Today Microsoft’s PDC10 started off with a keynote hosted by Steve Ballmer and Bob Muglia of Microsoft fame. I watched the event live, though I wasn’t able to actually go to the event. I do have about 140 characters or less updates regarding my commentary on PDC10. Feel free to check it out via Twitter. Here’s some more of what I learned about today and took away from the keynote.

There were three main categories that were discussed, all of which are currently the hot topics within Microsoft. Development was a key area in each category of course, as this is a conference for developers. The categories included Internet Explorer 9 and HTML 5, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure. Personally, I think all of the demos and discussions were done extremely well and the keynote is definitely worth watching if you haven’t already watched it yet.

Internet Explorer 9 Beta

A lot’s happening on this front and it’s pretty obvious that Microsoft is really pushing the HTML5 front. Dean Hachamovitch did an IE9 demo. Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 6 has been released and can be downloaded from the IE9 test drive page. There’s been a few more demos added, such as “Fly the helicopter” and it can be seen that a lost of this is pretty simple, yet impressive all at the same time.

There was a demo that showed how simple it was to add code to your site to have shortcuts when a site is pinned to the taskbar, this is all done through XAML. KEXP archive site was also demoed showing off some of the power of both IE9 and HTML5, it was a fairly impressive demo to say the least. A lot of information can be garnered from Microsoft IE9 Test Drive site, where users can now also pick up and download the latest Platform Preview of IE9.

The IE9 RC is the next step in the IE9 beta development phase and should be available on schedule.

Windows Phone

Of course, many of the attendees and viewers were anticipating more news on the latest Windows Phone development opportunities and Microsoft did not disappoint here. It was noted that Windows Phone 7 launched only a mere two weeks ago and that it would be launching in the US on November 8. Ad campaign was discussed along with the “Really” video that was released a couple weeks ago.

There were a couple of demos, primarily, Scott Guthrie doing code on the fly, who did an excellent job I might add. He wrote a simple program that brought in the latest and greatest deals from eBay, featuring none other than red shirts. It appears, through the demos, the developers won’t need to know a lot of code to get things started. Of course, doing more advanced apps will require a bit more code. Much of the UI design if Visual Studio can be accomplished through XAML, much like writing a WPF application. Demos also showed how Expression Blend can be used to make elegant UIs for Windows Phone 7.

It’s very obvious from the demos that designing apps for Windows Phone 7 will be fluid and simple and won’t require many hours of reading code and delving deep into the actual technical aspects of Windows Phone, which should be good for the average developer or user.

Brandon Watson did some fantastic demos of products that are either currently available or will be available for Windows Phone. Bejeweled is one of those products, which according to Watson, has spent 16 hours playing it over the past week. Other apps include a fantastic Facebook application which allows you to sync up with your Facebook account, a TurboTax app, which as it sounds, performs basic tax calculations and then recommends one of their products based on your input. The final app, the Kindle app, was fabulous and from the reaction of the crowd, it seems like a lot of people are going to really enjoy this app.

On a side note, the Windows Phone developer tools have been updated for October.

Attendees of PDC10 also receive a Windows Phone 7 device for free and a free subscription to the Windows Phone Marketplace for Developers (worth $99).

Ballmer quote #1: “The consistency that we delight people is amazing.”

Ballmer quote #2: “You show anybody Windows Phone and you’ll get a great reaction."

Windows Azure

Microsoft gets the cloud, no questions asked. After watching the demos during the keynote, I have become even more impressed with Windows Azure, Microsoft’s Platform as a Service (PaaS). It’s also apparent that Microsoft could be deemed the leader of cloud services pretty soon, leaving contenders such as Google or Apple in the dust, at least development wise. Bob Muglia hit on the following points regarding PaaS.

pdc10-06

Today: Server, VM, Network, Storage, App / PaaS: Just focus on the app.

Today: Patch, Service Release (Service Pack), New Version, Updates, etc. / PaaS: The service will be maintained for you, no updates, no upgrades, nahda, everything handled by Microsoft via Azure.

Today: Assembly required. / PaaS: Ready-Made Services

Today: custom and inconsistent applications, services, UIs, etc. thus making the process difficult for both developers and end-users. / PaaS: Everything will be standardized making it easier for developers and end-users.

Today: Plan for peak load, based on previous analysis, etc. / PaaS: On-demand, won’t matter when peak loads occur, service will auto-adjust itself.

Today: Services/apps try to avoid and recover from failure. / PaaS: Services and apps will be built to expect and withstand failure, making it more beneficial towards developers and end-users.

SQL Azure – looks the same as SQL Server from a developer perspective, but is drastically refined at lower levels; has the ability to run on 1,000s of PCs thus making the process quicker, simpler, and easier for developers and end-users.

Microsoft .NET

Visual Studio. This will be the main and default developing tool for Windows Azure and Microsoft discussed heavily about enhancements being made and how Visual Studio 2010 will be highly integrated into Azure.  They also discussed Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, which with Azure makes developing between different people a breeze. Users will be able to sign in with their Google, Yahoo! or Live account, which of course plays on the openness of this platform so to speak.

System Center

Pixar. Demo where they discussed their use of Windows Azure for specific studio projects. Buzz Lightyear made a cameo appearance here as well. There was a video here, but I missed out as it was only for attendees, so for two minutes straight I received this screen.

Channel 9. Discussed encoding Channel 9 videos using the power of Windows Azure. Azure makes the whole encoding process easier, faster, and more powerful all at the same time. Also took a look at RDP’ing using Azure.

There will also be a Windows Azure Marketplace, where users can buy/sell apps. Similar, I assume, to the future Windows marketplace and current Windows Phone marketplace.

Ballmer quote #3: “I think you’ll continue to fall in love with Azure."

Wrapping it up

That about wraps it up for today. I’m sure I’m missing some stuff, but I think I got the most important stuff down. I’m going to be listening to a couple of sessions later and may report on those as well, not sure. If you’re interested in reading about the sessions, let me know and I’ll take your opinion into consideration. I’ll also be posting links for videos, screenshots, etc. later on today, stay tuned!