I attended the MSDN & TechNet events in Austin yesterday. It was held at the Regal Gateway Stadium 16 Theater. We were about 20 minutes late. I could only leave so early and it was on the north side of Austin and traffic held us up. The first session was on Exchange Server. Boring! That was a shame. We use Lotus Notes where I work, so this was totally useless information.
I was really hoping the Windows Vista session would be first. Then we could have skipped the Exchange session and actually caught an early matinee. Oh well. The Vista session was only a little bit of a kool-aid drinking affair. The first 20 – 30 minutes were on the Aero Glass interface. The rest was worthwhile for support personnel that will be deploying Vista over a lot of computers. The showed how it was possible to extract out just the version you want to install from the DVD. If you didn’t know there is one DVD that contains all the versions of Vista. The Product Key you enter determines what version gets installed. They also show how you could inject other application and settings into the install. This is great for corporate customers that are going to strip the games and drop the OS on a few thousand workstations. It would not take much effort to great a “package” that included all the standard corporate application, and all the drivers for the hardware that a company has invested in.
The real thing I was there for was the .Net information. They covered what it would take to ping a computer, send e-mail, write a web listener, and ftp from within your own .Net code in Visual Studio 2005. This was perfect for me because I have done all of those things except the web listener in my own code in Visual Basic 6.
The other sessions were on Altas, which is Microsoft’s way of implementing AJAX. This was kind of neat, but didn’t seem to great to me. It looks like Microsoft’s implementation might be a little limiting compared so some “Web 2.0″ sites I have seen. I didn’t walk out of that session thinking I would write some of the stuff I have seen.
Finally there was a session on using names pipes as a method of have computers (or services on a computer) talk to each other. This went way over my head, and seemed like a complicated we to pass some textual information between machines. However, my coworker thought is was very good. He is a .Net developer already and he thinks this would be a great way to help get information across our firewall in a safe and secure way. Whatever. I learn that when I have to worry about creating web services that need to talk across a firewall. In the mean time I need to get started with just build some web sites with Visual Studio.