The second day at DevConnections was a bit more exciting than the first. On the first day, we had just basic keynote addresses from some pretty popular people. On the second were a bit more hardcore and real sessions. I was happy with the sessions I took, but clearly some developers cannot present well. Before I talk about these sessions, please understand that these are my unique views and no one else's. I know I will be giving a harsh critic on one presenter.
A Lap around Visual Studio Team System: Taught by Neelesh Kamkolkar, which is the Senior Project manager for Team System. This is the only harsh critic I will give in this post and I am sorry for doing so, but in order for Microsoft to give better sessions, they must learn from their mistakes. Neelesh spoke about the ins and outs of Team System. He spoke in an extremely general topic which was dissatisfying. It seemed to me that Neelesh wasn't prepared at all for this session. Every test or application he tried to run, failed on him and not only did he NOT try to work on the problem and get it fixed so he can show us a working example, but every time he failed; he said okay lets move on to something else because of time. I was just upset that we didn't see Team System work at all. This to me was a very poor planned session and I hope Microsoft sees that he is a better manager than a presenter. I do want to give him the benefit of the doubt seeing that he said he traveled to three different parts of the world in 7 days, but I imagine he can test app's on his laptop while on the plane. Am I correct? The only true thing he got done was getting advice from one of his friends in the back (probably a developer at Microsoft) to tell him what to do on Team System. It almost seemed to me that he had less than 20 hours on the actual application. I would have rather had the person in crowd that was helping him present and fix his mistakes than him up there as the project manager. Hopefully Microsoft will learn.
LINQ Deep Dives and Best Practices: This session was taught by Colin Meek. Now let me tell you about an extremely intelligent programmer at such a young age. This is your man. He presented LINQ which didn't hold very many best practices actually he used bad practices, but I must say that he forewarned us that this is not a session on best practices. The idea behind the session was to take about 15 lines of code to query a database and shorten it down to only 2. Quiet an impressive goal if I may say and what's awesome is that he did it even with parameters for the query. He started out going into pretty complex stuff which was a bit beyond me having not come from a CS background, but with a CE background. He demonstrated what they do to get LINQ to actually work and example code of how they create LINQ. He then went on to actually show us a very basic LINQ query which if you used LINQ at all, you would have done these types of queries. One thing I did take away from the Session if nothing else, was the point he made was the reason why they switched up the "from and select" syntax in LINQ from SQL. He said it was because they can't actually help you with intellisense against the query if they have the "select" first. If the "from" is first, they can pull the information from the database and have it work with intellisense. Pretty smart move if I must say so. Overall, I liked it a lot.
Introduction to the New ASP.NET MVC Framework: Taught by the one and only Scott Guthrie which many consider is an icon in to software industry. From his keynotes, I saw people trying to get pictures with him and saying that he was a big talking point around the office. As VP of Microsoft and in charge of ASP.NET, Silverlight, WPF, WCF, MVC and a few other off the top of my head, he is the man to talk to if you want a developers prospective. At the session he discussed the things MVC framework has in store for developers. He compared it to a "Car v.s. a Motorcycle" and he truly believed in that. Some people like the car and some like the motorcycle. he said, By no way do we need to switch over from webforms. I saw only 2 truly real advantages over webforms. MVC currently can be used for that avid testing bed of developers. It also has URL Re-writing built into it. He said that ASP.NET will be implementing URL re-writing in the coming future so then the only difference will be the fact that it is easier to test in. That's it ladies and gents, that's the gist of it. I hope you take that to heart, because that is the only difference. I for one am glad to know that MVC will not be a new type of language I will have to continue in.
SQL Reporting Services: Advanced Report Design: Taught by Jason Carlson (Doesn't have a online profile). This is one of the best sessions I have been to so far except for the MVC with Scott Guthrie. I still think I am taking more from this session than any session so far. Jason took a DEEP dive into Reporting Services and showed us how to create some pretty good looking reports which I am extremely happy with what I have taken back from this session because the reports I currently have on my application smell like a bad woman's perfume. I could not say thank you more for showing me the light on reporting services. I wish I could explain the depth we took, but it is too much information to be explained in one short paragraph. Maybe later.
Things I learned today outside the sessions:
- MySpace.com runs completely on ASP.NET and has now for two years - Confirmed by Scott Guthrie after chatting with him for a few minutes, MySpace still has the CFM tags, but they made the switch over to ASP.NET 2 years ago. Scott told me to email him about a case study they did on the MySpace switch over so I did and will post that valuable information on my blog once I get it. For a Stat, MySpace saw a 500% reduction of server resources when they switched over from ColdFusion to ASP.NET. I was happy to hear that because its hard to find any facts on ColdFusion v.s. ASP.NET. This stat is comes from Scott Guthrie.
- ASP.NET, Silverlight, MVC, XAML and all the new technologies Scott's Team is coming out with are INTERCHANGEABLE! - What does this mean? I can upgrade to ASP.NET 3.5 and already have a fully fledged application in production and I can add a XAML page developed in Expression Blend, a full Silverlight page and a complete MVC page running all on the same application with ASP.NET 3.5. This is Impressive! I can run all the developer technologies and integrate every single one, into one application that is already in production.
- http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/ is a MUST visit site for an awesome Silverlight application! - Hard Rock wanted to categorize all their memorabilia they had collected over the years so they brought it all together for a photo shoot using a 500MP Camera! I ask you to just go check this site out. When you Zoom in on the pictures, Really Zoom IN and when you zoom out, really zoom OUT. It is extremely impressive with what they did. I hope you enjoy it for I know I did.
- Everyone received a free copy of Visual Studio Standard.
- AT&T had a developer party and people walked away with LCD big screen TVs, AT&T Tilts and shirts along with free beer and food.
I think that's it and I hope I helped you out with what happened today at DEV Connections 2008.
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