Ok, so the title is juvenile and I know it but I just couldn’t help myself. All joking aside, yesterday’s Microsoft launch event was a great time. There was plenty of content showing off what is probably the biggest launch in Microsoft history. Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 headlined the show but the .Net 3.0 sessions were where my interests lie.
Yes, I know Vista’s great looking and all but I have yet to really get into it – mostly because running it in a VM means you don’t get the “wow” expereience (read: Aero/Glass) but here’s my take on thing thus far. Sidebar widgets don’t do much for me since I have Yahoo Widget Engine (nee: Konfabulator) and it’s works ok. The search to launch on the start button seems like a nice feature to have baked into the OS but I have Google Desktop and SlickRun so I’m doing most of that already. Those were the two main features that I got from the demos and maybe I’ve missed something but that’s not a good enough reason to drop my cash for an upgrade. We’ll see how this progresses.
So on to the good stuff – .Net 3.0. So let’s not quibble about why it’s 3.0 versus 2.5 since it really is just dropped on top of the 2.0 framework let’s get to what’s cool. Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is basically providing a unified way to utilize previously disparate protocols – WS-*/WSE, Web Services, .Net Remoting, et al. while hosting them in a variety of processes so that you’re no longer tied to IIS. Very nice. I like to think of this as similar to the data access portion of the applications.
Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) provides a framework for creating workflows within your applications without having to roll your own every time as well as the ability to put workflow into your interface. We’ve all had to do this at some point or another, since all applications have this to some degree but now it’s significantly easier and standardized. I tend to think of this as a piece of the business logic for the applications.
Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is the big one. WCF and WF are “nice” but they lack the visual impact of WPF. In the past few years, the web movement has come a long way in getting the message out about separation of presentation and content (I’ve you’ve missed this, I recommend you go read Designing With Web Standards by Jeffery Zeldman IMMEDIATELY). By keeping the CSS and the XHTML separate we’re able to manage change much easier and a re-tooling of the “look and feel” doesn’t (generally) require changes to the underlying data. This lesson has apparently been learned in Redmond and so they’ve given us – XAML. I’m not going to get into it since I’m giving a presentation on it at the Dallas .Net User Group on March 8th so you can come see that or just wait until I post on it but it’s really a vast improvement.
These events are so much fun and I really enjoy getting to meet and see various people, in addition to the nice swag as we don’t always have faces to put with the names that float around our communities. Speaking of “community” – Caleb was wondering about with his camera taping for CommunityCast.tv so I’ll put a link up here once he gets it edited and up on the site. And I told him I would put a link in for my t-shirt so here it is: yp != mp (and a few others I’ve made for fun).