Developers beat the drums for Microsoft

30 Jun 2004

AMSTERDAM – Microsoft has entered into key software development alliances with dotcom giants Amazon and eBay to deploy online catalogues and web services using Visual Studio Express. The company also revealed a new 64-bit hardware alliance with Intel as well as real-time location services alliances based upon its MapPoint Location Server technology with telecom giants O2 and TeliaSonera AB.

Microsoft’s annual developer conference Tech Ed kicked off in Amsterdam’s RAI Centrum this morning with an enthusiastic beating of drums as Jonathon Murray, Microsoft’s chief technology officer, outlined the company’s roadmap for the next few years in his keynote address.

More than 6,500 registered Microsoft developers packed Amsterdam’s RAI Centrum for a week of conferences, seminars, demonstrations and talks aimed at bringing them up to speed with the latest and greatest Microsoft developments. Attendees were issued with Ngoma drums, imported from South Africa especially for the event and were encouraged to beat them when they heard something cool during the keynote.

And there was much to beat about. In addition to outlining the Microsoft roadmap – new versions of SQL Server, Visual Studio and others in the next year and Longhorn to arrive within two to three years – Murray spoke of the changes that have taken place in the IT world. He reminisced how as a developer he attended his first Tech Ed 11 years ago when the biggest development was Object Linking and Embedding and Microsoft’s key product was Windows 3.1. Now the emphasis is on people working in teams.

On several occasions Murray handed over the stage to other speakers including Prashant Sridharan, senior product manager, Developer Tools, who announced the availability of the first official beta of Visual Studio 2005. A key philosophy of the new product was to allow people to work in groups. “Developing applications is about more than just writing code,” he said. “It’s about getting teams to work together.”

Sridharan also announced the availability early next week of Express versions of Microsoft’s Visual Studio and SQL Server aimed at non-professional developers such as hobbyists and students. These products, he said, would come complete with content to help entry-level developers create applications and encourage them to use the software.

Speaking after the keynote he announced that Microsoft had entered into partnership arrangements with Amazon, eBay and others. Ebay, he said, will deliver a starter kit so that novices will learn how to use web services.

During the Keynote, Murray was joined onstage by University of Hull student Andy Sterland who demonstrated how easy it was to use Visual Studio Express to create a DVD catalogue application that made use of Amazon’s web services.

Murrray also announced that Intel was launching a new hardware platform based on a 64-bit chipset. “This gives us a way to transition to 64-bit,” he said and he advised developers to start cleaning up their applications to take advantage of the transition.

Also announced at the conference the delivery by O2, TeliaSonera AB and Microsoft MapPoint of a real-time location services for MapPoint Location Server (MLS).

Thomas Bailey, director of marketing at the Map Point Business Unit said that he MLS marries real-time information to MapPoint capabilities to enabled developes to add real-time location to applications such as fleet management, customer relationship management and so on. TechEd continues until Friday 2 July, 2004.

By David Stewart