They should have called it “Stockholm” instead of “Oslo”; they really should.
“08”, pronounced “noll%u00e5tta”, or “j%u00e4vla noll%u00e5tta” in the north of Sweden, is the nickname for Stockholmers (08 is the area code for Stockholm), so “PDC 08” would mean “PDC Stockholm” in Swedish.
David Chappell Article
As always, David Chappell has been following the development of “Oslo” and realted technologies from the early days. He has just had an article published on MSDN “Workflows, Services, and Models – A First Look at WF 4.0, Dublin, and Oslo”, which will be well worth reading.
BizTalk .net Services
BizTalk Services is now .net Services, a part of the “Windows Azure” cloud based operating system. “But why is it called BizTalk Services?” has been a common question for a while. I’ve never really understood the logic of applying the “BizTalk” brand to a set of cloud based WCF services. Changing the name to “.net Services” makes a lot of sense. There is a good section of articles in “The Bloggers Guide to Oslo” on this technology, in the BizTalk Services section (this will be renamed in the next version) and also a webcast on using the services here. It will be interesting to see how the cloud based workflow has evolved as there was quite a limitation on what could be built in the BizTalk labs workflow hosting.
“Oslo” SDK Goes Live
The “Oslo” SDK has been released and is available for download. To install the SDK you will need to have Windows Server 2008 installed, as the repository database is dependent on some of the SQL 2008 features. The SDK will allow you to explore the “M” declarative programming language and create data models declaratively. The “M” language is the brainchild of Don Box, the self declared “Chief Modeling Officer” in the Connected Systems Division at Microsoft.
The SDK contains the following components:
%u00b7 Repository Database
%u00b7 “M” Modeling Language
%u00b7 “Mg” Domain Specific Language Creation language
%u00b7 IntelliPad Editing Tool
I’ve taken a quick tour of the “Oslo” SDK and looked at the key features.
Oslo Repository Database
The Oslo repository database is used to store models.To view the database, open the SQL Server 2008 Management Studio and select it. If you expand the table structure, you will see a large number of tables relating to the various models that are present in the repository.
The schema names feature of SQL has been used to create a storage structure that reflects some of the net class library namespace. If you are a WCF developer you should take a look at the System.ServiceModel section and check out the tables used to store WCF related information. These tables will be used by the Quadrant editing toolbox to allow users to model service contracts and persist the models to the repository database.
The information in the repository database is intended to be “transparent”, meaning it should be easy to query and modify with custom tools. This is a welcome change, as the BizTalk databases were “owned” by Microsoft, it seems like the Repository will be more open both in terms of data content and structure. There seems to be quite a number of models present in the database, but it is designed to be extensible by using the “M” modeling language to design data models that can then be imported to the repository.
IntelliPad is a text editor targeted at “curly brace” programmers allowing them to define the schemas for data that will be stored in the repository in a productive manner. There were a lot of rumors sating that IntelliPad would be “”, but as I’ve never used Emacs, i could not make the comparison.
IntelliPad provides a good environment for prototyping “M” and “Mg” scenarios, providing quick feedback on what the developer is typing. The experience falls somewhere between Notepad and Visual Studio, resulting in a lightweight application that provides features like syntax color encoding, and basic IntelliSense.
My favorite feature of IntelliPad is the “Dynamic Parsing”, which will show the SQL output that is created from you “M” instantly as you edit the code. This is a really nice way to learn “M” as you see the results of code immediately, allowing you to experiment freely with the language.
“M” is a text based declarative data modeling language aimed at “curly brace” programmers. It initially started out being called “D”, but was changes to “M” shortly before PDC. “M” was originally created for building the models that are present in the repository database. There is a project in the samples folder that appears to be the “M” source files that have been used to create the repository, but I have not confirmed this.
The best way to start learning “M” is to use IntelliPad to declare a model, and then see the representation of that model in SQL. The “M” compiler can currently create two forms of SQL.
%u00b7 Rich – For importing models into the repository
%u00b7 Reach – Standard SQL for using in a regular databases
My immediate thoughts when using “M” were that it would be a great way of modeling regular relational databases in SQL Server. This view has been echoed by others that have worked with “M”. One of the reasons for using a text based language for modeling is that most programmers find that code is much more productive that working with graphical tools, and this is certainly the case with “M”. It took me about 30 minutes to get the basics of “M”, and a few hours to explore a few of the language features, and start creating simple models. I would imagine most developers will pick it up very quickly.
Links to the Best News Articles
I’ve added links to some of the best news articles relating to Azure on the Bloggers front page. I’ll be updating this daily for the next couple of weeks.
Alternatively, you can follow the story on Slashdot for jokes about “Azure Screens of Death”, Soviet Russia, hot grits and chair throwing. Imagine a Beowulf Cluster in the cloud
PDC Top Tip #3: Vary the Experience
PDC is a bit like Glastonbury without the mud. You get tired of walking, your diet is not too healthy, you lose your mates in the crowd, and you never get enough sleep. It’s also similar in that there are the big headline events on the main stages, the smaller minority stuff that you really have to see, and also all kinds of cool things going on that are never in the program. The Expo is like the Green Fields, there’s a lot to see, it’s good for meeting people, there’s some great unannounced events going on, and you can always score some swag.
I skipped one of the main sessions and took a break and to head down there, and was rewarded with some very cool “Dublin” and “Oslo” t-shirts, a signed copy of first “M” language programming book. I also caught a demo of the “M” language in an unannounced spontaneous chalk-talk session by Don Box in front of 20 people. This was very cool to see, as the official public unveiling of the “M” language is not until the keynote tomorrow, it was great to see Don presenting “M” to such a small audience, much better than seeing it in front of 5000 people.
24/7 Networking People
There is an “MVP & Influencers” event at most conferences, and the one at PDC was scheduled for 10pm Monday to 1am Tuesday. I was thinking of trying to get an early night, but Marjan Kalantar said attendance was compulsory. It was a good bash; I met Kris Horroks and Mark Berman outside, and got chatting to Ofer Ashkenazi, who is the PM for BizTalk, as well as some of the other MVPs and CDS team. More Oslo, Dublin and WCF WF t-shirts to be had, nicer colors this time.
PDC FAQ 03: What’s in the bag?
%u00b7 A PDC 08 T-shirt
%u00b7 A PDC 08 water bottle
%u00b7 A copy of MSDN Magazine
%u00b7 An invite to the Universal Studios Party
%u00b7 Lots of bits of paper
%u00b7 No Oslo bits (There should be a green ticket in your pass wallet that allows you to pick up “The Goods” on Tuesday at 13:00.)
Technology on Steroids
I’ve so many people are saying that XXXX is YYYY on steroids. Here is a summary of the ones I have heard so far.
Is ______ on steroids.
.net Remoting
Workflow Foundation
Workflow Foundation
It seems everything at the PDC is on steroids, I wish I was I’m exhausted.