TechEd Europe 2013 – Wednesday

So I find myself at the keyboard again after another long day at TechEd Europe in Madrid. My sessions of today were about Team Foundation Server, Windows Azure BizTalk Services, Windows Azure Mobile Services, continuous integration with TFS Service and Azure web sites and finally an interesting session about F#. There is much happening in Azure, I already knew that but after attending these sessions I realize that the pace of progress is faster than I thought…

Editing the Insert action of a service.

Editing the Insert action of a service.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m starting to get really impressed with Mobile Services, the demos I’ve seen in Madrid has really been an eye-opener. Steven Sanderson had another great session on that subject today, entitled Develop Native iOS and Android Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Service. First time I’ve seen Android programming and iOS programming on a Microsoft event (and boy, is Objective C ugly!). Really great stuff, check it out if you’re interested in mobile services!

Screen shot of Dustin Campbell's text adventure game compiler

Screen shot of Dustin Campbell’s text adventure game compiler

Dustin Campbell held an interesting session about Build Data-Rich Solutions Faster with Microsoft Visual F#. The talk was not so much about data-rich application as a set of cool F# demos. Without a doubt he gets the geek award of the day for his demo of his text adventure game compiler written in F#. He was very proud to demo playing Zork, written in a grammar that was runtime compiled into MSIL by F#. Rather cool, and utterly unnecessary 🙂

I’m also more more interested in TFS again, the agile planning tools keep getting better and better. TFS 2012 Update 3 is coming out any day and now includes tag support. More interesting stuff is happening in TFS 2013 but we have to wait little more for that. When I asked about the time frame, MS refused to answer, other than that they’re going to respect the year part of the name…

Inspired by today’s sessions I signed up for a TFS Services account (i.e. TFS in the cloud). This way I can try out some features not yet released in the on-premise version. It’s dead simple and the feature auto-deploy to Azure web sites is very neat. The integration between TFS Services and Azure is obviously something that Microsoft has put some effort into.

A new Azure service that I haven’t seen before (I just heard about it a few weeks ago) is BizTalk in the cloud, Windows Azure BizTalk Sevices (currently in preview). I’s a little unclear however how much is actually the good old BizTalk we love and hate. They have new designers and this time you get to configure the entire path from source to destination from inside Visual Studio in an artifact called a Bridge. If you have worked with BizTalk you know that today you define schemas and transforms in Visual Studio but you have to associate them with receive and send ports using the BizTalk administration tool, causing complex deployments. Just this single feature make the new version very interesting but the main aspect is of course that integration is now available as a service in the cloud, with scalabitity, quick provisioning, and so on. BizTalk Server 2013 is also in the pipeline but for the moment these two offerings seem to be rather separate.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow…


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