TechEd 2004 – Day 1


Some of my thoughts on TechEd 2004 held in Canberra, Australia from August 3-6.

Whilst today (Wednesday) is officially day 2 (it started on Tuesday with registration and a welcome reception) I have labelled my posts based on the 3 days of sessions.


The conference was opened by Dr Joe MacInnis, a marine scientist who has done heaps of impressive stuff. But I won’t note that here, see for yourself. More importantly what he spoke on was technology, courage, being your best and people. Some people I spoke to didn’t think it worked to well as an opening keynote, but me, I liked it because it reminded me that technology is great but nothing without the people using it well. Sometimes I get down about how my job has become more people management and less technical work. This heartened me to the great role I can play by looking after people.


OK, this is cool. Microsoft announced that the Australian version of MapPoint went live today. The big bonus is the web service interface. OK, I know this has been available in the States and Europe for ages, but for this little country down under it is big news. Steve Lombardi presented an excellent session.

My mind exploded with ideas that we can put this to use in.

As soon as I get back I’m gonna write a quick VFP app to give directions to OzFox.

SharePoint Portal Server

We’ve got to get into this. We do a lot of custom stuff for clients that is becoming more and more portal like. You know, keeping preferences for clients, custom views of data etc. SharePoint looks like a great tool for managing this. I’m going to get Sharon to check this out big time – I think there will be a big market for good SharePoint developers in the near future.

SQL 2005

Saw a few of the new language features in Yukon. It looks really nice. I guess not a lot has changed in the 5 years since SQL 2000 (compared to other products eg BizTalk for the same timeframe) but it is still an awesome product. Whilst there a host of new features I guess these guys need to ensure that the product is rock solid, stable and performs well, then has the new features as a secondary priority. However the new features are really cool.

Finally, we have huge varchar capability, I mean how much of a hassle was updating text fields? Rediculous. The varchar fields can now store upto 2GB – I’m never going to use a text field again!

There are some new ranking functions that are neat, and the pivot table functions (that have been in Access for years) have been added. Remember when the RI generator was added in 2000 and we thought ‘about bloody time’ cause it had been in VFP for over 5 years? Yeah, well, same story with pivot and a few others.

The new XML data type looks good, and in line xpath queries are also good.

Perhaps the biggest change is the ability to use CLR or managed code in SQL. You can choose between T-SQL or .NET code for your stored procedures. This is pretty awesome. This session didn’t delve into that but I’ve seen other details on these features.

Mind you, you’ve been able to call outside COM objects from SPs for a while it is just that no one really knows how to find the doco on it.


After the first day my brain is flooded with ideas. I feel like I’ve been living in the dark ages and today has been a welcome fast forward.

Add comment

By Craig Bailey