Microsoft DevDays 2011– I’ll be there


This year, I’ll be at the annual Microsoft DevDays in The Netherlands where you can ask me anything on web development. My base of operation at the conference will be somewhere in the ‘Ask-the-Experts’ area. Though you may also find me hanging around in the Community Lounge.

But if time permits, I seriously hope to find some time to go some sessions too. With many interesting sessions running in parallel and with limited time, it’s important to have some criteria up front to make a decision where to go, and what to skip. These criteria usually involve: speaker (good) and topic (interesting). That’s nice and easy, but how do know if a speaker is any good, and if the topic is interesting? Hopefully, some tips below may help in that respect.

First, I set a goal for my self. What is it that I want to take away from the conference? Do I have a current project or a future one in mind? Is a certain problem bugging me that needs to be resolved? That makes the topic more important than the speaker. On the other hand, I also like to be surprised. It can soon get boring and a waste of time to attend a session on a subject that you are very familiair with already. With a conference like TechEd I always learn most from the IT Pro sessions, because that’s an area that I usually only follow from afar. And you learn about stuff you hardly knew existed. Granted, it’s also stuff that’s not readily applicable in my own daily work.

Anyway, being interested in web development, and already trying to keep track of most stuff Microsoft pushes out. Here’s a list of sessions I’d like to attend on Day 1:

1. 09:15 – 10:45  The Keynote (link). Especially Rob Miles can put a smile on my face, but I’m not sure what his role will be as he’s only mentioned as a speaker and not his topic.

2. 13:30 – 14:45  Windows Azure AppFabric: Building, Managing, and Connecting High-Density, Multi-Tenant Cloud Applications (link). It’s quite a long title, but both the topic and speaker are interesting. The timeslot is difficult in that there are quite a few interesting sessions going on at the same time. Fallback-sessions, in case I can’t find the room (yes, that happens Knipogende emoticon ) or it’s too crowded would be: Unlocking the Secrets of REST with WCF (link) and This Costs What? Estimating Costs in the Azure Cloud (link).

3. 15:05 – 16:20  Taking Control of your World with the .NET Micro Framework (link). Again with Rob Miles, just for the fun of it.

4. 16:30 – 17:45  This slot is again a challenge as several topics interest me, like What’s New in Silverlight 5 (link), Test Driving ASP.NET MVC (link) but being really into C#, I should probably not miss Behind the Scenes of 10 C# Language Features by Bart De Smet (link).

In the evening, there’s GeekNight where the focus is on fun and less on function although the two can certainly mix well together. Mobile is hot it seems with cool sessions like:

Developing iPhone/iPad, Android and Windows Phone 7 Applications with C#, Visual Studio, Mono Touch en Mono Droid (link), Windows Phone in Rhyme and 3D (link) and Hoe Ontwikkel je een XNA Game voor de Phone 7, Xbox 360 en de PC met Dezelfde Code Base (link).

Actually, more sessions in the evening make me curious, but I haven’t managed to implement the me.Clone() method.

Then there’s Day 2, with these sessions on my agenda:

1. 09:15 – 10:30 HTML 5 – That’s What You Need to Know Today (link) because I really need to get an update on the status of HTML5 and see if it’s usuable on websites with a large audience or not.

2. 10:50 – 12:05 Demystifying the .NET Asynchronous Programming Landscape (link) since async programming can be a lot simpler. At the same time, I’m running into disk I/O as the next bottleneck.

3. 13:15 – 14:30  Entity Framework 4 Tips en Tricks (link) although I’m a bit confused by the level-indicator: a 200-level ‘PowerTraining’ on subject that the audience should be familiar with. Alternatively, I could try Advanced Debugging with Visual Studio 2010 (link) with a great speaker on a difficult topic.

4. 14:50 – 16:05 WCF Web APIs, HTTP your way (link) even though I’m not a big fan of WCF (talking about configuration hell) but exposing APIs on a couple of projects I’m working on can be a great boost for exposure.

Not all timeslots are covered in this list. As I said, I should be at the Ask-the-Expert area as well. So it seems, you will only find me there on Day 1 from 10:45 to 13:30  and on Day 2 from 16:15 until the conference ends Knipogende emoticon . In summary, there are more interesting sessions than time permits, so this year’s Microsoft DevDays should be a blast. Hope to see you there!