Post-PDC Developer Resources
I'm posting these links with just a little trepidation. The Microsoft Professional Developers' Conference that ended last week featured a tremendous amount of new information for Windows developers, and now Microsoft is pushing on with even more information on the Web. If you're working in the Windows environment, it's certainly useful to know what's coming. But before you get too deeply involved with this stuff, remember, it's all a year or more from release, and three to five years from any reasonable deployment. So don't neglect your day job to dream about what might be coming tomorrow.
For Visual Studio .NET "Whidbey", a good place to start is with the recently-updated Microsoft Developer Tools Roadmap 2004-2005. This page will give you the broad overview of both the next version of VS .NET and the one after that. Near-term changes that strike me as significant include refactoring support in the IDE (this is shown for C#, but it will work for VB as well), C# generics, and object-relational mapping for ADO.NET. The new "Whitehorse" architecture design piece looks interesting, but there's not enough information to tell whether it's really going to be useful. If you're doing Web development with .NET, you should definitely look at the ASP.NET "Whidbey" page as well; there are some amazing-looking improvements coming in that area.
For SQL Server "Yukon", the product team has an entire section on their Web site. The technical overview white papers are especially useful for getting an overview. Also note that the Reporting Services piece, originally scheduled to ship with Yukon, is now in beta for SQL Server 2000.
For Windows "Longhorn", you can start with the Longhorn Developer Center, which already contains an overwhelming amount of information. You might like to start with the white papers on the "three pillars" of Longhorn: Avalon (new vector graphics layer controlled by XML markup), Indigo (service-oriented architecture for building distributed applications), and WinFS (metadata-aware layer on top of the NTFS file system). For more details, the entire Longhorn SDK is already on line. But remember, like everything else, this information is preliminary. Expect many things to change before Longhorn actually ships.
Finally, if you weren't able to attend the conference, you can get at least a touch of what it was like by browsing through the list of sessions, many of which now include downloadable PowerPoint slides and sample code.
For more reviews and opinions from Mike Gunderloy, click here.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.