Microsoft TechEd Europe 2009 in Berlin, Tuesday

Day two was also mixed. Three good presentations and two wastes of time. Berlin Messe is really a huge complex. I've noted that some have complained about the long distances between session rooms, technical learning center, lunch and so on. Yes, it was more compact in Barcelona, however I didn't find it to be a big issue. With 30 minutes between sessions it is not a problem. The conference material states that there would be no wifi connectivity inside session rooms (which seemed a bit odd in these times of twittering), but it turned out that it was only in a few session rooms this was true. I had good enough connectivity in most session rooms.

OFS215 Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Introduction for Developers – Paul Andrew

Paul Andrew is on the SharePoint team and provided a very good overview of the new features in 2010 for developers. The level of speed and depth were perfect for me, which is seldom the case in a session. However, if you knew more about SharePoint it might have been a little too slow. But it is of course impossible to please all listeners.

A few things I particularly liked:

Final verdict: this session was good.

DEV317 Agile Patterns: Agile Estimation  РStephen Forte

Getting your estimates correct is always difficult. I can’t say that Stephen Forte introduced something substantially new that will make all your estimates be right from now on. But that was of course not his intention either (pigs can’t fly). He did have a few tips and points though, and it is obvious that he has been around enough projects to know what he is talking about.

Some good points to remember:

Final verdict: this session was good.

INT305 Code Walkthrough of a Cloud Application Running on the Windows Azure Platform – Kurt Claeys

This session was presented by last years winner of Speaker Idol. I don’t know if that knowledge beforehand, would have changed my choice, though, since that should mean that the presenter has really taken the time to prepare a great session. This was unfortunately not the case. Not that the code didn’t work, but it was really really boring with no feeling for what the audience might be interested in.
Anyway, I did write down a few notes:
  • When running a fabric simulation locally, Azure tables are actually tables in a sql server express database. [This confused some participants, Kurt didn’t explain exactly what the difference is.]
  • Azure Blobs has a REST api.
  • There is both a PartitionKey and a RowKey when dealing with Azure tables. [Need to investigate exactly what this means – another missed opportunity for the presenter to enlighten the audience.]
  • Windows Azure can run in full trust, but you need to set attribute enableNativeCodeExecution in config file.
  • There is a Linq-to-Azure-tables api.
  • WCP has support for duplex binding, and the NetEventRelayBinding can be used to have your code be notified.
Final verdict: this session was a waste of time!

DAT206 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Demo Power Hour – Donald Farmer

This was a waste of time for me. Some part because it was an IT session and not a developer session. Some part because the presentors had some problems and didn’t seem prepared. For that matter, maybe also because SQL2008 R2 doesn’t really have anything new or interesting in it besides Powerpivot which seemed more like an Office/Excel update.

  • SQL2008 R2 is simply a refresh and not a new release with upgrade paths etc.
  • SQL2008 R2 was known as the BI release, but since then more features have been added.
  • Project Madison = SQL2008 R2 Parallel Warehouse, will handle hundreds of terabytes on commodity hardware.
  • Powerpivot is a separate application/download. Looks like Excel 2010. Instant sorting and filtering of 100.000.000 rows. Data file only takes up 200 MB, good compression.
  • SQL2008 R2 CTP releases next week.
  • Powerpivot gallery in SharePoint 2010.
Final verdict: this session was a waste of time!

DEV04-IS Pumping Iron: Dynamic Languages on the Microsoft .NET Framework – Harry Pierson

First “interactive session” of this years TechEd for me. This format is a bit of an oddball. I normally prefer to sit back and enjoy a lot of information and demos. Now, as it usually turns out, most interactive sessions end up this way anyway and so did this one. Harry Pierson is obviously very passionate about IronPython (in a good way!). It was very interesting to hear his thoughts about dynamic languages place in the .NET world.

Google is doing a project where they are trying to improve Python performance by a factor of 5. Harry didn’t think they would make it because of inherent problems with performance of dynamic languages.

Some notes from the session:

Final verdict: this session was great!

SQL2008 R2 was known as the BI release, but since then more features have been added

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