FoxPro Devcon


I’m having a ball at Devcon, and here’s my thoughts so far…

Wednesday I was so wasted from the flights and late night that I barely made it to the pre-conference venue. I gave up and crashed back in my room until housekeeping woke me up at 2pm. Speaking of housekeeping, they came into my room on Tuesday morning just after I came out of the shower. Yep, walked right in and saw me in my full glory. As I stared in disbelief the lady (she was staring too ) said I should put up the privacy sign on my door. Come on! its only 9am, surely you can expect people to be still in their room – maybe they do it differently here.

But I digress.

Anyway I felt great that afternoon and was in high spirits for the opening keynote on Tuesday night. As I mentioned yesterday it was a fantastic opening, over 2 hours of demos and features in VFP9. The content has been covered well by other bloggers (see Andrew MacNeil for example). The highlight was meeting Lisa Slator Nicholls, Doug Hennig, Ken Levy, David Stevenson and Rick Strahl.

Today (Thursday) started with a continental breakfast – just think sugar. Danishes, sugar snacks, jam, other sugary things. Where’s some cereal dudes? I need my carbs.

First session was Rick talking about using IE in VFP. An older talk but non then less very useful. Plenty of content, good pace, easy to listen to. I was very happy with this one.

The next few sessions weren’t so good. I’m not going to mention names here (unless they were good), but suffice to say my main gripes was lack of preparation by some speakers. I can always tell a speaker hasn’t prepared well because they run out of time with a stack of the presentation to go. The less prepared a speaker is, the more they woffle on during the talk, and hence run out of time. To me it just smacks of lack of respect for the audience. We are all busy people, time is money, don’t go wasting our time with your woffle please.

Also, the tendency to over explain. A few speakers were prone to this. Lesson: don’t assume we are basic idiots. OK, we may not have used a particular feature before (ever!) but that doesn’t mean you need to explain it to us 3 times in nauseating detail. We are not children! Oh, and one final thing. Please start on time. You only have an hour and 15 to present, don’t sit around chatting waiting for more people to turn up (they didn’t). One session started atleast 10 minutes late.

OK, with that off my chest, let me praise some of the great sessions I went to. Andrew MacNeil had a great session on the developer toolbox – plenty of tips and tricks there. I love coming out of a session feeling compelled to run back to my notebook and start coding, and I did this after his session. Nice work.

But the stand out was Doug Hennig. This man is the consumate professional. Prepared completely. He started on time, sped through the content at a good pace, had plenty of examples. There was no stuff ups and missing code, or overexplaining. He took questions well, but didn’t let them distract from the session. His content was superb, another case of ‘let me get to my notebook now’ and he finished on time. Excellent work. All other speakers should have to attend a Doug Hennig session to see how it is done.

We are going to be very well looked after at OzFox with Doug and Rick along. I’m sure the other speakers are going to be great (I haven’t heard them yet, except for Ken during the keynote which was very good).

So, my summary thus far is: I’m learning heaps of useful things, but am a bit disappointed about some of the speakers being underprepared. My point of comparison is TechEd which I went to in August. I came home absolutely raving about that event. Every session (except one) was excellent. Thoroughly prepared and professionally presented. My expectations of conferences are quite high now. So, this first day has brought me down a little. Is it worth coming to then? A definate yes to that. The stuff I’m learnging and thinking about is definately worth the time and money. And there’s still two more days. Yee hah. And… I got to meet Rick!

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By Craig Bailey