DevReach 2012

DevReach 2012
   October 4th and 5th saw the 2012 edition of what is in my opinion the best IT conference in Bulgaria – DevReach . While the price tag of €110 (with Super Early Bird discount) is somewhat high for Bulgarian standards it is definitely worth it. The organizers provided plenty of different drinks and food in the coffee breaks and there were coupons for lunch. The conference was held in the halls of Arena cinema in Mladost, Sofia so the screens the sessions were projected on were really large and the seats were very comfortable as they were intended for watching movies. There were booths for several sponsors with some games where people could win prizes ranging from stress balls to iPads and HTC 8X smartphone. This conference also has the greatest amount of world-renowned speakers of any Bulgarian conference though I definitely prefer many local speakers to some of the overrated celebrities. During breaks tweets with the #devreach tag were displayed on the screens which provoked people to tweet about the conference even more.

   This year there were tracks on Mobile development, Web development, Architecture, Agile methodologies and Cloud computing and one hall that mixed sessions from the other tracks. The conference did not have a real keynote and if the keynote speaker is not someone of the ranks of Scott Hanselman or Scott Gu I definitely prefer it this way. A short comment on the sessions I visited:

   - A Crash Course in Win 8 XAML Programming (Part 1) by Jesse Liberty was supposed to be about developing for Windows 8 with XAML/C#. However he spent most of the session explaining what Windows 8 don't-call-it-Metro-style apps are. I do not think this makes any sense considering the fact that Windows 8 was announced so long ago and he was speaking at a Microsoft-related developer conference. The session had some useful things in it but mostly it was a waste of time.

   - Processing Big Data with SQL Server 2012 by Stephen Forte discussed some of the features for handling large datasets in SQL Server 2012 namely partitioning over a column and column store indexes. It was interesting but I doubt I will get a chance to use it any time soon.

   - .NET Garbage Collection Performance Tips by Sasha Goldshtein was one of the most interesting and deep sessions on this event going into the details and pitfalls of .NET's GC and how we can work around them.

   - Implementing the MVVM Pattern in WPF by Miguel Castro was a session on MVVM that started from zero but unlike other MVVM sessions and beginner tutorials I have seen this one included commands which in my opinion is really important.

   - WPF, Silverlight and WinRT: Three Tales of Three Friends by Iris Classon was one of the strangest sessions I have ever seen. It turns out Iris is a hot Swedish girl with red and blue hair, red dress and pink shoes. She has been programming for only fourteen months switching jobs from nutritionist because the clinic she worked at did not allow her to dye her hair in strange colors. The session was about some of the changes WinRT brings to the table compared with WPF and Silverlight and it was a bit lacking in technical content. It was mostly a list of resources for WinRT development some of which seemed very helpful. The session was interesting in an untraditional way because Iris has a talent for speaking and when she can produce some sophisticated content her sessions will be worth it. I do not regret going to this session because at this point in the schedule other technical sessions were about ugly web development and I would rather have a tooth removed than watch bullshit agile methodology talk.

   - Look Mom – NoSQL by Charles Nurse was the first session of the second day I intended to visit but I spent the time outside networking.

   - Demystifying Visual Studio 2012 Performance Tools was one of the traditional sessions on hardcore debugging and performance analysis Martin Kulov specializes in. I do not know how he manages to pull out so many new debugging tools each year or maybe I just forget what he showed last year.

   - Native iOS programming for .NET developers by Jon Flanders was a session on Objective-C and the XCode IDE. Jon Flanders has mainly .NET background and is also developing iOS apps. More than 20 years ago he was a lawyer and switched to programming. I find it quite interesting how people from western countries are not afraid to switch careers even when they have a well-paying job that requires special education.  At this session I learned that Objective-C sucks. BTW if someone can explain how message passing differs from method calls I would be grateful.

   - Cross Platform Mobile Development using C# by Kent Alstad was very strange and probably the most useful session on this event. It was about Mono for iOS and Android and it was presented in quite unusual way. Kent was trying to convince us we should use Mono by listing its flaws and problems - brutally honest. It seems like currently the Mono tools for Android and iOS do not provide a lot of portability but they are getting better. Still I would use Mono even if I had to develop iOS-only app because Objective-C is such a torture.

   - A Crash Course in Win 8 XAML Programming (Part 2) by Jesse Liberty was the second part of the session I mentioned earlier. This one was better as far as content goes but still had similar problems as part 1. Because the session was at the end of the second day Jesse's slow voice and boring way of showing stuff almost put me to sleep.

   - Portable Libraries – Why You Should Care by Lino Tadros was a session on… surprise! – Portable Libraries. Before this session I thought Portable Libraries are just a project that only allows intersection of the selected frameworks. In reality they are a special kind of assembly that can retarget its references. If a class is in one namespace on one platform and another namespace on another the profiles for these platforms will match the namespaces and you do not need endless #ifdefs in your code.

   At the end of the conference I was left with the impression that the technical level of the presentations is going slightly down year by year although it is still quite high. Of course it is possible that I learned something in the last five years and this is why the sessions seem simpler but other people share the same impressions. I hope next year this trend is reversed.
Tags:   english events 
Posted by:   Stilgar
02:10 08.10.2012


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Posted by   trx   on   02:25 08.10.2012

Maybe previous years lots of people complained that they didn't understood anything ;)

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