Thursday, October 23, 2008

PDC08 + TechEd Emea 2008

Next week I’ll be off at PDC08, which is shaping up to be as good as PDC05 was, with a lot of sessions on Today’s hot topic: Cloud Computing. One week later, I’ll be at the Ask-The-Experts booths at TechEd EMEA 2008 Developers in Barcelona (my colleague and SharePoint God Raúl is also attending the conference), focused on making contacts and maybe attending some of the sessions missed from PDC that will be repeated there. Pedro Rosa from Microsoft Portugal is the owner of the dev track, and has some pretty good sessions lined up.

If you happen to be at any of the events and want to meet, contact me using the form on the blog.

You just gotta love technology… :-) See you there.

Friday, October 17, 2008

BizTalk Server and “Dublin” (Me Too)

Check out Charles Young’s post “Dublin and BizTalk Server - What's the difference?”. It’s well worth the read, for all BizTalk developers, and a very interesting analysis.  I’ve been to some of the events Charles mentions, where there was some discussion about this new application server and its relationship to BizTalk Server, and this a curious solution Microsoft has found. I do have a complaint, however: I do feel BizTalk Server could be improved in several areas, and the last two versions (R2 and the planned 2009) have been somewhat lacking in this aspect. Things like the Orchestration Designer, BAM, BRE and even the mapped could clearly be improved (and don’t get me started in Usability), and low-latency support added, but Microsoft has not focused the evolution of the product in these aspects, which I regret.

Anyway, a highly recommended read.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

PDC(loud) 2007

For me, this year's PDC in LA will totally be about the "Cloud". Sure topics that interest me are Mesh and Sql Server Data Services (SSDS), but I'm sure there's more to come, about things like Oslo and other European cities, perhaps BizTalk Services and a curiously colored and mysterious canine, RedDog.

There are two things that interest me, personally, in these kind of cloud paradigms. First, that there are new application models, new architectures, new colors in the pallete, new tools (modeling is one of them). Just look at all the technologies I mentioned. Most of them are usable to develop enterprise applications, they are not customer-facing new things (Mesh is the partial exception here). The second thing that interests me is precisely the engineering challenge, the new problems we will have to solve in a world where almost nothing can be taken for granted. (Can we communicate at all, if everything is extremely loosely coupled?)

Truth is, however, that I don’t think this will be an easy or widespread shift (regardless of what Nicholas Carr thinks). If you talk to most people working in IT today about “moving to the cloud”, you’ll hear jokes about “fog”, and (legitimate) questions about data ownership, security, trust, cost, SLAs and QoS, etc. These issues will have to be tackled with, or at least enough of them.

Data and Business Logic has been near (“it’s mine, all mine!”) almost since the first days of IT, after all.

… so if you are in Portugal or nearby and want a partner company to explore some new ground using these technologies (or just have interesting discussions), get in touch. :-)


Braid/Game Development in Linux

I mostly stay clear of platform choice debates, not entering very much in “Open Source vs Microsoft” debates, but this one is too hilarious to miss.

There’s a (great) platform game for the Xbox360 called “Braid”, which is the only Xbox Live Arcade game in the Metacritic game Top-10. This game was created by a single developer, Jonathan Blow, who recently posted in his blog some technical questions related to problems he was having with the Linux port of the game. Amidst several problems and the inability to do things with the quality he wants, he eventually drops the idea of the Linux version at all.

It’s an interesting and hilarious discussion (at least the first half of it) between an obviously very frustrated game developer and people telling him how wrong he is.

Two samples:

«What is it that you find good about the tools? It appears to me that they are about 12 years behind what I can use on Windows.»

«My posting here was not even about Braid. I may have Braid ported to Linux, but I will pay someone else to do it so that I can spend my effort working on my next game. This was about adopting Linux as my primary development platform for all future projects. I wanted to do this because I find Vista to be frankly sickening. However, as bad as it is, Vista is still my best option. I can’t get work done efficiently enough on Linux.»

Read it here.