#mvp08: Day 1 and 2 are over, more to come

MVP, Personal, Technical stuff, Work
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Today was day 2 of the Global MVP Summit. We spent it in Redmond, on the Microsoft Campus. For my part I spent the whole day in the RIA (pronounced “reee-ya”) track, focussed on Silverlight (mostly) and WPF (a little). I won’t say much about it for two reasons:

  • Either the code we saw was very similar to the one shown in Vegas one month ago, or
  • I don’t have the right to talk about it because of NDA

Generally speaking, it’s safe to say that really great things are going to be built on top of Silverlight. The basis is stable enough that they can use the bits to realize new concepts. That will be really interesting to follow.

My comment to all the DevDiv people I could talk to was always the same: Do whatever you want with Silverlight, I am OK with it. Add triggers or not, honestly I am not too concerned about that. But please oh please, keep WPF a superset of Silverlight. Only by doing so will you be credible for WPF developers, who don’t want to learn a whole new set of skills just for the sake of Silverlight, and to SIlverlight developers who want to reuse their newly acquired skills to move their expertise to the desktop.

Think about it: Why is ASP.NET so successful, so much more than ASP ever was? Because ASP.NET builds on the same skills as .NET for the desktop. A C# developer is a C# developer. The libraries are, for many of them at least, the same. Parsing XML for the desktop is the same as parsing XML for ASP.NET. Obviously, some libraries are specific to ASP.NET, but you get my point (I hope).

By following the same concept, and sharing as much code as possible between Silverlight and WPF, you can boost the adoption and cancel most of the criticisms I heard so far. So please, continue to pursue it as a goal (and by the way, if you could do it soon, it would be great :)

Networking

As I thought, the major value for me in the summit is networking. Amazing discussions, with people (from Microsoft or not) whom I have been following sometimes for years, and finally have an occasion to meet face to face, so many great talks that I don’t even want to start enumerating, because I am really tired and I want to sleep, sometimes.

Retrospect

Yesterday, the summit organizers tried something they called Open Spaces. This concept is not new, but trying to apply it to the summit was new. Honestly, I am not convinced. I see the value of an open discussion, but the one I attended (“So you want to be a writer”, about people writing and why they do it) was barely convincing. Honestly, I was really disappointed to hear why full time writers do that job: Money and nothing else. To me, writing (in a book, magazines or in my blog) is about much more than money. It’s about sharing my passion for software, very much in the same spirit than an artist writes to share his ideas with the world. Pretending that people write only to make money doesn’t make sense. If it was true, noone would do it, because it’s too long and too painful a job. Simply not worth it. That’s for the content of the session. As for the format, given the time constraints (which a true open space wouldn’t have, since it’s open, but I understand the issue), I would prefer a panel discussion with Q&A like there is at MIX. In yesterday’s session, we ended up hearing always the same people talking over and over again. So let’s be honest about it, put those guys on a stage and give them a mike.

Oh, BTW, special frown at the idiot woman who found the way to answer her mobile phone in the middle of the session, and explain very loudly that she couldn’t talk because she was in a session. Hey, heard about vibrating alert and combox? Some people are just so rude that it’s barely conceivable.

OK, rant apart, the summit is great. Can’t wait for tomorrow. And if you want to know more about what’s going on here, follow me on twitter.com/lbugnion

Good night!

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