SOA & BP conference, Redmond – conclusions

I’ve spent the last 2 days at the SOA & BP conference in Redmond attending lots of sessions on all things SOA and business process. About 400 attendees were there and I have spoken with lots of people I know in the Microsoft product groups and with customers. I’m completely up-to-date again!

A short summary of things I’ve seen:

1. The 09 version of BizTalk Server coming out in the first half of this year has some great improvements (apart from the platform alignment for SQL & VS 08) especially in the application lifecycle management area (integration with VS Team Foundation Server). This includes features for automating builds and unit tests and assigning development tasks to team members.

2. “Dublin” – A nice, free runtime engine for hosting WF and WCF that gets you started quickly. Focused on developers that don’t like clicking solutions together but *need* to write code and for customers who don’t need the “overhead” of BizTalk Server. On a side note: Ever seen a Microsoft presentation that didn’t show code? 🙂

3. “Oslo” – Next wave of software including “M” the modeling language “Q”(uadrant) the graphical toolset and the SQL based repository. Saw a demo by Don Box. I’m not impressed yet…. but it usually takes a few iterations to impress me. I’ll keep a close watch on it and will try and build my own vision for it to share with you. My conclusion for now: Don was talking about developers who just need to have a text editor (even the EMACS/VI comparison was made again) to write code. I agree only partly. I think companies like Microsoft and IBM will need developers to write fantastic software to enable things like “cloud services” (see below) and integration (BizTalk). I strongly believe however that building for example integration solutions with BizTalk should be possible without writing a line of code…

4. Azure – saw a demo! This is promising technology enabling cloud services being developed using you familiar VS interface. Microsoft clearly states (as they should) that it’ll always be hybrid solutions, including on-premise (such as BizTalk Server) and cloud services (such as SQL Services and .Net Services). I can clearly envision solutions being deployed in such an architecture that would benefit our customers.

My conclusion for the BizTalk community is: BizTalk Server is alive and kicking and the roadmap already talks about the next two versions (after 09). Business as usual! Now back to work…

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