Tuesday, September 13, 2005

PDC Day One

It was a long day of presentations: first the keynote, which was interesting due to demos, to three sessions I attended.

The first was a hardcore geek session: "Building a Dynamic Language Compiler in One Hour". This has almost nothing to do with my job, but did touch on compilers, which was the subject area I found most interesting as a grad student. So I liked it, hehe.

The next two were on concurrent programming. Session one was pretty basic, and the next one was better, but afterwards when talking with my coworkers we agreed that too much info was wrapped up in managed code and .NET.

This is what Microsoft is pushing for the future, C#/managed code/Common Language Runtime, and it is pretty cool, but I've become a bit of a cynic. They are beating the drum pretty hard for this stuff, while plain old C/C++ programming is getting a lot less attention. Of course in this industry you always have to learn the new technologies, but the reality is our exisiting application is one million plus lines of code and converting it en masse is not feasible. We'll be in the interop scenario for a long time (i.e. coexisting plain and managed code) as would most companies with a large code base. Not everybody has the luxury of a rewrite - basically only the ones that start from scratch.

It would help if Microsoft were to lead the way and release a managed code version of any of their major apps: IE, Sql Server, Exchange, IIS, Office, heck just Outlook, etc. Maybe they haven't read their own literature on all the massive benefits from the CLR and .NET runtime: cool tools integrated into Visual Studio, buffer overrun protection, garbage collection, better security, powerful new features and libraries, runs on other architectures, etc. If they can't pull off a full port (rewrite) to their own platform, then who else can?

Perhaps they fear reverse engineering, since the intermediate language is a lot easier to decompile. Hence the appearance of obfuscation techniques. Who knows.

Tomorrow's sessions should be interesting as well.

I have to be careful - there is an untold amount of food put out all over the place! Lots of fruit and water, but also lots of soft drinks, chips, ice cream, and other assorted munchies. I've been working on losing a little weight (more on that when I hit my goal) and I think I will reverse the past few months this week. ;)

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