MSDN Event – Q3 2008

Yesterday was the MSDN Event in Livonia. The topics were SQL Server 2008 (sweeeeet), VSTO 2008 (meh), and Silverlight 2.0 (kewl).
The event was held at Embassy Suites on 7 mile and I96.  I had never been in there before.  It was very nice.
I liked the swag.  They were handing out “I am a PC” stickers.   (in your face, Mac huggers!)  I grabbed a couple of those.
The room for the event had skinny chairs that were packed in there.  I was 5 minutes late, so there was no room for my arms or elbows.  Good thing that most geeks aren’t fond of their own personal space. (that was sarchasm, in case you missed it).
The presentation for SQL 2008 was pretty cool, but was over pretty quickly.  Here is the summary:
  • Geometric and Geospatial data in SQL 2008 totally rulez!!!!
  • The query results window for geo queries knocked me out!
  • I badly want the source code for the demo that Bill Steele showed.  It took geo results and merged them with Microsoft Virtual Earth.  Kewl and double kewl!
  • SSRS now has some new controls, like gauges!
  • By popular demand, now there are columns for Date or Time (without doing both!) for those who don’t like having datetime in the same column.
  • You can now pass an entire table as a parameter to a stored procedure.
  • You can write Stored Procedures in dotnet (via Visual Studio, and deploy them to Sql Server)
  • A new SSRS control called a Tablix.  Which is a cross between a table and a matrix.  Which means you can have a table with a varying number of rows AND columns.

The presentation for VSTO was better than expected.  I have been afraid of security measures relating to Office Add-ins, but Bill Steele explained how the security model for office blocks objects from outside your NT domain and how there are a few layers to the security.  I can see how that could seem like a pain in the neck sometimes (like how Vista is always asking for admin permissions) but much better for security.

Also, the VSTO presentation gave me a few ideas for writing custom ribbons for excel or access to go along with some of the apps I maintain.  I’m sure the VSTO stuff would be more exciting if I actually did more with Office integration.

I was really looking forward to seeing what is new in Silverlight 2.0.  Unfortunately, the presentation seemed to be the same old XAML demos.  You know: “here is a button, here it is animated, wee, look at it spinning around”.  I would like to see something more useful, like a mashup in Silverlight, and some compelling reasons to consider programming in Silverlight instead of ASP.NET or winforms.  The message I got was: there is nothing new in Silverlight 2.0, wee, look at the spinning button.  Sigh.

I did see some stuff about Workflow Foundations.  That looks pretty cool.  I intend to immerse myself in WF.  Maybe even see if I can do a demo for  I think WF could change peoples’ lives if they plugged it into their apps.  It just looks a little daunting to get started.  I bet that scares a lot of people off.  Kinda like implementing drag & drop in your apps: once you support it in one place, you have to do it everywhere and that will eat up all your time.

Anyway.  MSDN was cool just for the SQL Server 2008 stuff.  I’m going to start pressing for it at work asap.


About Tim Golisch

I'm a geek. I do geeky things.
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