15 October 2009

Heartland Developers Conference – Day 1

This year marks the sixth year for the Heartland Developers Conference.  This is a great technology conference that has only gotten better with each year (Joe always does a great job!).  In previous years, the HDC has been primarily focused on Microsoft-related technologies.  This year, that focus is gone in favor of a more platform-neutral event.  For example, this year’s conference includes not only .NET-based technologies, but also topics covering Adobe, Ruby, Apple (e.g. iPhone), etc.  As always, the event is backed up with a great representation of top-quality speakers from all across the country.

Although I had to leave the conference early today, I was still able to attend a few great sessions, including:

VS 2010 for the Code WarriorScott Guthrie – this was the first keynote address for the conference where the “Gu” spent most of his time (and about 15 minutes of the next set of presenter’s time :-)) showing off demos of the up-coming version of Visual Studio 2010.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Multiple monitor support – great for those of us lucky enough to have more than one monitor attached to our developer machine
  • Historical Debugging – another great feature that will help with the debugging of complex scenarios.
  • Miscellaneous Refactoring Features – block-selection-replace, Highlighting References, Call Hierarchy navigation, etc.
  • Consume-First IntelliSense – allows you to tweak IntelliSense in Visual Studio to help support development processes like Test Driven Development (TDD).  Using this feature, along with the ability to generate class and method stubs based on usage, you can practice TDD much more effectively in Visual Studio 2010.
  • TFS 2010 - “Basic” – Team Foundation Server for SourceSafe (and other) users.  You will now be able to acquire TFS 2010 Basic “at least as easy and cost effective to get as SourceSafe has been” and even install it on your Windows Client PC (e.g. Vista or Windows 7).
  • Improved JavaScript IntelliSense
  • More…

jQuery 101 Rod Paddock – Before today, I had only heard of jQuery but had no idea as to what it was.  Based on the name alone, I had assumed it was a JavaScript library for querying data (in some form or another).  Attending Rod’s session, I learned that it’s more for querying the DOM and acting upon the results of those queries (i.e. “selectors”).  This looks to be a very useful library for manipulating not only the look and feel of web pages on-the-fly but also on how they behave (e.g. by manipulating events).  This is a library that I will be spending a little more time with in the near future.  Another great feature is the on-line documentation.  It’s actually useful!

Rethinking “Enterprise”Ted Neward – although the other presentations were great, this was easily my favorite presentation of the day.  The interesting part is that it wasn’t even technical.  There was no code, no IDEs, just some seemingly difficult math problems, some not-so-well-known facts about Woodrow Wilson, and various other historical tidbits about things like J2EE, etc.  Oh, and the incessant Windows Update dialog that seemed to consume most of Ted’s CPU cycles.  The gist of his presentation is that we are all wired from the time we start school as a child to think in a certain way.  This brings along with it certain presumptions that affect how we might approach a given problem.  The point of the presentation is to make us aware of this condition and to step outside the box and question assumptions and explore multiple possibilities.  Although this session was only an hour long, It will provide me with food for thought for weeks to come :-)

With any luck, I will be able to attend the entire day tomorrow and finish off the conference with a day full of great sessions.  See you there!