Microsoft Has Entered the Building!

Microsoft came to the office today to walk us through their Technology Roadmap. David Solivan, our Architect Evangelist, came in and spent 4 hours walking through the future vision of Microsoft and their products and services. His presentation was split into two sections – Enterprise Product Roadmap and Enterprise Developer Roadmap. Below are my notes from the meeting.

Enterprise Product Roadmap

Office Suite

  • The focus in the mid nineties was on productivity. Now that vision has been achieved, the focus has shifted:
    • Collaboration
    • Content Management
    • Search
    • Business Intelligence
    • Streamlined Processes
    • Portals

Windows Mobile

  • The Windows Mobile team is working on delivering the following new features and functionality for the Tablet PC, Pocket PC, and Smartphone platforms:
    • Maps – Pocket Streets, MapPoint
    • Development Tools – Visual Studio, .Net CompactFramework
    • Security – ISA Server
    • Data Management – SQL Server CE, Notification Services
    • Content – MS Reader, Media Player
    • PIM and E-mail – Exchange, ActiveSync, Outlook
    • Thin Client – Terminal Services
    • Business Solutions – Great Plains, Microsoft CRM
    • Web Services – MSN Mobile, Pocket MSN, etc

Server System

  • The Microsoft Server System is expanding, with a focus on providing solutions in these areas
    • Security Infrastructure – Refocus to make sure that security is first and foremost in Microsoft Server software.
    • IT Operations Infrastructure – Operations Manager, System center, want to manage software on the server, both applications and OS, after launch, for the enterprise.
    • Application Infrastructure – SQL Server, BizTalk Server
    • Collaboration Infrastructure – Exchange, SharePoint, Live Communications

Visual Studio

  • Visual Studio 2008 is currently in Beta, and the improvements in the next version have been focused on the following trouble spots:
    • Team Collaboration
    • Performance and Analysis Tools
    • Secure Applications
    • Integrated Quality
    • Real Time Visibility

Business Solutions

  • There are so many different silo and matrix products that Microsoft is working on that they were too numerous to deliver. Here is a list of a few that were mentioned briefly:
    • Axapta
    • Great Plains
    • Navision
    • Solomon
    • CRM

Partner Solutions

  • Microsoft has connect with other suppliers, leveraging their experience and deeply embedded applications in their industries.
  • They have worked out consulting services with these partners to leverage their experiences with Microsoft products

People Ready Business

  • This is Microsoft understanding that they are not delivering their products and services to corporations, but to the people in those companies. Microsoft’s vision is to leverage their software and services to:
    • Advance Business with IT Solutions
    • Deliver Services Oriented Architecture
    • Manage Complexity, Achieve Agility
    • Protect Information and Control Access
    • Productivity Evolution

Enterprise Developer Roadmap

.Net Framework 3.0

  • The next version of Visual Studio more tightly integrates the New Framework 2.0 Classes – WPF, WCF, WF, and CardSpace.
  • It is not really as big a leap forward as the .Net 3.5 release will be.
  • Why a small improvement gets a full release, and a big improvement will be a small release is a mystery except to the developers.

Visual Studio 2005, Team Studio, and Team Foundation Server

Visual Studio Team Studio has only been released since 2005, and will be getting a major overhaul with the next version.

  • Transparency into project Status
  • Manage Distributed teams and collaborate more easily
  • Lightweight, agile process
  • Integrated automated unit testing and improve software quality (similar to nUnit, nCover, FXCop, LoadRunner)
    • dashboard for results
      • bug discovery rate
      • code churn
    • database change management
    • integration
    • database unit testing
    • Process Templates – Agile and CMMI
    • Team Foundation Source Control – database based, not file based
  • VS Team System 2008
    • Integration for Database professionals
    • AJAX support for web tests
    • Continuous Integration and build
    • improved testing performance
    • Newer code metrics (i.e. cyclomatic complexity, maintainability index)

Enterprise Library and Software Factories

  • This is where Microsoft sees their biggest innovation. Writing software that will write software is not new… but implementing that idea on this scale is an interesting idea.
    • Reusable code library
    • Part of Patterns & Practices
    • Application Blocks
    • Wizards, Templates, Recipes
    • Metropolis Concept – Software Development mirrors Manufacturing
    • Templates
    • Software Factory is a way to leverage all of these pieces to generate tools, applications, web sites, etc. like a manufacturing plant

Popfly

  • This is a cool web site that allows you to integrate a suite of services in new and interesting ways…
    • Service Mash-ups
    • Microsoft’s focus of software + services
    • The demo linked a Yahoo Image Search service with a Whack-A-Mole display service, and within a few clicks we were looking at a Whack-a-Terrell-Owens game
    • Can it be used Internally (Enterprise) as well as External (Internet)

Summary

This was definitely a long meeting! It was great to have Microsoft come in and walk us through their roadmap. This gives us great insight as to what is coming up next.

For me, a portion of the content was a repeat from the Microsoft Healthcare Conference in Atlantic City and from the Mix 07 conference in Las Vegas. Those conferences each had a Roadmap session, and discussed the future of Presentation, Communication, and Workflow Foundation, CardSpaces, and Silverlight. The Enterprise Product Roadmap that David covered was new material for me, and I was glad to see it. The idea of software factories was very interesting from the first time I heard David mention it a few months back, and hearing more piqued my interest again.

The most interesting topic to me, though, was the collaboration and continuous integration improvements in Team Studio. It looks like it is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was, and I would love to be able to pilot that with my team. Maybe that sounds like an objective for 2008… hint hint…

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