PDC 2009: Day 1

November 18th, 2009

The first day of PDC 2009 started with keynote delivered by Ray Ozzie, and the keynote was mainly about the three-screen strategy that Microsoft has for cloud computing. Microsoft poised itself to seamlessly integrate user experiences among three screens – cell phone, PC, and TV – so that users can deal with tasks whenever and wherever they want to. He also announced that Windows Azure will be in production in January 2010, and will start billing in February 2010. Microsoft also revealed several heavy-weight partners of Azure, including WordPress.com (oh yeah don’t doubt, I’m well caffeinated and it’s the WordPress) and Kelly Blue Book. The billing model of Windows Azure is very innovative and flexible, basically one pays what he uses, and he could scale up or down at anytime. Sounds like a plan.

There weren’t too many surprises, and the biggest innovative spot IMO is the Codename “Dallas”. It’s a unified platform that developers can use to subscribe contents from content providers, for example, one can subscribe contents from both NASA and Info Today using same interface. Microsoft also do the billing, so developers can mix and match paid and free contents as they wish. “Dallas” is currently powered by ATOM RSS and SQL Azure, which I sort of wonder its scalability and performance. I hope I will have time to chat with developers in that team about my doubts later.

The sessions I had was Windows 7 core kernel changes and WPF performance tuning. Actually both were related to performance tuning. Everyone seems to use scientific methods now, that is, quantize and measure, identifying bottleneck, solve it, (automatic) regress, and repeat. Microsoft invested quite a bit about performance tuning in recent years, for example, removing PFN lock and dispatcher lock. The performance tuning is very aggressive, if not paranoid, like measuring frame rate in WPF. I don’t know when will Windows Phone be overhauled via the same standard and I hope it won’t be too late.

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