Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 6/4/2008 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

I would once again like to thank the organizers, presenters and sponsors of Desert Code Camp for giving of their time, effort and funding to support such an outstanding community resource.  Desert Code Camp IV, held yesterday, May 31st at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, AZ featured well over 40 sessions on topics such as Agile & TDD, ASP.NET, Flash, Silverlight, iPhone SDK, XAML, Apache, Ruby and much more.  I was fortunate enough to attend 4 of these sessions, all of which were well worth my time in attending.

The first session I attended was "Scrum 101" presented by Dan Weinmann (who I think works for Desert Code Camp sponsor Neudesic but I am not sure because it is not listed in Dan's extremely minimalist bio on the Code Camp website).  Dan spent the first part of the session explaining general Agile concepts which is appropriate for a "101" class, and his explanation was quite solid.  What I was looking for however came in the remainder of the discussion where Dan gave specific examples of how his organization has utilized Scrum as an effective project management methodology.  I found especially interesting the parts where Dan explained how they use Scrum "under the covers" when working with a client who, for whatever reason, will not use Scrum.  I found this similar in a number of ways to how my team currently functions and came-away with several ideas of how we might be able to improve on our current processes.

The next session I attended was "Silverlight Zero to Hero" given by Simon Allardice of Interface Technical Training and gets my vote for the mythical "session of the day" award. This session gets my vote not for the abundant humor, which had the room in stitches and led me to refer to Simon on Twitter as "..the Eddie Izzard of the tech world, without the dress...".  No, this was the best session I attended because of the unique perspective he gave to the topic.  That is, he didn't waste our time by giving us the same overview of Silverlight that we could get in any 10k foot video from the Mix conference.  Instead, we were taken step-by-step through Simon's unique metaphors detailing how we can use the generalized feature-set of Silverlight as well as how it could be used to create Rich Internet Applications that are truly effective in communicating  with the user.  The next time I am looking to take a class, I hope Simon is teaching it. In addition, if anyone is looking to become an instructor, I hope they sit-in on some of Simon's sessions which couldn't help but improve anyone's teaching technique.

My third session was "integrating Data with Silverlight 2.0 Applications" presented by Simon's colleague at Interface, Dan Wahlin. Dan, who described himself as "...not funny like Simon...", certainly had his moments, especially when he (unintentionally?) made a comment about some of his demo data to the effect of "...there are Johns in the room...nothing wrong with Johns."  Dan's wife was videotaping at the time, I hope that clip ends up on YouTube.    Regardless of the humor factor, this presentation as well was full of useful specifics on binding Silverlight 2.0 apps to data services including both SOAP and RESTful services.

Finally, I attended a preview by Scott Cate of MyKB of his TechEd presentation next month called "C# 3.5 Compiler Tricks".  This session provided me with some fascinating insights into the workings of the C# compiler, including several situations where the compiler uses "syntactical sugar" to provide constructs that compile to .NET 2.0 IL code and have no dependencies on .NET 3.0 or 3.5 libraries.  In these cases, it is possible to use these constructs in Visual Studio 2008 (or more specifically, when using the C# 3.5 compiler) even when targeting the .NET 2.0 framework.  I was also fortunate enough to be able to spend some very enjoyable time with Scott after the session, discussing his most recent project, EasyDB.com.  Scott set me up with access to the service beta and I spent the rest of the afternoon working with this fantastic "SQL in the Cloud".  I will be blogging about this application and my experiences with it much more in the near future.

Again thanks to everyone who helped to make this event happen.  Sponsors that I haven't mentioned yet who also deserve props for their support include Infusionsoft and JumpBox.