The first day at TechEd offered two main sessions the developer kick off and the Keynote. The developer kick off touched on a new Visual Studio 2013 feature called Browser Link for ASP.NET and Team Foundation Service.
The kick off started by introducing One ASP.NET which is the unification of all web related .NET technologies, frameworks and libraries like MVC, SignalR and Web Forms can be mixed and matched however you like and all fall under the one ASP.NET umbrella. There has been a range of improvement to intellisense across the board particularly in html and CSS editors. The main highlight was the introduction to Browser Link by the creator of Web Essentials for Visual Studio.
Brower link enables a persistent link from Visual Studio to whatever web browser you use. It enables a few interesting scenarios the first of which being changes made to CSS are instantly reflected in all the browsers connected by Browser Link. Edits to razor files require a little more than a save (one key combo) because behind the scenes you’re telling each connected browser to refresh the page but you neve have to leave Visual Studio. Imagine you’re trying to iron out a few CSS quirks across two or more browsers. You can have two browsers open at the same time and CSS changes appear instantly on both browsers as soon as you save the file making comparisons efficient and easy.
Browser link also lets you do the inverse, you can use the web browser to jump to the exact line in your razor template that an element corresponds to via the inspector (Ctrl-Alt-I). You can also go one step further, ctrl-alt-d enables edit mode which can let you do thinks link edit html or Action Links and other
Html helpers which are updated in real time and this all works in any browser.
The next session introduced Team Foundation Service which has a set of features coming to the next version of Team Foundation Server. There are a few interesting features including git support, a free tier for up to 5 users, a scrum style backlog and Trello-esk cards. Also notably was the addition of an integrated persistent chat room through which you can share news and chat with other members but also see general activity in the project such as build and code review events.
The primary keynote had a few speakers, the main talk was from the CEO of Yammer. This was the one of the best talks I’ve seen and it talked about organisations and change. The theme was Blink and you’ll miss it. The rate at which technology is changing is happening so fast that it’s becoming even more important for people and organisations to be able to learn and react faster. If you wait too long it’s already irrelevant. This means instead of long release cycles where failure means 2-3 years of work goes down the drain, moving to pushing updates every month. This means the cost of failure is much smaller as well. What’s worse changing one month of work or one year’s worth. This is so important for organisations and this quote by Jack Welch describes it perfectly.
"If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."
There have been an increasing number of disruptive changes happening in the last 5 or so years. Communication has enabled modern society to move ideas and information much faster than ever before. The problem we see in companies these days is that people inside organisations don’t communicate very well, especially across departments. The outside world is moving so fast because it’s a network of self motivated people and we need to bring that into our companies and organisations. These types of organisations are called Responsive Organisations and you can read more about what it means to be one at http://www.theresponsiveorg.com/manifesto.