess hellip;I “m looking for a seat closest to the electric outlet. You won “t believe me, but there are power extenders under the tables so everyone can plug in their laptops without the need to sit somewhere in the corner on the floor by the power source.

Presentations notes

Bill Hilf, General Manager, talk on MS involvement with open source

Sample open source projects – Rotor, FlexWiki, Wix, OSS@MS Lab, put early Vista in Linux to find bugs, LinuxWorld SF, cooperation with JBoss, PHP). Why do we do this? Money, money, money. It helps to sell more Windows licenses after deals with JBoss to work with Windows Servers, PHP fixes, etc. Every time MS shows up on Slashdot, someone will leave a comment, “It “s a trap! rdquo;. SharePoint Community Kit is very important to MS. ndash; MS open source community (did not agree with the sourceforge restrictions that the code should be OSI license compliant) .

They have a term Coopetition ndash; being a partner and compete (Sun, Apple, SAP, IBM).

Someone asked about incompatibility of the MSWord 2007 format with previous versions of Word. Bill was trying to give a soft answer, but someone from the audience said “No one having a half brain would believe your last statement rdquo; hellip; Did MS expect this kind of a feedback?

Kevin Schofield, Microsoft Research

750 people in research labs. Typo-squatting names ndash;

Work whenever ndash; a funny commercial “Hi, I “m sitting among snakes and using MS Word, and it works rdquo; hellip;

Gigapixel panoramas, where you can zoom in termendeously.

Image recognition technology – Kevin puts different objects under the camera, the software scans the image and puts the name of the object next to it. If it does not recognize the object, just type in the name of the object manually, and it “ll recognize it next time. Not flawless but nice.

A video showing the interaction of virtual and visual objects. Real hands play checkers with the ghost hands.

Verifiable composability. Code should consist of smaller loosely-coupled components. CPUs are about to reach their clock limits. The power density inside the chip is way too high.

Mark Baciak, SOA

Leveraging existing assets in a loosely-coupled manner

SOA vehicles: POC, Enterprise need, fully funded project

Business Success Criteris: Agility, Reuse, Financial Savings

Technical Success Criteria: Responsiveness to business problems, access to closed systems, reduction in total costs.

Service Orientation, User Experience, Workflow, Federated Identity, Federated data.

SOA “s Multiple personality disorder. For business and for IT SOA means different things.

A real-world approach: business drivers, do not do everything at once.

SML ndash; Service Modelling Language ndash; a replacement of UML in services.

Not the most exiting preso.

Jim Hugunin , John Lam ,

Dynamic Languages on the CLR

Jim has been working with Python, Jython, Eclipse. He wanted to show that CLR is not a good platform and spend two weeks to create a prototype hellip; just to find out that Python works great on CLR. Microsoft has hired him.

This was an informal discussion that started with putting on the screen a list of questions from the audience. Some of the questions were turned back to the audience.

1. Ruby or Python, which sucks less?

I like Python ndash; it fits my mind best. Some people find the same in Ruby. There is not a big differences between them. Both of them are more powerful than JavaScript.

2. How are you going to lock us into your platform?

Iron Python was always a completely compliant implantation and is completely integrated with .Net. But hellip; s= rdquo;abc rdquo; and s.Trim() behave differently in Python and .Net. Had to do a workaround like import clr into the python code. But you may become locked in because .Net can provide you some nice libraries, which you “ll like and start using.

3. What “s the plan for PHP?

Who wants PHP running on .Net? Would you start working with .Net if it had PHP? No. MS has limited resources and the main priority is to attract more developers to .Net.

4. What is it going to take for Rails to run on top of .Net?

Why? Audience – Deployment of Ruby is a pain, it runs on a toy VM, we want to sell it to enterprise customers, but they need a real VM. Would MS Sell more Window Server licenses if it had Ruby on .Net?

5. When is the veil of silence going to be lifted?

When I started at MS, I was silent for 8 months. Things changes a lot, and we are more open now. We just released Iron Python 1.1, which has bug reports and open discussions.

6. Why dynamic languages?

I want a bit more freedom that I get in static ones. Patterns are workaround to limitations that static languageshave. Dynamic gives more power, it does less compile time checking, but you do the unit testing anyway that would check everything anyway?

7. Do we want to run the CLR in IE?

Audience ndash; we “d have very fast JavaScript and Ruby inside the browser. Testing would be easier in terms of having visibility into CLR. There are fast and and powerful competitors like Flash Player and Java VM, and this would help in debugging large AJAX applications.

8. Should dynamic languages be an intro CS100 language?

These languages are giving you a chance to start programming faster, while static languages require you to learn a lot more concepts before you even start programming.

public static void main(String[] args){

System.out.println( “Hello World rdquo;);



puts “Hello World rdquo;

9. What about IDE support?

MS ships a Python integration with Visual Studio, and you can use a debugger. Profiler works porly. A lot of people in the Python community are pretty happy with emacs or Notepad.

Cardspace, Kim Cameron

Internet was not originally created with security in mind. Now it “s identity crisis. Internet is dangerous. 25% stopped using online banking, and 22% cut back.

Microsoft passport introduced several years ago, was a big failure. You can download the paper The Laws of Identity from

The digital Identity is a set of claims made by one party about another party. You wallet consists of a number of credentials (cards), and each of these cards represents some claims. We need a metaphor so people can easily use it. Like copying a file or a folder by dragging a picture ndash; we need “thingification rdquo; of the processes.

Cardspace is not a Microsoft thing. Inter-operable software is buing built by Sun, IBM, Novell, hellip; The cardspace is only visible for the page it “s in (it “s an lt;Object gt; tag that talks to an interesting party). It “s using a public key technology and it can “t be used by the phishing sites. Other programs (like viruses) can “t see the card. The infocard itself is not your security info, it “s a pointer to a Web Service that provides verification of your identity.

XAML/WF/WCF, Don Box (one of the authors of SOAP) ,

Chris Anderson (Godfather of XAML, architect of WPF)

In the beginning: Ajax, please save us from Flash. Ho do we suck?

These speakers also asked us to come up with question so they “d key in and answered.

I asked “How far behind is WPF you comparing to Adobe Flex? rdquo;

And Don typed, rdquo;How ahead are we ahead relative to Adobe? rdquo;

Yes, we kind of suck in there and have a lot of work to do in the E2E app platform.

The CLR and JIT is better than Adobe “s. Current WPF/E run in JavaScript based visualization engine.

WCF and enterprise heterogenity?

In a real world, people are not using ActiveMQ, because it “s not available on other machines. WCF “s goal is to make Windows the best OS on the planet. In the interoperability, I “d give us a B. For Metadata I “d give us a C. In the MOM area we have suboptimal products. Indigo is A minus.

REST circa 1998?

There are five degrees of REST:

1. Get the WSDL and XSD out of my face (the methadata systems is very complex). If you are Sun on MS, you can just throw in more engineers and make it work. But if you are not, you are screwed. We should get out of the XSD schema as fast as we can.

2. Get the SOAP out of my face

SOAP itself is not evil by itself, but XSD makes it bad. If SOAP would be optional, it would be perfect.

3. Put the URI in my face

The Web works simply as GET and several POST. Web has URI. We “ll work more to improve work with URI in Indigo

4. Respect GET

The magic Internet word is GET.

5. Embrace PUT and DELETE

Reality of the Web is GET and POST.

PUT/DELETE over POST works for us.

I “m not sure 5 has massive legs, but 3 and 4 we do the best.

Who wants to sacrifice their career to fix Ballmer (originally, how to stop Ballmer from over-promising)?

I apologize, but there is nothing I can do.

Flash vs. wpf.

– WPF is a very scalable solution (it has a full stack from an internet to a desktop application, we offer the solution for various devices). The mobile piece suck, I agree.

What is XAML?

It “s JSON with angle brackets

XPS is a document format internal to WPF.

At this point Don writes on the screen, “chris keep going while I pee rdquo;.

Best Vista drivers ndash; MS Natural Video Card?

Go to

Is Microsoft viable?

Chris: What “s my motivation to work for MS ndash; I want to work with so many smart people. I get excited by people I work with. I can make a difference, and my work on wpf has an impact. MS is lots of little companies, and you can choose one to work in.

Don: and one of these companies will find a way to crash Google. But Google is the best thing that ever happen to MS. Without a strong competitor we do not do so good.

The presentation finished with discussion of why Microsoft is not cool anymore, and how Google beats them up.

One of the attendees told a story of a friend ‘s son who lives in Seattle, but does not want to work for Microsoft because he does not want to become a project manager of a dialog box. The other question for the speakers was when they will stop asking during the interviews how much water is in all American lakes? Everyone started to laugh.

This was an entertaining presentation with a little content. I might be a little old fashioned, but saying that XSD is a piece of crap is a bit too much for a presenter. You can be cool without the need to curse from the podium. Now our Vietnam friends will get an impression that this is how American software developers communicate.

It “s been a long day, getting ready for dinner.


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