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PDC: Microsoft: A Model Citizen?

The Microsoft Professional Developers Conference is the largest developer industry confab in years, so it's hardly a surprise that Redmond is pushing multiple themes during PDC this week. In addition to Windows 7 and the far-reaching cloud computing launch featuring the CTP release of Windows Azure, Microsoft is busy on a host of other fronts.

Tuesday's keynote presentation offered a glimpse at just how incredibly busy and productive Microsoft's various engineering groups have been. Steve Sinofsky's Windows 7 introduction and demo provided plenty of insight into what Microsoft's next client OS will look and feel like. There's been, to my mind, some wise "right-sizing" of the operating system, with a focus on streamlining common desktop and consumer management tasks. And when Microsoft Corporate Vice President Julie Larson-Green mentioned that Windows 7 includes a lightweight media player app, I have to admit that she had me at "lightweight."

But it was Scott Guthrie who illustrated the hyperactive efforts out of Redmond of late. Guthrie's rapid-fire presentation ran the gamut from developer tools to foundational frameworks to new toolkits, libraries and components. There's a Visual Studio 2010 CTP, a new WPF toolkit, the final release of the jQuery JavaScript library, and lots of guidance on .NET 3.5 SP1 and .NET 4.0.

Most remarkable might be what hasn't been keynoted. The Oslo application modeling platform got some love during the discussion of the Azure cloud OS push yesterday, but it's clear Oslo is a huge deal. With Azure and Oslo, Microsoft is working overtime to up-level the developer conversation, and potentially giving Microsoft a foothold in a host of vertical industries.

Oslo is also a strategic expression of the "model-ization," if you will, of Microsoft's development efforts. "The core .NET platform has been getting much more model-driven over the last three-plus years. If you think of things like Silverlight or WPF, it's much more model-driven," said Burley Kawasaki, director of product management the Microsoft Connected Systems Division, in an interview.

Then there's parallel programming, an effort that Guthrie highlighted during his comments today. Microsoft is working on new programming models that express concurrency in Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0, including new .NET Framework libraries such as the Task Parallel Library and Parallel LINQ. There's also the Parallel Pattern Library and Concurrency Runtime for native C++ development.

There is so much more afoot that it's impossible to list it all here. Suffice it to say, our industry will be spending the next 12 months picking through the prolific output of PDC 2008.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/28/2008 at 1:15 PM


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