NET: Code Camp Day 1


A very rewarding day at CodeCampOz today.

Castro, Eka, Rahul, Scott and I are all here in Wagga getting our fill of WinFS, Windows Workflow Foundation, Windows Presentation Framework, LINQ, SharePoint v3, .Net and more.

Greg Low and Mitch Denny have done extremely well yet again. The venue is ideal, the sessions are nicely organised, the speakers are good, the pizza for lunch was hot, and the weather has been very pleasant. Full marks so far guys.

The morning started with Dan Green discussing Windows Workflow Foundation. Dan was an impressive presenter and his session was obviously well rehearsed, well timed and imformative.

Next I joined one of the break out sessions discussing how to run User Groups. This was a helpful pointer to me of some ideas for improving the Sydney VFP User Group. Main points from Greg and Chuck were about how the user groups are not about the technology, they are about the people. Much of the time was spent discussing how we can get to know developers better (as opposed to how we we can improve presentations or venues etc). I will blog about this topic in a later post, because I think there is much to be considered in this regard.

An introduction to WinFS by Chris Hewitt was very interesting. WinFS is, as you may know, the intended eventual replacement for NTFS and aims to provide a relational file system. Lots of potential ofcourse, but as Chris points out, don’t hold your breath. I especially liked Chris’s Call to Inaction once it is released. He reckons there are going to be so many cool killer apps to be developed he just wants to maximise his time to develop them (ie by convincing us to be inactive for a while) – nice one Chris!

Joseph Cooney and Charles Sterling took us through Windows Presentation Framework. A few technical issues hampered this session unfortunately, however there was still enough to make the time worthwhile – fortunately Chuck’s personality is so positive and put-a-smile-on-your-face that he could have been talking about fishing for all I care and I still would have liked it (fishing is in an in-joke – he’s a mad fisherman). The gist of WPF is ofcourse XAML and the tools coming with it. Microsoft’s Expression looks to be a great product. However, we couldn’t help comparing the functionaity (although not the underlying technology ofcourse) to what we’ve been able to do with Macromedia (ahem Adobe) Flash for years now. OK, don’t start with the comments about differences, I know, I know…

The pick of the day for me was Angus Logan, a Microsoft Technical Specialist in SharePoint. Angus was a stunning presenter, taking us through the new features coming in SharePoint X (slated for release at the end of the year…). This is really impressive. The features it packs in are awesome. Even some of the minor points Angus mentioned are big in their own right eg having an InfoPath renderer within SharePoint – no need for clients to have InfoPath installed in order to use InfoPath forms (about time I hear you say). As far as technology glue goes, SharePoint has to be most exciting integration engine around in my opinion. The market for SharePoint developers is going to be really big in about 3 years time (that’s my prediction anyway).

A close second place for excellence in presenting goes to Adam Cogan with an enjoyable, well reasoned and technically reliable coverage of his top 10 tools for ASP.Net development. He covered controls such as grids, calendar popups, menus, rich text boxes, and tools like Resharper, Team Plains, and a bunch of others. You can check out all of Adam’s sessions on his web site at SSW.

Troy Magennis and Nick Randolph took us through some of the details of LINQ. I guess I have been a bit out of touch with the whole LINQ strategy, and this session brought me up to speed, which was great. Being a Fox developer though I just have to shake my head in despair again. Why is it taking so long to get this functionality into .Net? I know I must be extremely ignorant here, but I just can’t understand it. It is obvious that developers want all the functionality and have done so for a long time. Why is it still way off (ie in C# 3.0 and VB9)?

Finally the day finished with a non-technical session from the infectious Dave Lemphers (a Microsoft DE). He discussed being a Consultant, dispelling common stereotypes and providing useful approaches to meeting client requirements. A nice, positive talk on how to concentrate on providing solutions to client problems (which is a good definition of what a consultant should do really).

CodeCampOz continues tomorrow.

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By Craig Bailey