Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wrapping up Tech Ed

While the conference is not yet over, the energy level is certainly winding down. Today is the last day of the Expo, so I have been making my rounds to say goodbye to all of the people who I have worked with in previous sponsorships (for CodeMash and Day of .NET in Ann Arbor).

One vendor (AvePoint) totally missed an opportunity that they had. Today, they raffled off a Ducati motorcycle, so at the time of the drawing, 1-2 Thousand people congregated in the aisle around their booth. This crowd assembled a full 15 minutes before the drawing, and were simply standing there with nothing to do (I was in that crowd, btw). AvePoint had the PERFECT opportunity to give a quick sales presentation to a very captive audience, but they did nothing of the sorts. Next year, perhaps? (And bring some amplification to the event, plskthx).

One of my favorite vendors, Red Gate Software, gave me a demo of upcoming changes to their SQL Compare tool. What's exciting for me is that SQL Compare will now include the ability to use scripts as source or destination schema. So, you can reverse engineer your development database and generate individual SQL script files for each object in the schema. Or, you can start with individual scripts (i.e., one per table or proc, etc) and push changes to the database. The greatest utility of this that I see is the ability to easily capture your database change history into source control (especially with Subversion and TortoiseSVN, which works at the filesystem/Windows Explorer level). Direct SCCM capabilities should come in a future release, they say. :-)

Last night at the influencer party, Javier Lozano (Iowa .NET User Group) and I spoke in depth about what it takes to organize a small-to-midsized conference, like a Day of .NET or a CodeMash. Look for some good things to come out of the Iowa area over the coming year!

All in all, I didn't get a sense of anything big on the horizon. All of the new product releases weren't accompanied with great fanfare, and as a result, I'm just not leaving here as excited as I was last year. Don't get me wrong: there's a lot of cool things coming out, but I think they could have been hyped more than what they are.

Lastly, I leave you with an observation: Microsoft did an outstanding job at marketing Silverlight as a new technology that has never been seen before (my observation). When you peel back the covers, though, it's nothing more than the latest iteration of the Java Applet or ActiveX control paradigm. If you start thinking of Silverlight in this way, instead of a totally new whizbang all-containing platform, then I think you'll be more successful in implementing the technology in your solutions.

I cannot wait to get back home so that I can [finally] install Visual Studio 2008 ("Orcas") and SQL Server 2008 ("Katmai") and begin to work with the new things that I've seen here.

(Attendee party tonight! See you there!)