I was able to attend 4 sessions here on day 1 of TechEd US and I know a lot of readers back home are not going to believe this, but I stayed 'till the end in each of them J. It started good with a nice overview of Office Business Applications (OBA) by Khawar Ahmed and Steve Fox (both guys I met at the pilot in Redmond two weeks ago). I liked the beginning of the presentation with the first slide immediately setting the context with the goals of OBA. Steve went through a number of Orcas demos which I am sure were very appealing to many of the attendees. And I picked up a couple of good ideas for the full three day workshop on OBA at the partner conference in Denver beginning of July. Good news for developers is that VSTO 3.0 will be part of the VS professional SKU instead of the Team System one as it is now.
Next session was one on extending VS with custom add-ins and tool windows. It has always been my idea to work out some SharePoint integration in VS to help developers. The one hour overview of how XPathMania was built was enough for me to understand how I can start such a project.
Microsoft Dynamics is a very exciting collection of products. My next session was an overview of Microsoft CRM 3.0, certainly a product that is needed in many organizations (including ours J). Saw some really cool Vista gadgets that visualized CRM data!
Last session was Alexander's session on the WSS extensions for VS 2005. I like the idea of the extensions although a lot of enhancements have to be done to make it your SharePoint developer tool. But Alexander mentioned they are working on a next version where they will loosen up the generation of the SharePoint solution meaning that you'll be able to configure a lot more than you can now for generating the perfect solution you'll want to deploy within your server farm. Keep an eye out for it I would say!
For the rest, I met a lot of people yesterday, MVP fellows and former students and had a fun ride just before midnight on a two-person bicycle with my buddy Ted to end his birthday. Good thing it was dark, late and nobody saw us.
Before I forget though, I also talked to Dough and he told me about a cool new layer of APIs released yesterday for working with the Office Open XML File Format. It will allow you to work in a strongly-typed way with all of the parts in the package. Cool stuff but it means that I'll also have to update my OBA material (and I just recorded all of the demos for that session … grrrrr!!!).