Day 2 at TechEd: Windows for IoT, Azure Stream Analytics and the Future of .NET

Yesterday TechEd Europe kicked off with a series of keynotes (recap day 1), while today the more in-depth sessions were planned. Picking sessions is always difficult, “choosing is losing” they say; so many great choices. Luckily all sessions are recorded and already many of them are online on Channel 9.

The first session I attended was Windows for IoT presented by Steve Teixeira. Internet of Things is quite a hype nowadays with many definitions around and the projections for the potential market in the coming years increase every week. But in the end it always comes down to connected devices. Microsoft differentiates 3 classes of devices, and with Windows 10 every class has its own flavor of Windows running (notice the names are not yet fixed):

  • Standard (e.g. point-of-sales terminals, ATMs, kiosks): Windows 10 “Industry”, almost the same as your desktop/laptop version of Windows 10.
  • Mobile (e.g. handheld device, handheld terminal): Windows 10 “Mobile”, almost the same as your Windows Phone version of Windows 10.
  • Compact (e.g. IoT Gateways, Printers, Diagnostic Test Equipment): Windows 10 “Athens”, details are sparse at the moment, but keep an eye on the Microsoft IoT page on GitHub for future details.

While all device classes have their own flavor of Windows 10, it’s important to understand they all run the same core and it’s the same platform. So they can all  be managed the same way, they can all be deployed the same way, the all run the same universal apps and they all use the same proven security and trust mechanisms. And for those of you who are wondering what’s happening with the .NET Micro Framework (e.g. running on smart sensors): we are doubling down our investments so you can expect new releases over here too.

On a side note, but also related to IoT, we announced the preview of Azure Stream Analytics: an IoT data stream and event processing engine that provides real-time analyticson large ammounts of data coming from Things like devices, sensors, infrastructure, applications and data. Think of it as follows: when you are logging for example cars that are passing on a highway and at a certain point in time you need to tell how many red cars have passed in the last hour. Typically with traditional SQL statements you would stop the traffic, guide all the cars to parking spots according to their color, and count them. While with Azure Stream Analytics it is possible to define queries on the data that’s streaming in. As I said, pretty exciting in IoT scenarios. More details on IoT Streaming Analytics, Data Production and Workflow Services here.

Another Azure workload component announced in preview at Teched is Data Factory which enables you to process on-premises data like SQL Server, together with cloud data like Azure SQL Database, Blobs, and Tables. These data sources can be composed, processed, and monitored through simple, highly available, fault-tolerant data pipelines.

Another session I attended was The Future of C# and Visual Basic, but actually the session could have been called The Future of .NET as well, since pretty much everything discussed was applicable both to C# and VB.NET. Kevin Pilch-Bisson introduced the new Roslyn compilers for .NET: open-source C# and Visual Basic compilers with rich code analysis APIs. These compilers allow you to build code analysis tools with the same APIs that Microsoft is using to implement Visual Studio. A pretty cool fact to know is that the Roslyn compilers are actually written in C# and VB.NET. Think about that, really “meta” isn’t it? Now the cool thing is Roslyn will allow for example Visual Studio to do much smarter code refactorings, richer code analysis and introduces new language innovations. Kevin explained quite a lot of these language innovations coming with the next version of Visual Studio (which you can test as a CTP already today!). Too many to list, but let me mention just one: the await statement will be allowed in catch/finally blocks of a try/catch. You could say, developers have been “waiting for it” (pun intended). I highly recommend to check out Roslyn on CodePlex: you can see the stuff we are working on and provide us feedback on what you think about it.

So, another interesting day in Barcelona but the day is not yet over: tonight we are having the BeLux country drink near the beach. I’m already looking forward to report on the party!  🙂