Just back from WebDD down in Reading at the Microsoft Campus and thought I’d post a few thoughts. I’ll get into a few of these topics in more detail down the line when time permits but for now…

I went to a few talks, one on Microformats by Glenn Jones and the other on web standards design by Patrick Lauke that I enjoyed but didn’t learn much. I wasn’t the intended audience really and I’d gone along because I didn’t fancy the alternatives. Both were entertaining and well attended anyhow, and I’m sure the more developer orientated folk got a lot out of both.

The main two things I came away thinking about however were the upcoming version of Visual Studio (codename “Orcas”) and Microsofts new identity platform CardSpace

Now I’m not generally a fan of IDEs, but someone has been thinking alot about how Visual Studio (and the new Expression Web) can be of use to web designers. Some of the CSS tools are very cool, I might do some screenshot from Expression (we all got free copies) if I get the chance. Their has also been a huge effort to integrate Javascript functionality, including full debugging and breakpoint support as well as intelissense. All of which looks really rather nice.

According to Microsoft Windows CardSpace enables users to provide their digital identities in a familiar, secure and easy way. Which should have alarm bells going off and (bad) memories of Passport flooding back. I went in not knowing much and in quite a sceptical mood, assuming the worst. Turns out I was wrong. The presentation, by Barry Dorrans, covered quite a bit of ground from an introduction, through code and working examples and even a big discussion of the issue of identity and OpenID in particularly. I’m suprised that I haven’t seen any mention of CardSpace along with the recent rise in discussion around identity and OpenID. More on this soon.

One last thing on the WebDD site caught my eye: around 350 people with a 50/50 split of web developers and web designers. In reality I think about 20 of us registered as designers which amused me. Microsoft doesn’t (yet) have a pull over designers as it does over developers. More on that too when I get my thoughts in order.