As you know, I was down in Calgary yesterday, “keeping it real” at realDEVELOPMENT_06. Now I don’t want to sound too arrogant, but normally I don’t learn much at these Microsoft events, simply because I keep very up-to-date on my own, but yesterday’s event was different. With the exception of the “Hack and Defend” session (which was a complete repeat of past security presentations, except for the fact that John Bristowe (aka “God’s Evangelist” (he’s a great speaker, and he loves to call Windows “God’s operating system” and Visual Studio “God’s IDE”)) delivered it) I think I learned something in every session.
Windows CardSpace (formerly known as “InfoCard”) was presented, and it looks like some very cool technology. Hopefully it becomes adopted quite widely, especially since it is built on the WS-* standards and not something proprietary to Microsoft. Also looks incredibly simple for developers to implement support on their websites, minus the fact that you need an SSL certificate.
The other “new” technology presented was Atlas, Microsoft’s AJAX framework. I heard about Atlas a long time ago, but never bothered to look into it, as I was happy with Michael Schwarz’s wonderful Ajax.NET Professional. I still am happy with it, but I’m going to have to take a good look at Atlas now. Apparently MySpace is working on integrating Atlas into their website, now that they have converted to ASP.NET 2.0. My only complaint thus far is that the controls do not appear to work in Opera, though Microsoft claims they work in IE, Mozilla/Firefox, and Safari. Microsoft’s big value proposition is that they make life easier for the developer, and Atlas certainly seems to deliver (the demo’s were pretty cool).
The idea that Atlas is a stepping stone to Windows Presentation Foundation was also thrown around at the event. The presenters didn’t exactly say that, but pointed out that you can use Atlas to build great sites today, and you might use WPF or WPF/E in the future. I hadn’t really thought about the two as being related on the product timeline, but I guess it makes sense.
The other neat thing about the event was that the presenters were using the Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 (it has a ridiculously long name). Anyway, the cool thing about the mouse is the zoom button it has – it’s totally awesome! I don’t know how to describe it, but you can check it out on their website. I think I am going to have to get one. Anyway, it was a pretty good event!