And I was thinking that last years’ keynote was a hard act to summarize. I’ll try to avoid dumping bunch of links here – many other people done that. Let me still try to summarize how Connect was – it all started on the Tuesday for me when I have had the opportunity to sit down with Jay Schmelzer, Director of Program Management and Sam Guckenheimer, Product owner of Visual Studio Strategy to speak about the upcoming announcements without actually speaking about the upcoming announcements; and would like to thank Eric Maloney from Microsoft for making that possible. For the big day itself, I’ll try to follow the ‘any’ trifecta – Any Platform, Any Application, Any Developer here the same way as this triplet became the official mantra of the day. The trifecta actually came live as a physical token as well. But let’s not jump too much forward.
Any Developers’ (and DevOps’, security architect’s, etc) life was made easier by ditching the static KB security article page and moving to a shiny new https://portal.msrc.microsoft.com/en-us/security-guidance portal. And of course the new Flow Partner Program with 6 new services. Any Platform has seen a significant change by Samsung releasing support for .NET for Tizen (TVs, watches got shown), by Google (and Nancy and xUnit) joining the .NET foundation (and as it turns out they have been a contributor for .NET for a while, and now ASP.NET became a first class citizen on Google Cloud), and of course, nothing smaller than (wait, I need to check whether hell is feeling well in the freezer) the end of one and a half decade of cancer – Microsoft <3 Linux Foundation (actually Microsoft been a significant contributor for the Linux kernel for a while now). Btw, did you know that the first 25.000 dev essentials users get 3 month of Linux Academy free with ‘MCSA: Linux on Azure’ course preloaded? Also I suggest starting to browse http://docs.microsoft.com – new documentation on Azure, SQL Server for Linux, Visual Studio 2017 RC (btw, ever considering moving away from ReSharper in favor of native, I suggest https://aka.ms/vs2017productivityguide, also, I’m looking forward what NCrunch’s next step would be as test as you type is now part of the IDE), C++, EntityFramework and more, and all being editable through github PRs. So go ahead, and do extend missing documentation instead of just leaving comments on it.
Through the color of shirts, we saw that the love for Any Developer (red shirts) and Any Platforms (black ‘devops’ shirts) were undivided, still one of the best burns of the keynote was when Scott Guthrie got the question from Beth Massi: “New shirt?”. Any Developer (probably just ‘Anyone’) could see how the Visual Studio family got extended with two new members – next to Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio Team Services and Visual Studio (for Windows? Original? Vintage version? – Miguel de Icaza), now we do have Visual Studio for Mac (based on Xamarin Studio / Monodevelop, however many pieces has been replaced with actual Visual Studio code) and Visual Studio Mobile Center (your one stop mission center for your app, the integration of all Mobile related ALM and Azure functionality). We have seen demonstration for the Any Platform part by Chris Dias with a demo covering MongoDB, a Mac, docker, azure, nodejs, .NET – actually Linux Foundation membership started to make sense as this might have been a OSS conference just I missed the title somewhere? 🙂 Chris not only showed lightweight interaction – one of the more heavyweight pieces when injecting the MongoDB connection string into environment variable for the NodeJS application to pick up from Azure Portal UI (of course it would work using just the rest API and / or DSC application deployment templates).
If you would think no other surprise guests on the stage, ‘ohmyyyy’, we are so wrong – Any Platform. Github founder and CEO Chris Wanstrath showed up briefly and demonstrated the unprecedented love of Microsoft towards anything opensource. You cannot be a CEO without numbers, so he brought some along around commits, committers, projects and so. Not only did we speak about the Linux Foundation membership, but also proved by a person no other than Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the foundation.
Next section was about Mobile, and when it’s about Mobile and Microsoft it’s about Xamarin – distinguished engineer Miguel de Icaza and Xamarin CEO Nat Friedman gave strong demonstration of the first hand experience with the new Mobile development capabilities around Visual Studio, around the new Mobile Center and it’s integration into Azure, and much more. Xamarin getting lot of love from Developers, and we hear about the trust it gets from the enterprise. Comes as a little surprise that Visual Studio 2017 RC (release notes) is being announced by Nat – actually a good example for even more ‘mobile first’ 🙂 James Montemagno started to raise the heat in the room showing off the iPhone emulator, the realtime forms preview, live edit, Xamarin inspector for Android and many more – so more that he ends up announcing Visual Studio for Mac (see above), with ASP.NET Core support in it. It gets included in each and every Visual Studio subscription – even the community edition. Nat and James gets the privilege to demo Visual Studio Mobile Center – seldom you do see kicking off builds, CI, pipelines, etc on a conference stage (although I still remember last year when we were dissecting the new experience of Visual Studio Installer – who would think watching an installer is gonna be interesting?).
From the devops world, not only have we seen ‘overnight’ (I’m not sold on that one yet) migration from onprem to cloud, but also we have seen Mr. Demo himself – big applause for Donovan Brown 🙂
Did you know you can love that warm, fuzzy feeling when you do deploy to docker from Visual Studio? And you only need to sing ‘Just riiiiiight click’ while you are doing that. Actually, I’d need to have Donovan’s right clicked shipped in my production code, can I do that? Even Scott Guthrie needs Donovan’s right click, on stage. I have to admit, that Donovan not just being awesome presenter, but again had a few ‘this is where you clap’ moments by showing off cross docker boundary work by rubbing some devops on it. Continuous delivery rulez! And before you would think the world is only about right click, we welcome the selfies as well: Beth Massi shows of taking a selfie and taking a live video feed, demoing cognitive services and Azure functions in an elegant and entertaining way.
Than we had one of the surprise announcements for the day (at least for me) by closing the gap with SQL Server SP1 delivering most if not all of the SQL Server Enterprise features for all versions – yes, even for the free express version. OLTP and data warehouse, operational analytics, compression and partitioning, polybase, encryption, row level security and masking – are all there. I really liked the deepdive into SQL Server (me being a server side guy originally) with Lara Rubbelke, and installing SQL Server for Linux into Docker literally in seconds blown my mind.
Not only basic functionality got reproduced for Linux like querying, data load, sharding, partitions (actually not that basic), but also all the special indexes that makes SQL Server blazingly fast. (did you know there is a USQL extension for VSCode? of course next to the mssql extension) Related to performance – in case you were living under a rock, stackoverflow.com is a Microsoft shop – they actually do run the whole site on a hot-warm setup, e.g. 1 SQL Server bearing with the load.
From SQL Server to bots – we have seen the bot framework before, now it has new support for Slack, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams (surprised?) next to skype, and with the possibility to debug into the bots, have them access internal and external services and more.
I shouldn’t miss the set of basic announcements from here: Entity Framework Core 1.1, ASP.NET Core 1.1, and .NET Core 1.1 itself (did you know that over 60% of contributions to Core are coming from the community? I’m also to thank the community to making it so great and fast!). However this wasn’t the part of Scott’s presentation which left me speechless (rare occasion), and not the fact that he prefers zsh when running the shell inside VSCode – it was the demo using Selenium to automated, coded UI test applications written not just in UWP, but also in VB6. Kasey Uhlenhuth also showed up to ‘filter out those suckers right out’ by demoing the new navigation and intellisense capabilities of the IDE – ReSharper, your turn 🙂 .
So we all heard about the demise of the project.json which we started to love (who wants GUIDs in the project file?), so I wasn’t happy when it was announced a few months back that .NET Core 1.1 would prefer .csproj files again. Through the demo of Maria Naggaga I learned this is not actually the case! Yes, project.json got removed in favor of .csproj – but this is not my grandfather’s csproj! No GUIDs, clean structure, ability to use wildcards – actually it feels and seems like using grunt, gulp or similar. While Maria showed up amazing performance numbers on a 20 way server, the newest round 13 TechEmpower data came in – not only ASP.NET delivered 859x speed advance, but delivers unbelievable low latency numbers and ended up in the top 10 with ASP.NET for Linux!
With these words I finish the keynote blog post, watch this space for the next rounds of posts covering the afternoon sessions and the special #FINTech sessions that were delivered the day after.