Sunday, 31 January 2010

DDD8 - A Big Thanks!

Yesterday, I attended the DDD8 (#DDD8 on Twitter) conference at MS Reading. I went to the DDD gig last year (also at Reading) and had a great time, so did turn up with high expectations!

I just wanted to put a post up with my thoughts on the day/sessions in the hope that:

  1. It gets more people involved (be it talking, attending or sponsoring).
  2. People know I am grateful for the free event.

General Organisation

I found the day to work out nicely – thanks to SqlBits, this year we had coaches pick us up from Reading train station and take us straight to the MS campus. This must have saved the geek collective a good amount of cash.

Plenty (IMO) of food was laid on, welcomed to MS with a nice sausage and bacon roll and a brew. Breakfast of champs :)

As with all events like this, there are always a clash with sessions you want to go to. I have no idea how you can fix this and please everyone – so I am not going to moan. But it is a plus that there were so many good session that I had conflicts in my head ;)

I think we can all agree that the only real downside is how quickly the places went (~12 minutes I think!). Again, no idea how to easily solve this other than a bigger venue/more speakers?

Quick Session Review

These are obviously only the sessions I attended.

Real World MVC Architectures

Great session by Ian Cooper (@ICooper) on how to avoid “Fat Controllers”, introduce service layers, creation of ViewModels, Command/Query separation and more. Also shared some nice anecdotes of how things have evolved at his own workplace due to pain caused by lack of the above.

Hello Document Databases

Apparently, this was Neil Robbins’ (@NeilRobbins) first hour-long talk. I almost called BS on it because he did such a great job. Found this to be a nice, easy-going introduction to CouchDB as well as the concept of document databases. Also had a nice bit of history, and outlined the reasons for the NoSQL movement.

C# 4

A bit of a (well deserved) celeb in the geek community, Jon Skeet (@JonSkeet) gave a nice introduction to new features in C#4. Was great to see Jon speaking because not only is he a freaking C# ninja, he is a great communicator. Sad Tony couldn’t make it though :(

Not Everything is an Object

A rather tanned-looking Gary Short (@GaryShort) gives a talk on how functional languages (Clojure was used on the demo) can help solve some of the issues we have with OOP languages. The main one being, concurrency. Really got me thinking about how adding a functional language to my geek toolbox could really help with those odd bits of code should “just work”.

Testing C# and ASP.NET Applications with Ruby

Ben Hall (@Ben_Hall) came along to show us how a language that can support clean syntax (or essentially DSL’s), namely Ruby, can REALLY help with the automated testing process. I am thinking of starting a bit of a love affair with Ruby, so was keen to see “what else can be done with it” outside of the MVC Web App scenario. Was great to not only see how it can be used, but how much easier it makes the process as a whole.

The Social Side

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stick around after the event for a few drinks. This kinda sucked because there are always SOOOOOO many people that you need/want to say “hi” to. My apologies to those I never got the chance to have a good chat with.

I have decided next year, I will book myself into a hotel or something so I don’t have to shoot off and can celebrate the good day as you should – at the bar :)

To those that I did meet/talk with – was a real pleasure, had fun talking to you all. Look forward to keeping the conversation going and meeting you again in the future!

In Summation…

My heartfelt thanks to all of the guys that make this happen (be it speakers, helpers, sponsors, Microsoft, whoever) – these days are so beneficial for the community as a whole. And the fact they don’t cost us a penny obviously helps with us getting along to them!

A great day! Be there next year! :)

Update

I have just submitted my feedback for the event (make sure you do yours!) and following discussions with some other attendees, I made a suggestion:

Next year, we do Saturday “business as usual” but then stick around for an “Open Spaces” style day on Sunday. I think this offers the following benefits:

  • It encourages people to stay, so they can enjoy the after-event talks beers.
  • All of the ideas swimming in their head after day 1 can be put into some code in day 2.
  • It gives us more of a chance to meet the (many) names you want to turn into a face.
  • We can get more free food from Microsoft.

Obviously, this may be more difficult for some people to accommodate (e.g. family and whatnot) but I think even if only half of the people could make it, it could still be a really awesome day?

What are your thoughts?

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