Five perspectives why Build could be the best conference ever

Sunday, September 11, 2011 gc 0 Comments

Build is a new Microsoft conference that replaces the PDC (Programmers Developer Conference), and also possibly combines MIX and even WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) moving forward. The idea for the first Build: combine developers, designers, and hardware partners to create a new platform and a unified ecosystem around Windows 8. Build 2011 is in Anaheim, CA from 9.13 – 9.16.

Build sold out by the end of August even though there is no real agenda defined yet—even now two days before the conference begins.  While Windows 8 has been demoed and talked about before, Microsoft is keeping most of the details to be revealed at Build (Source, Source). We do know that it will be about Windows 8. Windows 8 or whatever it might be called could be a radical departure from traditional Windows architecture and create an entirely new ecosystem.

Five perspectives why Build could be the best conference ever

Perspective #1: Personal

One of the main reasons why I switched from Java to .NET over seven years ago is because of the CLR. When Microsoft originally launched .NET, I thought, “Wow, Microsoft finally has great technology and it is the CLR with .NET. Eventually, I know it will become Microsoft’s future platform someday.” I went out and bought a copy of the original Visual C# .net that was launched in 2002 to begin learning C# and the .NET framework.

In my view, the CLR is great technology.  Microsoft had dedicated big resources to .NET, Visual Studio, CLR, etc. The CLR is fundamental technology that now makes many things now possible such as the Azure fabric controller, which is really a utility of computing by hosting CLRs in different roles.

Could the CLR be the future of Windows 8 as well? Will the CLR become the future of Microsoft’s platform? What will Microsoft’s core API be for Windows 8? How radically different could it be? What is the name of it? Rumors of Silverlight’s death been greatly exaggerated?

As it could turn out based on a leaked Windows 8 build (Source), Hyper-V will run both Windows 8 and the traditional Windows (think 7 branded as 8) side-by-side—not one on top of the other. The distinction is important. This traditional Windows is said to not even load until it is touched.

Therefore, Windows 8 could be a CLR with a new framework based on top of DirectUI and a XAML based NUI (Natural User Interface). Could it be the CLR a top MinWin? It appears that this Modern Shell will not sit on top of Win32. It will likely be a departure. Windows 8 will also need to incorporate XNA. XNA an Silverlight can be mixed even with Windows Phone 7.

I have also been using Silverlight for the past 3 years. I want to find out if it is the primary way to develop for Windows 8 and what are the other ways? Is there HTML5 tooling?

No doubt, Java developers are doing just fine especially with mobility dev.  Some of my Java friends must be at least a little curious about this conference. My plan is to live blog the entire event (details at end the end of the post).

The great thing from a personal perspective: I will have a front row seat to find out that I could be very wrong Windows 8. Either way, it will unfold in a couple of days.

Perspective #2: As a Developer and Designer

 From a developer and designer perspective, a week of energy, time, and focus dedicated to understanding many new technologies and a new ecosystem that could potentially unify the three screens (with NUI) and the cloud. Think NUI with Xbox 360 and Kinect. As a developer, the CLR, .NET, Visual Studio, and other frameworks makes it easier to develop for Windows 8, Mango, and potentially the Xbox. Clearly, development will be much easier with better technology when compared to iOS development. This factor should help the ecosystem grow.

Some of the new technology areas and sessions to attend (although no session titles announced yet):

  • RedHawk (Source)
  • Jupiter
  • AppX
  • Visual Studio 2012
  • Expression Blend/Web Next
  • New Windows 8 frameworks and APIs
  • MOSH (MOdern SHell) Design
  • Azure

I will post more of these with sources.

Perspective #3: Product Development

From a new product development perspective, there could be many new product opportunities for this new ecosystem with a marketplace that could unify an API and tools for Windows Phone, Xbox, PC, and tablet.  Clients are already waiting for Windows 8 for a possible large field deployment.

The screens combined with Azure can create new opportunities for consumer and line of business apps. This new ecosystem will provide opportunities and potential for new products.

Perspective #4: As a User

From Windows 8 user perspective, it will be interesting to experience and review Windows 8 in the tablet form factor. The rumor is that a quad core arm HD tablet will be issued to all conference attendees (Source). If it is true, I will take some images and video of the tablet and a review. I will even try to use it to help with the live blogging, email, etc. if possible. I believe that it could finally be a great NUI content creator not just mostly consuming.

No doubt: the iPad is great design with a beautiful form factor. My view is that the experience with a Windows 8 tablet could even be better than the iPad for some of the same reasons why Windows Phone 7 is better than the iPhone.  I look forward to experiencing and reviewing the interface first hand.

Perspective #5: Pure Fun

Build is at the Anaheim Convention center which is just a couple of towns north of where I went to high school. It is a very nice area in Orange County.

The only thing really on the agenda so far is a Tuesday night reception and a Wednesday Party. There should be some great conversations and energy. Sushi!

One other fun factor: all you have to do is give a bunch of geeks a quad core arm HD tablet with Windows 8 and they will go wild (Source). Geeks gone wild.

Live Blog of Build 2011

Follow the live blog (text, photos, audio, and videos) of Build including any geeks gone wild: or

I have been excited about Windows 8 since Sinofsky showed it off at D9 (Source) in June this year.

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