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The Visual Launch in D.C.

by John Peterson

Visual Ships

As you've probably already heard, Visual shipped on Feb. 13th, 2002. As part of the launch process, Microsoft was putting on a number of "launch events" to increase community awareness and to celebrate getting it out the door. Here's the description from Microsoft's Events web site:

After four years in development, 25 programming languages supported, and 2.5 million betas distributed, the launch of Visual Studio .NET means that developers and software architects like yourself will be able to take advantage of the most sophisticated, productivity-enhancing development toolset ever created.

At this launch event, you'll hear firsthand how Visual Studio .NET will allow you to leverage your existing skills to rapidly build applications and XML Web services that target any device and integrate any platform.

Every event attendee will receive a FREE Microsoft Visual Studio .NET trial edition DVD and other valuable giveaways!

Not being the type to pass up a day away from my desk (and the endless barage of email that it inevitably includes), I hit up a co-worker to go with me and we decided to check out the scene.

Picture ID?

Now it had been a while, but I have been to some of these propaganda-fests before. It's a free event and I was expecting a couple hundred people to show up for the free lunch... you know... the ones that could convince their boss to give them the time away from work. The first thing that told me I might be a little mistaken was the multiple check-in lines and the requirement that I show a photo id to get in. Now I naturally understand the need for security, but it's a FREE event guys... how many people are really gonna try and sneak in... and if they are willing to go to that length to learn about the product, don't you want them there? Anyway... when all was said and done, the crowd numbered somewhere around 2,000.

The Standard Bag of Goodies

As always there were lots of trial CDs from the sponsors of the event and tons of flyers and pamphlets, but they also were nice enough to include a 60-day trial of Pro and a "Visual Upgrade Guide" CD that contains all sorts of good how-to videos and technical demos on the new .NET stuff. There was also an entry form for a number of raffles held throughout the day with prizes ranging from software and books to an Xbox and a nice development machine. [For those of you who care... I didn't win anything.  :(  ] Oh and I almost forgot... they also included a Visual T-shirt. A nice touch... that makes one more day before I have to do laundry.

Keynote & Sessions

They had a number of people, including Scott Guthrie, collaborate on the keynote and even included a video from Bill Gates. The other sessions included: "Best Practices for Upgrading VB6 Projects to VB.NET", "COM Interoperability and Enterprise Services in .NET", and "Architecting Enterprise Systems." I don't have the time to cover everything they did, but the slides are supposed to be available soon (I'll link to them if I ever find them) and suffice it to say, all the talks were pretty good and the demos all made it look like was doing all the work and all you had to do was tell it what to do!

The Bottom Line

Maybe I'm just easily influenced or maybe Microsoft has got their brainwashing perfected, but by the end of the day I wanted to go home and develop using Visual Based on the turn out at the show, the number of people that stayed for the whole thing, and the response the speakers got from the audience, I don't think I was the only one either. There seems to be a lot of interest in the development community over Visual and as far as I can tell it's for good reason. If you're not conviced, check out the Visual home page or get a copy of the trial and try it for yourself... I think you'll be pleasently surprised.

Note: It looks like the 60 day trial isn't shipping yet, but it does exist and we've got the scans to prove it:

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