Here are some conclusions that I have drawn from four days at the PDC. Microsoft did not say any of this, but I have drawn these conclusions based on their messages and behaviors at PDC. Here they are and by no means is this an exhaustive list, it is just based on my personal experience this week:
- The Influence of Dynamic Languages. From the DLR to the dynamic static type in C#, you can see the effect of Ruby (and Python) on Microsoft. Anders is not a language purist and said that C# will draw on benefits from functional programming, dynamic languages and statically typed languages. He also said that languages with a single focus are going doomed to fail and languages that are more flexible will succeed. To me this was the largest news from the PDC, it shows Microsoft’s reaction to “Web 2.0” and Ruby.
- The Future of Web Development is SilverLight. ASP .NET 4.0 Futures talks were all about Dynamic Data and MVC, stuff we know already. Everything else was about SilverLight. See the addition of the dynamic type and the DLR, it is all about writing code behind SliverLight. There were also talks about line of business apps built in SilverLight.The writing is on the wall, learn SilverLight.
- Windows is Sexy Again. From the keynote to the “I’m a PC” tee shirts to the gazillion of sessions about Win 7, Windows is sexy again to develop on. Forget about Vista, that never happened. Our bad.
- Cloud, Cloud, Cloud. Developers were underwhelmed about the cloud. Yea we get it, hosting our services and apps in the cloud is great, but did we really need 36 sessions on that? We have been using the cloud (Amazon EC2, S3) for a while now, so we get it. Microsoft proves once again that when Microsoft is behind in the market, they know how to over do it. The offering is very mature and robust, however, it seems like the message was overkill.
- Where was SQL Server? I thought this was PDC and about the future. Only 1 slide about the future of SQL Server. They said it was too “early” however we had a SQL Services Futures talk (v 2) when v 1 has not even shipped yet! I am not implying that SQL is getting less investment, but there should have been a “here is what we are thinking about v.next” talk.
- Oslo is Way Cool-But What Do I use it for? There were 5 sessions on this new pre-alpha thing called Oslo. It looked cool, especially the ability to author a contextual DSL. There were cool tee shirts and a large booth with cool swag. But the buzz for developers was “what do I use this for.” Microsoft did a great job telling us about the cool things in Oslo, but did not present the use case. I expect next year’s PDC to do that and have a ton of Oslo content.