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The Build Wrap Up

Unfortunately, as is often the case at a large developer conference, the Internet connection gave out on Friday morning and I was unable to make my post for Thursday’s sessions.  I attended a couple of more sessions Friday and left directly from the conference for the airport and didn’t arrive home until after 2am Saturday.  Now that I am back home and settled in, Let’s just do a wrap up of the conference.

On Thursday & Friday I attended a few really good sessions, specifically “Future Directions for C# and Visual Basic” presented by Anders Hejlsberg, “Creating immersive data experiences with Entity Framework” presented by David Annsley-DeWinter & Jeff Derstadt, and “Building real-time web apps with HTML5 WebSockets” presented by Ravi Rao.

Of the Sessions I attended I would recommend watching the following if you missed them:

One of the sessions I was looking forward to on Thursday was cancelled (Building IIS and ASP.NET apps with the power of async – Damian Edwards and Phil Haack).  I believe they are planning on recording the session once back in Redmond, so I’ll post a link when I see the video.

Windows 8 Developer Preview

If you were not lucky enough to attend Build and receive a Window 8 Developer Preview PC you can download the Windows 8 Developer Preview from  Scott Hanselman has a good article on how to set up a Windows 7 PC to boot from Virtual Disk.  I have followed this guide and installed The preview on the PDC09 Laptop. It seems to work well so far.

Beta & technical preview downloads – Announced this week

Executive Conference Summary – Key Take Aways

The conference really revolved around the Release of Windows 8 Developer Preview and Building Apps for the new Metro Interface.

Microsoft has put significant effort into improving performance of the operating system for Windows 8.  Boot times seem to be much quicker, the UI seems very responsive and the memory footprint for the O/S has been cut nearly in half.

Windows 8 will ship with a new Windows App Store for Metro Apps.

The new Metro Interface looks a lot like the Windows Phone 7 Metro Interface.  When writing an application for Windows going forward you will have the choice of building a traditional Win32 (or .Net WinForms/WPF) app running on the desktop or a new Metro Style app running on the new WinRT (Windows Run Time).  The two environments cannot be mixed, the new Metro Style apps are sandboxed.  Also note that you cannot use GDI in Metro Style Apps, only Direct X.

As a web developer I spent most of my time attending the ASP.Net and Visual Studio 11 sessions, but there were a lot of great sessions on a whole range of topics around developing for Windows 8.  I would recommend checking out Channel9 on MSDN to learn more and watch the sessions.

In ASP.Net 4.5 Web Forms gets support for Model Binding,  Strongly Typed Data Controls, Support for Data Annotations.  All ASP.Net applications get better support for HTML 5 and CSS3, CSS Folding, auto tag matching, new improved design view support (borrowed from Expression Blend as I recall) along with a newly designed style in all the project templates. 

ASP.Net 4.5 also includes the ASP.NET Optimization – Bundling package which combines and minifies the CSS and JavaScript files in your Web Application.  This package is available as a Nuget Package for ASP.Net 4.0, so we can start using it today.


Build Windows – Day 2

Day 2 got off to a great start with a great Keynote.  Jason Zander and Scott Guthrie showed some of the great new features coming in Visual Studio 11 / .Net 4.5.  We also got our first peek at some of the work being done in Windows Server 8.  (If you don’t know PowerShell I would highly recommend learning!)  Hopefully later today the video will become available on Channel 9 and I’ll update this post with a link.


This is just a brief overview of the sessions I attended and the topics covered.  I’ll cover most of the details in depth in future posts so check back over the next couple of weeks.

What’s new in Visual Studio 11 – Jason Zander (TOOL-820F)

I started out the break out sessions with “What’s new in Visual Studio 11”.  Lots of cool new features!  First off, all the power pack tools are built in out of the box.  There are a lot of enhancements to the UI, with a focus on streamlining tasks and reducing clutter.  For example the find dialog has been replaced with an floating drop down in the editor.

The XAML editor from Expression Blend now replaces the old XAML editor.

The XML/XAML/HTML editor now has tag matching.  If you change a beginning <div> tag to a <span> tag the matching </div> tag automatically updates to a </span> etc.

The CSS Editor now has a color picker that displays in-line as you are typing your CSS.  The picker is also smart enough to display the colors you have already used in your style sheet as the first options.

Using Windows Server 8 for Building private and public IaaS clouds – Jeff Woolsey, Sandeep Singhal, Yingal Edery (SAC-429T)

Lots of cool new stuff coming in Windows Server 8,  Especially in Hyper-V.   During the session the demonstrated the new live migration by moving a virtual machine running on one host (using local storage, not shared storage, the vhd was on the host machine’s physical disks) to another host while it was running.  The whole process took just a couple minutes and the virtual machine continued running the whole time!

 ASP.Net 4.5 loves HTML , CSS3 & JavaScript – Matt Osborn (TOOL-76T)

Matt gave a great presentation on HTML 5 in 4.5 and Visual Studio 11.  He showed off a number of enhancements in the IDE like:

  • Auto Tag matching
  • CSS Color Picker
  • Automatic DocType detection
  • Intellisense for Character Set Meta Tags
  • CSS Folding and Formatting

We looked at the new Minification feature that is available to automatically compress and combine your CSS style sheets and JavaScript files.  (I believe This is now available as a NuGet package for Asp.Net 4.0 as well).

He also talked a bit about what we can do to use HTML 5 in 4.0 today using Modernizr and graceful degradation.

Create rich, data-driven Web apps with ASP.Net 4.5 Web Forms – Damian Edwards (TOOL-906T)

In this session we went through building an application using ASP.Net 4.5 Web Forms and Entity Framework 4.1 (aka. Magic Unicorn Edition 🙂 ) .    Web Forms now has ModelBinder support just like MVC, Strong Typing in bound controls, Data Annotations can now be tied to a validation summary to provided validation feedback, and much more.

Today’s Schedule

I am looking forward to attending these sessions today:

  • Future Directions for C# and Visual Basic – Anders Hejlsberg
  • Creating immersive data experiences with Entity Framework – David Annsley-DeWinter/Jeff Derstadt
  • Building IIS and ASP.Net apps with the power of async –  Damian Edwards / Phil Haack
  • Building high performance Metro style apps using HTML 5 – Mathias Jourdain