After the first day of the BUILD conference I was still in the dark about a couple of, to me, quite important things. The keynote on day two didn’t change much for me; the additions to Visual Studio 11 were not a big surprise and the announcement concerning Windows Server 8 not that exciting (good though).
The first break-out session showed some improvements in VS 11 but again no big news and lots had been shown before. During lunch after ‘talking geek’ and finding out that others were in the dark as well (so it was confirmed that it wasn’t just me being stupid) I went to see Harry Pierson and we had a good talk that cleared up some issues but he told me I should attend two specific sessions. These sessions were already on my list so I guess I was just being impatient. On the other hand: the sessions proved to be so insightful to me as a developer that I can not understand why their contents were not part of the keynote. Mind you, I really appreciate the keynote sessions this year for being (mostly) technical and focused on us as developers. My guess is that the teams were so proud and exited about what they had been doing for 2 years and not allowed to talk about it that they completely forgot to put themselves in our shoes and started from the inside when they should have started on the outside of their efforts.
The two session that were excellent and gave me the answers that I was looking for were:
- PLAT-874T Lap around the Windows Runtime by Martyn Lovell
- Tool-531T using the Windows runtime from C# and Visual Basic by Jesse Kaplan and Harry Pierson
I am going to try to redeliver these talks (I might merge them into a single presentation) in the Netherlands and I can’t wait to do that.
So what issues that I had were solved by these talks? In short:
- What exactly is the Windows Runtime?
- What is this Projection thing they keep talking about?
- Is the .NET CLR still present?
- How does this all work?
If you want the answers on this watch the videos of these sessions or invite me to come and explain.
The questions that remain are:
- Metro apps look great for consumers but will they be useful for line of business apps too?
- Non-Metro apps such as WinForms, WPF and Silverlight out-of-browser applications do not integrate with the new Windows 8 experience. I think they will feel as awkward as console applications on a Windows 7 machine. How will the users respond to that?
I do not think the two last days will answer these as only time will tell.