Session 9 was a WPF fundamentals section. Not very much to say about this. Good session, covered blend, XAML, and the API. I have a few ideas of some fun apps to try this out on…
Session 10 was a preview of a new Commerce Foundation that is being developed. Microsoft is looking to develop a platform based approach to e-commerce sites, similar to storefronts offered by Amazon and Yahoo. It is obviously based on WPF and XAML for quick and easy customization. Looks really great, but it is too early to tell, and it will probably not be as industrial strength and as customizable as we will need.
Session 8 was all about search. There are a few things we can start to do on our side, like robot tags and sitemap files, that will help get us indexed. There is also a search provider bit that has come out on Monday that allows you to set up multiple search providers on the fly on the web config, and an API that will allow you to display the results however you like. Having the site indexed by a spider from a sitemap page gets around all the problems of being a data driven site instead of a file based site. The USB key drive we got in our registration pack has all the code samples. I talked to the two speakers after the session, and they both recommended using the search functionality for SharePoint, which can be used standalone. We could also use Google or Yahoo, but they limit search queries to 1000 and 5000 per day. Someone mentioned something called Google mini, which sounded like a hardware solution, and one of the slides mentioned index server. Windows Live has a limit of 25000 queries. I don’t think that will be enough. But I got a lot of ideas, and a handful of other solutions to explore.
So session 7 was supposed to be about Lessons Learned for WPF. There were two speakers, both from a small company in Tacoma WA called Identity Mine. The same company did the great comic book reader session, so I thought it would be really good. The first speaker did a conference 2 weeks ago, and referred us to the video of his session on a CD we got in our welcome kit. The second speaker did a lessons learned on another project, that used WPF 3D. He basically said that 3D is hard, and that was his lessons learned. =/ He gave a bit more information than that, but that was pretty close. Codeplex is a Microsoft project that has some solutions for WPF 3D to help bridge the gap. And standard controls like list boxes etc. are not available in 3D. Not sure when we will be doing a 3D WPF project, so I guess I will have to watch the video to get a better idea of lessons learned for 2D WPF projects. I am actually really interested in playing with WPF when I get back home.
Keynote speaker 2 was a bit about marketing, and how Microsoft has leveraged their Media products and to partner with other companies. I skipped out about half way through to take care of some work things I had to cover. I dont think I missed too much… it seemed to be a Microsoft rehash of some of the other Design sessions I had seen anyways.
The Emotion of Customer Experience seemed like a companion session to the futures of design session. The speaker was very dynamic. Its not about the brand, its not about the product, its about the Experience. Its not just about what the customer feels about us, but how we make the customer feel. Sensing and reacting, not making and selling is what wins. Efficiency versus effectiveness. The little things… The clues… Those are the things that change the experience. The experiences that our customers have can be architected by us.
Dr. Jerry Zaltman wrote a book called “How Customers Think” that sounds like a great book. I will have to check it out on Amazon.
The speaker, Lewis Carbone, has written a book called “Clued In”.
One of the other things I have noticed about the conference is that there are folks coming here from all over the world – England, France, Switzerland, China, Korea, and they add a whole new perspective on the topics, and by the questions they ask.
Well, session 5 was a pain for me. I wanted to attend the Futures in Design session… It wasn’t quite what i expected.. It was kind of a design 101 combined with a design source revue. So i decided to go see the IE future session. When i got there it was in a smaller side, room and there were so many people, there was not even standing room available and a conference person was standing outside the closed doors turning people away. The design session was in the keynote room, and was practically empty. It was a bit aggravating that a small room was used for a huge interest topic, and a huge room was almost not used at all. So i went back to the design session. Some of the stuff was interesting and piqued my interest in my original background. I would have attended one of the other sessions, but they didn’t look that good.
That is one thing that I have found frustrating about this conference… I either wanted to attend 4 sessions all at the same time, or not attend any of the sessions in a specific time slot.
One thing i have liked is that there are a lot of technology agnostic sessions… It’s not just Microsoft pitching its products. It has industry experts talking on a wide variety of topics.
On to the next session.
So this session was about keyword services, which is a new service Microsoft is offering to its clients. This service allows you to analyze what keywords you should use based on site content, forecast what your success rate will be, and give keyword costs. There are three ways to use this new service – there is a web site – http://adlab.microsoft.com (soon to be part of http://adcenter.microsoft.com ) ,an API you can install, or you can use WCF. This is something that could be very powerful for us. We could build into the site to dynamically generate the appropriate keywords for each site page each day. This way as the market changes, and as the content changes, the keywords will change. I think it would be great to have Microsoft come in and demo this for EWD, Client Facing, and DMS.
Session 3 was a strange session… It was called “Getting Unstuck – Enhancing Designer and Developer Collaboration for mutual success.” sounds exactly like the problems weare having. All we seem to do is bump heads with some of our agencies, and it is becoming more and more of a barrier to getting things done well. So i left the panel discussion with a few good points for us to keep in mind
- Keep in mind that we are good at hat we do, and they are good at they do. We are not designers, and they are not developers. But there needs to be mutual respect for each other.
- Do not lock yourself into a rigid process. Once you lock yourself in, you are already stuck.
- Agile and Scrum are great methodologies, and provide lots of flexibility, but are also not always the answer
- Communication is usually part of the problem. Communicate more information, and sooner, and more often.
- Stay focused on solving the problem, and on the users, and you cant go wrong
- Break the problem down into smaller parts and then tackle the smaller problems
All of this is good advice, and nothing I hadn’t heard before. I just need to keep it in mind more often.
The second session I went to was about a digital comic reader similar to the NY Times Reader, but for comics. The reader was very, very slick. They talked about the requirements collection process, and their UI concerns. The reader was built with WPF, and can use JPGs, or XAML. We also got a demo of some of their user controls tha they used to build their comics and the reader. This was a really cool example of what WPF and XAML can do.
So the first session I went to was about identity cards. This is a really great idea. I was hoping to get more information on how Microsoft implements identity cards and how it would or could work with OpenID. There were 3 guys presenting – two from Microsoft, and one from Novell. Most of the session was about Bandit, which is a similar collaborative project to OpenID. When i asked them about OpenID, they said that they were collaborating with the OpenID folks fr some of their phishing issues, but that all the ideas were converging. I got all their business cards, so that if we go down the path of doing registration for users sometime in the near future, I have some folks to reach out to… But right now it seems like this space miht be a bit too scattered. Maybe when i get back I will do some research.