PDC 2008 is incredibly exciting this year for the development community.
If you are not attending the PDC, I encourage you to go check out the keynotes and sessions that are being made publicly available to watch online.
Ray Ozzie’s keynote is one I would especially recommend. Today he announced the Windows Azure Services Platform as Microsoft’s new cloud computing and services platform, hosted in Microsoft’s data centers. Until now, when you built an application you had to think about how to build the application, what hardware it needed to run on, how much hardware to procure, and how and when to scale your business needs. Now with Windows Azure, you can focus only on the applications you’re building, not on having to buy hardware or software capacity to make your business run. You will also only pay as you grow. You pay for only the capacity and capabilities you use, and you can easily add more capacity as your business grows. You can even deal with unpredictable spikes in demand easily, by adding capacity. You now can rely on Microsoft’s data centers to host, scale, and manage your applications.
We have a great set of tools with Visual Studio and the .NET Framework, and we want developers to be able to use them to build cloud applications. We are building tools for Visual Studio to make this easier, and we’re making a preview of some of these tools available at PDC.
With the new Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio, we make it easy for Visual Studio and .NET developers to build, debug, test, and deploy Web applications for our cloud platform. You can build an ASP.NET Web application using the same tools and techniques you use today – the experience is the same. The tools include a developer cloud environment that runs on your machine, so you can test and debug your applications before deploying them. The tool will also make it very easy to deploy your applications to the cloud with just a couple of clicks. You can download the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio CTP to try it out today.
There are many more benefits of Windows Azure for the developer. It runs the .NET Framework so you can use things like ASP.NET to build your cloud Web applications. You can use all of the application features built into ASP.NET, like session state, caching, membership, and roles, with providers for Windows Azure that we have available as samples. Windows Azure has a high-scale storage service that your applications can use to store data. This storage service works great with the new ADO.NET Data Services feature in .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, so you can use it as a .NET developer.
And this is just the first step in us bringing a great cloud computing and services platform to developers. We are continuing to think about how to bring world-class tools to this space.
Other announcements that we are making at PDC surround a space that I am really excited about: Parallel Computing. I’ve talked about this in length in the past. We established the Parallel Computing Initiative in 2007 which encompasses the vision, strategy, and innovative technologies for delivering natural and immersive personal computing experiences that harness the computing power of manycore architectures. The manycore shift presents an unprecedented business opportunity for developers to take software experiences to the next level. At the same time, we understand that parallel programming is complex, difficult and labor-intensive, for even the most skilled developers.
Our goal for parallel computing is to make it simpler for both native and managed code developers to safely and productively build correct, scalable and responsive applications. Microsoft’s Parallel Computing Initiative is taking a comprehensive and integrated approach spanning solutions from local to distributed/cloud computing and from task concurrency to data parallelism.
Announcements we made today for Parallel Computing are that Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 will include programming models for concisely expressing concurrency, including new .NET Framework libraries such as the Task Parallel Library and Parallel LINQ, as well as the Parallel Pattern Library and Concurrency Runtime for developing native applications with C++ that execute efficiently on parallel hardware and parallel profiling and debugging experiences. This is all a part of the Emerging Trends pillar of Visual Studio 2010.
I have talked in the past few weeks about features of Visual Studio Team System 2010 and today I’ve talked about our parallel computing features that will be in Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 and these are both very exciting to me. But today, I’m even more excited to tell you that we have released a CTP of our Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0 products so you can actually play with these features and more. This is our first step in getting these early bits in your hands to play with and give us feedback. You can download the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 CTP today.