PDC thoughts – Thursday General Session

We don't pay attention to servers. By that I mean that the developer's bread-and-butter server (SQL Server) gets all the glory in a lot of situations, but there is so much that people could do to leverage other servers to save work! I've frequently heard that 9 out of 10 feature requests for Word, for example, are things that are already in the product, it's just people didn't know they are there. It's probably the same case for servers. Especially for enterprise developers and ISVs, knowledge about the fact that one can tie in to AD for authentication/authorization, to MOM for instrumentation and monitoring, and more, is elusive at best. And with some of the stuff I saw today, it's only going to get worse. 🙂

On another note, I saw some amazing things in today in IIS 7. First I was floored by the annoucement that the Metabase is being killed off, with configuration happening now through web.config files, enabling true XCOPY deployment that includes config information for IIS. Next, I was quite impressed when I saw that IIS7 is entirely modular now, allowing you to indicate just the modules you need for an application. Not using forms authentication? Don't include a reference in the web.config. Now, during the demo, they showed a directory listing of jpg images as part of the navigation, and I wondered why they did that. Well, it was the setup for the part of the demo that made my jaw hit the floor. The IIS modules are so modular, you can write your own handlers and plug them right into IIS via the web.config file. The demo actually showed a replacement for the default way a directory listing is returned, so instead of just the list of files in the directory, it actually rendered an attractive "gallery" page with each image displayed. Pretty awesome!

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