I apologize for the delay of this post. It was a great weekend and I learned a great deal about other developers and myself. It has also made me hit the code harder. I don’t know how Oren or
I had a chance to meet with some developers while eating breakfast. I had an opportunity to speak with Dru Sellers, added siteroot (it’s equivalent to ~/ in ASP.NET, scroll down to “Creating the layout”) to MonoRail, and Chris Patterson. They were both articulate, intelligent, and a blast to chat with.
Here they are: (Chris on left, Dru on right)
Disclaimer: EVERY developer I had an opportunity to speak with was passionate, intelligent, excited about the sessions, and couldn’t wait to get back to their teams/jobs to help spread the knowledge. I will stop stating the same thing over and over about each of these people that I met.
I sat in this one for about 5 minutes because when everyone started looking around an no one knew who convened the session I decided to go check out the “Passion” session. On my way out, Martin Fowler and Scott Guthrie were headed in. I did a double take before deciding to continue to the other session.
I walked into this session late. I missed JP Boodhoo’s intro (I really wish I hadn’t, I heard it was good). I listened for a while. When Rod Paddock asked, “How do you start passion amongst other team-mates or other teams you work with or user groups?”, my alpha personality and loud voice kicked in. I mentioned items like blogs and the “Pragmatic Programmer” book by Thomas and Hunt. I made the mistake of focusing on the tools and processes and if you notice the specific line from the Agile Manifesto, “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” you’ll understand (I am in no means stating that processes or tools are useless – check out the last line “That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more”). I sometimes focus too much on the code. Nothing makes me smile larger than beautiful code, but after this weekend I realized there is something more valuable: watching another developer have that “aha” moment when they are coding, talking to another developer, etc. It’s priceless (and THAT is what the ALT.net [place fav label here] conference was all about, and now the movement is ALL about).
One quote that JP said was great, “…if you want to create leaders; it’s like the difference between giving a man/woman a fish to eat, or teaching a man/woman to fish.” I know I’m guilty of leading a few of our “brown bags” at work. I need to ensure that other developers in our group lead the sessions. Scott Hanselman and Jay Flowers said the same with, “…create leaders don’t just feed them.”
The subject of Mort came up and I think one thing that was mentioned, that stuck with many of the developers throughout the rest of the conference, was when David Laribee mentioned that after reading the definition of Mort on Microsoft’s site it was something he would strive for. I know that being a new father I am definitely interested in getting my work done and leaving it at work. Unfortunately, I’ve got a case of the “coding passion” disease and end up writing blogs (like this) and coding when I’m at home. But, it still sounds good. He mentioned that he would love to see unit testing become the norm and no longer the fad. Excellent goal.
Evan Hoff stated a 3 step idea that I think anyone can use in their environment:
1. Diagnose/Analyze the context of your environment.
2. Gather a list of options (team building events, processes, tools) that might work
3. Try them out and gather a list of results
Common sense, but good to hear sometimes.
To close out this recollection, both James Kovacs and Ray Lewallen both emphasized that ALT.net was not “Us vs. Them” or “Us vs. Microsoft”. These men emphasized that all weekend and it was needed. Some people, unfortunately, left still not understanding what ALT.net was. Kudos to them for striving to ensure understanding of its meaning in everyone.
There was a diagram that Jeffrey drew on the board that I really liked. It handled the architecture of his programs and where he puts his NHibernate dependency and how they interact with the rest of the domain/services/layers.
I’m not a graphics guy, so I’ll try my best. (coming soon – unless Jeffrey already has it drawn somewhere).
I went to the ASP.NET MVC presentation by Scott Guthrie, as did everyone else. Like many others, I was impressed with Scott Guthrie’s technical knowledge and ability to relate to his audience. I’m thoroughly impressed with the Framework and can’t wait to try it out. The rumor is that it will be available as a download in 8-10 weeks.
This session ended up excellent from what I hear, but started out very rough. It became too centralized on architecture, while important, is only a small part of Domain Driven Design. Scott and David were conversing about where a transfer method should exist, in a service or on the domain entity. I believe they agreed it depended on the context of the entities usage, but I implemented the law of 2 feet before the session got better.
I did make one mistake though. I went into the hallway and was vocal about my frustration. “Doc” List heard my whining (cause that’s what it was) and went to the room. I do not know if he went in, or just looked through the window to see if anybody was being killed, but he came back and passed me with a smile. I read that smile as “that is why we have the law of 2 feet. You don’t like the session, then go elsewhere.” It was the most polite smile he could have given me and I realized that I had whined.
Thanks Doc for being polite and not handing me a pacifier. :)
Due to the intensity of the sessions, a group of us wanted to go feed our “techno lust” and check out Frys Electronics. This is like CompUSA + BestBuy + Borders (computer books) all in one. In fact, I’m writing this on the Toshiba laptop I bought from there. I know that everyone who lives there always says, “yeah, so, it’s Frys.” We don’t have one in San Antonio.
After that we went to Hoola Hut. Great food. We then headed back to the hotel and some of the guys went to the bar. I went up and coded some stuff for a side project.