Thursday, December 04, 2008

DevTeach Day 3

Passed on the early run today, the 8am session still seemed to come early.  Jessica M. Moss presented the first two sessions I sat in on, and even part of the third. 

The first presentation was on SQL Server Reporting Services.  I presented on this topic to the Fredericton .Net User's Group a few weeks ago.  I enjoyed watching someone else cover the same topic. 

Next up was extending SQL Server Integration Services with Custom Components.  This is a new topic to me - I knew it could be done, but I had never seen it demonstrated before.  This falls into the "good to know in case I need it" category.  I'm not sure it would be such a good use of time in my environment, but knowing that is also important information.  Another good session.

Jessica also contributed to Rushabh Mehta's session on Building an SSIS Management Framework.  This was a very practical session and I'll be making use of some of these ideas for sure.  Outstanding stuff.

I also really enjoyed Beth Massi's presentation - Taking Advantage of LINQ and XML in Office 2007.  I've got an automation app (VB.Net and the PIA) that I never liked, and this is a much better solution.  The automation app is fulfilling it's purpose right now, but when it's time to open that code again, it might get an overhaul.

DevTeach Day 2

Day 2 started out very well - an interesting demo of the data mining tools for Office by Jessica M. Moss.  This is something I'm definitely going to be spending some time on as soon as I free up some time.

Next up was Peter DeBetta's Encryption in SQL Server 2008.  I was disappointed to learn transparent data encryption in only in the enterprise version.  Microsoft (marketing?) has some funny ideas about what features are enterprise features.  That's a post for another day.  Peter's treatment of the topic was useful and interesting.  Security always has to be on our minds, and dedicating an hour to thinking about this is always a good investment of time.

Next I chose Christian Coté's session on Visual Studio Database Edition.  This is an enormously valuable tool, and I've only started using it recently.  I learned a lot in this session, and I should be able to apply some of it immediately.

I didn't know anything about ASP.NET Dynamic Data before Don Kiely's presentation, but I've enjoyed his sessions in the past, so I decided to check it out.  This is some neat technology.  I don't have an immediate use for it, but I'm glad I know about it because this is the type of thing that everybody has to deal with at some point.

Next was Stephen Forte's Data Access session.  This guy is very entertaining.  A timeline of Microsoft data access technologies should not be a fun presentation.  But it was! 

Also sat in on the .Net Rocks session with Ted Neward and Amanda Laucher.  As a longtime listener, it was fun to watch this show being recorded.  Later, I saw on twitter that show #400 was being done in the hotel lounge, but 8am to 8pm is a long enough day for me.  Especially after getting up early to get in a run on the treadmill before the first session.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

DevTeach Day 1

Today was my first day of the 2008 DevTeach/SQLTeach conference in Montréal.  There were preconference sessions yesterday, but I decided to pass on those.

I've been looking forward to this, since SQL Server 2008 was released recently.  I've not spent much time on SQL 2008 yet - I made a deliberate choice this time to avoid the CTPs.  I just don't have the time to waste studying features that might never make the release - not to mention working around bugs, etc. 

I did spend quite a bit of time with Reporting Services 2008 prior to the conference, so that I could present to the Fredericton .Net User's Group.  But everything else is new to me.

The first event of the day was the keynote by Ted Neward.  Ted was talking about the future of languages and why he thinks we are going to go through an explosion of new languages in the near future.  I particularly enjoyed the part about the disconnect between Computer Science and the practical software development world.  When he asked how many in the room had a Computer Science degree, half the room raised their hands.  When he asked how many had used any of that knowledge in the last month, nobody.  Over the last year - one lonely hand.

I have made the point that Computer Science is not about the craft of software development.  Physics is not about building bridges and Mathematics is not the study of accounting.  This informal survey in the room today certainly confirms that.

My favorite session of the day was Rushabh Mehta's session on Analysis Services 2008.  I've personally done some testing with 2005, but I have nothing in production yet.  I ran into a few roadblocks that really slowed things down for me.  I saw a few things in the demo today that I'm excited to try out, and I think the built in best practices guidance will be a big help.