I figured that while I was here, I really ought to visit some sessions explaining stuff I could go away and start really working with in a real sense almost immediately. The sessions on InfoPath seemed to fit the bill since InfoPath is out there now, and we’ll be getting all the VS.NET integration soon too.
I was a bit disappointed with the InfoPath session on Monday by Claudio Caldato because the demos were pretty much preproduced but on the positive side, Claudio did show some of the new integration with .NET using VS.NET and he talked about the different security models.
The session today was supposed to be Architecting End-to-End Enterprise Solutions: InfoPath with BizTalk 2004, SQL Server, “Indigo”, WSE and Line-of-Business Applications. I’m afraid to say this was the most disappointing session of PDC for me (aside from not being able to get into Don Box’s Indigo Part 2, which at least will be repeated). The speaker, Kamaljit Bath, had a monotonous delivery and tried to include too much information too quickly without really making a solid point. To make matters worse, most of the presentation was identical to the Monday session, but surprisingly with less detail.
I think someone at Microsoft needs to really think hard about how they are pitching InfoPath. It seems at times like a great product looking for a solution. Perhaps I’m being a bit slow, but I need someone to take me aside and explain how I go about architecting a solution that takes advantage of InfoPath in the best way, how to organise what InfoPath talks to, and who designs and develops the InfoPath bits. As a tool, it’s currently presented as a Jack of all trades, but turns out to be a master of none.