mars 11


I went today to the launch day of the Tech Days 2008 in Ghent, Belgium. I will try to do a little résumé (as for the two next days) of the conference I have been able to see. Last year I was very excited after the first day with the great conferences of Jeff Prosise which will remain one of my top speakers.

This year, this first day, was less technical and more "commercial". Quite normal in fact for a launch day as it was announcing the launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Sql Server 2008. In fact

  • Visual Studio 2008 has been launched (and in RTM) since October 2007
  • Sql Server 2008 has been delayed. A new CTP is available in February 2008 but the RTM version is planned for Q3 2008

Anyway, this first day was interesting.

Opening keynote (by Bill Hilf)

Many other guest came for little demos. Here Bill Hilf has spoken a bit of the three products, emphasizing on "Dynamic IT" and on the vitualization. Here are the key facts he has presented:

  • Windows Server 2008
    • Since Vista, Microsoft has rewritten all the TCP / IP layer
    • They have tried to limit the footprint size (meaning more or less the installation size and the component installed) in order to limit the patch quantity and sizes (and so to maximize the uptime) and also to limit the possible doors for hackers
      • If you want a web server, you may not want to install the UI
    • Includes BitLocker to encrypt hard disks
    • Delivered with IIS 7 that will support natively PHP
    • "Hyper-V" : the virtualization platform of Windows Server 2008
  • Visual Studio 2008
    • Improvement of the compilation time by 30%
    • Presentation of some new features as the split view, javascript debugging and Expression Blend
  • Sql Server 2008
    • The "Resource Governor" will allow to decide which percentage of the CPU will be attributed to which resource pool
    • It will be possible to encrypt a DB on the fly (and not only on a table level as now)
    • Will allow you to test a database agains some defined rules  

Session 1 : Visual Studio 2008 Overview (by Peter Himschoot)

The president of the VISUG has shown us some the main improvement of VS 2008. There was nothing I was not knowing already but I was curious to see how he was presentings this, just to get inspired :-)

What I can note ?

  • That the code of the demos he has done will be downloadable on his blog
  • He has presented the new Orcas build capabilities (build queuing and build triggering)
  • The Unit Testing will be available in the Professional Editions of VS

Session 2 : Next Generation Web Application with Visual Studio 2008 (by Gil Cleeren)

The webmaster of the VISUG has focused this time on the web part of VS 2008. Again I was knwoing many things. What I will note anyway ?

  • The new CSS windows ("CSS Style Manager", "Apply Styles Window" and "CSS Explorer") to ease the CSS manipulation in a web site and detect easilty which style is responsible of what effect on a control
  • The Javascript debugging and intellisense capabilities
  • How to use WCF with AJAX
  • Some controls of the "ASP.NET Ajax Control Toolkit" as the PopUp control and the Watermark control
  • The Visual Studio's WebTests will allow testing AJAX pages

Session 3 : Pervasive Business Intelligence with Sql Server 2008 (by Frederik Vandeputte)

This was an interesting session ! Indeed I have a very few knowledge of BI, Data Mining, Data Warehouse, Reporting using Sql Server. And this session allowed me to enter a bit in this (of course, I still have a lot to do !)

  • He has shown among other things the CDC (Change Data Capture) possibilities : how it works (based on the transaction log files), how we can interrogate the DB to see the changes, ...
  • The profiling capabilities within the "Data Profile View" that will allow to extract some statistics on a table like the min or max value, the number of null values, the distribution of the values, ...
  • Presentation of the new "Dundas" charts that are now included with the Reporting Services
  • The datamining tools in Excel (that have appeared in the Sql Server 2005 SP2) have been improved
  • Being able to analyse the data of a table to see the influence of datas on a specific values

Finally the vice-president of the "SQL User Group" has given us a rendez-vous for more session in its user group !

That's all for today ! Time to go to sleep now to see some other great session tomorrow, specially the ones of Ingo Rammer and Roy Osherove !

See you tomorrow !

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