Tech Ed 2014 Day One Recap
What a day, full of sessions, lessons, great people, and great information; I can’t wait to take in more on Tuesday. If you’d like to say hi, be sure, ping me on twitter @SelAromDotNet, I’d really appreciate the opportunity to meet you in person! Here are some of the highlights from Monday that still have my developer senses tingling! Visual Studio 2013 R2 RTM – Official release of the latest update to Visual Studio. Considering that the RC is only just over a month old, this is a testament to Microsoft’s increasing commitment to rapid iteration and release. This update rolls in many fantastic new features including:
- Support for the new Universal Apps, which I’ve already been playing with and is awesome (see: First Look at Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 Universal Apps with Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC)
- Integrated support for Cordova – (Preview) Supports HTML 5 hybrid apps in Visual Studio using PhoneGap, which is a natural complement to the native, cross platform C# development offered by Xamarin
- Browser Link – A brilliant, two-way connection between Visual Studio and multiple, simultaneous Browser sessions, allowing you to update the HTML markup and CSS instantly across all sessions, updated with support for SPA and static HTML files.
- Mobile web debugging – use the Windows Phone emulator to debug directly inside Visual Studio
- Pluggable Scaffolding – Allows you to quickly scaffold items in ASP.NET, including Web Forms, Web API, and even supports building your own custom scaffolding templates!
There was also a peek at .NET vNext. I’m particularly excited about the new compiler platform named Roslyn, which compiles and debugs your application in memory, eliminating the need to write dll files to the bin folder. There’s also some serious optimization coming in vNext, including the ability to compile .NET to native code with .NET Native, which improves the performance and especially the startup times of .NET apps. Even more surprising (but exciting) is the ability to break up the framework into need-to-use components, allowing you to strip out just the .NET Framework components that are needed for your app, deploying them directly with your app as a cloud-optimized, NuGet package, running side-by-side with other apps using different components, even completely different runtime versions on the same server.
Cloud, Cloud, Cloud!
In addition to the developer track sessions I was focused on throughout the day, one message was unmistakable: Microsoft’s commitment to the Cloud. It was all over the Tech Ed 2014 Keynote and as the overall theme of the conference. As a developer, I tend to think of Azure and the Cloud as simply “mass storage and CPU on-demand”, designed to offload some infrastructure and save money when scaling to meet demand… But after everything I’ve witnessed and experienced today, it’s clear that I’ve been missing out! Although as a developer, a lot of the admin stuff goes over my head, I discovered today that Azure is so much more than just “on demand performance”, but rather an “on demand infrastructure” supporting all manner of operations, from development to authentication to disaster recovery and testing, each of which is designed to work together as part of a collective, the whole of which is clearly greater than sum of its parts.
I came to this conference expecting to follow only the Developer tracks, but I’m excited about all the things that I’ve been missing out on. There’s so much to learn, see, and do here at Tech Ed, and I’m eager to get outside my comfort zone and see just what’s out there! See you at Day Two!
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