Me goes to Redmond. Day 3.

Continuing taking notes at the Microsoft Technology Summit 2007…

Starting with some random things.

We were told that the attire is business casual, but in the reality, majority of MS employees are just wearing jeans.

There is this blog Mini Microsoft . The guy works for Microsoft, but writes anonymously. No one knows who s/he is, but MS employees like the fact that this person not only identifies what “s wrong at MS, but also offers some suggestions on how to improve things.

Microsoft has its own a very slick version of maps (is every one else knew this all along?). Check the Microsoft ‘s maps out . They have stuff similar to Google Earth, and they have Europe too, check out the Paris map. The good thing is that you do not need to know exact address ndash; just right-click and select driving directions to this point (Yahoo! maps has this feature too, Google is lagging behind. Boo.)

The morning started with MS guys asking for more feedback ndash; just write you suggestion on the white board. My complain is about Vista “s reincarnation of GPF and lack of drivers for various devices. There was a suggestion that the speakers should better explain how things actually work. I said some speakers were not prepared for giving talks. Walking on the podium in shorts and sandals is cool, as long as they give us some content.

Security at Microsoft, Michael Howard

Security team meets with Bill G. and he kills the initiatives unless some real progress is shown.

A question from the audience, “Can I (a third party-person) sign up for your security training class? rdquo;

Michael, “If you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement I do not have problem with this. rdquo;

They work hard on threat modeling, have tools, but tools are not a replacement for human. Having good engineers is very important.

The rest of the session is about various ways of finding security bugs in Windows Vista.

All of a sudden, a meeting reminder pops up on the screen, and one of items reads Head Home, 17 hours overdue.

– Do you really have to put this reminder?

– Yes, I actually also have Eat and Read reminders.

Michael obviously knows his stuff, and I guess the message from this presentation is “MS cares about security rdquo;. Got the message.

Sam Ramji , Open Source Lab

In 1995, we “d say that MS is the company that missed the Internet. Now you might say that MS is the company that missed the open source. My job is to make sure that it “s not the case. We address interoperability issues, i.e. if you are connecting from your Vista PC to your office Linux workstation. Steve Ballmer told them ndash; go to the product teams and make them cry ndash; show them what “s available for free in the open source community.

We care about Samba. We “ve invited top FireFox developers discussing problems with them. Port 25 is the place where we talk to the community.

The speaker goes, “How many people are software engineers? rdquo; Lots of hands. “How many people are still writing software? rdquo; Lots of hands and one guy says “I “m doing it right now rdquo;. It “s funny.

VP Sanjay Pathasarathy, VP Keynote

Sanjay has started as evangelist for Windows 3.0. OK, yet another volunteer that does not really have to work anymore.

He oversees the blogging community at MS.

Started an effort called Channel 9, probably you “ve heard about it. No, I did not. He enjoys art and photography. Works with various communities (i.e. student ambassadors, competitions etc).

Mentoring tone hellip;Asks for feedback hellip;

From the audience, rdquo;We were told that MS is like thousand small startups, and it “s not clear who to talk to rdquo;.

“I can put money and resources if needed hellip; rdquo;

73% use .Net and 37% use Java.

Mentoring tone hellip;Behaves like a star hellip;May be he is hellip;But where is the show?

From the audience, “I run the computing department of a college. We have 76 applications in our teaching process, and I “ve yet to see one that works with Vista rdquo;.

“I “ll get you the information rdquo;.

“How come that you make Vista incompatible with your own applications, this is a dumb thing to do! rdquo;

“Apparently we believed that this was the right thing to do hellip; We did it for the right reasons hellip; rdquo; Sanjai sounds as if he knows some secret reason, but can not explain it to mere mortals like us.

“We should have done a better job telling people which applications do not work with Vista hellip;This was bugging me for two weeks, maybe Wiki is a way to go rdquo;.

I did not learn much from this talk hellip;

Internet Information Server 7, Bill Staples , Carlos Aguilar Mares

The IIS team has only 15 developers. Not enough to build a Web platform.

IIS6 was a monolithic server implementation. IIS7 is a componentized server, which enables lightweight servers. Live demo of creating logging C# managed module that insert log messages into a SQLServer database. It “s only 40 lines of code.

Now IIS supports PHP. Live demo. Output caching increases throughput from 56 requests per sec to 8000 requests per sec.

ASP.Net 2.0 Ajax, Joe Stagner

Audience, “Does you AJAX works with J2EE applications? rdquo;

“Lot “s of folks are looking at AJAX from the eye-candy components perspective. More interesting is what kind of applications you can build with Ajax rdquo;. Joe gave a sample of a mashup for Domino pizza, where a caller id brings the address, photo of the house and calculates the optimal route for 4-5 pizza deliveries.

They have AJAX extensions, client library (JavaScript-based browser independent), control toolkit , futures CTP, and additions.

Audience, “Why not use one of the existing client libraries and build your own? rdquo;

“I do not think any of the available client libraries provides all features we need. rdquo;

Joe is building a Web site in Visual studio. Quick and easy. Drag and drop Ajax control with auto code generation. Event-driven programming in xml.

“Joe, how much is this Visual Studio that you are using? rdquo;

“It “s free rdquo;

“How much is your soul? rdquo;

Many enterprise clients believe that AJAX will decrease the server load ndash; it exactly the opposite.

WSDL stands for We Suffer Daily Language. ndash; is a web design site.

My questions: rdquo;XMLHttpRequest was introduced by Microsoft in 1999, it “s still not standardized, what are the plans? rdquo;

“XMLHttpRequest was introduced to support Web version of the outlook, today “s it “s an ActiveX control for IE6, but it “s not the case for IE7 rdquo;

“Does it mean that all existing applications would need to modify code to move to IE7? rdquo;

“There was no easy way to retrofit new solution to IE6, but only instantiation of XMLHttpRequest will change, but you already have this is-statement anyway to check the browser. The rest will stay the same rdquo;.

WPF and WPF/E, Celso Gomes, Interactive Media Designer

MS Expression Blend ndash; similar to Flash with timelines. Download Blend and see six samples there. Some of the sample use C# and some of them just Blend.

Good separation of work between designers and developers. Design is delivered as XAML and given to developers. And vice versa ndash; a developer gives the code to the designer who just drags and drops the name of the code handler on the GUI control.

Drag XML to a control and it binds it to the control you need.

After initial creation of the control you can turn it into a new reusable User Control.

Now you can create an animation using timeline.

Grand Piano is a really cool application ndash; you can press the keys and it plays the note.

A demo of the book with turning pages. Ely Greenfield from Adobe has created a similar Flex component.

The demo of the 3D component with video and sounds that uses WPF engine is next.

WPF/E demo that reuses the same book and piano components. In this version there is no C#, but JavaScript is compiled on the fly and an ActiveX plays it. There is a version for FireFox and Safari as well.

Adobe Flex has a very serious competitor.

Xbox Extensibility, Jason Mauer

XNA moves .Net to game development. Most of the games were written in C++, but since 2006 it “s XNA. There are XNA frameworks for PC and for Xbox, and the framework is royalty free. There is an IDE called XNA Game Studio Express.

Performance is great both on PC and Xbox. There is a community called XNA Creators Club.

Here comes the demo of Xbox 360 running. Then Joe creates a game using Visual studio and a Spacewar Starter Kit.

What “s left? A visit to the Microsoft company store (we can purchase goods for $120 at employees prices), then quick dinner and back to the airport. Since I won “t stay for the third day, I “ll write a quick summary on the plane.

P.S. The Microsoft store sells their software for their employees for cheap. For example, Vista Professional is 45 bucks, Office professional $60 or so. XBox 360 is $435. I did not buy the software as we were promised to get a one year free MSDN subscription. I bought Micrrosoft games for PC, i.e. a Flight Simulator DVD costs $15.


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