Today, I was surrounded by celebrities. I went to the MSDN Event in downtown Seattle today where the infamous Rory Blyth, was the speaker. His boss, Paul Murphy was also there. And Jim Blizzard snuck in, too. I heard someone say that they thought Carl Franklin was prowling around, too, but I didn't see him myself.
Apparently they are doing a different set of topics each quarter. Today's big carrot was ASP.NET 2.0 Membership and Personalization. If you've watched The Code Room, then you know what this was about. It looks like some good tools, and Rory showed us how to further customize it and even write our own providers if you don't want to use SQL Server to store the information. The other topics today were An Introduction to Object Oriented Programming in VB.NET, Using the MapPoint Web Service, and High Performance Web Applications. The Introduction to OOP was just what it's name says...an introduction. It was a good intro for people who have never done this before. Since I have worked in Java, it was just a confirmation of principles I knew and how that looks in VB.NET.
The MapPoint Web Service was a nice little demo. According to Rory, there are people making bundles of money simply by writing cool apps that consume different web services such as the Amazon.com service. The demo for the MapPoint Web Service did a nice job of showing how you can locate an address, plot a path and get driving directions. The example was of a guy who has to make sales calls around the Puget Sound area. Makes sense for that sort of application. Could also be cool for letting people locate your stores or office location directly through your web site and then get driving directions. It also offers Proximity Searching and Points of Interest. The High Performance Web Applications was a quick discussion of some high yield tricks, especially caching objects in .NET. The Application Center Test tool looked good. If you have ever used Microsoft's Web Application Stress Tool (WAST) then you'll recognize this as a souped-up version of that. Very handy for testing your site. This tool ships with the Enterprise editions of Visual Studio.NET 2003.
Overall, it was a good event. It was only 4 hours long and took place in a movie theater so the setting was fairly comfortable. Rory is a funny speaker and did a good job. At one of the breaks I went up and introduced myself. I made the mistake of extending my hand for a handshake. Sorry, Rory! I knew better. It was just habit.
Probably the best part of the event was that we got DVDs with all the slides, videos of someone doing the presentations we just saw, sample code and numerous resources. The DVDs also contain the Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1 Refresh with Team System, MapPoint Developer Resource Kit, SQL Server 2005 Express, and patterns & practices. That was a nice freebie. Microsoft is doing a good job with these event DVDs. They had one like this for Dev Days last Spring, too. And the really best part of the event was that it was free. (I even got them to validate my parking!) Oh, and there was the other swag, too. They gave each of us MSDN Events t-shirts that were super vacuum sealed into these little 4“ x 6“ x 0.75“ bricks. Nice trick. The Microsoft Across America truck was parked nearby so we could check out their toys and get another t-shirt and a baseball cap.
There's a new set of topics for the first quarter of 2005, so check the MSDN Events web site for times and locations near you. Hey, it's free training, why not take advantage of it. You never know what handy little tidbit you'll pick up.
posted @ Thursday, December 16, 2004 11:35 PM