Microsoft’s annual Professional Developer Conference was this week. While I wasn’t able to attend, there are plenty of opportunities to follow what’s going on. Twitter was flowing with links and comments about everything announced. I was also able to watch the keynote speeches live off the PDC website. Overall I was excited by the latest offerings. Here are some of my top picks.

Silverlight 4

A nice demo was done with the new webcam and microphone support. That’s neat, but I personally don’t have much use for that at the moment. I know lots of people have been waiting for the printing support which will finally be added. I could see using that someday, but it’s not needed for anything currently planned. What excites me the most is the new Out of the Browser experience. In Silverlight 3, you were sandboxed in with very limited interaction with the client OS. Silverlight 4 relaxes that to allow for interaction in ways that can be really useful. I need to figure out what exactly is available, but it sounds like a step in the right direction in simplifying client-side apps.

Windows Azure Features

I love the idea of the cloud and the potential it has. While I currently don’t have any plans for a cloud-based app, I am on the lookout for how it can be used in our projects. The most interesting new feature for me is the Windows Azure Drive which lets a cloud store be mounted as a disk drive. I also like that Microsoft is running a program to allow for free data uploads during non-peak hours until June 2010. The Azure Platform AppFabric was also announced. It allows for companies to run their own private cloud service internally. I could see this becoming quite popular if its cheap/free and easy to install.

Now I just need some ideas on how to use all this stuff!