ASP.Net Exposed Review

I got the chance to attend the ASP.Net Roadshow in Detroit/Ann Arbor this past Tuesday. It was given by Rob Howard, ASP.NET Program Manager and one of the driving forces behind

Rob was a very engaging speaker, and despite working with ASP.Net for over a year, I didn’t find the presentation to be dragging at all. There were nuggets for developers at all different levels throughout the presentation. The material was mostly basic, as the target audience was really developers and managers thinking about moving to ASP.Net. Rob performed most of the talk by writing code to demonstrate his points, which helped out the more experienced users in the audience. Much of the material he covered througout the presentation contained a fair amount of the “WOW” factor by demonstrating large effects with little code, such as autoformatting a datagrid or connecting to a database and fetching information.

The second half of the presentation focused on Security demos and Whidbey demos. The security demos focused around impersonationa and SQL injection. Good stuff for all ranges of developers to keep in mind.

For me, this was the first real exposure to Whidbey. A few things in particular stood out about what I saw:

  • For ASP.Net, Whidbey takes an approach much more like VB6, focusing on the Visual design aspects and not much on the code. In fact, he repeatedly pointed out how much could be done without any code at all.
  • The strong visual RAD aspects of Whidbey will draw lots of non-programmers to ASP.Net, much like VB6 did for the Visual Basic language.
  • The RAD visual development aspects of Whidbey have much going on “Under the Hood“. This of course will require real trust for the developers. Is it really flexible, or will it turn out to be like the web controls that shipped with Visual Interdev 6.0 that in theory were great, but just didn’t offer the flexibility? Only time and experience will tell us that.
  • For so much to be going on “under the hood“, there must be a price to pay somewhere in overhead. Is it in the Viewstate? This wasn’t mentioned, but it’s got to be somewhere.

Overall, it was worth the three hours. I picked up information I can use today, and got a pretty good view of what is coming with Whidbey. Every person who turned in an evaluation got a copy of Microsoft ASP.Net Coding Strategies with the Microsoft ASP.Net Team, plus there was a giveaway at the end of some T-shirts and two Pocket PCs.