Chris Alexander

On Engineering

#ukpdc10 Half-Time Analysis

28th October, 2010

So we’re half way through PDC 2010, Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference. While the US are off having their lunch between sessions, it’s a great opportunity to sit back and take in what has been unleashed upon us in the last few hours.

Unfortunately due to this pesky University thing I managed to miss most of the main keynote, but the general overview of it was that it’s all about the web. Once again, IE 9 was headlining with some rather spectacular numbers for downloads of its Beta. There has also been another Platform Preview released for developers wanting the bleeding edge to get their hands on.

As Steve Ballmer brought home when he talked at the UK Tech Days event a few weeks ago, Microsoft are making a serious push for the web with IE 9, and taking along with it HTML 5. This is something other organisations have of course been advocating for some time, but now we have the last major browser on board it should seriously help in getting the technology pushed forwards and in the hands of as many people as possible. There were some special features of IE 9 announced which, while interesting, again brought up my previous concerns that Microsoft would be diluting their excellent work on HTML 5 support by adding in some proprietary APIs and requirements which may not be entirely cross-platform compliant. However I guess it remains to be seen when it is implemented, and I most certainly hope that it will remain that developers wishing to do so may still make excellent quality cross-browser websites.

The other presentation I watched (even if it was on a 45 minute delay from when it actually occurred in the US) was on what’s coming in C# 5, which looks extremely exciting. The team are taking the asynchronous programming problem head-on and introducing some excellent and very clean syntax for quickly and easily handing code blocks you would like to handle asynchronously without causing all kinds of problems involving threading. Interestingly, from my perspective at least, this functionality can deliver some great speed improvements on the server side (especially when calling external services) as well as on the client.

I’m very much looking forward to the second part of #ukpdc10, but in the mean time here’s some photo highlights from the first half of the event…

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