Dev Reach 2008

   Here comes the report from Dev Reach 2008 that countless readers eagerly await. As you may know I am very fond of attending events like this so naturally I was quite excited. Most of the speakers were people whose blogs I had found multiple times when googling some .NET related problem but rest assured that the Bulgarian lecturers, albeit few, were on par with the famous foreigners.

   Everything started with the usual "blah blah" speech from Martin Kulov, Telerik's cofounder Svetozar Georgiev and the general manager of Microsoft Bulgaria Ognian Kiriakov who did not miss the opportunity to mention the one and only Steve Ballmer. The keynote about data access technologies in .NET followed the history of Microsoft's data access technologies and had many more references to Ballmer. After it we had to choose and here are my choices for the two days:

Day 1

   1. Introducing the Entity Framework by Julie Lerman was exactly what the title says - an introduction. I had seen all of this already so the only useful information was that LINQ to Entities can sometimes prevent the use of indexes in the database and in this case you can use Entity SQL.

   2. To AJAX or not to AJAX was somewhat useful lecture by Lino Tardos who is one of the most colorful speakers I have seen. It covered several ways to create AJAX applications and how to choose between them. Lino also noted that you can seriously spoil a web application by using AJAX the wrong way.

   3. SQL Server 2008 and Powershell by the omnipresent Vladi Tchalkov showed several ways to use the new scripting languages for Windows to administer SQL Server 2008 but what I found more interesting was some insight on how Powershell integrates with other applications.

   4. Pragmatic ASP.NET Tips, Tricks and Tools Part 1 by Steven Smith (the man behind showed some useful tips for ASP.NET developers. Experienced developers are familiar with most of his advices but they are many so I believe everyone can find something new. One suggestion of his that I do not agree with is creating a recursive FindControl method to use with template controls and controls nested deep into the control tree in general. I think that can cause a lot of problems because no ID uniqueness is guaranteed in the tree and you can get different control and not even know.

   5. How will web development be done next? The discussion was recorded for .Net Rocks podcast with Carl Franklin as host. Several of the conference speakers were present including Miguel Castro, Todd Anglin and Steven Smith. Even I got to say something.

Day 2

   1.  Pragmatic ASP.NET Tips, Tricks and Tools Part 2 was the second part of Steven Smith's lecture. This part dealt with tools. He presented LINQPad (a tool to easily test LINQ queries), Fiddler (a tool that intercepts the HTTP stream in IE), Terminals (remote desktop client that has tabs and supports multiple protocols), some ASP.NET logging module and a module to invalidate the cache of ASP.NET application. I am probably missing something.

   2. Deep Dive into Entity Framework Object Services by Julie Lerman was quite serious lecture but unfortunately most of it was targeted at a very specific problem – getting the Entity Framework to work in service oriented scenarios.

   3. SQL Reporting Services 2005 and What's New in 2008 by Remi Caron was not a bad presentation but apparently I missed the required background. At least now I know what Reporting Services look like.

   4. ASP.NET MVC: Red Pill or Blue Pill? by Todd Anglin chief technical evangelist at Telerik. He presented the new MVC framework and gave some advice on how to choose between Web Forms and MVC. MVC makes more sense now.

   5. Object-relational Mapping in Modern Architectures by Jan Blessenohl was a lecture about application architectures when using ORM frameworks. He works at the ORM division in Telerik. I did not know Telerik sold ORM framework but that somehow did not stop them from doing so. Their product is called Open Access and is based on some older Java product. Obviously they bought the company that developed it. The architecture talk revolved around service based scenarios which seemed to be a problem when using ORM. Telerik's solution provides something like a wrapper to the object context to deploy at the client. Of course that only works if the client is a .NET application but the speaker believes that most scenarios like this use .NET client anyway. When I think of it now the tool can be modified to generate Java wrapper as well...

   6. Managing WCF/WF services with Windows Server "Dublin" by Georgi Kremenliev was the first public presentation of the new Windows Application Server exclusive for Bulgaria. It looks like we are getting a real, pure application server for free complete with Powershell administration, IIS and SQL Server integration.

   The closing raffle was usurped by Miguel Castro who did not let Kulov speak and made the hall laugh all the time. Just like the previous year some guy from Datecs won the big price (a trip to TechEd Barcelona). WTF? This company should be banned from all IT events for that unforgivable sin FlexType.

   The organization was generally good. The lectures started on time and the seats were enough for everyone at least in the lectures that I visited. The food was not that good mainly because it was cold but it was better than last year. We got to choose between meatballs and chicken. There were also plenty of drinks and sweets. The lecturers were provided with candy bars to give to the audience for questions and answers and I found this really stupid and even somewhat insulting. Except when Miguel Castro is doing it. Then it is funny. My personal prize for best lecturer this year goes to Steven Smith. He does not make the audience laugh but his lectures were really useful. He talks fast but very clear English and has well structured small examples. Some of the examples are really impressive. He had won some price in a contest at some conference where every presenter had 5 minutes to impress the jury. He showed how setting the OutputCache of a page to 1 second can dramatically improve performance.

That's all from Dev Reach 2008. See you there next year and by the way Silverlight 2.0 is released so the celebrations can begin.
Tags:   english events 
Posted by:   Stilgar
05:06 17.10.2008


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