September 13th, 2005

Live from the PDC

LA is freeways, hotels and conference centres. Or at least that's all marypcb and I have seen so far. That and cardboard Hummers.

So what of the conference?

The big news is probably the Windows Vista Community Technology Preview (and of course the return of the Sidebar to the Vista desktop). Then there was Office 12, with its "results-oriented" approach. Microsoft seems to be finally working on the context problem - and it'll be interesting to see how it all fits together over the next year or so. The windrows Vista CTP contains the first bits of Aero, Microsoft's 3D UI. It looks pretty and appears to work well. As my main machine at home now has an Aero-capable graphics card, I'm looking forward to playing with this.

Somewhat more esoteric, but still important were the announcement of LINQ (Language INtegrated Query) which gets rid of all that tedious XPATH and SQL in your nice clean C# code, Microsoft's AJAX framework Atlas (which I've already written about for the Guardian), and the catchily-named WPF/E (a version of the Avalon display technology for small devices).

All very hardcore, but all part of the whole software industry trend to increased abstraction. They may seem just more ways of writing code, but they make what were hard problems easy, and give us a whole new set of tools to deal with the demands of today's businesses. The ability to query objects, XML and relational data and then serialise the results to a web service in just a few lines of code is world-changing stuff (so it's a good job where seeing Java move this way too!).

Tomorrow we (apparently) get to see Sparkle. I've been waiting for that one for two years now...
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