PDC 2008 = Awesome

Ambrose Little / Monday, November 3, 2008

A crew of us at Infragistics just got back from our PDC 2008 trip last week.  It was pretty awesome.

Infragistics at PDC 2008  

Sunday - Party with Palermo
Sunday night, we were the "supergreen!" sponsor of the recurring Party with Palermo.

Infragistics' Kathleen PDC 2008 at Party with Palermo
Kathleen (sporting our "I heart geeks" shirt) welcomed folks to the party with our "I got lucky at PDC" shirts, exclusive to this party.

Infragistics PDC 2008 Party with Palermo
The party was packed--there was a waiting line to get in.

That's Mr. Palermo himself in the front there along with (L-R) Walt Ritscher, Keith Elder, Ambrose Little, and Stan Schultes.

Monday - Infragistics Goes Hollywood
Infragistics was a PDC gold sponsor, and on Monday night we sponsored the expo reception (i.e., free food and drinks for all attendees).  We had a blast with our Hollywood theme--everybody dressed up as a TV or movie character. 

Infragistics PDC 2008 Hollywood Agent and Cruella de Vil
Josh Smith showed up as a Hollywood agent and did a great job playing the part; to his right is our own Rani Angel playing Cruella de Vil--well done.

Infragistics PDC 2008 Joker and Friends
Here's our CEO, Dean Guida (The Joker) with three of our Marilyns (Connie Chen, Dawn Colossi, and Margaret Todd) and Peter Lindsey as the indomitable Sherlock Holmes.

Infragistics PDC 2008 Jay and Silent Bob 
Since I get the "hey, you look like Kevin Smith" a lot, I figured Silent Bob was a natural for me.  Thankfully, Andrés Aguiar stepped up to play Jay and did a great job, except he didn't make fun of me enough. :)

Infragistics PDC 2008 Aragorn & Arwen
Devin and Kathleen Rader made a good match as Aragorn and Arwen.

Infragistics PDC 2008 Darth & Obi
And some might say Obi-Wan and Darth make a good match too :)  (played by Todd Snyder and Derek Harmon, respectively).

It was hard to pick these out of the batch; you should go check the rest out to see the rest of us Infragistics characters.  (More here, too.)

What We Were Talking About
Apart from the reception, of course, we had quite a team manning the booth all week showing off our awesome new Silverlight data visualization controls and WPF controls and answering tons of questions about our recent releases of ASP.NET, Windows Forms controls, and brand new icons packages (pretty sweet if you ask me), as well as the realignment of our .NET controls into packages that make more sense given the changes in Microsoft .NET UI technologies.  Oh and let's not forget our Silverlight line of business controls!  Wow, we got a lot going on right now! 

Infragistics PDC 2008 Demos 
Sung Kim (as Harold from Harold and Kumar) demos our NetAdvantage for WPF controls.

Infragistics PDC 2008 Booth Action
Long shot of our booth during the day.  You can see we stayed busy.

Meanwhile, Craig Shoemaker was busy interviewing famous people like Scott Guthrie, Phil Haack, and more for Pixel8 at our special Pixel8 interview "room," and we even hosted quite a few chalk talks about all sorts of developer topics. 

Infragistics PDC 2008 Chalk Talks 
Nooo.. this wasn't staged! :o)

We had a great time and appreciate everyone who made time to stop by to talk or even just pick up some schwag (we gave away a few iPod Touches, a few Fandango movie baskets, and lots of Infragistics software, shirts, and other goodies). 

Infragistics Hollywood Trivia Movie Basket Winner
Paul Ballard won one of our Hollywood trivia movie baskets (and picked up one of the "working my way through one giveaway at a time" shirts).

I Heart Geeks
Some folks should NOT wear the I heart geeks shirts.  Richard!

Here's a shout out to Kathleen and the entire team for making this such a great show for Infragistics.

Some Personal Thoughts on Microsoft's Announcements
Now, some of you, in your hurry to come visit the Infragistics booth, may have heard that Microsoft was announcing a few things last week, too.  Of all the stuff they announced, I found these things most interesting.  First, I'm pretty pumped about the stuff they're doing to enable Web applications (specifically Silverlight apps) over the Live Mesh infrastructure.  This makes it possible to give Silverlight-based apps a desktop-like experience while taking advantage of the portability native to the Web.  Perfect!

Statically typed to be dynamic
"Statically typed to be dynamic" <-- LOL.  I thought the C# talk by Anders was great.  Maybe not as game-changing as generics (2.0) and LINQ (3.0), but it will help a lot, especially when dealing with COM and JavaScript interop.  We finally have optional and named parameters! 

The other big thing that interested me personally was M (Oslo), specifically MGrammar.  The M modeling language is certainly interesting, though I am somewhat skeptical about the need for it, and Quadrant (the visual tool on top of M) is pretty nifty and impressive.  I'm curious to see how others feel about and adopt them. 

The M grammar (language for defining DSLs) is what is most interesting to me--being able to, relatively easily, define a textual DSL has I think a lot of potential (for good and ill).  I used the "old" DSL Tools (and software factories stuff) and found them very promising, though they were a bit complicated and (visually) limited.  The new MGrammar (for now) appears to be only for creating textual DSLs, which has a lot of potential, particularly for making it easier to add (surprise!) domain-specific abstractions.  Man, there are so many times in the past where I wish I had this capability.

I like what Chris Anderson said: "Now is the time to do evil things."  Of course, people will do bad stuff with power like this; just get it out of your system before it goes productional. :)  I just can't wait to see the first RSS M model so I can do all my blogging in Quandrant.. NOT!

I liked M enough to make it the first laptop sticker I've actually used.  It was obvious in the slides and, especially, with Quadrant that they have UX folks working on this product.  In fact, I happened to sit next to one of them at lunch one day, so I know they did!

Maybe it's not quite as totally freaking awesome as Silverlight, but hey, I'm a sucker for languages.  One of these days I'll retire and go into semiotics or philology or something...

Anyhoo, those are the topics that stand out in my mind and captured my imagination.  Of course there were tons of other announcements and expositions of amazing amounts of new stuff.  Good thing it's pretty much all recorded and available online.  Yet another tidal wave of techie goodness we get to absorb.  We just all gotta work it in somewhere in between everything else we're already working on. :)