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Welcome to the Busy Season

People like to complain that the holiday shopping season keeps creeping forward, until it seems that Christmas lights are going up at the local shopping mall before the leaves even come down. Well, you can excuse developers if they aren't noticing a similar phenomenon with Microsoft. This year the fall season has been as much about developer tooling as it has been about football, turkey and holiday shopping.

In 2008, Microsoft held its first Professional Developers Conference (PDC08) in three years. The event, as I detailed in a Desmond File blog post, was a blowout. Redmond, it seemed, lined up almost everything for the show--from the dizzying gestalt of Windows Azure and a host of cloud-aligned technologies and initiatives, to the launch of the Windows 7 public beta, to intriguing efforts like the Oslo application modeling platform and repository and the initial CTP of Visual Studio 2010. In fact, several show attendees and one Microsoft manager I spoke with at the show last year said Redmond tried to do too much in too little time at PDC08.

So this year it looks like Microsoft is keen on stretching things out a bit. Like the ever-expanding holiday retail shopping season, the fall developer mardi gras this year started on Monday, with the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas. Kicking off on the same day Microsoft dropped the feature-complete beta 2 versions of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4, the SharePoint Conference spotlights a host of major updates to Microsoft's collaboration and information management platform.

On November 17 Microsoft will kick off its second PDC in as many years, the first time that's happened since 2000 and 2001, when Microsoft was rolling out a modest initiative you might have heard of, called the .NET Framework. This year, we can expect to hear plenty about Windows Azure and assorted cloud-related services and initiatives, .NET 4 and Visual Studio 2010 (due to go final in March 2010) and of course Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 (expected to ship before the second half of next year). I suspect there will be some Silverlight stuff tucked in there, too.

In between is the Professional Association for SQL Server PASS Summit Unite 2009 in Seattle, starting November 2. While not a Microsoft-hosted event, the confab is the largest event for SQL Server professionals and will highlight advances in SQL Server 2008 R2 as well as actvities related to SQL in the cloud.

Our plan at Visual Studio Magazine and Redmond Developer News is to be all over this activity like a cheap suit. We'll be on-site covering many of these events, providing blog and online news coverage, as well as in-depth features and how-tos in print. But we need to hear from you. What can we do to help .NET developers stay ahead of the latest, seasonal launch wave? Email me at

Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/21/2009 at 1:15 PM

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