So I definitely slept better last night, in part from the lack of sleep yesterday, and also thanks to the open bar MS provided at the attendee-exclusive party. Had some wonderfully interesting conversations, but I’ll get to that later.
The day started with a keynote by one of the head designers at Microsoft and followed by Scott Gunthrie (sp?) – aka The Gu. The whole keynote had a “MacWorld” feel to it, and the majority of it was announcing new technologies or the official release of technologies we’ve heard about or have been in beta for awhile. A lot of focus was given to Silverlight 3 and Expression Blend 3 (which are now available as betas, I recommend we give them a look – Blend 3 has intellisense!). They also featured some industry big shots like head of sports at NBC talking about silverlight used for the Olympics, one of the high ups at Netflix talking about their streaming player and inline installs, and the founders of Stack Overflow (stackoverflow.com – like expert exchange but it actually works) talking about why they went with ASP.NET MVC over other techs and pushing the new BizSpark program.
From there we hit up 3 seminars. I checked out one on RESTful Services, which was really informative and detailed the REST starter kit you can get for VS. After that was Web Development with VS Now & the Future – as you can guess this detailed the current capabilities in VS 2008, but spent the majority of the session demoing VS 2010 features that will be really awesome. I finished the day with Data-Driven Apps in Silverlight and ASP.NET, which focused on the RIA framework that MS is going to / has already shipped (I don’t know if it’s out yet). A lot of neat things are showing up in this area and although they focused on Silverlight and ASP.NET I think we can probably use some of the techniques.
So far it looks like .NET 4 and VS 2010 are following in the footsteps of .NET 3 / 3.5 and really just adding more tools to make the things we currently do that much easier, which I personally enjoy. I don’t want to get into details cause then no one will come to our presentation, but there’s some neat stuff on the horizon.
After everything was wrapped up Thu and I headed over to Tao, a restaurant / nightclub in the hotel that MS booked strictly for attendees. The food was amazing, the free booze was even better, but the one thing I truly enjoyed was the conversations we had with other developers. I found Eric from Penny Arcade and we had a really decent discussion about their whole business process and some of the internal issues PA has faced that no one outside of the company’s bubble really knows about, which I found amazing. We talked with Rodrigo from Mexico City about his role as a Microsoft Trainer for the majority of Mexico and parts of Spain, as well as the development environment down there. We talked to a student from Iowa about the techniques he’s learning and his experience as a coder at NASA. Conversations we would have never had outside of this event, which I’m extremely grateful for.
Our band is set to perform today at Noon (vegas time) for the first heat, where they select the top 4 bands to participate in the final at 7:30 (you might be able to watch us at visitmix.com ). As far as I can tell there aren’t more than 6 bands registered between both heats, so I don’t know what they’re going to do for that. All other bands I’ve seen perform haven’t broke 300,000, and our band broke 550,000 the first time we played, so I think we’ve got it in the bag.