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I'm at the VSLive conference, speaking at the co-located Software Architect Summit (SAS). I'll provide a couple of posts discussing specific sessions over the next few days. My first is the Tuesday morning keynote.

David Chappell (Chappell and Associates) gave his usual rousing presentation of how the future of software is in services, and the role of Microsoft solutions in that future. Microsoft is in the process of taking several of their object and services technologies and abstracting them into a single approach to developing services-based applications. This is the technology that has been the focus of the last couple of major Microsoft conferences (including the last San Francisco VSLive) -- Indigo, or Windows Communications Framework.

It's a difficult pitch to make to coders, many of whom don't think far beyond the immediate impact of their code or their specific project. It's doubly difficult when you fit in a product pitch for Microsoft's next generation of tools and infrastructure (although David is such an accomplished presenter that it flowed smoothly).

At the beginning of the talk, David described the connections (none but the same name) between himself, the comedian David Chappelle (not present), and David Chappell (Sonic Software, and a colleague of mine), who was in the audience. The amazing thing was that David (Sonic) did not get up in the middle of David's presentation and shout, "It's an ESB!" The combination of Biztalk Server 2006 and the Windows Workflow Foundation contain pretty much what the non-Microsoft world thinks of as the Enterprise Service Bus. It would be a great debate if we could get the two of them in a room talking about that (although it would be very hard to moderate – "Your turn, David, er, Mr. Chappell, oh, forget it!").

David also compared the role of the software developer to that of a liquor salesman, describing his own days as a musician in his youth. "Whether or not I got hired back depended entirely on how many drinks they sold that night." Ultimately, software developers have day jobs because someone is willing to pay for the results of their collective endeavors (don't tell Richard Stallman that, though).

But it is clear that developers, whether working with Microsoft, Java, or other platform and set of technologies, must make their code more open and accessible to both automated and human interaction.

Posted by Peter Varhol on 01/31/2006

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