# Monday, 16 February 2009

Episode 5

BizTalk Server is one of those products that many people have heard of, but few are familiar with. 

In this discussion, Monish Nagisetty briefly and clearly explains the purpose and uses of BizTalk Server messaging

Monday, 16 February 2009 13:35:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 12 February 2009

Episode 4

I've attended two conferences where Alan Stevens helped to make Open Spaces a success.  In this interview, Alan describes open spaces technology and explains his role in the process.

Thursday, 12 February 2009 15:28:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Episode 3

In this interview, Jason Follas explains spatial data types, which were introduced in SQL Server 2008

Tuesday, 10 February 2009 15:16:49 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 08 February 2009

Episode 2

Steve Smith sat down with me to share his ideas on increasing performance and scalability in your web applications.

Sunday, 08 February 2009 22:22:39 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 06 February 2009

Episode 1

I spoke with Telerik Developer Evangelist John Kellar at CodeMash about how to effectively interview tech people on camera and about the DevLink conference.

View John's video interviews at EdgeOfDev.com

Friday, 06 February 2009 14:58:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 05 February 2009

Episode 0

I'm starting a new feature on this site.  I'll be publishing video interviews of smart people who are passionate about technology.

In Episode 0, I describe my goals for this feature.

Thursday, 05 February 2009 00:55:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 17 January 2009

My last post included photos from this year's

Below is a musical slideshow of the event, for those who just can't get enough.

Saturday, 17 January 2009 03:57:11 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 15 January 2009

I've been home from CodeMash four days now and I'm still absorbing all I learned there.

The speakers were great, sessions were interesting, the open spaces were stimulating, but the chance to interact with so many smart people in a short period of time was what made this conference so special.

I asked the following question of a number of people at CodeMash: What is the best part of this conference.  Without exception, each person responded that it was the people.  I cannot disagree with this.

This was the first conference I've ever attended in which I spent an entire day without going to a single organized event.  Friday I stayed away from all the scheduled sessions and open spaces - not because I didn't find the topic compelling - but because I wanted to spend some time in one-on-one conversations with smart people in my field.

I discussed paired programming with Corey Haines, Alt.Net with Leon Gersing, web site performance with Steve Smith, building community with Mike Wood, recording interviews with Carl Franklin, open spaces with Allen Stevens, and many more.  I brought my video camera and recorded many of these conversations and more.  I hope to share these videos with you on this site in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here are some photos of the event:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29942169@N08/sets/72157612393831992/show/
  

Thursday, 15 January 2009 11:16:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 08 January 2009

Today was the first "official" day of CodeMash and I spent most of it learning from experts.  Below is a quick summary of the sessions I attended.

Introducing Prototype and Scriptaculous
Leon Gersing made a splash Wednesday night during a .Net Rocks panel discussion by passionately arguing that JavaScript should be included in any discussion of rich internet applications and that JavaScript methods are unit testable dammit!  He continued that passion Thursday morning in this session, showing the prototype JavaScript library and

Developing for Microsoft Surface
I've seen people talk about Microsoft Surface, but this was by far the most comprehensive hands-on demo I've seen.  Jennifer Marsman (Microsoft) and Joe Engalan (VectorForm) showed applications built for the Surface and built an application on the fly.  They tools are very similar to WPF.  They even brought a Surface with them and attendees were allowed to play with it throughout the conference.

Thrashing
Mary Poppendieck is a noted author on Agile development methodologies.  In this session, she spoke about the things that cause "thrashing" - or decreased productivity - and ways to avoid this.  She emphasized the need to maintain a level workflow, so that developers can establish a cadence and more easily manage their project.  One way to accomplish this is to eliminate long backlog of features - many of which will never get implemented.

Managed Extensibility Framework
Drew Robbins
MEF is an upcoming framework from Microsoft that will allow you to build applications as composable parts that can be assembled at runtime.  Drew spoke conceptually about MEF and stepped through some sample code.  I've given talks on MEF in the past yet I still learned from Drew's talk.
  

Thursday, 08 January 2009 22:37:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

At this CodeMash, I resolved to get outside my comfort zone and learn something new.  Today, that new thing was Ruby. 

I have literally minutes of experience thinking about reading about developing applications in Ruby.

In other words, I'm a Ruby virgin.

Joe O'Brien and Jim Weirich hosted a learning session on Ruby at the CodeMash Precompiler Day (sort of an optional Day 0 for the conference).  I wouldn't call it a class or a seminar.  Joe and Jim spent only a few minutes at the front of the room introducing the topic.  But they did provide about25 hands-on labs for us novices to work through.  And they walked around providing help and answering questions for us novices struggling through it.

For me, it was perfect.  I had a chance to get some hands-on experience with Ruby for the first time.  I learned many of the basics of Ruby - testing, arrays, method calls, testing, blocks, iterations and testing.  Did I mention that testing is important to Ruby developers?  Because of Ruby's "duck typing" (variable types are not declared in the code but are inferred by the values assigned to those variables), the compiler will not catch as many errors as the C# compiler.  This forces Ruby developers to write many unit tests to verify their code behaves as expected. 

Appropriately, most of the labs revolved around writing unit tests.

I am now looking at the schedule for the next two days to see if I can learn more about Ruby while at CodeMash.

I don't yet know if I can use this knowledge to benefit my day job, but this exposure will enhance my coding perspective in the long run.

Thursday, 08 January 2009 04:08:04 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)