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TechEd 2007 Day 3

Written by Alcides Fonseca at 2007/11/08

Improving Software Safety and Reliability – Applying Ergonomics to the User Interface



Chad Hower made this traditional usability presentation where he went through a lot of examples where bad design has lead to some minor and major problems. One thing that he focused is that one simple click every hour in a large company, when summed all up together, the time/money thrown away is too big.




Building Fun, Cool Applications with Popfly



I had tried Yahoo Pipes a while ago and I didn’t find it easy enough for simple users to use it. Well, Dan Fernandez did a demo how to make widgets and gadgets (isn’t it the same thing after all?) with Popfly and integrate it in your space. I found the interface (built on silverlight) pretty cool and intuitive, but the notion of blocks and how they should connect to each other is too easy for me and too complicated for regular users. I find it however a good step in bringing the power of programming and semantics to them, but is only the beginning of a great path.




Communities? Can they really help my business, my day-to-day job, and my career?



Bart Martens has been working for a long time as a manager of a big IT community and has help several others to start and grow up. He focused the importance of sharing knowledge and taking the opportunity that communities give you to get a fast answer to some common problems.



Although I find him a great person, I guess the presentation wasn’t particularly well done in the perspective of making geek IT guys to gather more and take advantage of that. He focused a bit on managing communities, but only a few in the audience even participated on those.




A developer diary on implementing Windows CardSpace



Dominick Baier did a great presentation on a subject that matters to me: Identity 2.0 focusing (of course, this is a MS event) on cardspace technology. Cardspace works a wallet where you have your cards you need to sign in your services. He showed a bit how to make a small web application that used Cardspace as login. However, as he suggested, you can’t make this direct transition. You have to support both Cardspace and traditional login/password system. Well, I guess I already heard this one for OpenID.



At the end of the session, I talked to Vittorio Bertocci about this and as cardspace is user-centric and openID is based on independent providers. At the end he agreed that for now the best authentication for my blog, forum, website or something with a “normal” level of security is OpenID. He also mentioned something I wanted to build that is alreay done on signon.com. Another thing I think cardspace lacks is the capability of loading a card from a server location (protected of course!).






Silverlight, ASP.net and web services in IronPython and IronRuby



Following latest presentation, Mahesh this time focused the development of websites using IronPython. First we had a silverlight presentation made using IronPython to add handlers to XAML parts. Then we created a ASP.NET project but instead of C# or VB.net, we used IronPython (Ruby is now available for download) and it really makes your life simpler! C# guys, please try IronPython or Ruby for a week and then you’ll change for sure!




Understanding Software + Services



David Chappell shared with us his vision on the close future on the informatics. He believes software will leave single-tenant (where they are local and expensive) to multi-tenant (in the cloud and cheaper due to flexibility of shared resources). He also raised this question that it’s to me the main issue in this transition: What about trust?



Single-tenant has the major advantage that you develop for only one platform that you’ll manage for sure. It gives you more control of the environment where it will run and also it will be easier to change or add features. Users are in the need for fast updates of the product is this is the answer for that. The dynamic capacity is the key for this change that decreases the costs of software. For example, the Christmas shopping boom may be handled dynamically.



There are already some examples like EC2 (computing), S3 (storage), salesforce and dynamics (CRM applications) and a lot more. He focused a bit on Microsoft that is moving gradually with Dynamics being hosted on premises, partner hosted or Microsoft hosted (Dynamics Live).



He also highlighted Salesforce.com, a CRM that is now SaaS.