Conference Tip #1: A Pre-Con is an introduction. At least the first part of the pre-con will be taking it from the beginning. Don’t be dissapointed if you feel you know all the stuff they say during the first hour or two.
Conference Tip #2: Don’t leave after the first hour or two. It will get more interesting.
WCF Pre-Con session
I’ve heard Juval Löwy of IDesign talk about WCF in the past. In fact I’ve even read his book (Programming WCF Services), now being sent to the presses for a 2nd edition. It is a comprehensive thing that gives a good introduction to WCF as well as introduces patterns and re-usable code for working with it. In a video recorded on Channel9 I’ve heard Juval say that everything should be a service. At the time I thought that sounded slightly crazy. This time the message was that the introduction of WCF is the same kind of semantic shift from .NET development as .NET was from VB or C++ and C++ was from C. Syntax is the small part, sematics is everything really. Overall what WCF gives us is a proven library of best practices and guidelines available out of the box. After an entire day he had has me convinced, of both of the points above. Now, I’m not saying that all classes should be a service and all methods a service call, but I definatly can tell you that I can see the advantages of such a situation after a full days worth of hammering it in by Juval.
It’s really all about the glue. Research has shown that as much as 95% of time is spent buidling, maintaining and troubleshooting glue code. That only leaveas 5% for doing the real stuff, the stuff that you are really getting payed for. WCF is out-of-the-box glue. All that security, transactional support, serialization, versioning etc etc that you’d want your application to have, without you having to spend any time on developing it. A sweet deal really.