It came as a bit of a shock to find out that sessions for this event only last 1 hour at most. I could have seen this when syncing to my calendar but I only noticed it into the second session. As a 10 times veteran TechEd this was a surprise. At the one side it’s a good thing, because 90 minutes sometimes felt like a marathon. On the other hand some sessions really need more time. Mixed feelings.
Also the first session was not a good one, I chose the SharePoint 2010 Boot Camp and the first boot camp was really about beginning SharePoint programming. I chose to skip it halfway, but there was still a good demo in this session showing off how to integrate with Excel and Word with the corresponding SharePoint services and the OpenXml SDK. If your customer is well equipped for Office 2007 or 2010, the SDK and the services allow you to build reliable office automation solutions. Generating documents and sheets integrated with business information is something that can really help build end to end solutions.
Other SharePoint 2010 sessions were mostly too short to dive deep. PerformancePoint? Yes it works, when you know what you’re doing. Building Compelling Intranets and Extranets? Some great tips, like taking your Search seriously. Greatly overlooked in a lot of implementations. The new social functions in SharePoint 2010 have to offer a lot but it will suit some organizations better than others. And being less restrictive instead of more restrictive also helps acceptance and creativity of course.
As a consolation for the bad start I decided to treat myself to a dive into the Windows Phone 7 track. In a previous job I got to build a few very rewarding mobile applications so this was like coming home. Most interesting is that the Microsoft team, guided by our speaker Larry Lieberman, decided that they needed to be more in control of the platform. So there are a lot of do’s and don’ts that are carved in stone by Microsoft, 800x600 resolution, capacitive touch, separate landscape and portrait UI’s, support for the Back key, etc, etc.
Also worth noting is that Silverlight has been chosen as the development platform of choice for your regular phone application. Not only for its fancy graphic design capabilities, but also because of its animation capabilities. Animations are considered a great way to guide the user in an application by giving interactivity and key visual cues that users understand instantly. The phone implementation of Silverlight has been optimized, enhanced (Pivot and Panorama) and tuned for use on a mobile device.
Larry reminds us developers here that its not another form of desktop, it’s a phone! Remember that it has capabilities to connect to the Cloud, or Internet services in general, but you can’t access all phone technology. Bluetooth is off limits, calling and SMS has to be approved by the user every time. On top of that a Windows 7 Phone app has to be certified to appear on the market. More restrictive than Android.
I ended my Windows 7 phone track with a dive into connecting Windows 7 Phone applications to the Cloud. Rob Tiffany showed an example of the wiring and bits and bytes you have to be aware of. Here you have to keep in mind that your on a mobile device all the time. Limit bandwidth, make your application capable of handling being online or offline. Having WCF and various related serialization techniques makes this a realistic way of building mobile solutions. Odata now seems an easy way to get going, but sends a lot of data over the line. You might want to reconsider here, rather than blindly imitate the stuff they show in Keynote demo’s.