TechDays Vancouver 2009: Day Two at the “Microsoft Platform” Track

Vancouver Convention Centre and waterVancouver Convention Centre, as seen from the Fairmont Hotel across the street

Yesterday marked Day 2 of the TechDays Vancouver 2009 conference. The track that I’m in charge of is the most broad one: Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform. With such a wide array of topics that I could cover, I decided to focus on four areas that I and the people I surveyed thought would be both important and interesting:

  • Rich (Internet) Applications
  • The “Software” half of “Software + Services”, namely client applications on computers and other devices
  • ASP.NET MVC, the model-view-controller web app framework that I like to call “Rails That Scales”
  • The “Services” half of “Software + Services”: services accessible via the internet

Day 1 was about the first two, and Day 2 covered MVC and Services.

The Track in a Nutshell: MVC and Services for Day 2

The morning featured two ASP.NET MVC sessions. First, Charles Nurse of DotNetNuke presented Introduction to ASP.NET MVC, which was aimed at ASP.NET developers looking to make the leap from WebForms or to see what MVC is all about. Daniel Flippance of Habaneros provided a great follow-up presentation with SOLIDify Your ASP.NET MVC Applications, which matched two great topics – our new web application framework and the SOLID principles of object-oriented design (which I covered back in July with this article).

Charles Nurse and Daniel Flippance presenting at TechDays Vancouver 2009Charles Nurse and Daniel Flippance

The afternoon was all about services. We started with Phil Bolduc presenting Building RESTful Services with WCF, which covers two topics that Microsoft developers are just starting to pick up. After that came Ho Yan Leung, whose session was Developing and Consuming Services for SharePoint. As you can see in his photo below, you can find Windows 7 and Microsoft platform development in places you wouldn’t expect:

Ho Yan Leung and his MacBook at TechDays Vancouver 2009Ho Yan Leung

(Phil: I got sidetracked during your presentation and didn’t get a chance to snap your photo. My apologies!)

After the final session, we cleared out the presentation halls, gathered for a post-conference meeting to discuss what went right, what went wrong and what we should do at the next stop on the TechDays tour, which is Toronto on the 29th and 30th. We packed the demo machines in their nigh-indestructible flight cases:

Flight case holding several laptops

The red, green and blue machines are Dell Netbooks. They’re cute, but my stance on netbooks remains unchanged.
The really nice machines are the copper-coloured 16 gig “Dell-a-saurus” machines in the middle row.

We marked the end of TechDays Vancouver 2009 with strong drink and flaming teppanyaki:

Flaming teppanyaki, with Rick Claus saying "Funny, that's exactly what happens when I get my hands on a computer!"

[This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.]


“Canada’s Next Top Model View Controller” Presentation at Metro Toronto .NET User Group Next Thursday

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

Canada's Next Top Model (moose) View (Lake Louise) Controller (beaver)

If you’re going to be in the area of downtown Toronto next Thursday, May 28th, you might want to check out my presentation, Canada’s Next Top Model View Controller at the next Metro Toronto .NET User Group meeting. I’ll be talking about the ASP.NET MVC Framework, Microsoft’s answer to MVC frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Django, CakePHP and Catalyst. As is my stock in trade with presentations, this will be informative, enlightening, entertaining and just might feature a rock and roll accordion performance.

The presentation takes place Thursday, May 28th at 6:00 p.m. at the Manulife Financial Building (200 Bloor Street East, Toronto, between Church and Jarvis – use the entrance on St. Paul Square). Admission for the presentation is free, but you have to register, and as of this writing, only 24 tickets remain.

For more details about the presentation, visit the Metro Toronto .NET user group site.


My PDC Interviews: Don Box, Miguel de Icaza, John Lam, Phil Haack and .NET Micro Framework

PDC2008 graphic

A number of people have asked me how many sessions I attended at last week’s Microsoft Professional Developers Conference; my answer was “I only attended the keynotes”. Since every session was recorded on video (with a split screen showing both presenter and presentation) and made available online, I decided to focus on what you can’t replicate outside the conference: getting to know people in the Windows developer community.

It’s standard procedure at Microsoft to assign “buddies” to new hires to help them get acclimated. I have the very good fortune of having John Bristowe as one of my buddies; not only is he a warm and friendly guy, but I also already know him (his sister Ashley and I went to Crazy Go Nuts University together). John’s big on podcasting and was very generous in sharing the interviewer’s chair; he let me do a lot of interviews as a way to both get podcasting practice and introduce myself to people in the Windows world. Thanks, John!

You’re going to need Silverlight to view these videos. If you’re rolling your eyes at the prospect of having to download yet another plugin, keep in mind that Silverlight is a pretty cool tool for writing rich internet apps, I’ll be covering it rather extensively soon, and it’s catching on. Besides, you can’t see the videos without it!

Don Box on My Joining the Dark Side, Demos, Oslo and M, Zombies and How to Pronounce “Azure”

Still from Joey deVilla's interview with Don Box
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

After introducing myself to Distinguished Engineer (yup, that’s really his title) Don Box as “Microsoft’s Newest Employee”, I told him about my coming to Microsoft from the F/OSS world and asked him to please tell me that I hadn’t made a tragic mistake and ruined my life by coming over to the Dark Side. We also talked about his preparation process for his keynote demo, the Oslo platform and the M programming platform, the proper way to pronounce “Azure” and whether or not Microsoft is ready for the zombie apocalypse.

Useful Don Box/Oslo Links

Miguel de Icaza on Mono

Still from Joey deVilla's interview with Miguel de Icaza
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

I had a great chat with Mono Project lead Miguel de Icaza about Mono, their answer to Silverlight, the number of people in the Mono Project and how you, as a Windows developer, can take Mono out for a spin. We also talked about how to pronounce “Azure”, and Miguel speculated that the name was a clever choice because the disagreement over its pronunciation is a great way to get people talking about it.

Useful Miguel de Icaza/Mono Links

John Lam on IronRuby

Still from Joey deVilla's interview with John Lam
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

It’s always good to catch up with Toronto-area guy turned Redmond guy and IronRuby creator John Lam. We had a quick chat about IronRuby and the current state of the project. In the interview, he reminds us that IronRuby is an open source project, talks about the Ruby standard implementation tests it’s currently passing and what to expect from IronRuby in the near future.

Useful John Lam/IronRuby Links

Phil Haack on ASP.NET MVC

Still from Joey deVilla's interview with Phil Haack
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

Phil Haack not only has the coolest surname for a techie, he’s also got an MVC framework for ASP.NET, just like the ones the Rails, Django and Cake people get to play with. In this interview, we talk about MVC web frameworks for the uninitiated, as well as get his take on how to pronounce “Azure”.

Useful Phil Haack/ASP.NET MVC Links

.NET Micro Framework

Still from Joey deVilla's ".NET Micro Framework" interview
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

Believe it or not, there’s a .NET framework for embedded devices, the .NET Micro Framework. In this interview, I learn about .NET programming for small devices, the “Dare to Dream Different” contest (where you can win great prizes for coming up with new applications for the .NET Micro Framework) and about what donuts have to do with microcontrollers. Mmm…donuts!

Useful .NET Micro Framework Links