Somebody recently asked me what sessions I was planning to attend at the upcoming 2011 edition of the Microsoft Developer Days in The Hague. To be honest, my primary reason for going to a Dutch conference is to chat with fellow .NET enthusiasts, and attending sessions is usually a side-effect of being there or tagging along with somebody.
Nevertheless, after checking the schedule I thought it might be useful to know what sessions I think are worthwhile and why. In general my subconscious rule-of-thumb is to go to a session that meets one or more of the following criteria:
- It's a great speaker that knows how to entertain
- It's a topic covering architecture, design patterns, testability or software quality
- It’s something I can use in the Silverlight Cookbook
- The speaker is somebody I know well (and I like a nice interactive discussion)
- I have to speak myself :-)
And now that I mention it, if you are planning to go to the Developer Days, make sure you include a ticket for the pre-conference. Together with Marcel de Vries, Ewald Hofman and Rene van Osnabrugge I'll be hosting the Adopting Agile Practices track. Sessions held during that day include Adopting Scrum, Improving the Developer Worflow (that's me!), Adopting Continuous Integration and Agile Testing. In my part I'll show you the typical flow of tasks that I or my team members follow during our day-to-day work as consultants. I'll show you how to apply code reviews, code metrics, static code analysis, refactoring and maybe even some some TDD. All of that combined with the power of Team Foundation Server 2010 to stream-line those activities.
But, enough about the pre-conference track. Let's see the schedule of my first day.
11:05 - 12:20
If you have not checked out ASP.NET MVC 3 yet, most definitely visit Scott's session. I went to his full-day WebCamp track, so I already so this. I still don't believe in Entity Framework for large-scale enterprise applications, so it won't be Pieter de Bruin's talk. Timmy Kokke's talk on Expression Blend for Silverlight Developer is really worthwhile (it opened my eyes), but I already saw it at the last SDN Event. I think P&P's Prism is still over-engineered compared to the elegancy of Caliburn Micro, so it won't be Alex van Beek's talk either. I'm not sure yet,but I think I'll visit Remco Hulshoff's talk on how Achmea built a Silverlight app for a Windows 7 Tablet.
13:30 - 14:45
Hmm, a difficult one. I still haven't seen enough about Reactive Extensions to give it a proper place in my toolbox, and Mike Taulty sure is an excellent speaker. On theother hand, I'd really like to hear Ronald Harmsen's ideas on using the Parallel Task Library. It will be one of them, but if you haven't seen Visual Studio Lightswitch in action, go to Beth Massi's introduction talk. Lightswitch is a serious option if you're building small-sized CRUD-based Silverlight applications.
15:05 - 16:20
Not much topics in this slot that particularly interest me. Normally I would go to any Scott Hanselman session, but since I'm already using NuGet myself, it won't bring anything new for me. I think I'll go to Mark Miller's talk (the lead developer for the CodeRush productivity tools). He's a very communicative guy, and I'm very interested in interaction design and the impact on line-of-business applications.
16:30 - 17:45
A great example of a slot with way too much great sessions. But since I'm a Silverlight addict, there is no chance I'll go to any other session than well-known Jeff Prosise's talk on what's new in Silverlight 5. But if you're not into Silverlight, go to my good friends Ronald Harmsen en Thomas Huijer. They'll talk about building high quality software. I know from first hand they know what they're talking about.
19:30 - 20:15
In the evening, Geek Night happens, and even though I'm not particularly into Windows Phone 7 yet, the fact that the title of the Ben Riga talk is not yet disclosed, might be interesting enough. If not, I'll visit Scott's Coding for Fun session.
20:30 - 21:15
Again mostly WP7 talks, so I'll visit Shahram Izadi on the future of interactive devices and how Microsoft Research looks at them.
21:25 - 22:10
Since I prefer to visit only level 200 talks or higher, it's either going to be Regional Director Gill Cleeren's talk on WebMatrix or another Mark Miller talk on the bleeding edge of tools available to us, .NET developers.
Wow, that's going to be a long and intensive first day. But wait...we have another day ahead! Let's see.
9:15 - 10:30
Ouch, another slot with more than one great session. In fact, it has four! First, the developer's tour around Expression Blend by Mike Taulty again. Then we have declarative refactoring using C# by Chris Eagle (he even mentions Clean Code in his summary). And both Ingo Rammer and Christian Wyer, both working for ThinkTecture, have a session in this slot. Ingo about what you need to know about HTML5 and Christian about some real-world experiences using Azure. I have no clue yet which one to pick...
10:50 - 12:05
Oh no, not another one…. I'd love to learn more about the limits of Lightswitch from Beth Massi, but I also want to see Jeff Prosise putting HTML5 and Silverlight face-to-face. On the other hand, Hadi Hariri is the technical evangelist of Jetbrains's ReSharper, so he should know a bit or two about real world architecture, don't you think? And finally, Bart de Smet talks about the .NET asynchronous programming landscape, and I know he knows a lot about the internals of .NET.
13:15 - 14:30
A slot with a lot of ALM tracks. Since I'm not really fond of the Entity Framework 4 in enterprise-class systems (compared to NHibernate 3), no Alex van Beek for me. I already use TFS in my day-to-day job, otherwise I would consider the reporting talk (by fellow pre-conference speaker Rene van Osnabrugge), the automated QA features by Neno Loje (another ThinkTecture representative), or applied software testing by Microsoft ALM Evangelist Brian Keller. My pick? Building RIA applications with Silverlight, Blend and Visual Studio by Jason Beres (isn't the name of a singer?)
14:50 - 16:05
I already saw the Bart de Smet talk on advanced LINQ while speaking at VSOne 2011 in Munchen, but if you haven't, and you're into 400+ sessions, go visit him. It'll blow your mind. Alex Thissen is a gifted speaker as well, and if I had to do ASP.NET, it would be using MVC 3's Razor. However, if you want to learn more about bridging the communication between developers and business people, consider Christian's talk on Ubiquitous Communication (or read my blog post). Obviously, I'll go to Jeff Prosise's talk to hear some tips & tricks for building killer Silverlight applications.
16:15 - 17:30
If you're not using TFS 2010 for your entire range of software development practices, go to Brian Keller and learn about its power. Otherwise, go to Sander Hoogendoorn's talk on Smart Use Cases. I don't agree entirely with his ideas (read my series on user stories), but he is a great speaker and knows a lot of requirements management and software developement in general.
Well, I hope my insights on the Developer Days 2011 schedule may help you with yours. And if you like a nice chat about any of the topics mentioned before, ping me on Twitter at @ddoomen or email me at dennis.doomen@avivasolutions.