Eric Rudder did the the keynote on Wednesday. The highlights of the keynote were:

  • Announcement of Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF), though a workflow engine from Microsoft has been rumored for several years, it finally was out of the bags today. A powerful Workflow framework as part of WinFX is a very compelling value proposition for .NET developers. Almost all business applications (Web or Windows) has some kind of Workflow custom build into them. Moving this to the underlying platform will certainly speed-up development and make it easier to debug, develop and maintain.
  • Microsoft announced MS Expression, a suite of designer tool. Traditionally developers and designers used different tool sets to do their work, Expression aims to bridge the gap. Three SKUs were announced part of Expression family
    • Microsoft Acrylic Graphics Designer – aimed at pure designers who can use it do powerful bitmap and vector graphics in the same design surface. Ability to generate XAML files.
    • Microsoft Sparkle Interactive Designer – aimed at designers and developers to design Windows Forms Application using XAML.
    • Microsoft Quartz Web Designer – aimed at designer and developers to design standards based Web Application. Everything the tool does XML, XSLT, CSS, HTML all conforms to standards. By default the tool generates XHTML 1.0 transitional – can be configured to generate based on any W3C Schema. Provides pretty cool two-way (Design and Coding) CSS and XSLT Design surface.
    • The best part of both Sparkle and Quartz is that it uses the same project files as Visual Studio 2005 and preserves formatting of all source files. Thanks Microsoft for listening to us on preserving formatting and adopting standards!
    • The folks from North Face adventure wares demoed an application that allowed sharing a 3D model designed in Autocad with people who had only Avalon was very compelling.
  • So far applications to be customized by end-users with a scripting language, had to use only Visual Basic for Application (VBA). This is commonly used by apps like MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. Now Microsoft is introducing Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA) which provides the entire set of .NET Runtime and Languages available for developers to customize apps. An early version of Autocad was demonstrated using VSTA as Proof of Concept.
  • All PDC attendees to be given free copies of SQL Server 2005 once the product gets released. The final CTP of SQL Server ’05 was given to us on that day.
  • Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2005 was also given to all attendees. Finally Whidbey seems to get out of the door.

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