Last week my family and I were in Toronto, Ontario so that I could attend DevTeach. A conference put on by developers for developers, and it was a tonne of fun. Not only did my wife, daughter and I get to check out Toronto, and visit family but I got to bump in to some more of the industries greats and here them speak.

Before I continue I've got to plug this little cafe that we accidentally stumbled into one night. My daughter, wife and her cousin were out looking for the MuchMusic building when we got a little lost. We ended up walking down McCaul Street and spotted this tiny little cafe on the corner of Elm St. It looked pretty cool from the outside and just looked kind of out of place. We're so glad we stopped in... The place was called "MangiaCake Panini Shoppe" and they specialized in panini's and, you guessed it, cake!

We tried a piece of the cherry cheese cake, chocolate cake, and the carrot cake, as well as a salad, a couple of panini's and a lasagna for myself. It was absolutely awesome! The best part was the additional attention we got from the owner named Raj. He was just great and made the experience so much more...

If you're in the Toronto, Ontario area you have to check out MangiaCake Panini Shoppe located at 160 McCaul Street.

Back to the conference...

Day 1: Tuesday, May 13, 2008

8-9:15am: Keynote by Scott Hanselman

Scott talked about Data Dynamic Web Applications, Astoria, tools like Fidler Http Proxy, LinqPad, TcpTrace.

9:30-11:00am: Home-Grown Production System Monitoring: Creating a Bridge Between Development and Operations by Owen Rogers

I really enjoyed Owens talk. I thought it was informative and backed by real project experience. Some of the things I learned:

Problems with log files:

You should log for immediate data, and limit the footprint of logging on client machines. Owen mentions that a great book to read is "Release It" by Mike Nygard.

11am-12:15pm: Behavior Driven Development Installed by David Laribee and Scott Bellware

This was a great session, that showcased the direction that BDD is taking and what it means. Some of the things I learned are:

1:30-2:45pm: How to make scrum really work by Joel Semeniuk and Turning Visual Studio Into a Software Factory by Kevin McNeish

I bounced out of the scrum talk as soon as we started getting into team foundation server, and the software factory talk wasn't exactly what I expected.

3:00-4:15pm: Achieving Persistence Ignorance with NHibernate by James Kovacs

This was a good talk that discussed alternatives to Active Record and how to implement an infrastructure ignorant domain model. It talked about different settings in NHibernate and how to create the mapping files and most importantly why you would want a infrastructure ignorant domain model.

4:30pm-5:45pm: Rapid (maintainable) web development with MonoRail by Oren Eini

This was another good talk walked through the creation of a project using MonoRail. Oren talked about the different conventions that are used by MonoRail and put it in contrast to the MS MVC framework. I'm definitely more curious about MonoRail and itchin' to slap something together using it.

Day 2: Wednesday, May 14, 2008

8-9:15am: Cross-platform Development with Mono by Geoff Norton and Planned Agility?! by David Laribee

The Mono talk was great, and actually got me pretty excited about the project. I'm surprised by just how much the Mono team has been able to accomplish and by the quick turn around on releases. I'm definitely going to have to spend some time learning more about the project.

The Mono talk ended a little early so I popped into David Laribee's talk on planned agility. This was a great talk on how to bring Agile into your projects. I guess it's still a little surprising to me how many company's are still working in a traditional methodologies, so it makes me feel pretty privileged to work where I do and with the great guys that I work with.

9:30-10:45am: Recommended Practices for Continuous Integration by Owen Rogers

This was another great talk on the concepts of Continuous Integration and how to achieve it with an automated build server. Owen talked about the inception of the CruiseControl.NET project and shared his experiences with how people were using it effectively and how people were abusing it.

11:00am-12:15pm: Busy .NET Developer's Guide to F# by Ted Neward

Mr. Ted knows his stuff. This was a great talk about F# and the functional programming paradigm. A lot of it was over my head, but I enjoyed the discussion around why this is important and what are some of the potential benefits of this style of development. Concurrency and side effect free functions were topics that kept coming up. I will definitely have to commit some time to better understand functional programming.

1:30pm-2:45pm: Blackbelt Configuration for New Projects by Jeffrey Palermo

Mr. Jeffrey gave a great talk on how to take control of your projects by offering suggestions on project structure, how to set up a single user development environment, the importance of version control, dependency management, the importance of automated deployments, application architecture.

To be continued...

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