Postcard from the PDC

Los Angeles – Wednesday, September 14, 2005 5:01 pm

Phew what a of the most enjoyable, exciting, nerve wracking, intense days of my life so far. My name is Ramesh Nagarajan, I am a program manager on the WinFS API team, and I just walked off stage after presenting to 800 people at the PDC. It was my first time in front of that many people and let me tell you it's a real buzz!!

My talk was on building data-centric applications using WinFS, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF formerly known as "Avalon") and Windows Forms. I really wanted to show off what gets me excited about WinFS. To me a relational filesystem that will allow users to unify, organize and explore their data in new ways really needs a rich API that developers can innovate on. The fact that WinFS provides developers with a single store that's on so many desktops that they can rely on really opens on amazing possibilities.

In my presentation I built a simple WPF application that showed off how a richer document viewing experience could be built on top of WinFS really easily by using some of the following key concepts:
- Easy query definition. I defined queries using a common pattern.
- Scalable views. I used a powerful component of the API that allows developers to really leverage the power of the relational store.
- Powerful joins. I related Documents with Contacts and showed how, as the data was schematized, an application can share types with other applications.
- Rich data binding. I showed how easy it was to bind data from WinFS to UI and really do all the hard plumbing work that developers have had to do previously

The main goal of this was to show of the productivity gains that developers will get by using WinFS and the new scenarios that are possible by having a central store that stores all types of data.  All the code I showed was real, on WinFS Beta 1 bits using the latest version of Visual Studio Whidbey. There was even a crash of my app! Over the next few weeks I will be posting the demo up on the blog to show how you can kickstart your development of the next generation of end user experiences!

I also covered the power of using WinFS as a smart connected offline client. Phil Stanhope from Adesso systems showed off a demo that he had built over the last few weeks that shows off the new scenarios that are possible by leveraging WinFS as an offline client. Phil has a ton of details on his app on his blog go check it out!

All in all I really enjoyed the experience and I felt that PDC attendees were very excited and engaged. I really valued the opportunity to connect with developers and feel the excitement that is building around this new rich data platform. The only thing left for me to say is that the platform is coming into shape and we really need your feedback to make the platform better and help you build the next generation of end user experiences and the next "killer" app.

Author: Ramesh Nagarajan