Why You Want To Book Your PDC2008 Ticket NOW…

PDC2008: Microsoft Professional Developers Conference If you're into any of the technologies that this blog covers, you'll be mad if you miss the Professional Developers Conference this year. It's actually been three years since our last PDC, so we're overdue! I'm really excited about all the things we're going to be covering at the PDC this year: those of you who have attended the conference in the past will know that we only run a PDC when there is major news to share, and we've got some killer content this year. Registration opened yesterday, so now is a good time to get ahead of the crowd.

We keep most of the session titles under wraps until the event starts - this is a future-orientated conference, after all. But even from the session abstracts we've posted so far, you'll see sessions that cover the Live Mesh, Internet Explorer 8, Windows 7 (including details on how to program for the multi-touch feature we showed off this week at Walt Mossberg's D conference), as well as really hardcore deep-dive sessions on topics like the internals of the Silverlight rendering pipeline and our internal usage of Team Foundation Server.

But there's one other thing that has me salivating about the PDC as a WPF developer. Jaime Rodriguez (content owner for the pre-conference) has secured none other than Charles Petzold to deliver a one-day session on WPF. Charles Petzold! If you've been living on Mars for the last twenty years, Charles is a titan of the Windows programming world, having written several seminal titles, including no less than two books on WPF. Indeed, Jeff Atwood describes him as "the guy who put the h in hWnd". Charles is a hero of mine - he writes concisely, precisely, knowledgeably and articulately. I remember bringing a stack of copies of his first WPF book to a team meeting; the product architects were as eager to read his verdict on their platform as a Broadway theater director is to see the early papers after opening night.

Charles isn't one of those speakers who seems to be permanently on the conference circuit - in fact it's pretty rare that you get the chance to see him "live" at all, even though he delivers some amazing lectures when he does present. This is a unique opportunity that you just don't want to miss if you're building your mastery of WPF. Here's what Charles wrote for the pre-conference abstract:

This session will go deep into WPF and explain the infrastructure and services that WPF introduces. Begin with a solid foundation in dependency properties. Advance to the retained-mode graphics system and visuals. Explore the layout model, routed input events, and data binding. Discover control customization with styling and templates. Finish the day with an array of powerful graphics facilities, including animation and 3D. After attending this code-heavy, few-slides session you will have all the great insights needed to develop responsive and dynamic WPF applications that are easy to build and maintain.

One day of Charles talking about WPF - that's worth the conference admission price alone!

Comments (14)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Gulp… "FULL CONFERENCE REGISTRATION  $2395 USD" + airfare + hotel + eating

     As much as I would dearly love to see/hear a Charles Petzold session, I think I might better afford a copy of "The Annotated Turing"

     Any hope of publishing PDC sessions with all this nifty new WPF/Silverlight/LiveMesh etc technology? Maybe MS could gain a bit of good will for its media technology by using it for publishing live PDC sessions. I think MIX2008 did a great job of publishing important sessions.

     If MS Labs gets really busy, I’m very willing to use a bit of my savings to buy a video zune for watching PDC sessions published in that new DeepZoom MultiScaleVideo  🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think Randy makes some good points.  

    IMHO it is well-past time for a live fully virtual major conference.  If you can live-stream a huge event like the Olympics, doing the same for the PDC should be easy.

    Is MS going to buy some carbon-credits to compensate for all the jet-fuel burned to _physically_ move bodies to the conference ;-)?

  3. Great post, Tim! The Charles Petzold talk should be fantastic.

    @randy: This is the same group that delivers the MIX events, and you can be sure that we’ll have an improved way of delivering recorded sessions (unfortunately, not pre-cons). For MIX08, we averaged under 12 hours to turn around and publish each session. Of course, there’s nothing that can replace being at the event, but this is the next best thing.

    @Alan: We’ve thought about doing a "live" virtual event. Turns out, because of our international audience and time zone differences, streaming live isn’t always the best option. The feedback has been: if we can turn aroud the videos quickly and make them available (like we will), the content will still be fresh…and it can be watched at thier convenience. Plus, not everyone can block time during their work day/night to catch the sessions they’d like to see.

    Also, related to being green at PDC2008: http://blogs.msdn.com/mswanson/archive/2008/05/12/being-green-at-pdc2008.aspx

  4. Anonymous says:


    Don’t think I’m not a fan of Petzold’s (I am !) but

    I think you (and Jeff Atwood) are giving the wrong Charles credit for putting the ‘ h in hWnd’. That’s Hungarian notation and it was Charles Simonyi who introduced it at Microsoft, way back in the eighties.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mike (mswanson),

    Regarding a hypothetical live broadcasting of the PDC:  Seems like there are a lot of parallels with the Olympics.  If it makes sense there, it should make sense for the PDC.  The Olympics deal is supposed to offer both live and recorded delivery of the content. Both are important.  The Olympics viewers are world-wide in all 24 time zones.  Some people will go out of there way to get up early or late to see their favorite events live.  Personally if I had to get up at 5AM to see a cool presentation live, I likely would do it, especially if I could watch it at home via broadband. Then I’d watch the recorded version again later.

    The "liveness" of the event is part of what draws people to the event itself.  It adds to the overall marketing appeal and buzz.  On Sunday I watched the live video of the mars landing.  Cool.

    One of the pitches for the Olympics project is supposed to be the "social-networking" aspects of the special custom Silverlight video viewer.  That might work well for a conference like the PDC too.

    Alan Cobb

  6. Tim Sneath says:

    Hi Sven, you’re completely right – it was Simonyi who gets the credit (or blame, depending on your perspective!) for Hungarian notation as a coding convention.

    What I presume Jeff meant (and certainly the way I took it) was that Charles’ role was so pivotal in educating the world about Win32 USER / GDI programming that he is inextricably linked with the technology – in the same way as someone might say that Andy Warhol is synonymous with pop art.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify.


  7. @Alan: Thanks for articulating your thoughts about live broadcasts. It might help if I share some other factors. While PDC is definitely an exciting event, we don’t break world records or have tense competitive moments that demand real-time viewing. Our big moments are generally in the keynote sessions when we announce new products and technologies, and we do stream all keynotes live (and record them). As you can probably guess, streaming live is an expensive proposition, and bandwidth in and out of convention centers can also be challenging. Because we do have a budget for the event, we have to make decisions about what we prioritize, and to-date, we’ve chosen to prioritize live keynotes and recorded sessions (with quick turnaround). I’d like to hear more about the importance of "live," though, if you think it’d be more important than recorded. Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I vote for recorded (live is not necessary for me anyway) I’m generally more interested in the sessions than the keynotes. Keynote buzz gets picked up in the blog world pretty much and seems to focus on market issues rather than tech details. On the other hand session presentations are much more useful for learning a new technology.

  9. Anonymous says:


    Regarding the exploit-ability of "liveness":  Another content delivery system MS has a lot invested in, is the "events / web-casts" site.  Although the web-casts are recorded and available after the events, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the initial "live" delivery of the presentations.  Hence _they_ must see some value in "liveness".  One thing that allows is questions from the remote audience.  Can you imagine a college without live lectures, only recorded ones?

    Perhaps you could turn (some of) the PDC sessions into live webcasts, including taking remote audience questions at the same time as questions from local physical attendees.  A first step might be to have a custom Silverlight player for the keynotes, which are already streamed live.  The player would let the worldwide audience type in questions like the existing MS "events / web-casts" system.  (Let me know if you want me to write such a SL app for you ;).

    Alan Cobb

  10. Thanks, guys. Don’t get me wrong…there’s definite value in "live," and we recognize that. But when we have to choose between the two options for sessions (live or recorded), recording seems to come out ahead in the vote. In the future, I can easily see conferences becoming more virtual, and live Q&A done over the internet would make perfect sense.

  11. Anonymous says:

    My humble suggestion:

    Forget conferences, talks, blogging and hype.

    Heck, lock yourselves in and finish the job, finish the API and features and rewrite it in something that executes faster than poor CLR JIT.

    WPF needs some serious performance work beyond 3.5 SP1, 2, 3 and 5.

    It is not succeeding at all and will not until people can find it snappy, with great control support, with capability to handle heavy graphics load.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Re: Charles’ book "Applications = Code + Markup".

    I’ve read it, and I’d have to say it’s very details but it’s pretty much entirely without illustration/screenshots, so you really need your head in gear to read it.  It’s kind of like the Lord of the Rings.  It focuses first on doing things with code.

    If you want the lighter Hobbit with nice Hollywood CGI, go for Windows Presentation Foundation Unleashed by Adam Nathan.  This one is more XAML based first.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Re: Virtual conference.

    "there’s nothing that can replace being at the event", but does that really matter for most people, when it was possible to see more mix content remotely than someone who attended and then wastes time travelling.  The benefit of physical attendance is a physical meetup with MS workers and then there’s no guarantee.  Let’s not forget the partying of course…

    I’m sure it’s possible to improve on the 12-hour pipeline., but I believe people will break their sleeping habbits to see a good keynote – I would.

    Virtual PDC will be interesting but a real ‘crime’ would occur if it becomes chargeable (though virtual Mix08 was free) – if so, it would weaken the differentiation of being their in person.

  14. Anonymous says:

    P.S. One great reason for attending PDC may be if you are interested in working for Microsoft, preferably working remotely of course.  For the right job offer, I’d go 😉

    P.P.S.  My spelling has gone to pot in the previously comments.

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