I must also mention how confusing the conference centre is and trying to work out exactly where you are is a bit of a challenge but hopefully this will improve as the week goes on.
So here is a list of the sessions that I attended on the first day were :
- A Lap around Web Matrix
- The Future of C#
- Systematic Approaches to Project Wide Refactoring
- Code Like a Pro: Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Writing Killer Silverlight Applications
- Building Great Websites Fast using Umbraco, an Open Source ASP.NET CMS
- 10 Things Every New Silverlight and WPF Developer Must Know
A Lap around Web Matrix – Bill StaplesThis session was the first time I’ve seen a presentation of the Web Matrix product which is primarily aimed at the ‘hobbyist’ programmer and I attended the session to see if the product could be useful to professional developers.
The presentation revolved around a set of demo’s showing how easy it was to create sites/applications with little or no work using the template systems. When Bill then drilled into it a little it was obvious that this application is not suitable for developers creating enterprise LOB applications but if you are a one man web shop creating sites I can see that it could be of a lot of use making you more productive.
A nice feature is the ability to open a web matrix project in Visual Studio and take the site further and with more tooling support, only caveat there is that you have to have ASP.Net MVC 3 installed.
The Future of C# – Mads TorgersenThis session was partially eclipsed by Anders Hejlsberg PDC session and the initial announcements he made and focused on the same subject which was the new Asynchrony functionality which intends to make it easier for developers to create asynchronous code.
After a brief introduction Lucian Wischik took over to show some code and how the new functionality will work and how it makes life easier for you, this was fairly high level stuff and Jon Skeet has in fact put together a far more in-depth set of blog articles about the functionality.
What was interesting was a question by the member of the audience about whether the new asynchrony functionality would be available on the existing .Net 4.0 framework to which the answer was that the CTP will run on it but when it is RTM it will be on a new version of the framework (.Net 4.5? .Net 5.0?)
Systematic Approaches to Project Wide Refactoring – Gary ShortGary has been voted top presenter at many conferences so you know you’re going to see a good session when you go and see him.
Although this was only a short session I found it immensely interesting as Gary was giving forth with a way to work out how you could go about working out what to refactor when looking at a application/system in conjunction with Technical Debt (TD).
He outlined different types of TD with Known & Planned, Unknown & Unplanned, etc combining that with a prioritisation – Urgent, Important and Urgent & Important. Gary then went on to how the business sees the application/system and the tension developers have with the business in relation to getting the business to agree to the refactoring in the first place.
Code Like a Pro: Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Writing Killer Silverlight Applications – Jeff ProsiseThis was an really good session with an excellent presenter that focused on some of the more technical things you may want to do with Silverlight as you would expect from a 400 level session.
Jeff covered subjects ranging from dynamic loading of XAP, localised resources, self referential pages (back button support & deep linking), discretizing work so that UI appears to have long running thread in background updating UI and creating custom Behaviours for designers to use in Blend.
Jeff finished up with some small gotcha’s like culture agnostic XAML parsing, thread agnostic libraries and resolving the memory leak issue in Silverlight 4 by making users upgrade to the GDR1 release.
A good session with some interesting tips, I would say that his localisation resolution isn’t the only way to do that and Guy Smith-Ferrier has other techniques that may suit your situation better.
Building Great Websites Fast using Umbraco, an Open Source ASP.NET CMS - Niels HartvigNiels was the original founder of Umbraco so he was well placed to comment on how you use it and how it has evolved.
Umbraco prides itself on the user have 100% control over how the product works from the mark-up to the Admin UI, it has a large user community who developer additional functionality for the main CMS system.
Umbraco is ASP.Net Webforms based, but an ASP.MVC version is planned for release hopefully next year, it utilises its own http module and custom server and user controls to be able to render the content and as you have 100% control you can create your own user controls and add them into the site so if there is some functionality specific to your enterprise you can easily plug it into your site created with umbraco.
There is a comprehensive admin UI that will allow the creation of sites, adding content, meta data, etc
Niels also demonstrated how he has created functionality to allow you to use Razor syntax instead of the default XSLT for generation of the mark-up.
One nice thing to note is that Umbraco now supports Live Writer as a content editor which is good because at a previous job we didn’t use Umbraco solely because the business users didn’t like the UI and we had no time to build them a nice one.
10 Things Every New Silverlight and WPF Developer Must Know – Pete BrownThis was a good session that all developers who are starting development in Silverlight or WPF should attend or at least have a more experienced developer pull them to one side and go through with them.
The 10 things that Pete listed were:
- Hand code XAML
- Expression blend
- Layout System
- Dependency Properties
- Asynchronous Programming
- Value Converters
- Architectural Pattern
- Our limitations
I’ve not listed out all the content under each heading otherwise this long post would be even longer but I’ve got it all stashed away.