Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

15 September 2005

PDC05: Day Three (Ask the Experts & Expo Floor)

It is the "Ask the Experts" element which draws me to the PDC year after year. The chance to talk to the actual engineers working on the products or technologies you are using or planning to use is a treasure beyond price. I split my time between the TracekLounges (like Tools & Languages) and swag bagging on the Expo Floor. I started by talking with Jeff Peil, who had given a presentation on optimization earlier the previous day, about stale optimization flags. We had upgraded directly from Visual Studio 6.0 to Visual Studio 2003. We had previously disabled several optimization flags because of a problem between Dinkumware STL and VC6, and those flags were restored to their normal state. We had not, however, reviewed all of our optimization flags to see if there were other stale disabled flags or even bad processor targetting. Jeff suggested we really ought to review it for two reasons. First, there is a real risk of a poorly optimized object file being produced by ten-year-old optimization flags. Second, the upgrade tools from VC6 to VC7.1 injected duplicate configuration details under each file in the project. We can safely clean those out except the precompiled header and gain a fair bit of compile speed.

I wandered around the Expo Floor for a while picking up information and swag. I talked with folks from Altova about their XML Schema (XSD) tools and their relational mapping tools. The XSD tool would be great since none of us are really XSD gurus, but we have a fair amount of XSD. We talked to the ISV folks about the Windows Error Reporting (WER) Database. We are absolutely going to sign up for that when we get back.

The Server Track Lounge had a few SQL Server 2005 folks in it. I sat with one, whose name I have forgotten, to talk about SQL Server 2005 features:
  • I asked him if there were plans to add geospatial datatypes now or in the near future. The short answer was 'no.' There is apparently a debate inside the team about whether user defined datatypes are sufficient for that purpose, with the people who believe that presently winning out.
  • I asked about the problems with lock promotion and reads being blocked in SQL Server 2000. He outline a few new read styles and lock types which will allow for better read response with possibly less consistency, since the version read is not the value at the start of the SELECT statement, just the value when the row is reached.
  • Finally, I asked about the servicing story. Under MSDE the situation was terrible with the ISVs having to deal with the servicing issue. The new SQL Server Express package, when installed via the MSI, will be serviced by Windows Update. Yippee!!
In the Expo Hall I met the crew from IIS 7.0. They had a hot new IIS7 t-shirt and when I went up to ask for one to go with my IIS 6.0 shirt, they said they were raffling them. Drat! I talked to their head guy and told him about my IIS 6.0 t-shirt. I knew it was rare and I had hoped for a 7.0 shirt as well. He knew what I was talking about, but tested my by saying, "It says DFU on the back, what does that stand for?" I knew that it was a repeat of what was printed on the front, "Destined for Ubiquity." He gave me a shirt without having to raffle. Rock on!

Most of the companies I talked to have lots of tools for managed code, including managed C++, but the available tools for native C++ is dropping rapidly. Even a little help authoring tool which just extracts comments from code does not support native C++. Maybe DeLorme needs to take managed C++, and managed code in general, more seriously.


At 15 September, 2005 12:54 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great information about PDC05. I'm sorry I couldn't go in this year, but I liked the SQL 2005 information from your post. Will definitely come back to read more… Feel free to drop me an email if you’d like to exchange thoughts and ideas.

Oh, by the way, have you checked iraqi dinar? It pretty much covers iraqi dinar exchange related stuff, and I think it’s very informative.

I’d love to meet you there.


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