HDC ’08

Last week was the Heartland Developer Conference in Omaha and, as usual, it did not disappoint.  This was my fourth year attending the conference and I always enjoy the sessions that happen.  Also at the event was a demo Microsoft Surface table that I got to play around with; and the Microsoft booth had Rock Band 2 set up. I was able to get in one quick jam during the conference; thanks to whoever sat in on the drums…

Some of the more interesting sessions I attended this year include:

  • Rod Paddock on “AJAXing Your .NET Applications”: Very good presentation, especially for the more novice AJAX developers, like myself.  The biggest payback was seeing his demo of the Fiddler tool.  Very cool stuff!
  • Dennis Kirlin on “Estimating in the Abstract”: This was one of my favorites.  Dennis’ presentation was unique in that he presented a number of agile concepts and practices without using any of the associated buzzwords. By doing so, the presentation sounded refreshingly new, even to those already familiar with the concepts.
  • Javier Lozano on “The Zen of ASP.NET and MVC”: I attended a presentation with the IADNUG earlier in the year over this same topic, and it’s amazing the number of changes that have occurred between the earlier CTP and the recent beta release of the MVC framework.  I was unimpressed with the former, but Javier’s presentation won me back.  Now if only they could get the thing out of beta…
  • Clint Edminton on “Modeling in Visual Studio Codename Rosario”: This demo was cool until he told us that these features were for the Architect Edition of Visual Studio Team System.  Does Microsoft not think that developers use UML?  At least they now acknowledge that developers do interact with databases.

The other interesting thing to note was the increase in agile-specific topics, including sessions on using Scrum with Team Foundation Server, and the aforementioned Agile Estimating session.  I’m looking forward to what is to come in 2009.

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