Mix 10 Impressions – Keynote Day 2

I got to the Keynote session 15 minutes early today to get a front seat. 10 minutes before the start, the announcer introduces Nick Kamuda who comes out and starts painting on a touch screen monitor using an application called GustavPaint. Using a brush to make lines, his left hand to rotate the canvas, and his right fingers to smudge the paint, he paints in a very natural form - just like an artist with an easel.

Here are some pictures of what he was drawing. It was cool to watch him painting with both hands on the screen while upbeat music was playing. You had to be there.


The Keynote officially started with Dean Hachamovitch, a General Manager at Microsoft, talking about the new features and improvements of Internet Explorer 9. First, he poked fun at IE 6, saying they held a funeral for it, but the IE 9 team did not show up. I thought it was funny because when I am not cursing IE 6, I am laughing at it.

The main features of IE 9 are JavaScript performance improvements and hardware acceleration for rendering HTML and SVG. There were a number of side-by-side demos with IE 9, Firefox, and Chrome. Of course, in all of the use cases presented, IE 9 outperformed the other browsers by a wide margin when rendering graphically intensive HTML 5 and SVG markup.

Next up was Scott Guthrie who talked about some of the improvements and new features of Visual Studio 2010. I must say that many of the features are cool in concept, but I would never use them. One such feature is the ability to use a rectangle to select a vertical area of text and then apply a bulk change to the selection. Not terribly useful, but it demos well.

Support for multiple monitors is a very nice new feature. By simply dragging a tab window out of the IDE, it can be docked to another monitor without opening two instances of Visual Studio.

My favorite new feature by far is the “Navigate To” dialog. It is just like the Resource Finder in Eclipse. The keyboard shortcut is CTRL + ,. That’s Control plus Comma. J

Another useful feature is support for multiple configuration files per project. That is great because when deploying updates to some applications, the final step is to copy the correct configuration file for the environment. Now that step can be automated for us depending on the target deployment environment.

Scott Gu talked about VS integration with jQuery, and to underscore his statement, John Resig, the creator of jQuery walked out on stage. Apparently, Microsoft is making contributions to the open source jQuery project. What could that mean? Overall, I take it as a good thing.

Doug Purdy talked about the new Microsoft Open Data Protocol (ODATA).ODATA is a means of querying data via URI queries. The resulting data sets are expressed in either XML or JSON, so it is interoperable with any platform. This technology definitely has merit. The discussion of ODATA was concluded with a demo of a windows phone application that combined 4 different ODATA sources into a single application. The application was a movie finder that allowed lookup by UPC or title, and was able to display theatres and show times.

The Keynote concluded with a real computer scientist rambling about this and that – in the way that only true scientists can ramble. I did not catch his name, but he was a great speaker – very engaging and mentally stimulating. Nick Kamuda came back out and was back to finish his painting as well.

I really must thank Microsoft for putting on such a great conference. J