Thursday, November 8, 2007

MyTechEd 2007 - Day 1

The event officially opened with Soma's Keynote, "Building great apps". This was an overview session, as was to be expected, with some announcements: VS2008/.Net 3.5 will RTM before the end of the month (Nov07). Also announced were the MS Synchronization Framework and P&P's "S+S Blueprints", both of which sounded interesting, and a "Popfly explorer". The session included a few very nice demos, including one of using Visual Studio (no open to third-parties) to develop World Of Warcraft Add-Ins.

After this I went to Pat Helland's "Metropolis: Interchangeability of Applications". This was the first of a series of sessions Pat is doing, and it consisted of a study of how interchangeability evolved in the physical and industrial world, with parts replacement, assemblage locations, etc., and what we can learn in IT from this evolution, and apply it to the services-enabled world. We frequently read that, in the SOA world, if a service is not adequate, you can simply replace it with another one with the same interface. Well, truth is, I've never seen this happening in the real world. And even if the interface/contract is the same, are the semantics the same? So this is the kind of issue Pat discussed. It was a very thought-provoking and interesting session.

The next session was Stephen Forte's "Database Design Patterns", which identified some interesting database patterns. The most interesting were the Slowly Changing Dimension (SCD) and the horizontal/vertical partitionings. The SCD basically consists of creating a replica of your business database, but optimized for reporting or a given type of queries. The replicas are typically created using some ETL mechanism like SQL Server Integration Services/DTS. This allows you to alleviate load from your original, normalized, business database. I'm guessing this technique is not as frequently used as it should, especially in high-traffic systems. Forte's style is very dynamic, maybe we'll have him at the next TechDays. I hear he's available at that date and interesting in visiting Lisbon, so perhaps someone will invite him over.

And thus ended the first day of the event. At night, after some time at the welcome reception, there was a "Connected Systems Influential's" dinner at Las Ramblas. Did I mention TechEd was largely about networking? ;-)

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