Today was the second day of the Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office System – to give it is’s ‘official’ name – launch. The morning started out with registration for the delegates and a briefing for those helping, who were mostly Microsoft employees with the odd smattering of community members. Familiar faces included Martin Parry, Daniel Moth, Paul Tallet, Jason Du Plessis and Mark Johnston.
Following that everyone wandered down to building 2 and into the restaurant where about 90 PC’s were laid out ready for the WPF coding challenge. The idea was to create a WPF chat client that used a WCF service to handle login/logout, avatar provision and routing the chat messages. We hit a strange issue that only appeared on some machines where a MessageSecurityException was throw. As of now there still isn’t a fix for this, but watch Mike Ormond’s blog as when there is it will be posted on there.
After the Vista session ended we wandered back down to building 3 where lunch was laid on. I caught up with Phillip Stears from Drive Works and Aiden Folkes from Contemi who had both been at the Geek Dinner the night before. Ben Noble (an Imagine Cup finalist no less) popped his head in to chat as well, at which point we started lamenting the passing of the Managed Extensions to DirectX, something I hadn’t heard about. All I have to say on the matter is I’m most miffed!
Also during lunch I made a point of talking to some of the delegates who looked less than likely as delegates at a hands-on coding day where the sole aim is to play with the latest technologies. The standard response seemed to be “we just wanted to keep up with what’s new”, which is fair enough, I was just a little surprised at the level of knowledge at which they had come along, as it ranged from low to non-existent. Whilst not a bad thing, in fact I think it’s excellent that people want to experiment with developing for Vista, definitely surprising.
After lunch Mike Ormond introduced the Office 2007 session, which was a nifty Excel add-in that made use of the same web service from before to show the location of logged in users via a Virtual Earth mash-up, this was all accessed by a custom ribbon. All new stuff to me, so I was impressed! I also met up with Tim Leung of VBUG who I had a long chat with about some of the launch events he’s got planned in the next couple of months, which is hopefully something I can contribute to.
All round this was a great day with thanks needed to all involved, especially Mike Taulty and Mike Ormond. If you missed out today I’d really recommend trying checking out the Vista/Office launch site and the official Microsoft UK Launch site, where you can both see the presentations from yesterday plus get hold of the hands-on coding challenges from today.