Peer Networking Fun

Windows Vista brings host of features to market that are waiting to be utilized by enterprising ISVs in their apps.  Yes, I know you've heard that before, but I think it's worth repeating and directing your attention to the peer networking capabilities of Vista.  They got my attention recently on a train ride with one of my non-technical colleagues.

While on board, miles from any wireless access point and devoid of USB key drives, we had a need to collaborate on a document before our upcoming meeting.  Desperate for a way to share files, I remembered hearing about the Windows Meeting Space and took a shot that it might help us out.  After a quick scan of the online help, I asked my colleague to turn on her wireless NIC:

"What's a wireless NIC, Mr. Geek?" (I mentioned that this was a non-technical colleague...)
"That switch on the front of your laptop"
"Wow - do you have *any* idea what I'm talking about?  This is supposed to be so easy that even *you* could use it..."

An NC-17 monologue in which my phylogeny was called into question followed, but once we got past that...

"Thanks for that - now go to the start menu and type 'Windows Meeting Space'"
"Oh wow - cool!"
"Yup - click 'Join a meeting near me' - see the meeting I set up?"
"The one that says 'MrGeeksMeeting'?"
"That would be it."

A few moments later, we were able to share files thanks to the Vista and a little IPv6 magic.

Well, sharing files is great, but ISVs can do much better than that.  The WCF peer channel opens up some pretty interesting possibilities for apps to discover one another and enable collaboration across a wide range of network infrastructures, or even (as I discovered) in the absence of a network infrastructure.  All you need is a peer-aware app and a cooperative colleague.

Based on my experience, I'm putting my money on the peer-aware apps to outnumber the cooperative colleagues by a wide margin - at least in this neck of the woods...

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