Yet another day at TechEd Europe has passed. This day started with a second keynote, the reason being that Windows 8.1 was announced at the Build conference the night before. Microsoft had to do these announcements before they could talk about Windows 8.1 at TechEd I suppose. Kind of makes TechEd look like a second class conference, Build seems to receive considerably more focus from Microsoft. Steve Ballmer himself did the keynote at Build and all delegates receive generous giveaways. At TechEd we have gotten a rather good Surface tablet offer this year, being able to order a Surface RT and a Surface Pro with quite good discounts. At Build however, the delegates gets a Surface Pro and an 8 inch Acer tablet for free…
Now, this blog post was not going to be about Build (I’m reporting from TechEd after all) but it’s worth pointing out that it seems that there is less developer focus at TechEd and that Microsoft is expecting developers to go to Build instead. I heard that approximately 25% of the TechEd delegates are categorized as developers, the rest being IT pros, so that’s also an indication.
However, being interested in enterprise development, I have attended several interesting sessions today. There was one session about the news in Windows 8.1 and it seems to be not very revolutionary. Apps can now be snapped more freely than before, for example. Another example is that there is a new speech synthesis API. That was actually not very impressive, it sounded a bit like my old Amiga 500 speech synthesis from the early nineties. Not sure who needs that, actually.
There was also lots of other smaller changes making the Windows 8 experience a little more polished, but nothing major so I guess that the version number 8.1 is pretty accurate. The most peculiar new feature is that Windows 8.1 will support 3D printing inside the OS in the same manor as 2D printing, with a print dialog with preview, etc. Obviously a gimmick, but certainly something that will get some attention (I’m blogging about it right now, for example…).
Other sessions I’ve been to have been about Team Foundation Server / Services and Azure Service Bus, both of them quite interesting. I can’t help noticing that most of the sessions that have been relevant to me have been about Azure or TFS so it seems that Microsoft is really pushing those technologies.
Microsoft also had a challenge at the conference that if you did certain experiments with Azure and Team Foundation Services (mainly creating a web site and deploy into that from your own project in TF Services) you’d get some prizes. Of course I couldn’t help accepting the challenge and was up last night doing 4 of the 5 challenges and in return I collected a water bottle, ear plugs with the Azure logo and an R/C car to play with. 🙂
It was actually rather fun trying out these technologies and the challenge was a way for Microsoft to make us take a little time to actually do some testing. And it worked, I’ll probably be using this stuff in the future…