Boy, is it great to be here.
Getting up in the morning (early because my body misunderstanding of day and night), having a stand-up breakfast with a bunch of strangers and getting your butt ready for hours of sitting and you ears open for the torrent of information they are going to get.
The Keynote was given by Scott Hanselman. That guy is good. Very good.
Not only he can present, but he really gains the audience. He was very, very entertaining (and not in a David Brent manner) and what he showed was really interesting. The subject was ASP.Net extensions, but he focused in ASP .Net Dynamic Data and ASP .Net Data Services.
I think they are really cool. But I still think about them as demoware but with extension points. It's certainly something I'd really like to dig into, so I am planning on giving a presentation on the subject any time soon.
What a great, great session to start the day.
10 Open Source Tools
The confrence is structured in such a way that first sessions were very light and I didn't feel strongly for any of them, so I chose this one as a way to warm up and see if I was learning something new. I did, but not much. A reminder on Ghengis controls and how easy is setting a blog with BlogEngine .Net (neither easier nor more difficult than it is with Subtext)
Great presenter, passionate and nice, but the presentation did not have much meat (not that you can delve deeper on 10 tools, including CCNet or NHibernate, in little more than one hour.
This one I had great expectations and some of them were fulfilled and some others weren't. Again, good speaker, full of energy and very skilled in condensing what he says it's a 2-day camp into one-odd hour. But that was the issue. A lot of ground to cover and too few men.
I really did not learn anything new as it was really, really introductory and it was too focused in LinqToSql, a tool that I do not have plans for in the near future.
How to make SCRUM really work
Well, it already works for my team already, so... why bother? Because the other session candidate was about Software factories and the speaker was kind enough to give away all the material in advance so that I can look at it with more detail. AND you can always improve.
And they gave very valuable information, based on real situations and real teams and projects. A pair of very communicative guys, nice and full of energy, but the jokes did not work the way they expected, somehow. Not his fault, we are a very demanding audience :-p
Achieving Persistence Ignorance with NHibernate
For me this was the main course of the day. It's something I really want to get my hands dirty with. It's about time.
The speaker is my very admired James Kovacs and I think he did a good job on the subject. There is a lot of meat with NHibernate and he did a pretty good job on a very simple example. The sheer size of the subject and a somewhat slow pace at the beginning of the session made him rush to the end of it, which was a pity. Because some interest problems were raised (select N+1, lazy loading,...) and they couldn't be addressed with concrete examples.
I was not able to get some of the details on some subjects because of the rush and my lack of familiarity with the tool, but nonetheless a great session full of information than I expect to put in use sooner than later.
Rapid (and maintainable) web development with MonoRail
Last session and a great dilemma. Should I attend the session given by one of my heroes (Oren) on a subject that interests me (MonoRail)? Or should I attend one that it's really interesting to me and my projects (NAnt and Cruise Control) by another blogger I deeply respect and read (Donald Belcham)? Again, the kindness of the author and the online availability of most of the content made me go for the first. And I still think I missed.
Don't get me wrong, I got a lot from Oren's presentation. Some first-hand information that could have taken me a lot to absorb because the subject and its background philosophy are alien to me. But...
It's sort of when you are eagerly looking forward to something (a movie, a party,...) and you get it, and although it's good and nice, you can't help feeling disappointed somehow. That was my sort of feeling.
If you add up that it was the end of a long, exciting and packed day and, sorry to say, the speaker does not have as great presentation skills as some of his fellows, you get the recipe for a setback. Time has softened the feeling, but I still think I should have attended the other session.
Resuming a very long post, the first day has been very good that started like a shot of adrenaline (ever seen Blade? that's the feeling), went down for a bit and ended making me ask for more. Did I say I am tough audience? :-p
If you add that food was great in a non-greasy sort of way and connectivity problems were more or less fixed as day went by, one can understand my boy-opening-Christmas-presents face.
Day two cooking...