This past Thursday and Friday, the Tulsa TechFest was held at OSU Tulsa in Tulsa (could I write Tulsa one more time, I knew I could). Attendance was high and most of the sessions I attended were in rooms full of people. The day started off early Thursday morning, but that’s not the start of the story.
The night before, Dru and Rob came by the house for a little pre-conference warmup (and by warmup, I don’t mean this). Rob went through his presentation on continuous integration one last time while Dru and I worked through our presentation on messaging (and how to do it with MassTransit, of course). The night ended early for me, but Rob and Dru met up with Ben at the hotel and closed the bar (and by closed, I mean walked in at last call and got one beer).
The next morning we all met up and caught up on things since the last gathering. Since the last time we saw Ben, he’d been through a hurricane and granted the MVP Award from Microsoft. We then planned out our day of sessions based on the information currently available to us.
The speaker for the CSS talk was unable to attend, so the four of us convened an open-space session on CSS. The discussion in the fishbowl was good with a lot of interesting topics. Ben gave an on-screen demonstration of CSS from the ground up for those in the room that were new to it, providing context for the audience. CSS is extremely important considering it is the best (only?) way to layout and style websites consistently across browsers. I think everyone brought up how much of a turd IE 6 is when it comes to CSS compatibility.
After lunch, it was time for Dru and I to present our session on message-driven architecture (using MassTransit). You can see the first hour of the session on video here. The crowd really got into it, asked a lot of questions, and hopefully came away with an understanding of asynchronous application design and messaging.
After that session, we sat down with a guy that works for Sun and talked about enterprise application architecture. It was interesting comparing the mature open-source nature of Java to the budding open-source landspace in .NET. After the closing session and prize giveaway, there was a speakers dinner (Rib Crib, good stuff). Once we had eaten, we went to the hotel and did a little code sharing and Dru and Ben went through ASP.NET MVC some more. Then we went over to Dirty’s Tavern for some post-day fun. I was worn out, so I went back to my car and called it a night.
The next day was full of interesting stuff. A nice introduction to ASP.NET MVC by Ben, some extensive coverage of log4net by Dru, and I gave a presentation on iPhone development. Outside of the actual sessions there were a lot of great conversations about development and tools in general. We also recorded Ray Lewallen’s session on Behavior Driven Development, which can be viewed here.
My iPhone development session was purely introductory to show the tools and how they are used to build and deliver applications for the iPhone. The room was absolutely packed and hopefully everyone walked away with some good information. I know at least one guy did, he left two seconds after I said that building iPhone applications requires a Mac!
To wrap it up, the event was a huge success. There were a ton of people there, the vendor room was always alive with activity (likely due to Chris Koenig and his Rock Band setup giving some much needed ADHD relief between sessions). Chris also had a couple of great sessions on Silverlight and the new features in 2.0 that should really improve the use of Silverlight for Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).