Reflections on TechEd 2012: Windows 8, Azure, WCF, and BizTalk

Now that the dust has settled and I’ve worked myself back into my regular groove, it has come time for me to reflect a bit on all the things I learned while at Microsoft TechEd last week.

First off, kudos to Microsoft for putting on a great conference.  Things went extremely well apart from some minor glitches in some of the demos.  I’ve seen bigger disasters when the demo gods were unhappy (remember Windows 98?), but what was seen here was mostly forgivable as the content was really good.

Having said that, here are a few of my own thoughts:

  • Windows 8 rocks.  You always hear about how “revolutionary” the latest technologies are supposed to be and rarely are (I’m looking at YOU, Apple), but in this case I believe we have a real “Game Changer”.  With the Metro style and portability across all kinds of hardware, from the standard PC, to the tablet, to the Phone, Windows 8 will really change the way we do computing.  A bonus for those who like Windows 7–the classic interface will still be supported.
  • The Metro style is a real winner and Visual Studio 2012 is going to make it extremely easy to implement it in our own apps with some really nice templates that have the scrolling and touch capabilities built right in.
  • Azure is everything.  Just in case you didn’t get that–Azure is everything.  This is a an ever-changing product.  A new and improved management UI was just released and VMs are much quicker (literally seconds if you use one of the pre-built templates) and easier to create and are given much more support in the latest round of changes.  Stay tuned for more.
  • WCF 4.5 will have some neat new features, but for the most part, there won’t be anything earth shattering.  Default settings such as message sizes, etc. will be changed to be a bit more realistic.  One particularly nice feature that is being added is improved intellisense in the configuration files.  For example, when providing a name for a binding reference, you’ll be given a list of all the bindings you’ve already created in the config.
  • BizTalk is not dead yet. In fact, it sounds like Microsoft has added it back to their roadmap of upcoming products and there are at least a few more version in the future.
    • BizTalk is going to play a large role in Microsoft’s story of integration between on-premise LOB systems and Cloud-based systems.
    • BizTalk 2010 R2, or whatever they decide to call it, is going to be released 6 months after Windows Server 2012.
    • Expect a CTP release of BTS 2010 R2 in July 2012, and a Beta October 2012.  That’s right.  They’ve got bits and they’re about to show ’em.
    • More map improvements are coming.  I’ve heard we’re going to be able to look at the XSLT a map generates directly in the mapper, and possibly even update right there.  Personally, I think this would be a HUGE win.
    • There’s going to be an Azure Service Bus adapter that will allow you to connect on-premise BizTalk solutions directly to the Azure Service Bus.
    • The ESB toolkit will be part of the standard BizTalk installation.  I am SO looking forward to this.
    • BizTalk artifacts exposed as WCF services will be available as RESTful services and you will be able to call RESTful services as well.

As you can see, there’s a lot here to get excited about!

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About Ed Jones

Ed is a Connected Systems and .NET Specialist for RBA in the Twin Cities. Contact Ed

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