Tuesday, 5 December 2006

DDD4 Wrap up

JeffAttended my 3rd DDD day on Saturday and these days just keep getting bigger and better :) The only down side of this one was the lack of SWAG :( I think Richard and Dave had it all for there session on Tech Ed 2006!!!

Went this year with Ben who is a Microsoft student partner for University of Hertfordshire where he is in his final year of his Computer Science degree :)

Arrived nice and early for the egg, bacon, and sausage baps - yummy :) Then headed into the first session I chose entitled 'How to write crap code in C#' by Ben Lamb. Unfortunately this session was not as great as I expected, I think Ben has a lot of knowledge but came across quite nervous and difficult to follow at times due to this. I feel for him though because I would be nervous in front of 120 people!! He covered a few simple anti-patterns including string concatenation, threading, and throwing errors. He managed to dramatically slow processing down by concatenating strings instead of using the new string builder - there was a huge difference in this. So defiantly use the string builder if your are performing a lost of string concatenation.

Next I joined Dave Verwer for his presentation titled 'Ruby on Rails for .NET Developers'. This was a fantastic introduction session to the dynamic Ruby language and the Rails framework. I defiantly see this technology as a start of a more dynamic like language trend. I think the power and RAD type capabilities of this language and framework are fantastic, he demonstrated how easy it is to create a database and web form in a matter of minutes :) I defiantly see this complementing an AGILE type methodology. I really liked the way it creates a strict model for you to develop within by creating template folders and files and leads you to develop within a tried and tested fashion. People may argue that this is too much hand holding and forcing you to develop in a certain way, however i believe the benefits of being able to pick up any Ruby project and understand the structure straight away is defiantly a win :) I also like the way it encourages the separation of the dev, test and production environments. My only worry is its performance issues, ability to create an n-tier architecture and how it is not fully support the Microsoft platform which could be a show stopper for some companies heavily tied to MS technologies. I think it could be great to quickly knock something up in a virtual machine though :)

Next I went to session called 'But it works on my PC! or continuous integration to improve software quality' by Richard Fennell. This was a great session that introduced you to the great mindset of continuous integration that I am totally a fan of and I'm currently trying to implement myself. He demoed Cruise Control which looks like a fantastic open source piece of software which with little configuration will do a great job of handling your automated builds and testing. It works well the MS Source Safe but he also showed you how to setup automated builds in TFS but this looked a little more clunky and not supported out of the box. He mentioned a new TFS plugin for Cruise Control that will give the best of both worlds.

Next was a lunch and time for the groktalks and Park Bench activities. These were great but I think the popularity was underestimated as there were too many people for the area where the speakers were placed. I could hardly see what they were demoing let alone hear what they were saying. I spoke to Mike Taulty whilst one speaker was on and he came up with a game where he would guess what the speakers were saying :) I think next time they should use a bigger area and a mic, I don't think a room would be a good idea as it would be too formal :)

I really liked the Park Bench concept, this is where 4 people sit in front of a gathered crowed and take any questions. If you make a statement of think you have a better answer one of the people on the bench have to get up and let you sit down to say your bit. This really lets everyone get involved and say there bit, a nice community type discussion :)

After lunch I want into the session by Abid Quereshi on an 'Introduction to Aspect Oriented Programming' which was quite in depth and I must admit most of it went over my head - partly because we got some bad seat, I was feeling tired after lunch and that I think he emphasized too much on the theory. However it was a great session and in a nut shell was all around the declarative model of programming which produces cleaner and more coherent code.

The final session was titled 'DataAccess Layers - Convenience vs. Control and Performance?' by Daniel Fisher and was the one session I was really looking forward to. Unfortunately Ed Gibson decided to do his usual FBI talk 5min before the session was going to start - I didn't attend this as I have listened to him twice already this year and once you've heard it once you defiantly don't want to hear him talk about small children again :) Then the projector wouldn't work properly so the session was cut short to about 30 min which means he really had to rush this as it was a shame as it looked like he had a good framework. He did say to email him if you would like a copy of the code, so I might just do that :)

Overall great day though and i look forward to DDD5 :)

They did announce a WebDD day on 3rd of February 2007 which is going to be a similar day focused on web development. Will defiantly be attending this one. They also mentioned that MS will be doing a Vista launch on 19th & 20th January 2007 at Reading so look out for this one as its rumoured they will be giving away some copies of the OS :)

No comments: