Room 398, Tuesday June 8

Session Type: Breakout Session
Track: Application Server & Infrastructure
Speaker(s): Maggie Myslinska
Level: 200 – Intermediate

Come learn how to use Windows Azure AppFabric (with Service Bus and Access Control) as building block services for Web-based and hosted applications, and how developers can leverage services to create applications in the cloud and connect them with on-premises systems.

If you are planning on seeing Juval’s and my talk ASI304 at TechEd and/or if you need to know more about how Windows Azure AppFabric enables federated cloud/on-premise applications and a range of other scenarios, you should definitely put Maggie’s talk onto your TechEd schedule as well. 

Categories: AppFabric | Talks | TechEd US | Technology

Room 265, Thursday June 10
9:45AM – 11:00 AM

Session Type: Breakout Session
Track: Application Server & Infrastructure
Speaker(s): Clemens Vasters, Juval Lowy
Level: 300 - Advanced

The availability of the Service Bus in Windows Azure AppFabric is disruptive since it enables new design and deployment patterns that are simply inconceivable without it, opening new horizons for architecture, integration, interoperability, deployment, and productivity. In this unique session organized especially for Tech·Ed, Clemens Vasters and Juval Lowy share their perspective, techniques, helper classes, insight, and expertise in architecting solutions using the service bus. Learn how to manage discrete events, how to achieve structured programming over the Service Bus buffers, what options you have for discovery and even how to mimic WCF discovery, what are the recommended options for transfer security and application authentication, and how to use AppFabric Service Bus for tunneling for diagnostics or logging, to enabling edge devices. The session ends with a glimpse at what is in store for the next versions of the service bus and the future patterns.

Yes, that's Juval and myself on the same stage. That'll be interesting. 

Categories: AppFabric | Azure | Talks | TechEd US

Didn't I write that I wanted to blog more this year? It's June, you see what came out of that.

First things, first; I'm flying to Orlando tomorrow for TechEd. Looking back at what my conference schedule looked like up until 2 years ago, it's hard to believe that this is my first (!) scheduled conference talk this year. I actually do miss the life on the road a little bit. The compensation for it is that I get to see my family every day (my daughter Eva's first birthday is coming up on June 25th) and that I'm getting to work on and define the stuff that I 'just' used to be talking about. This really is the first time that I do a talk about a Microsoft technology that I own; so that's a bit of a thing:

SOA 403 Building Federated Solutions on the Internet Service Bus
Thursday, June 5, 2008 10:15AM-11:30AM
Room: S220 C (DEV)

'Own' means here that I'm the responsible Program Manager for the entire 'Messaging' feature area of BizTalk Services in what we call the '.NET Online Services' team around here. The PM title isn't entirely accurate, because I'm also writing pretty substantial amounts of product code these days. The ability to write and contribute code into the product was the primary reason why I switched jobs and joined the team I'm now in, but it turned out that the PM role was the overall better fit for me. So I'm 60% PM and 40% Dev. Or something like that.

Back to TechEd. There are two talk about what we're building. The first one is 'today' (I'm still on Pacific Time so I realize that may be a bit late); Justin Smith will provide a broad overview on the services we're building:

SOA206 Messaging, Identity, and Workflow in the Cloud
Tuesday, June 3 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
Room: S220 C  

The second talk is mine (above) and as you might be able to tell by the '400' classification I've got the clear intent not to spend too much time in Powerpoint. I am going to show four common architectural issues and ways to deal with them using the cloud platform. And I'm going to show you the code for it. I also plan (we'll see how that part goes with the on-site network) to host an app for 'crowd participation' so that I'm explicitly not going to ask you to turn your laptops off. Since the BizTalk Services SDK hasn't spread very broadly, yet, I'll base the majority of the demos on the SDK samples so that you can easily repro the stuff that I show you.
Now ... you say ... "BizTalk Services? I don't have anything to do with BizTalk! Do you want to sell me BizTalk Server?" 
Well, it's always nice if customers decide to pick up some BizTalk Server licenses, but: No, I don't. Our stuff does actually compose with BizTalk Server 2006 R2 through the WCF Adapter, but the way to think about this code-name is that 'BizTalk' just happens to be the brand that our division has been using for Messaging. There was the BizTalk Framework, BizTalk Server and now we've got BizTalk Services. It's a brand. And we're actually finding that that name isn't really a perfect fit for what we're doing; customers suggest the same. So there'll be a different name. I'm guessing we're going to talk about that new name and some other cards we hold in our hands at or around PDC.
The stuff that I own in the 'Cloud' Messaging area are Naming, Service Registry, Connectivity/NAT Traversal, Relay, Eventing, a bunch of internal, servide-side infrastructure supporting those feature areas and some feature areas that we'll talk about more at PDC. So the fun part of TechEd for me (and you) is that the 'feedback opportunity' is pretty immediate. We're updating the services (just about) every quarter and I'll probably check in my last set of stuff for the current release cycle from Orlando or the night I get back here. From there I'm switching into planning mode for the next release (aligned with PDC) and if you bring good ideas that we can fit into the next cycle, I'm very inclined to take them. Not that we'd have any shortage of feature ideas, mind you. More is better.
If you are in Orlando .. I'll have booth duty at the WCF booth in the Exhibition Hall (or whatever they call it this year) both Wednesday and Thursday from 2:30PM to closing so come see me there or come to see my talk or just grab me at the Attendee Party if you can recognize me. ;-)
If you are not:  
Categories: Architecture | TechEd US | ISB

June 21, 2006
@ 08:57 AM
In the ongoing MSDN Architecture Webcast Series with broad coverage of all things WCF (see the "Next Generation: .NET Framework 3.0 and Vista" section for archived and upcoming content), I am on today (8AM PST, 11AM EST, 17:00 CET), live from my kitchen table in Germany, with a remix of my "RSS, REST, POX, Sites-as-Services" talks from MIX06 and TechEd.
Categories: Talks | MIX06 | TechEd US | WCF

I've been quoted as to have said so at TechEd and I'll happily repeat it: "XML is the assembly language of Web 2.0", even though some (and likely some more) disagree. James Speer writes "Besides, Assembly Language is hard, XML isn’t." , which I have to disagree with.

True, throwing together some angle brackets isn't the hardest thing in the world, but beating things into the right shape is hard and probably even harder than in assembly. Yes, one can totally, after immersing oneself in the intricacies of Schema, write complex types and ponder for days and months about the right use of attributes and elements. It's absolutely within reach for a WSDL zealot to code up messages, portTypes and operations by hand. But please, if you think that's the right way to do things, I also demand that you write and apply your security policy in angle bracket notation from the top of your head and generate WCF config from that using svcutil instead of just throwing a binding together, because XML is so easy. Oh? Too hard? Well, it turns out that except for our developers and testers who are focusing on getting these mappings right, nobody on our product team would probably ever even want to try writing such a beast by hand for any code that sits above the deep-down guts of our stack. This isn't the fault of the specifications (or people here being ignorant), but it's a function of security being hard and the related metadata being complex. Similar things, even though the complexity isn't quite as extreme there, can be said about the other extensions to the policy framework such as WS-RM Policy or those for WS-AT.

As we're getting to the point where full range of functionality covered by WS-* specifications is due to hit the mainstream by us releasing WCF and our valued competitors releasing their respective implementations, hand-crafted contracts will become increasingly meaningless, because it's beyond the capacity of anyone whose job it is to build solutions for their customers to write complete set of contracts that not only ensures simple data interop but also protocol interop. Just as there were days that all you needed was assembly and INT21h to write a DOS program (yikes) or knowledge of "C" alongside stdio.h and fellows to write anything for everthing, things are changing now in the same way in Web Services land. Command of XSD and WSDL is no longer sufficient, all the other stuff is just as important to make things work.

Our WCF [DataContract] doesn't support attributes. That's a deliberate choice because we want to enforce simplicity and enhance interoperability of schemas. We put an abstraction over XSD and limit the control over it, because we want to simplify the stuff that goes across the wire. We certainly allow everyone to use the XmlSerializer with all of it's attribute based fine-grained control over schema, even though there are quite a few Schema constructs that even that doesn't support when building schema from such metadata. If you choose to, you can just ignore all of our serialization magic and fiddle with the XML Infoset outright and supply your own schema. However, XML and Schema are specifications that everyone and their dog wanted to get features into and Schema is hopelessly overengineered. Ever since we all (the industry, not only MS) boarded the SOAP/WS train, we're debating how to constrain the features of that monster to a reasonable subset that makes sense and the debate doesn't want to end.

James writes that he "take[s] a lot of care in terms of elements vs. attributes and mak[es] sure the structure of the XML is business-document-like", which only really makes sense if XML documents used in WS scenarios were meant for immediate human consumption, which they're not.

We want to promote a model that is simple and consistent to serialize to and from on any platform and that things like the differentiation between attributes and elements doesn't stand in the way of allowing a 1:1 mapping into alternate, non-XML serialization formats such as JSON or what-have-you (most of which don't care about that sort of differentiation).  James' statement about "business-document-like" structures is also interesting considering EDIFACT, X.12 or SWIFT, all of which only know records, fields and values, and don't care about that sort of subtle element/attribute differentation, either. (Yes, no of those might be "hip" any more, but they are implemented and power a considerable chunk of the world economy's data exchange).

By now, XML is the foundation for everything that happens on the web, and I surely don't want to have it go away. But have arrived at the point where matters have gotten so complicated that a layer of abstraction over pretty much all things XML has become a necessity for everyone who makes their money building customer solutions and not by teaching or writing about XML. In my last session at TechEd, I asked a room of about 200 people "Who of you hand-writes XSLT transforms?" 4 hands. "Who of you used to hand-write XSLT transforms?" 40+ hands. I think it's safe to assume that a bunch of those folks who have sworn off masochism and no longer hand-code XSLT are now using tools like the BizTalk Mapper or Altova's MapForce, which means that XSL/T is alive and kicking, but only downstairs in the basement. However, the abstractions that these tools provide also allow bypassing XSLT altogether and generate the transformation logic straight into compiled C++, Java, or C# code, which is what MapForce offers. WSDL is already walking down that path.

Categories: TechEd US | Indigo | WCF | Web Services

A lot of people loved the party location choice for this year's TechEd: Boston's Fenway Park. For anyone even less familiar with the sport that is so American that the Americans run the World Championship every year without even bothering to ask anybody not from North America whether they'd be willing to participate in it: Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox Baseball team.

Anyways ... I felt like an Atheist in the Vatican. Even though I've already lived in New York for two years, which might be the best place to come as an foreigner if you want to be opportunistic and adopt a local team as your favorite (however, Steve Forte, a big Mets fan would not speak to me if I'd root for the Yankees) I couldn't bring up a lot of interest for the sport and I doubt that that will change a lot in Seattle where I'll move some time this summer. The Green Monster meant nothing to me ("How can you not know about it!?"), sitting the visitor's dugout didn't do much for me, and so on. I mean, my only distant relationship to Baseball is that I am battling for a higher search rank on LiveYahoo and Google with baseball super-star Roger Clemens. ;-) The concert with the band Train was very cool.

Now, I hear that there are discussions about getting rid of Fenway Park for a new stadium, and given that it is obviously such a historical site, I hope it's spared the fate of my home town Mönchengladbach's Bökelbergstadion, home of my team Borussia (Wikipedia) and the site of 5 German Bundesliga championships, which was recently replaced with the (great!) new stadium Borussia-Park. (To turn things around, I wouldn't forgive Forte if he rooted for Bayern).

While I am at it: Great performance yesterday at the wild Italy-USA 1:1 World Cup game by our Borussia goalie Kasey "The Wall" Keller.

Categories: TechEd US

Here's the sample code from my CON423 session about selecting bindings here at TechEd.

Categories: TechEd US

We've just released the "Windows Communication Foundation RSS Toolkit" on our new community site. This toolkit, which comes with complete source code, illustrates how to expose ATOM and RSS feeds through WCF endpoints. I will discuss the toolkit in my session CON339, Room 107ABC, Friday 10:45am here at TechEd.

Categories: TechEd US | Indigo | WCF

Just so that you know: In addition to the regular breakout sessions, we have a number of interactive chalk talks scheduled here at the Connected Systems Technical Learning Center in the Expo Hall. Come by.

Categories: TechEd US | Technology | Indigo | WCF | Workflow

I am back home from San Diego now. About 3 more hours of jet-lag to work on. This will be a very busy two weeks until I make a little excursion to the Pakistan Developer Conference in Karachi and then have another week to do the final preparations for TechEd Europe.

One of the three realy cool talks I'll do at TechEd Europe is called "Building Proseware" and explains the the scenario, architecture, and core implementation techniques of Proseware, an industrial-strength, robust, service-oriented example application that newtelligence has designed and implemented for Microsoft over the past 2 months.

The second talk is one that I have been looking forward to for a long time: Rafal Lukawiecki and myself are going to co-present a session. And if that weren't enough: The moderator of our little on-stage banter about services is nobody else than Pat Helland.

And lastly, I'll likely sign-off on the first public version of the FABRIQ later this week (we had been waiting for WSE 2.0 to come out), which means that Arvindra Sehmi and myself can not only repeat our FABRIQ talk in Amsterdam but have shipping bits to show this time. There will even be a hands-on lab on FABRIQ led by newtelligence instructors Achim Oellers and Jörg Freiberger. The plan is to launch the bits before the show, so watch this space for "when and where".

Overall, and as much as I like meeting all my friends in the U.S. and appreciate the efforts of the TechEd team over there, I think that for the last 4 years TechEd Europe consistently has been and will be again the better of the two TechEd events from a developer perspective. In Europe, we have TechEd and IT Forum, whereby TechEd is more developer focused and IT Forum is for the operations side of the house. Hence, TechEd Europe can go and does go a lot deeper into developer topics than TechEd US.

There's a lot of work ahead so don't be surprised if the blog falls silent again until I unleash the information avalanche on Proseware and FABRIQ.

Categories: Architecture | SOA | Talks | TechEd Europe | TechEd US | FABRIQ

A short background reading link list for my CTS404 session at TechEd that I'll do in Room 10 this afternoon (Monday, May 24) at 5:00pm at TechEd San Diego:

(About the uselessness of the static "statelessness" of a component as an indicator for its scalability)

Dealing with distributed transaction anomalies caused by web service calls from within transactions
(I'll show an updated version of that approach) 

Just in time activation proxy pooling
(Client side "connection pooling" for Enterprise Services)

I am looking forward to the session, because it's another one that challenges established beliefs (such as "stateless"="scalable")

Categories: TechEd US

Want to win an XBox? You run dasBlog? Michael Earls shows you how.

[I just knew that the <%newtelligence.aspnetcontrol("TechEdBloggersFeed.ascx")%> macro would eventually be good for something ;-) ]

Categories: TechEd US

May 15, 2004
@ 09:07 PM

Rebecca Dias from Microsoft asked us to do a bit of work for her team and write a demo app for TechEd 2004. As things happen and being the serious German engineers we are, it just turned out to be a little too serious, little too big to be useful as a “and now here’s a bit of code!” demo app for TechEd (U.S.).

What we’ve built is a very serious service-oriented application and your feedback will contribute to the final decision about how Microsoft is going to make the application and code available to you. What’s already clear is that I will do a TechEd Europe talk that will cover the most important architecture and technology choices made for the application. Unfortunately the decision to have such a talk came too late to squeeze it into the TechEd U.S. agenda. Come to Amsterdam, TechEd Europe isn’t sold out, yet.

Comment on Rebecca’s blog entry here and let her know whether you rather like little samples like Duwamish or a full-blown SOA system that you can stick your head into for a week.

Categories: TechEd US | TechEd Europe

The two biggest conferences in Microsoft space (save PDC) are coming up and I am already looking forward to be in San Diego in two weeks and in Amsterdam four weeks later. Those two events are always very special because they are big, because they are really well organized and because I get to meet and party with very many good friends who I see regularly at some place somewhere on earth, but only once a year we’re all together.

As much as I value the technical education aspect of events like that (yes, I do attend sessions, too), the primary reason for me to go to TechEd is too meet friends and make new friends. And the “networking” on the professional level that goes on at TechEd is very important as well: There’s nothing in this industry as valuable as learning from other people.

What I am also looking forward to is some time off when TechEd Amsterdam is over. At that time, I will have been to 25 countries since January of this year (several of them twice or even more often) and I would have to do some serious analysis of my calendar to assess how many events it were. My friend Lester Madden made the best comment on that sort of traveling lifestyle some time back in February. We boarded one of those planes together and he threw himself into the seat grinning sarcastically “Ah! Home, sweet home”.

So with the somewhat slow summer time ahead, I’d like to say “Thank you for all the beer”, because Microsoft (most, but not all events were hosted by them) certainly knows how to throw great parties. So here are my Feierabend Awards” for the first half of 2004 and before the “big two” events:


My “Winter/Spring 2004 Best Conference Party Award” goes to: The Beach Party at Microsoft TechEd Israel (Elat, Israel). Close runners up are the Arabian Night at the North Africa Developer Conference 2004 (Casablanca, Morocco) and the “Wild West” party at the NT Konferenca 2004 in Portoroz, Slovenija.  

My “Winter/Spring 2004 Best Organized-After-Work-Activity Award” goes – hands down – to Microsoft Finland and their Architecture Bootcamp in Ruka, where we did a 25km snow mobile ride in beautiful northern Finland and afterwards had a very Finnish “now let’s get naked with all the customers and go to Sauna” experience. Runner up is a great evening hosted by Microsoft Turkey at Galata Tower in Istanbul. The restaurant up there is an absolute tourist trap, but we had a fun night and the views from up there can’t be beat.

My “Winter/Spring 2004 Best Beer Award” must of course go to Dublin. Not much (except our local beer in and around Düsseldorf) beats a fresh Guinness. Along with that goes the sub-award for  “most inappropriate workplace discussion” about how cleavage (Def. 6) is most effectively used in business.

The “Winter/Spring 2004 Best Restaurant Award” goes to the Vilamoura Restaurant (Portuguese) at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sandton/Johannesburg for absolutely awesome shellfish. Runner up is another Portuguese restaurant: the Doca Peixe in Lisbon/Portugal. The special Best Homefood Award goes to Malek’s mother. The “Winter/Spring 2004 Best Nightclub Award” goes to the Amstrong (sic!) Jazz Club (which it really isn’t) in Casablanca, Morocco.

The “Winter/Spring 2004 Gorgeous Event Hostesses Recruiting Award” (sorry, but while that’s not strictly “after work” that’s a category that I can’t leave out) has to be evenly split between four winners: Morocco’s North Africa Developer Conference 2004 (just ask Mr. Forte),  Slovenija’s NT Konferenca 2004 (reliable winner each year), the Longhorn Developer Preview event in Budapest/Hungary and the MS EMEA Architect Forum Event in Milan, Italy. Israel already won the best party event and that should speak pretty much for itself. Therefore they’re runner up in this category.

The “Winter/Spring 2004 Best Travel Buddy Award” goes to Arvindra Sehmi for the EMEA Architect Tour, and Lester Madden, Nigel Watling, Hans Verbeeck, and David Chappell for the Longhorn Developer Preview Tour.  

Finally, the “Winter/Spring 2004 Best Host Award” goes to my great friend Malek Kemmou from Morocco, whose house became “Speaker’s HQ” before, during and after the NDC conference and who took us all around the country to experience Morocco – and refused to let any of us pay for anything.

Categories: Talks | TechEd Europe | TechEd US