The thoughts, opinions and sometimes the rants of Mark Evans

Jump in Camp - Day 3

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Day 3 of the Jump In Camp brought about a few nice surprises of its own, most of all some of the really cool things that Microsoft has been working on.

I must admit that I had never really taken Silverlight seriously before and often wondered why we needed another browser plugin ala Flash to do interesting things (note: I’ve personally never liked Flash). The talk from Corrado Cavalli gave me some interesting food for thought.

It was interesting to hear that it could also be used to develop applications for the Windows Mobile 7, slightly disappointing though was the lack of support for other mobile handsets, I would love to see a real iphone killer in the ability to create an application that could run on Windows 7, S60 series and also Google Android. From what I remember Silverlight covers 2 of these platforms but currently has no plans to offer Android support. I am hoping that one day it will be available (here’s looking at you Microsoft / Google ;–))

Next up was possibly one of the fastest presentations I have ever seen, up stepped ¬†Alex Weinstein to give us an overview of some of the things they had been working on in Microsoft Live Labs. If you don’t know what live labs is take a look at the Live Labs website.

The project which really caught my eye from Alex’s presentation was Pivot I will have to admit it pretty much blew my socks off when I saw what it could do, just how easy it was to understand interpretations of large amounts of related data was amazing, I would encourage all developers to give it a spin as its hard to put into words everything it can do. I can safely say when I get a few moments I will be curling up with my Windows 7 Machine and exploring just what I can get out of some of the large data sets I have.

The final talk of the day was from Claudio Caldato about SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) SDK for PHP this is quite an interesting business reporting tool which allows you to embed the power of SQL Server reports into your PHP application, you can control the options for the report directly from your application and would be really interesting for an application which needs reports from an e-Commerce application for sales data as an example. There is some scope here for some kind of integration with osCommerce which I will be investigating as time allows.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent doing some more coding and exploring more of what we had learnt about earlier in the day, I also spent some time with Ashay Chaudhary getting more details on how to best utilise SQL Server and the SQL Server Driver for PHP extension. It was quite interesting just how easy it was to get SQL Server compatibility in a PHP application which hadn’t supported SQL Server before, some more work on that would be required in the coming weeks.

Next it was time for our surprise dinner, it wasn’t until then we discovered we would be spending the evening in a brewery, I can speak quite soundly that contrary to popular opinion, Microsoft can organise a p*** up in a brewery, the night was awesome and a great time was had by all.

The evening also allowed me to prove my prowess in beer bottling and impart some wisdom on just how not to bottle pressurised beer into a bottle. The video of the event will be posted shortly where you can see my skills in all their glory!

Another day over and all that was left was to drink some more beer and learn how to play a russian card game called Durak where the plan is to beat up whoever is on your left, after a few beers it becomes quite difficult so I decided to call it a night in the early hours, ready for another 8.30am start!