Wednesday, 12 September 2007

MIX:UK Day 2

Day two of MIX, was kicked off in true developer fashion with Scott Guthrie jumping straight into programming in .NET 3.5 and the new Visual Studio 2008 (formerly Codename Orcas). The two hours spent going over the new features of VS2008 not only showcased some of the new features of the development environment but in true fashion was entertaining. With the session only being a two hour slot, we were only able to scratch the surface on the new features. The new LINQ querying language was particularly impressive with demos of LINQ in action querying object, databases and more. Also demonstrated was the new WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) controls for VS2008 taking much of the functionality from Expression Web to allow the user to create stunning applications, as well as easily managing CSS.
During the break between the first set of presentations I managed to get my much anticipated interview with Scott, which if the audio turns out find will be posted up on Channel 8 with the rest of the footage that was captured at the event. Scott was a genuinely nice guy to meet and have a chat with, we managed to talk with him about a number of things from how he got started in Microsoft, where he sees the web going in a couple of years time and my personal favourite was when we asked him about the best “freebee” that he had got since he started working at Microsoft. It turns out that the best thing he received was a basket ball signed by Bill Gates asking him to come and work for the company which he still has in his office today.
After this talk we then went on to a presentation on where to get started with WPF and Silverlight applications, this talk was much more cantered towards a group of developers / designers however was still very interesting. The talk was mainly about trying to achieve the balance between design and development, as well as how the use of the internet and sites on the net has changed over the past 10 or so years. One interesting point made was the emergence of a new role, during the creation of a web app or desktop application which is a middle man between the designer and developer. This is a role well suited to people who can both develop and also have an interest in design, they are then able to easily identify if a design is far too flashy to be made into a viable application, and these member of the team would ideally be XAML gurus.
I had never heard of tech based gameshows before today but they are extremely entertaining with myself and Kevin Pfister volunteering ourselves to play. The game was called “Swaggily Fortunes” and the questions were based on the answers given in a handout at another event. I managed to win my fair share of sway and have a great time whilst doing it. Also I must say that I nearly have enough “Microsocks” to last me a week and my prized runner up trophy.
The final session of the day was dedicated to giving us a Sneak Peak into what is currently being developed with Microsoft Technologies, by themselves and third parties. We had a sneak peak at some new Halo 3 footage, a look at multicore programming and also what can be done with the Microsoft Robotics package.
The whole MIX experience has been great and I would defiantly recommend other people to attend such events as you not only get a more in depth look at the latest technologies but there are so many people there to meet and get talking to.
Hopefully I will be able to attend more events in the future, but until then keep an eye out for any footage of MIX on channel 8.

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