PDC 2009 Recap

I had the opportunity to attend my first PDC this year and it was great! The content was top-notch and it was extremely fun to meet a lot of the Microsoft guys (and non-Microsoft guys) that I’ve worked with over the years (albeit virtually).

Here is my recap of the event.

The basic story was around Windows 7, Windows Azure (cloud computing), Visual Studio 2010, .NET 4 (WPF 4), and Silverlight 4.

If you weren’t able to go, you can still take in all the content yourself at your leisure … as Microsoft has made it publicly available at http://microsoftpdc.com/Videos.

During the event, I also live tweeted most things I attended. Check out http://twitter.com/cplotts if you want a …  ‘as it happened’ feel for the event.

Sessions That I Attended

Session Code Session Title Presenters Notes
WKSP04 Getting the Most out of Silverlight 3 Ian Griffiths, Richard Griffin This workshop was tag team with Ian Griffiths covering basic Silverlight concepts and then how to go about hooking a Silverlight application up to some services. Richard took over and talked about using MVVM and MEF with Silverlight and ended the day showing how to use Blend to turn a screen shot into a living breathing application.
KEY01 Day 1 Keynote Ray Ozzie, Bob Muglia This keynote was all about Windows Azure and cloud computing. Of particular note was the announcement for Microsoft PinPoint … a new marketplace for online services … and the announcement for Microsoft Codename ‘Dallas’ which is Microsoft’s effort to treat data as a service (which they will make available through PinPoint).
CL09 How Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Was Build with WPF 4 Paul Harrington This was a great session where Paul described how Microsoft rewrote Visual Studio using WPF. This was a major undertaking and they had to actually add functionality to the WPF API in order to make it happen. Also of note was the many keyboard interop issues that they tackled and how they did so. A great WPF session, especially for those doing interop.
CL30 Microsoft Expression Blend 3 for Developers: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices DoRon Motter This was a quick lunch session where DoRon went through 9 quick tips on using Expression Blend.
CL14 Advanced Graphics Functionality Using DirectX Michael Oneppo This was the 2D DirectX session that I attended. Most of it went right over my head, but I would like to dive in and understand DirectX since WPF is built on top of it.
CL11 Advanced WPF Application Performance Tuning and Analysis Eric Harding, Bart De Smet In this session Eric and Bart go through some general performance truths and then show you how to use vmmap, .NET Memory Profiler, Perforator, Visual Profiler, Process Explorer, and xPerf to solve performance problems in the areas of memory, cold start, warm start, and runtime. This is a must watch session for software engineers using WPF.
KEY02 Day 2 Keynote Steven Sinofsky, Scott Guthrie, Kurt DelBene This was the big keynote. Steven Sinofsky started it by talking about Windows 7. Then Scott Guthrie talked about Silverlight 4 and the new functionality it brings to the table. Finally, Kurt DelBene wrapped it up with Office 2010 and Sharepoint 2010. A lot of stuff happened in between too: demos of hardware accelerated text rendering in IE 9, demos of SketchFlow, demos of cool Silverlight 4 goodness, and more. And of course I have to mention that they gave away a free laptop to all attendees! Awesome with a capital A!
CL31 Mastering WPF Graphics and Beyond David Teitlebaum This was the session I was looking forward to the most. David rocks and I am very interested in WPF and in graphics. David is the WPF Graphics Program Manager. In this session, he covered the new WPF 4 graphics features (new text rendering, layout rounding, animation easing, pixel shader 3.0 support, cached composition, and more). Another must watch WPF session, especially geared towards those working in graphics. They should’ve given David a two hour slot, it was like drinking from a fire hose.
CL15 Modern 3D Graphics Using Windows 7 and Direct3D 11 Hardware Michael Oneppo This was the 3D DirectX session that I attended. Good stuff, mostly over my head. It whetted my appetite though. There was a great slide on the D3D10 pipeline showing where each shader fits in.
CL20 Improving and Extending the Sandbox with Microsoft Silverlight 4 Joe Stegman This was a surprise session as this wasn’t announced until PDC itself and it was all about the work Microsoft has done to extend the Silverlight sandbox, and just in general to crack it open. Of particular note is the new elevated trust out of browser stuff … that allows you to do almost anything via COM Automation. This is a game changer and likely will prove beneficial to our own Silverlight efforts.
CL22 Attended CL22, Advanced Topics for Building Large Scale Applications with Microsoft Silverlight John Papa I have never heard John Papa speak, but he is excellent. And although the topic doesn’t suggest it … this talk was all about MVVM (the Model-View-ViewModel pattern). In the talk he talks about two main variations on the MVVM pattern and how to use Prism as a ‘gap filler’ where MVVM doesn’t provide any answers. This is a must watch session if you are doing WPF or Silverlight. The MVVM pattern is the industry de-facto standard and John explains it well and concisely. I myself will be going over this one again.
CL02 Microsoft Silverlight 3: Advanced Performance and Profiling Techniques Seema Ramchandani I was a little late to this session but the parts I caught were solid gold. Seema covered Silverlight graphics and performance and this talk fits right alongside Eric Harding’s and Bart De Smet’s WPF performance talk. Another must-see.
CL10 WPF 4 Plumbing and Internals Blake Stone This talk was probably the best of the conference. Ok, maybe that is unfair to the other great content, but Blake Stone did an amazing job describing some of the internals of WPF and many of the things that trip developers up. Here is a link to the slides and sample code. Needless to say, this WPF session is a must-watch.
FT24 Building Extensible Rich Internet Applications with the Managed Extensibility Framework Glenn Block This session is an introduction to MEF (Managed Extensibility Framework) which Microsoft is using internally in its own products. This is a great technology and Glenn always gives a good presentation.
CL35 Custom Behaviors for Advanced Microsoft Silverlight UI Effects Pete Blois Pete Blois is the guy who created Snoop. So, you have to love him. In this session, he shows the audience how to create custom Expression Blend behaviors, making it easy to drag, drop, and create compelling user experiences. If you have the Blend love, you’ll enjoy this session.
CL24 XAML Futures in Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft Silverlight, and Tools Rob Relyea, Michael Shim Rob Relyea and Michael Shim closed out the conference for me by talking about the new  and upcoming features in XAML 2009 (XAML 2006 is what is currently out there) and what has been going on in this space lately. Unfortunately, neither Silverlight 4 nor WPF 4 nor any of the tools take advantage of XAML 2009 yet.

Sessions That I Missed but Want to Watch

Session Code Session Title Presenters Category
CL13 Windows Touch Deep Dive Reed Townsend Touch/Multi-Touch Development
CL27 Multi-Touch on Microsoft Surface and Windows 7 for .NET Developers Anson Tsao, Robert Levy Touch/Multi-Touch Development
CL23 SketchFlow: Prototyping to the Rescue Christian Schormann SketchFlow
CL01 Microsoft Silverlight 4 Overview Karen Corby Silverlight
CL06 Networking and Web Services in Microsoft Silverlight Yavor Georgiev Silverlight
CL21 Building Amazing Business Applications with Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft .NET RIA Services Brad Abrams Silverlight
CL03 DirectX 11 DirectCompute Chas Boyd DirectX
FT35 Microsoft Visual C# IDE Tips & Tricks DJ Park C#
FT11 Future Directions for C# and Visual Basic Luca Bolognese C#
FT31 Dynamic Binding in C# 4.0 Mads Torgersen C#
FT51 Future of Garbage Collection Patrick Dussud C#
FT07 The State of Parallel Computing Burton Smith Parallel Computing
FT21 PLINQ: LINQ, but Faster! Ed Essey, Igor Ostrovsky Parallel Computing
FT54 Power Tools for Debugging Sandeep Karanth, Kapil Vaswani Diagnostics, Debugging, Testing
FT16 Advanced Diagnostics, IntelliTrace, and Test Automation Habib Heydarian Diagnostics, Debugging, Testing
CL16 Optimizing for Performance with the Windows Performance Toolkit Michael Milirud Diagnostics, Debugging, Testing
VTL30 Managing Development to Inspire Innovation and Create Great Software Experiences Scott Stanfield, Bill Crow UX
VTL05 A New Approach to Exploring Information on the Web Gary Flake UX

What a great conference! Hope this recap helps you decide what to dive in on yourself and provides for some easy links to do so.

Enjoy!

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