It's been an extremely busy few weeks around the DevCentral. As you've seen, we announced the winners for our first annual iRule. Do You? contest. Talk about cool stuff... Our community is fantastic!

I also attended Microsoft's "Ready to Launch" event last Monday in San Francisco where they rolled Visual Studio 2005, MS-SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk 2006. In addition to rolling out some interesting new products (hey - we knew they were coming, right?), the DID announce or demo three things I found to be particularly interesting:

  • Visual Studio 2005 Express: want a FREE, powerful dev tool? (i.e. want to build iControl apps???) Download one of these. While I haven't done this yet, it looks like you can build a VB app that connects to BIG-IP to make admin/management apps...
  • Microsoft and SAP are taking on Oracle: Ballmer wants to steal customers and market share. While I'm not sure how likely that is, his keynote showcasing the performance and scale of MS-SQL was surprisingly compelling. We'll see what happens. But, the fact that he called this out in a not-so-subtle keynote in Oracle's backyard was worth a fair bit of industry chatter...
  • Office12 is going to be cool. Let's just say that if you like Pivot Tables, you're going to dig Office12..

Finally, for those that attended, there was a interesting treat to end the day - a concert by Van's shoe and Budokan legends "Cheap Trick". C-Dub, C-Row, and I arrived as the guys took the stage for their first song. While fun to see, it appears few were interested (maybe everyone else was downloading their free Express products???). From what we could tell, the 250 +/- attendees didn't exactly fill the house... The band played some of their popular songs (including first hit "Surrender" and 80's power-rock ballad "The Flame"). But, they failed to play "I Want You to Want Me" which the remaining 150 people certainly hoped to hear during the encore... Kind of a "cheap trick", don't you think?