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Back from Microsoft Tech Ed

I just came back from a trip to Microsoft (msft) Tech Ed conference in Boston where I was invited to speak about the new MindManager add-in that I built for software requirements gathering for Microsoft’s new Team Foundation Server. When I was invited, I was sent a PowerPoint template to use, but I adapted it to a MindManager map template and, of course, I did my presentation with MindManager:

Click on the image to view with the Mindjet MindManager Viewer (Internet Explorer 5.5 or greater required)
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The conference was huge: 12,000 attendees with sessions and activities spanning over 6 days. In addition to the sessions that I presented, I went to some very interesting sessions about some of the new technologies that are coming out from Microsoft and their partners. Here are a few of the things that I learned about:

1. Windows Workflow Foundation: This is a free component of Microsoft’s .Net 3.0 that is both a workflow runtime that can manage very sophisitcated client- and server-based workflows. It also comes with a drag and drop workflow designer that can be integrated into other applications. Workflows are made up of activities that can be anything from web service calls to custom code. Very interesting….

2. MSDN Wiki: The team at MSDN is trying something new: with their online developer documentation, they are integrating a Wiki so that users can add their own comments and code samples to any article or page. Should we do this with our DevZone?

3. SQL Server 2005: Britt Johnston from Microsoft talked to me about the upcoming features exposed in ADO.Net which abstracts data sources into an entity data model. I need to learn more about this because many of our customers are wanting to get their enterprise data into MindManager and we need to make it easier.

4. TechSmith Camtasia Studio: This is the product that I use to make the flash demos that I post on Mindjet Labs. It is a very cool tool and I got to meet some of the people from TechSmith to tell them how much I love their software. I would like to know how our customers would like to see their SnagIt and Camtasia products working with MindManager.

5. Altova SemanticWorks: I have started looking at SemanticWorks because I want to find ways of working with the semantic web with MindManager. Very slick interface and easy to learn.

6. CodePlex: This is a community software development site, like SourceForge. Should I put any of the Mindjet Labs solutions on CodePlex?

7. I picked up an excerpt of the upcoming Perason Education book Essential C# 2.0 by Mark Michaelis to read on the flight home.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that at the beginning of each chapter he has a mind map (that looks like it was made with MindManager).  In the preface, he explains that he does this because “Mind Maps allow you to absorb the flow from high-level to more detailed concept easily, with less chance of encountering very specific knowledge that you might not be looking for.”

What is clear to me is that by the number of Microsoft employees with the title of “Evangelist”, Microsoft really values explaining their technologies and products to software developers.