Day 2 in TechEd 2013 – On cloud, Visual studios new features and big data

Cloud OS: It’s Time – Again

Keynote is available on Channel9

Few comments from me:

I suppose that the first time I heart Microsoft telling that the cloud era is going to begin the year was 2010. And again it time for cloud? I have pondered if the reason for the change in the strategy was the fact that by service business is more profitable than just developing and selling a software product. In addition, services guarantee more static cash flow.

After the keynote another possible reason popped into my mind: Developing services allows you to shorten time-to-market. This is actually important factor, since currently often many other technology companies – like Google – are able to deliver more modern technology before Microsoft. As a consequence new product releases feel old on the day they were released. E.g. people are talking Google docs instead of Office Web apps because Google was the first one on market. If the time-to-market was shorter, perhaps Microsoft would have been the first one on many area of technologies, including web editable office documents. Sad but true, current Microsoft can just react innovations and trends created by other – most of the time.

It’s also interesting that Microsoft have changed its strategy toward more open. Firstly, it offers better support for non-Microsoft technologies like Hadoop, Oracle and Sap. Secondly, it have also open sourced many core technologies (like ASP.NET and Entity Framework). The reason to the second opening relates to Microsoft’s attempt to deliver the latest technological innovations before others. The reason why they broaden technology stack in the cloud is obvious: if you want more revenue from cloud services, you need to make it possible to deploy there whatever people need to make work and not just stuff made with Microsoft technologies.

Modern Application Life Cycle Management

The lecture was mostly on Next release of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server. I have to say that that Microsoft have implemented damn cool new features. Also tools for portfolio management.

Lecture should be viewable in Channel9 within this week. Top 4 new features/announcements:

  • Probably my personal favorite improvement is codelings (I hope I heard the name right). Above a method signature you can see information relating it; e.g. in how many places it is references and who have modified it last time.

  • Another great improvement is git-support as, in my opinion, git is far better source control system than TFS. There’s nothing new in this. Anyway it was nice to see that they have improved the tools.
  • Ability to do performance testing from cloud is nice improvement. However, it is unfortunate that the site you test need to be publicly available. As a consequence you cannot use could-based performance testing for internal systems (without a hole on firewall or other similar security trade-offs).
  • The last thing I want to pinpoint is better support to continuous delivery. Microsoft have bought company called InRelease. By its product you can automate workflow from development to production view test environments. Currently the challenge in many big companies is that getting anything to production takes months. If you have an acute business need, waiting for months is big waste of money. I’ve been planning to build manually continuous deliver to customers for long. It’s absolutely great that continuous delivery is on Microsoft’s roadmap and I can throw my plans of manual continuous delivery to recycle bin. I’m expecting to hear a lot more on this later on this year:

As a critique: I dislike the way Microsoft emphasizes tools when it’s telling about enterprise agility. After all the biggest challenge is not technical but rather social. By proper tools and sermonizes you cannot get further than level 2 out of 4 in Agile fluency model and probably you won’t get even to the level 2. You have to change your mindset and the decision making process to make agile really work.

Earlier this month I watched video form TechEd North America, in which Microsoft was telling its own way of working. This stuff is far more interesting than plain tool demos: Deep Dive into the Team Foundation Server Agile Planning Tools (after 0:45.15).

I found especially interesting that Microsoft underlined that teams should be able to choose its’ own working method was it Scrum or Kanban or something else. Nice but it also is somewhat limiting, as you don’t have shared language up to the business values.

Microsoft ASP.NET, web and cloud tools preview

The presentation focused mostly on new tools for web development. The beginning of the presentation was slightly boring as the lectures read aloud his slides. The later part of the presentation consisted a lot of very nice demos. They was worth of watching: video should be soon available in Channel9.

I’m especially waiting for live refresh feature. After you save a file, browser automatically updates and shows the lates version. This actually is something Clojure developers have had for long. Finally Microsoft have stolen this great idea…

Do you have big data? (Most likely!)

I planned to attend lecture on Entity Framework 6: database access anywhere, easily. Unfortunately it was full, and therefore I chose the nearest alternative session form my potentially interesting sessions list. It happened to be on “Do you have big data? (Most likely!)”. Again the video should be available in Channell9 soon.

The lecture was mostly on Hadoop and Microsoft Hadoop service HDInsight. I was positively surprised how well Hadoop seems to work together with Microsoft tools, SQL Server and Excel. I’m absolutely sure that you still need to do some command line computer magic in order to make Hadoop work seamlessly with Microsoft technology stack. However the demos were promising. I definitely need to raise Hadoop a bit on my study list.

Advanced debugging of ASP.NET Applications with Visual Studio 2012

The last lecture on Tuesday was “Advanced debugging of ASP.NET Applications with Visual Studio 2012”. Lecture was good on content-wise. Unfortunately, most demos failed and presenter was not too good. Probably the video is not worth of watching. Anyway, I got big list of tools and technologies I have to study a bit later (none of them were completely new, but I haven’t seen demo on them earlier):

In addition using load testing tools as a helper tool for debugging was good idea.

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