Friday, April 13, 2007

FastTrack seminar

I’m blogging today from a Microsoft FastTrack seminar. Perpetual Technologies in Indianapolis is putting this on in some sort of collaboration with Microsoft. It’s a free seminar – and I’m always up for a free seminar – with a keynote and six sessions in three time slots.

The keynote was OK. Steve Thompson from Microsoft gave a roadmap presentation of where they expect enterprise technology to go over the next several years. The majority of audience were DBA’s rather than developers, so they may have had more interest than I did. As important things, Steve brought up Office, Microsoft Server, and mobile applications; and also Microsoft Business Solutions, about which I don’t know much. The goal, I guess, is to get enterprises on the Services Oriented Architecture bandwagon, and also to move towards virtualization as an important technique for scalability. He also discussed voice and VOIP near the end of the presentation, and how our standard voice data paradigm – blinking message lights and busy signals – is really out of date. This is something I’ve known since Interactive Intelligence was trying to get everyone out of that as well; don’t know how that effort is going, but we still have the copper wires at my last couple of jobs.

First session was on the Ajax.Asp.Net control library, which looks pretty cool. It was given by a younger guy from - I think - Crowe Chizek, and he did a creditable job, although I would have happily spent a couple of additional hours learning the subject, given the opportunity. It's interesting that most of the effects it allows you to create are already implemented in Javascript in the application I'm currently working on - a tribute to the skills of the original writers of this app, I think. But, you could certainly write a lot less code to get the same effects using this library. It looks pretty easy to use, although .Net 2.0 is required: one msi to install on your machine, and one zip file with controls and demos. It'll definitely be useful in my own web applications, anyway!