The third day and almost done. I wasn't happy that the third day was here, but I guess I have to live with it. There is something about being around a bunch of nerds. All I can say is I did thoroughly enjoy my self on this day. I got to meet a bunch of interesting fellows including Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell. I will speak more on that later, but now lets get to what I learned.
Programming SQL Reporting Services:
Taught by Paul Litwin which is the director and coordinator of sessions at DevConnections. He was extremely knowledgeable in Reporting Services and one area of development that I needed more time in. I specifically need this for my job more and so any Reporting services sessions I saw at DevConnections, I made it mandatory for me to go to. This session along with the other reporting session I took, were very informative. They talked about how to make very good looking reports along with the ability of drilling down to more detailed reports when you clicked on a certain data item. The reports are coded on the back end with vb 6 and so this causes a slight problem when a developer works in C# or VB.NET and they have to convert to the old ways of vb 6. I also learned a few things about configuration manger and how to access the web.config files information. This was a rather valuable session and I must say that if you haven't already, meet Paul Litwin personally. He is quite a character and was a great help on a personal level.
The Science of Great UI: A MUST see session!
Instructed by Mark Miller. This was one of those sessions you take a lot of information in and only remember it for a small amount of time unless you implement it. This session was taught by the same guy who invented and is the Chief architect of CodeRush. Mark presented extremely well and talked about all the UI problems in many programs he sees out there in the real world. To give you an example, the SAVE button is an old "A:" floppy drive, but who uses those anymore? Another would be not to have keyboard shortcuts in any program you create. Shortcuts are essential to great UI because it lets you get around the program faster. I must note that half way through the session, Marks computer went down and instead of saying "oh my god, the session is over" he pulled out his thumb drive and asked for another computer from the audience. He is a great speaker and presenter which knows a lot about UI. One session I would like to see over again.
Taught by Rob Howard. When I was done with this session, I was immersed in the amount of stuff I didn't know and the amount of stuff I will try and remember. He described a lot to do with why the ASP.NET team built things the way they did. Why the Update panel does a full page update, the need for sessions and caching, the underlying structure of the framework, the IIS advances with ASP.NET. He also showed information about the HTTP Runtime and the underlying way to create a scheduled task. For Example:lets say you are on a virtual network and don't own the box so therefor you can't create a scheduled windows tasks. He showed us how to do it using the Global ASAX and how to speed up our box by caching a lot of data. I admire this man. He has done exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I went up to him at the end of the session and let him know he was my hero. He built a application that is free to non-profit organizations. Its called Community Server and after quitting Microsoft he has turned a profit and is continuously working on it day in and day out. He had an idea and went with it. That is why he is my hero. I have plenty of ideas and I am currently running with one of them, but finding the time is the issue. haha. Thank you Rob for a wonderful job.
Building "Pure" Ajax Applications with ASP.NET Ajax:
Building a LINQ-Based Business layer for ASP.NET application:
Instructed by Rick Strahl. I must say I am a frequent visitor to Ricks site and the picture on the left hand side doesn't do him justice for the way he looks in person. Sorry for being blunt, but he is an overall very cool and nice guy. Sometimes after reading his blog posts, I think he is a bit too smart for his own good and after meeting him in person, I must say he is wicked smart and has a good sense of street smarts. heh. In this session, he completed a lot of things I didn't know. Background "I have only been programming professionally for a year and a couple of months and he taught me through his code how to really set up an application or multiple applications with one code block." I also must say, because of this mans session, I have started my own framework called the STFramework for SpoiledTechie which builds off of the ASP.NET Framework with my own personal code. heh. He taught us how to set up an application layer, business layer, data layer and a UI layer for starters. Then he went deep into how fast LINQ was compared to other data selects and I must say, it does become a bit slower, but over all LINQ is an awesome language to deal with.
Extra things I learned:
Bill Gates is genuine and has a good character. I was talking to Julie Lerman which did an interview with Bill Gates and published it in Code Magazine. Thank you Julie, and which if you haven't met her, she is a great person. We chatted for a good 30 minutes all about what I was learning, how ASP.NET was evolving, how much people make on book deals heh, and which she introduced me to a guy up at Microsoft named Stephen Toub who works on Parallel Computing up at Microsoft's R&D labs. Pretty impressive stuff he is working on and which I will explain more in my next post about DevConnections Day 4.
Google has an Achilles heel. More to come on this topic in my next blog posts, but it is an interesting topic.
I got to spend an evening with Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin who run the Internet radio show DotNetRocks in which their fun an entertaining interviews of ASP.NET superstars are informative and topic related. Richard, and Paul Litwin and I talked about various things until Carl and Mark Dunn came stumbling in from a Irish pub. We had great conversation over Microsoft, good drinks and what are Gets:Sets in the programming language. I did ask the question of what Gets and Sets are and out of Paul and Mark, I will have to say that Mark answered the question better. Thanks for the great night guys. I truly enjoyed your company and hope for many other nights like it in the future. heh. Pictures below. Also, Rob Howard was there for a few minutes, but he stepped up as I sat down because it was getting late of course.
Sorry about the lighting, Taken with my AT&T Tilt. From Left to Right (Richard Campbell, Me, Paul Litwin, Carl Franklin).
Ahh, before I forget, I won over $300,000 dollars in PLAY money at the craps table tonight! Too bad it didn't win me anything at the raffle the next day.
I can't think of anything else and I hope this was a good read.
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