I was able to attend the PDC this year. I haven't attended one since 2001 when the development changed with the formal announcement of Hailstorm. Well, Hailstorm didn't change development...it never even saw the light of day after PDC 2001. What changed the landscape back then was the announcement of .NET.
Seven years later, .NET gets a new logo. The original design was to be attached to other Microsoft brands as a suffix. The result ended up to a logo that didn't stand well on its own and sort of lacked impact. I have to admit, it a bit bland. You'd see .NET in all caps everywhere in print, but the logo itself was all lower case. Go figure. IMO, the new logo is an improvement. Kind of like the new SQL Server brand logo...more upbeat, more fluid. But I digress.
This PDC, development didn't change like it did back in 2001, but the platform you could be developing for did. We announced our operating system for cloud computing, Windows Azure, and the Azure Services Platform. The services platform consists of: Live Services, .NET Services, SQL Services, SharePoint Services, and Dynamics CRM Services. I'm sure you're thinking, "oh great, Microsoft is now getting into the Windows Hosting space like DiscountASP.NET, Orcas, and other hosters." That's not true. This competes directly with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) as a scalable hosting environment where developers can build and host their applications in the cloud. The platform is currently in Beta and is planned to ship in the second half of 2009.
Another platform that was announced was Windows 7. Attendees of the PDC received a special CTP release of Windows 7 that they can install on their computers. Several of the key tenants of Windows 7 is its reduction of resource utilization and boot up time. These are definitely a few things I'm looking forward to because it disheartening to see an OS that takes up 30-40% of resources just after bootup. Run a few apps, I don't have enough resources to run any virtual environments. I spoke with someone at the show and they had already installed Win7 on a laptop that had a 1.6 GHz CPU with 1 GB of memory, and he said its running faster than his XP installation.
And what's a PDC without talking about our development platform? The next release of Visual Studio Team System definitely had a presences at the event. there are several "Lap Around" sessions providing overviews of what's to come in the VSTS Client and Server products. Over the next few months, I'll try to articulate key features coming out in the VSTS 2010 and TFS 2010 releases based on the CTP that's now available.
Oslo definitely had a presences at the PDC. Why? Because PDCs are events to show emerging technology coming from Microsoft. Sometimes the emerging technology gets release (like .NET), others are never seen again as they were originally intended to be (like Hailstorm), and others just become underline technology for other features (IMO elements of WinFS have been absorbed into Windows Desktop Search in Vista and WinServer 2008). Oslo is the codename for our modeling platform. Being a bear of very little brain, my current understanding of Oslo is Model Driven Architecture and Design meets Domain Specific Languages. But there are much smarter people in the Microsoft blogsphere talking about this, so I'll leave it up to them to explain it in great detail.
As new bits of everything shown at the PDC starting emerging on the net and this year almost being over, 2009 is definitely going to be an interesting year for developers.