May 12-15 was the Microsoft TechEd Conference, and if you couldn’t make it, Microsoft makes almost all of the session videos available online for free, including all their new announcements.
TechEd Videos available here: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014
For those of you who might not have time to spend hours (and hours and hours) watching the videos, here’s some of my personal highlights from what I’ve seen so far:
The TFS/VSO team announced a new integration model for TFS (for now just Visual Studio Online, but soon it will make its way to on-premise TFS). This consists of a comprehensive REST API, Service Hooks, and OAuth2 support.
While the possibilities of the new integration model are promising, they also showed off a few integrations that are available today using these new capabilities, and one in-particular that I think is pretty exciting – UserVoice.
If you’re not familiar, UserVoice is a site that teams can use to expose to their users (and/or the public) to allow users to submit suggestions, and also vote on the suggestions of others. The Visual Studio/TFS team themselves use UserVoice as one of their primary methods of collecting feedback on what features the community considers important: http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/
What’s new is that before now UserVoice was its own stand-alone system for collecting feedback, now it’s integrated with TFS and you can easily turn UserVoice suggestions into TFS Work Items, and have data flow back and forth from UserVoice to/from TFS.
This could fill a significant gap in TFS which I hear from a lot of customers – the desire to have a public portal for users to submit feature requests and/or bugs. This is not something TFS does well (or at all) today. But with a combination of UserVoice and TFS tightly integrated together this could be a very compelling solution for a lot of teams.
More info can be found in this video: Modern Application Lifecycle Management
Scott Hanselman and Scott Hunter showed off some of the features coming in ASP.Net vNext (not the stuff released this week in Update 2, but things that are a year or so away from being reality). I saw 2 things in particular that have me excited: Roslyn integration and Project K.
Roslyn is the new compiler technology that was announced at Build last month that will power future versions of Visual Studio and .Net. The big new technology in Roslyn is that it’s “compiler-as-a-service” meaning that the compiler is no longer a black-box, and teams can interact with and plug-into the compiler to empower some interesting new scenarios.
The ASP.Net team is one of the first applications of how Roslyn is going to change our lives. By plugging into the compiler, all compilation in ASP.Net is now done on the fly, in memory, on demand. This means that as a developer there is very little need to actually press the compile button anymore. You make code changes, and refresh the browser and the changes are compiled on demand and reflected in the browser. No binaries are even created on disk during this process (unlike the old compiler where it would compile the code, write the assemblies to disk, then immediately re-read the assemblies from disk in order to run your app). This makes developing and running your code an extremely fast and fluid experience.
Project K is the new way that the .Net framework will be referenced/deployed with your ASP.Net applications. First of all there is now a cloud-optimized version of the .Net framework, which if you remember from a few years back there used to be a Client-Profile version of .Net (that included the client bits like WPF, but not server bits like ASP.Net), well the cloud optimized version of .Net appears to basically be the opposite of the Client Profile (all the server bits like ASP.Net without things like WPF/WinForms). This brings the size of the framework from ~200MB to 11MB.
The framework will also now be shipped along with our application just like any other binaries/lib files that you typically ship (the framework is literally just another nuget package now). This means that if we have 10 different web applications running on a server they can all be using different versions of the .Net framework simultaneously, that they package up along with the rest of the web application. No more problems with having .Net framework versions that don’t support side-by-side deployment (like when .Net 4.5 doesn’t live side-by-side with .Net 4). No more not being able to take advantage of new .Net features because your production web servers don’t have .Net 4.5 installed. And since the Cloud Optimized Framework is only 11MB, this minimizes the impact of including it along with the rest of the assemblies in your application.
More info can be found in this video: Introducing the Future of .Net on the Server
Another highlight for me is another TFS related development. As the Visual Studio Online (aka TFS in Azure) gets more and more mature, I find more of my clients considering moving up to the cloud for their TFS needs. However, there has been one big stumbling block for those that choose to make the leap: there is no easy way to migrate your data up into VSO in a high-fidelity way (retaining history, test results, etc).
OpsHub – a Microsoft Partner – announced at TechEd that they now have a tool available (for free) that will give you a high-fidelity data migration from on-premise TFS into VSO. I believe it’s only supported if you have an unmodified TFS Process Template (I think you can buy the Pro version of the OpsHub tool that supports migrating from a customized process template).
Just a Great Video with Scott Hanselman
There was one other highlight for me, and that’s basically anything involving Scott Hanselman. Above I talked about the ASP.Net vNext features (which links to a Scott H video talking about it), but there is another session by the “lesser Scotts” where they focus on the ASP.Net features that are available today in Update 2 (vs the vNext features which are a year or so away). In addition to just being really entertaining presenters, the 2 Scotts plow through a ton of really cool small (and some not so small) features that are available today.
Scott also attempts to convince the world that when we talk about .nupkg files we should pronounce it “nup-keg”. Not too sure that one’s gonna catch on Scott.
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