Although TechEd 2007 was ho hum in terms of new annoucements, it was an excellent conference showcasing the benefits of how well the new suites of 2007 products integrate with each other. The conference was kicked off by Bob Muglia keynote and demos. If you missed it, it is worth a view (link). From the Windows Mobile 6 tight integration with with Exchange 2007 to Office 2007 and Sharepoint 2007, all of the products were well showcased. As it did with when .NET was first released, Microsoft is now spending the time to educate developers on how they can use the products they recently released, before bombarding everyone with futures. This strategy clearly helps them sell products, and in the end they are a product company.
In the Architecture track there was a good bit of discussion of the Agile development process and how that fits in to the Visual Studio product set. It is interesting to note that Microsoft still does not have a product suite that supports the development process from conception to implementation. They do have the key pieces like Visual Studio Team Services, but there are many holes. There is no tool which captures requirements and maps them to Use cases. The response is that most analysts use Word and Visio. Unfortunately this is true, however the reason is not that Word and Vision work well, it is that a set of easy to use tools which integrate well with Visual Studio don't exist. A useful integration of tasks entries between Visual Studio, Project, Sharepoint, and Outlook still does not exist. The party line of not wanting to push a specific development methodology is becoming thin, customers want and need best practices. Yes you should have choice, but it does not have to be everything to everybody. Speaking of methodology, I did come away impressed by the discussions on the Agile development process, it has clearly matured into something that is worth taking a second look at. The core concept of paired programming is still what makes Agile agile, but there seems to be more consensus that design before coding is key to its success. In my opinion this is paramount, since I don't believe in jumping into to code before you have a decent grasp on a design is wise.
As I mentioned before I did put the Wing through its paces, and as with every Windows Mobile device I have owned memory is a big issue although memory management in WM 6 works much better. The general consensus from the WM 6 team at the conference was that they did not understand why vendors were not putting more memory in their devices. I could not agree more, if I had 64MB more of RAM, the Wing would almost be perfect. My next rants would then be processor speed and 3G. It looks like Palm is listening. According to Gizmodo, Palm will release the Treo 800W in the fourth quarter. It will support EV-DO REV A., WM 6, Pro a 320x320 display, 256MB flash, 128MB RAM, a 1.3-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and an expansion slot. The camera seems to be its only downfall and hopefully Palm will have learned that a soft reset switch is important. Pulling the battery out is just not cool.
The other issue that surfaced at the conference was misbehaving Windows Mobile applications, which are usually associated with application dll which do not unload after the OS memory management requests a termination. Here Microsoft is pushing best practices and the use the compact .Net framework 2.0 which is included in the WM6 ROM. I believe I hit this problem with Spb Shell. I posted to the Spb Club forum on Friday, no response yet. I have stopped using it for now, this is really too bad because it is a great application which helps round out one handed operation. (see my review). Hopefully an update will come out soon...
I have to say that I am not a big fan of CDMA, not because of the technology, but because it is just not usable when you are traveling abroad. That said I am impressed with EV-DO Revision A every time I use it. If you travel or are of the office six or more days a month, you should consider it. I based this on a $60 a month data plan versus paying $10 a day at hotels like Marriott and Sheraton. And you get the advantage of accessing the network on the road and at airports.
- Recovering from TechEd 2007, catching up on what I did not get a chance to accomplish last week...