TechEd 2004 – Day 3


Day 3 (Friday) – the final day.

I had trouble getting up this morning. Its been a whole week without exercise, and hardly any fruit. My body starts breaking down pretty quickly. Also I’m missing my wife big time. Anything over a night away from her and I start feeling down. But I’ll be seeing her tonight so I’ve just got to hold on.

Missed the first session cause I was running late. Gees I feel bad.

Web Services Extensions 2.0

I went to a session on WSE that focussed on security when using web services. Very handy. We need to be looking at this for our own projects. The new enhancements make it a lot easier to use encryption and security in web services, so I see this more as a necessity for our business, as opposed to any major business or market potential.

Starting to feel very tired now. And I think everyone is feeling it. Even the normally very pleasant coffee girl was looking a bit frazzled – she was even a tad rude. At lunch the usual crowd seemed a bit subdued and unfriendly. To be expected I guess, or perhaps its just me. Maybe I’m giving off a tired vibe that gets that kind of response from people.


This session focussed on the Enterprise library that the PAG group are working on. I remember checking this out a year or two ago, and found it hard to understand. After this session I checked the site again and it is much improved.

This reminded me a little of the Microsoft Framework doco from a year or so ago. I checked it out again at – you’ll be redirected to a Visual Studio Team System site, but the stuff is all there.

This was on my mind anyway because I was chatting with Frank last night about the difference between a Program Manager and a Product Manager – you’ll find it all explained in the MSF documents.

Info and BizTalk

An excellent introduction to BizTalk and InfoPath, with InfoPath being the input mechanism and BizTalk the distributor. InfoPath is such a cool tool – I think this will be a big area of development – it brings the data collection stuff down to the masses, similar to how Access brought databases to the masses.

Like I said yesterday, the stumbling block is going to be the lack of an InfoPath reader. But that aside, the potential for development within companies is huge.

There were some very impressive demos of forms built for insurance companies, account requests and project status.

There is a whole Human Workflow System built into the product (I’m talking about SP1 here) which is amazing.

The problem we’ll have short term is convincing clients this is a serious tool – I suspect they’ll have a quick look at it and assume that because it is so easy it must be some kind of mickey mouse package. But give it a year or two and you’ll be seeing InfoPath everywhere.

Closing Keynote

Eric Rudder closed the conference with an overview of Microsoft’s strategy for the next few years. Ofcourse the big focus is on .Net and its lead into Longhorn.

We saw some demos of Visual Studio Team System (awesome, but I don’t have to tell you that), SQL 2005 (again awesome) and then Longhorn (hmmm, looks nice, but not much to takeaway for now).

Closing thoughts

An excellent conference. Well organised, immensly useful and in my mind, mandatory for any software or IT manager to attend. With so much stuff to keep up to date on, this conference is a beautiful condensed serve of the latest. I’m taking some of my senior team members next year. This was my first TechEd and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Next year I’ll know.

A big thank you to my friends at Microsoft for taking such good care of me. I get a little shy and uncomfortable in crowds (especially when I’m on my own) and Andrew, Chuck, Caroline and Frank were very kind to me. Thanks guys – you made a big difference to my week.

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By Craig Bailey