Dev Reach 2009

   Because there were no more than 500 people attending Dev Reach 2009 I know that the other 6 billion in the world are awaiting my report and here it is.

   This year venue was significantly larger. Arena Cinema in Mladost, Sofia has the biggest cinema hall I have ever seen. The conference opened there with two keynotes. This year there was no food included in the price and only drinks and some sweets. This was actually a good thing because at the food court at the cinema the food was better than any food that I have tasted on a conference. I do not feel like eating the cold sandwiches we got last year just to save 6-7 leva.

Day 1

   1. Keynote: Modeling here and know by Chris Sells dealt with the new features coming in Entity Framework 4, with the ADO.NET Data Services that work on top of EF and also with the Dynamic Data Framework. Nothing really new here except for the model first development for EF4. However this feature was advertised a lot so if one was following the EF development there were no surprises.

   2. Keynote: Connecting the Clouds: The Azure Services Platform was another keynote dedicated to the Azure platform. I am following the development of the platform so there were no new things for me although there were some details on the authentication services that I was not familiar with. It was just a general overview of Azure and quite boring actually.

   Overall the keynotes should have been shorter. Many people left and I felt really sleepy especially during the second one. Who needs two keynotes?

   3. The first real session I attended was Building RESTful Applications with Microsoft Tools. This lecture focused on ADO.NET Data Services and mirrored a great part of the first keynote. No new knowledge gained but Stephen Forte is really funny lecturer.

   4. SQL Server 2008 for Developers by Simon Sabin was a lecture about the new features in SQL Server 2008. This lecture was a bit more in depth than last year's introductory lectures. The features were mostly the familiar new data types, T-SQL extensions and the like but the discussion was much more detailed and the audience participated actively because many people had used this features which was not the case last year. The most important information for me was that ORM frameworks do not support the new data types yet which was unfortunate. I especially like the hierarchyid.

   5. ASP.NET 4.0 and VS 2010 by Robert Boedigheimer presented some of the new features in ASP.NET 4.0. Despite the fact that I had heard about all of them I obviously need reminding because I was not able to list them just before the session and I had forgotten how some of them work. I was the only one to raise a hand when the lecturer asked who likes ViewState. Obviously people cannot comprehend that they really like the ViewState and they only see the downsides of it. Probably they should try disabling it for a whole project to feel the real pain of the problems it solves. I am impressed by the client side templates.

   6. Data Access Hacks & Shortcuts was another lecture by Stephen Forte. This one had no new information for me but was a good lecture for the end of the day because Stephen made us laugh again. His wrapper around the async communication in Silverlight seems quite pointless to me. Obviously he has never heard of the Async Enumerator. I wonder why this session was marked as level 400.

Overall Day 1 was not that good. The overly long keynotes bored many people. Maybe my choice of sessions this day was not that good.

Day 2

   7. The first lecture I picked for the second day of the conference was Practical Parallel Programming with Visual Studio 2010 by Tiberiu Covaci. It dealt with the old and the upcoming ways to do parallel programming in .NET. I had read enough information about the new Parallel Extensions in .NET 4.0 but some details about the inner workings of the current ThreadPool class were really surprising. Obviously I missed a lot on this one. I wish there were more demos and more information about the new synchronization primitives. This is something that is neglected in many sources and was neglected in this session too. The new primitives were just listed on one slide.

   8. SOLID Design Principles by Hadi Hariri was quite interesting session with lots of debates. The lecturer seemed to be software design extremist. He did not accept shipping software as a good enough reason to deviate from good design. He gave some example of badly designed interface and implied that it was the case with .NET's Role Provider. However he was twisting the facts quite a bit which got me into a serious argument with him. I guess he is really pissed off by the fact that IEnumerable forces developers to implement Dispose() method and Java's Iterable contains remove() method. I consider this session really valuable despite the fact that I did not agree with the presenter.

   9. "Is LINQ Like Marmite? Do You Love It or Hate It?" was another session by Simon Sabin. It was mainly about LINQ to SQL. I went there because I am a fan of the technology and did not expect new information. However Simon is an SQL Server MVP and focused on some obscure details almost all of which were new to me. He showed how in some cases LINQ to SQL can be faster than any stored procedure you can write. I got the SQL Server 2008 Internals book for asking questions. I do not know if I am going to read it as it is really hardcore. This was my favorite session this year.

   10. IIS 7 for Web Developers was another session by  Robert Boedigheimer. It focused on the new features of IIS 7 and IIS 7.5 from the developers' standpoint. It was really helpful and I hope that it will help me resolve some problems I have with the BlogNET project related to the integrated pipeline and the Role Provider. For me Robert was the most valuable presenter at this year's Dev Reach.

   11. Performance Tuning of Multi-Tiered Applications by Martin Kulov dealt with different tools for profiling applications. At first he showed some tools I am familiar with and some common bottlenecks that seemed easy to detect but sometimes I just forget that the performance problem can be related to these. As the lecture progressed the tools became more and more hardcore and Martin ended up showing how you can view the kernel function calls. At this point I was about to fall asleep.

   12. What Is New in Entity Framework 4.0 by Branimir Giurov focused on the new features coming with EF 4.0. The session was interesting and a bit more in depth than the overviews that we normally get. It seems like many of the annoying little bugs with the first version of EF have been fixed. Stuff that seems unimportant but was really annoying like pluralization is now fixed. I did not like how Branimir ridiculed the first version of EF in typical marketing fashion. After all he was the one to assure us that EF was the best thing since copy/paste just an year ago.

   Overall Day 2 was much better than Day 1. It ended up with a raffle and we did not win anything. The event was quite good and fun although last year there was more valuable information. I saw many ex-coworkers. The downside was that lectures often repeated what we saw last year and this is why I think that Dev Reach should be after PDC.
Tags:   english events 
Posted by:   Stilgar
03:30 19.10.2009


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Posted by   Dessie (Unregistered)   on   13:22 19.10.2009

I think you should have looked on your left-hand side, you definitely missed somebody else who raised her hand about ViewState, :)

Posted by   ivelinka   on   13:59 19.10.2009

may be he doesn't include girls in the count:) lol

Posted by   Stilgar   on   14:31 19.10.2009

Well I was sitting on the 4th row but the presenter said "the one guy that likes ViewState"...

Posted by   Dessie (Unregistered)   on   14:38 19.10.2009

I think Ivelinka is right - both Stilgar and the presenter didn't take into account the girls attending the session...:)

Posted by   Dessie (Unregistered)   on   14:43 19.10.2009

Well, I can't blame Stilgar after his newly discovered passion for PHP, it's pretty much self-explanatory that he doesn't notice girls, ;)

Posted by   . (Unregistered)   on   20:38 19.10.2009

ROFL !!!!!!

Posted by   Stilgar   on   20:51 19.10.2009

Dessie, I only got into PHP because I knew you were an expert and you could help me!

Posted by   trx   on   00:27 21.10.2009

I can't find a reason to hate Viewstate but I'm not sure I love it... maybe we're just friends :D

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