Friday, November 20, 2009

PDC Day 4

Day4 was all about hitting as many sessions as possible.  It was also all about trying to keep the brain from entering a totally cramped state.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year working on Windows Azure.  The one thing I haven’t gotten to use was the Service Bus.  The Building Hybrid Cloud Applications with Windows Azure and the Service Bus session was a great introduction to practical usage of the service bus, and I couldn’t help but to try to come up with ways to integrate it into my clients’ applications.  However cool it is, it still has a huge dependency on ACS for security, and as I said yesterday, ACS isn’t quite ready for prime time.  It’s pretty apparent that ACS has to be the focus of Azure development over the next few months.  The coolest thing was the multicast of errors from one client to another.  Spectacular solution to a problem I face today and was going to resolve with an RSS feed, but hadn’t yet due to security issues.

Next, I sat in on a Lap around Microsoft Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2010.  I loved the new features for burn down charts and hierarchical tasks.  We built in the iteration date functionality into our TFS by altering the database and building web sites to show us our statuses, but VS2010 is obviously a lot more complete.  We’re going to have a hard time waiting to use it in production right now.

I watched Brad Abram’s excellent presentation on RIA services next.  I had intentionally avoided learning anything about RIA services this year until that moment, so everything was completely new to me.  It’s something that really shows promise, and I’ll want to try it out soon.  The main thing I want to make sure is that we maintain the separation of layers, and the close binding between the UI and the models is a little disconcerting.  We’ve been down that road before, and it always comes back around to bite us.  I hate to say this, because I really have only seen RIA for that one hour, but I couldn’t help but thinking I was being Visual Basic’d.  Not that the code was written in VB.  It just seemed VBish.  Too much power that leads to bad design.  I hope my first reaction was just fear of being replaced by code automation.

I missed the lunch session I wanted to go to on Microsoft Visual C# IDE Tips and Tricks, but will definitely watch that video.  I heard it was packed.  Instead, I talked to the Visual Studio Team and talked through some TFS issues we’ve been having, and hopefully, we’ll be able to resolve them with their help.

The most disappointing session of the conference was the Scrum in the Enterprise.  The first half was not bad and worth a watch.  The second half was mind numbing and I, along with a bunch of others, took an early leave.  I spent a little time in the Application Server Extensibility session, but honestly didn’t understand a thing that was said there.

The final session of the day was Automating Done Done in the Team Workflows with Visual Studio Ultimate and TFS 2010.  Great session, definitely worth watching.  When they had a little problem with the demo, I couldn’t help but to suggest that the problem might be connected to the VSMDI file.  That got quite a few laughs, and was told that they guaranteed that the VSMDI file could not be the cause.  I think it’s finally dead.

A quick shuttle trip to the airport, a quick (and half decent meal at LAX) and a lucky break to catch an early flight home meant I got into Seattle at 9:00 instead of 11:30.  Nice to be home.

Overall, PDC was a great experience, and I hope to get to do it again, ideally with more of the senior folks from my company so we can cover more ground.  The guys up on stage were all pretty much top notch speakers, with one or two exceptions, and really show that they are some of the best and brightest in the world.  I don’t know I could ever do something like that. 

I came out inspired to get back to learning.  I’ll be drawing up a technology target chart for myself and the company in the next few days, to set up goals for the coming year.  I’ve got a bunch more videos to watch, and side reading to do.  But first, I need to get some products finished and out the door before the end of the year.

This blog entry was typed completely on my new ACER 1420P laptop courtesy of Microsoft.  Initial review?  Not bad.  Need to figure out how to turn of Tap to Click and how to slow down key repeating.  The laptop is light and probably needs a couple of GB’s of memory to make it useful at work.  Screen is nice and clear.  Windows 7 will take a little getting used to.  I’m not completely sold on the keyboard compared to my Toshiba Satellite, but I think I can get used to it, as long as I can turn off Tap To Click.  Otherwise, I’m giving it to my wife.


rspray said...

There are hordes of us dying to see a review of the 1420p. I've been waiting well over a month for them to release it. Any extra information regarding it's quality, performance or integration with W7 are much appreciated. Thanks!

JB said...

Added a quick review. Let me know if you have any specific questions.