Vista/Office Launch Event

I attended the Vista/Office launch event today in Washington Dc. I just attended the developer track that was held in the afternoon. The first hour was mostly a high level overview of the new Vista and Office . It was fairly informative although not very detailed. I do find the pillar theme of the presentation, Clear. Confident. Connected., to be somewhat irritating seeing as how one of the most anticipated features, used to be a pillar. I guess security is important enough to warrant a pillar but its a disappointing choice for the third pillar. Security should exist on all pillars. But I think that the WinFS horse has been beat to death. For anyone who does not know WinFS was a next generation database backed file system that was set to premier in Windows Vista but the project was ultimately canceled.

The second session showed more demos, including one of a patient monitoring application. It looked cool but wasn’t particularly useful as a health care application, but I think they got the point of graphic rich applications are better for users across. RSS was covered as was the built in search stuff. The search stuff looks really basic and anyone needing real search capabilities should look at Lucene. Windows Workflow looks really cool for building apps but I am not going to be using it in the stuff I am doing now. I see it as very useful for building line of business apps but less useful for infrastructure software. The visual designer is nice too.

The third session began with covering the plethora of products that have been launched, including Visual Studio addins and the various parts of office. Building ribbon addins for Office was covered. Overall I think that Office has advanced. VSTO is better. I really didn’t like the last one. Just on a side note, Office 2007 is the best new version that I have ever seen. The new Outlook is a must have application.

Sharepoint had some really cool features. The ability to manage libraries of individual slides, compose presentations of those slides, and have presentations containing those slides automatically update when those slides are changed is very slick. It also includes some social networking features. The whole system is very extensible. It is very heavyweight though and I like lighter weight things. Although the ability to use Sharepoint as a common repository of documents is almost reason enough to use it. Sharepoint also has some basic workflow features.

Overall the afternoon was informative. The presenter did not have internet access which hampered some of the demos.

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