Beginning with the 2011 conference, Microsoft has decided to rebrand the Professional Developer Conference (PDC) as Microsoft BUILD (http://www.buildwindows.com/). The name change of this popular conference from Microsoft PDC to Microsoft BUILD does not appear to convey a different meaning. If fact, I am not entirely sure what message is trying to be conveyed with the name change. Microsoft did not broadcast the name change as publically as one might imagine. In fact, for some odd reason, the rebranding Microsoft PDC as Microsoft BUILD has not garnered as much attention at all from the numerous Microsoft blogs and sites out there. In addition, the Microsoft BUILD registration page was so hidden that even search engines were not displaying the official registration page for standard terms such as “PDC Microsoft conference”.
Well, for people who have not been able to find the relevant information related to the conference, Microsoft BUILD (formerly Microsoft PDC) will occur on September 13-16, 2011 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The Microsoft PDC conference has been ongoing since July 1992, and has been hosted frequently in California over the last two decades.
So far, Microsoft BUILD has not publicized the conference agenda, keynote speakers, or session topics, which is unusual for an elite conference such as this. My assumption is that there will be breaking news around direction of BizTalk Cloud technologies in addition to the usual expected announcements of Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10. Any news or updates to Windows mobile platform (“Mango” code name) will also receive decent coverage as Microsoft has been aggressively trying to break into the Smartphone market. Even as Mango appears to be a robust platform, it is difficult to break through the enormous barrier created by Android and iPhone. Google’s recent purchase of MMI bodes well for Microsoft. The buyout means that Windows mobile is now the only true Open Source mobile platform left in the market. It is rather ironic that a company traditionally linked with developing proprietary technologies is taking this mantle from a company like Google that is traditionally linked with developing and encouraging Open Source systems. This change in Microsoft’s behavior shows the fast changing technology landscape, and underlines the obstacles faced by CIOs in planning strategic IT initiatives.
With Microsoft consolidating its solutions around Desktop, Web, Cloud and Mobile with the latest release of Visual Studio 2011, these are exciting times for MS developers. As Microsoft streamlines its technologies, it has simultaneously been removing the redundancies. BizTalk-AppFabric consolidation is happening along with Silverlight-HTML5 consolidation. SharePoint story is unchanged and it is one of the few non-redundant technologies in the Microsoft stack.
So, where do we stand amidst all this? Consolidation of Microsoft technologies will lead to more clarity for customers. One reason, BizTalk didn’t maintain the steep growth curve was because of the confusion created by conflicting MS technologies on the Microsoft Connected System stack. Customers like clarity, especially while evaluating different technologies to implement. They tend to select products with more clarity around their future roadmap. Microsoft shops in general are prime candidate for BizTalk, but they saw technologies like AppFabric and WCF close substitute for BizTalk. For most of them, sole reason for buying BizTalk was because they were an EDI shop. On the other hand, BizTalk was a tough sell in non-Microsoft shops as it works with Microsoft framework. A java shop will most likely go for a GIS or webMethods implementation.
Real value of BizTalk lies in developing it as an integration hub for both EDI and Non-EDI integrations and then extending it to link with SharePoint. Next step will be to combine on-premise and cloud integration on same platform. This is where Azure AppFabric is leading us to. Even though the conference has already sold out online, one should keep an eye on what happens this year at Microsoft PDC (BUILD) for more on this.
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