What to expect at PDC 2008

PDC kicks off next Monday, 27th October and I have been wondering, what exactly is Microsoft going to talk about?

The agenda gives some good indications at how the various keynotes will work and what exactly will be announced. Microsoft accidentally posted the Windows Strata name on its PDC site earlier this month but so far no-one has revealed exactly what this is.

Windows Strata

I have two theories on what Strata is. The first is that it's the name for what ballmer described as a Windows "Cloud OS" earlier this month. Code-named "Red Dog", it is similar to Amazon's EC2 and Google's App Engine, both are cloud-based application platforms. The cloud OS is essentially Windows Server that provides scaling and server management for developers to build cloud applications on.

My second theory is that "Strata" might not be a specific component of the cloud infrastructure services but a name given to this particular "software + services" platform. Similar to how Microsoft named the Windows Live services and applications. This is possible but Strata as the name for the cloud OS is far more likely.

Windows 7

Windows 7 is set to be unveiled at PDC but from the schedule and keynotes it looks like this will be on Tuesday. Steven Sinofsky is due to kick off a keynote on the Tuesday morning and I expect him to demo the Windows 7 desktop enhancements, touch technologies and possibly announce a beta that will begin before the end of the year. PDC attendees have been promised a copy of Windows 7 at PDC but they will not receive it until after the Tuesday keynote to avoid spoiling any surprises Sinofsky has in store.

Everything Else

Microsoft is also expected to talk about Oslo (Microsoft's modeling platform), Dublin (distributed application server), Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4.0 and Silverlight 2. Early bits are expected to be released to PDC attendees although Microsoft haven't revealed exactly what will be on the HDD that attendees will receive.

Whatever happens at PDC it is sure set to be a jam packed week.

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