Koen about .Net

May 2, 2011

DevDays 2011 Day 2

Filed under: Conferences — Tags: — koenwillemse @ 21:01

Today was the second and last day of the DevDays. I’ve been attending some diverse sessions which I wanted to write something about.

A Developer’s Tour Around Expression Blend – by Mike Taulty

I haven’t had much time lately to do anything with Silverlight unfortunately, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to get a refreshed on it. I became clear that you can do a lot more with Expression Blend then I thought. Mike made it clear that it is not just a tool for designers, but that there are parts that are very useful for a developer too. One thing became clear during the session and that’s that you need a high resolution screen when working with Blend, which was unfortunately not the case with the beamer Winking smile. Especially working with resources and animations is way easier with Blend then with Visual Studio, so I’ll definitely give it a try when I’m going to do some Silverlight work again.

Silverlight vs. HTML5: An Apples-to-Apples Comparision – by Jeff Prosise

I thought this would be an interesting talk with the noise around HTML 5 and the browser plugins. What became clear in the talk is talk HTML 5 can do pretty much, but that it’s still a matter of how browser implement specific stuff, even when they follow the HTML 5 specification. What Jeff unfortunately did not talk about was the usage from developers perspective and especially the scenario of a Business Application. I believe that Silverlight has a very big potential in LOB application, so it was kind of a bummer that this was not talked about. One thing I was not very aware of is the power of SVG, which Jeff showed a it of. I guess this can be helpful, so one more thing to check out.

Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Service: Deep Dive – by Vittorio Bertocci

Since I’ve been working several months on identity related stuff I wanted to attend a session from Vittorio about claims based authentication. I heard a bit about ACS so this looked like a good session to attend. It was a very interesting session and ACS delivers a very interesting set of functionality. I’ve been working on a web shop application lately and I wanted to use at least Live Id to authenticate and maybe others like Google and Facebook also. The functionality of ACS looks exactly as what I want, however,I’m not sure about the costs. At least it’s something that’s very interesting, so I’ll definitely check it out.

Introduction to Razor – by Alex Thissen

I will definitely do some work on an ASP.NET MVC 3 project and I will use Razor as view engine, so this was another session which could be interesting. The basics were already known because of blogs I read from Scott Guthrie etc. The information about templates was interesting, so I’ll definitely check that out. At the en Alex mentioned WebPages as the base for pages with Razor shortly, but unfortunately for me it was not clear what he wanted to point out, so I’ll have to dig into that myself.

Overall the DevDays were very interesting. There were several very good speakers, so that was great. At some points the location seems a bit small for the vast amount of developers attending, so maybe a larger location would be better next year. I have a few nice days again, so I hope I can attend the DevDays next year again.

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April 28, 2011

DevDays 2011 Day 1

Filed under: Conferences — Tags: — koenwillemse @ 20:57

Today was the first day of the DevDays. It’s been an interesting day and I got inspired again to try some stuff out.

Keynote

The keynote was a talk with some good speakers, with Scott Hanselman as one of them. He did a great talk about the evolution we’ve had in the Microsoft development platform and as usual with a talk by Scott, it was great fun.
Next up was Wade Wegner with a talk about Azure. It’s clear that the cloud is a major topic right now, so it’s obvious that part of the keynote was dedicated to that. It was nice to see a demo, although it was too bad that the internet connection was bad, so there were several hiccups.
The keynote continued with Ben Riga who showed several of the improvements to be expected by the new Mango update of Windows Phone 7. Since I’ve already watched the keynotes of the Mix11, a lot of hat was showed and the demo’s were pretty familiar.
Last but not least was it Rob Miles turn. Unfortunately, there was not much time left for him, so he had to go in Fast Forward mode. I did like the stuff he showed and the way he presented it, so it would have been good if he had had a bit more time.

What you as an ASP.NET developer should know about jQuery – by Gill Cleeren

Since the keynote took too long, I was a bit too late for the session, so it already started. It was a talk about the basics of jQuery and touched a lot of the basic stuff. Gill showed a lot of demo’s on how to do this, so that was very helpful. After working a while with ASP.NET MVC and another framework I developed which abstracted the entire ASP.NET webforms stuff, I was already convinced to use webforms and the ASP.NET AJAX as less as possible. The existence of jQuery and all the possibilities that I saw today made me even more convinced. I already did a few small things with jQuery, but after the session I like it even more.

Reactive Extensions for .NET for the rest of us – by Mike Taulty

After a nice lunch it was time for a talk by Mike Taulty about the Reactive extensions for .NET. I had heard a bit about it but was not sure how I could use it. Mike is a good speaker and he made clear HOW you can work with the Reactive Extensions. The problem for me is that it’s not clear for me when I would use it. My head is still spinning a bit, so I’m not going to use it for now. Hope to have some time soon to dive a bit more into it to get a clear picture about the situations I could use it. It seemed to be a pretty powerful framework, but for it’s not something I’ll be using soon I guess.

NuGet in depth: Empowering Open Source on the .NET platform – by Scott Hanselman

Another talk by Scott which I enjoyed a lot. The talk was also very busy and I’m curious if that was because of Scott, or because of the subject, I guess both. Scott showed very well how powerful NuGet is and how easy you can actually create a NuGet package and publish it for everyone to use. I already had some ideas in mind on how I could use it and this talk gave me a better picture on how to do it.

Building Robust, Maintainable Coded UI Tests with Visual Studio 2010 – by Brian Keller

This was the last session I visited today. I wanted to know a bit more about this since I had been testing it a bit to compare it with Selenium. I had no real knowledge about it at that time, so that might have influenced the outcome a bit. I guess it can be useful, especially in combination with testers who use the Test Manager. The session made me think about it again and I’ll have to spend some time on it again to make up my mind if I want to use it or not.

It’s been a good first day and I’ve seen some stuff which gave more things to do and check out, even tough I still don’t have time for it Winking smile. I’m looking forward to tomorrow to get some more inspiration for some experimenting at home.

April 27, 2011

DevDays 2011 pre-conference day on ALM

Filed under: Conferences — Tags: — koenwillemse @ 12:11

Today was the pre-conference day of the DevDays 2011. I’ve been attending the ALM track and have had some interesting insights.

Adapting SCRUM – by Rene van Osnabrugge

The first part of the day was a session by Rene van Osnabrugge. For me personally there was not much new information. It was a lot of information about SCRUM and a small bit on how to use it with TFS. Since I’m already very familiar with SCRUM, I would have liked to see some more demo’s on how to integrate this with TFS and the reports etc. that are delivered a part of the SCRUM template of Microsoft. Guess I’ll be doing that some evening when I’ve got some time left.

Improving the developer workflow – by Dennis Doomen

The second session was hosted by my colleague Dennis Doomen. Since I’ve been working quite a while together on a project with him until a year ago and soon will be joining him again on another project, most of the things he mentioned were not new to me. He pointed out some adjustments he made to the team project template (you can find that info also here). A quick look at code metrics and code analysis was also done. I do agree with one thing he mentioned about those, that you can force your team to do all these things before checking in using check-in policies, but it will result in lesser check-ins. The good thing about checking in regularly is that the amount of merging (hopefully) will be less. So I can only agree on this one to not be too strict on all the check-in-policies you set.
He also mentioned a lot of patterns he uses, which can be very helpful when developing software, but I stick to my opinion that you should also be careful in what way you use them. I’ve seen software where a lot of patterns were used, but the software was almost unreadable because of that. In most cases I will prefer not following a pattern to the letter if it makes the code more readable. Of course the abbreviations like SOLID, DRY, etc. were also mentioned Winking smile.

Adopting Continuous integration – by Ewald Hofman

After the lunch break Ewald Hofman did a talk about team build and continuous integration. This was the talk I was most interested in, since I have been doing several things with team build in the 2008 edition, but I haven’t been playing with the 2010 edition much. Off course Gated checkin was one of the topics that passed by, since it was a new addition in 2010. He mentioned one important thing to keep in mind is that gated chekins can be very useful, but there is a catch. When checking in, changes are not immediately in source control, they are shelved. If you continue working on another task which touches the same file and the build fails it gets difficult to keep track of which changes were new (after the checkin) and which were from the checkin. Especially when the build takes a long time, this can get tricky, so it was good that he mentioned this. So two practices were mentioned, which are pretty logical:

  1. Define build ( s) for Continious Integration or Gated checkin, but make sure those builds are fast, so they should only compile your code and run fast unit tests
  2. Define nightly build ( s) which may take longer and which are more extensive, like running code analysis, integration tests, etc.

Another interesting part (at least in my opinion) was the part about customizing the build workflow and adding custom build activities. It was good to see that it’s pretty easy to customize the flow, since it’s WF when you’re used to the WF interface Winking smile and also to add custom activities.

Agile testing with VS 2010 – by Marcel de Vries

Last but not least Marcel de Vries did a talk about testing in an agile team and how VS2010 could support this. I liked the fact that he showed a lot during demo’s so I’ve got an idea how to use the VS 2010 client for testers. I’ve seen a few things about it last year also, but I haven’t had any more time to look at it so it was a good refresher. During the talk it became clear that it’s a great tool for testers and developers, since it can support the developer in fixing bugs found by the testers. On the other hand it was clear that there are a few things that are not working as smooth as you would like it, so I’m very curious for the next version of this client for testers.

Altogether it was an interesting day. I had hoped that we were going a bit deeper into capabilities of the VS2010 ecosystem and how it can support agile teams, so I hope that if there will be another pre conference next year, that it will be more on TFS and hopefully on some new features of the vNext of Visual Studio and Team System.

I’m looking forward also to tomorrow, day 1 of the DevDays. There are some interesting topics, like Reactive extensions, jQuery and NuGet, so I hope to learn a lot tomorrow. I’ll try to write another post on my experiences of day 1.

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