Yesterday I attended the first WebDD event at Microsoft Campus, Reading, UK. Once again this involved a 600 mile plus, roundtrip from my home in the North East of England. Was it worth it?
Oh Yes! This was another great event and big pat on the back must go to Phil, Dave and the rest of the team for organising such a great day!. Big quodos for getting Scott Guthrie to attend and speek on so many interesting topics. He was a big pull and I haven't seen crowds like there were, pushing to get into his sessions, I likened it to crowds at a footie match to one delegate! Unfortunately for the speakers in the other two rooms they had a hard time of it from what I hear as unfortunately some of their attendees only attended some sessions because they couldn't get into Scott's. That said seeing as the sessions in Chicago One were being recorded all day, I took the opportunity to see a session by Bruce Lawson who covered "Web Accessibility: What, Why, How and Who Cares?"
Bruce gave a very interesting a humourous session discussing an area which I feel very passionate about and one which I do try to work towards. I have been interested in Web Accessibility since the final year of my degree, indeed I covered Web Accessibility for a research chapter in my degree, and also have an interest in Human Computer Interaction since being introduced to the concept in my first year of Uni. Bruce outlined reasons for having accessible web sites and even provided a couple of examples of where it has yielded results for businesses by enabling all users to use a company's site and also the legal requirements of a company to provide an accessible site. This was an excellent session and gives me more knowledge for my work. Thanks Bruce!
I attended a session by Hristo Deshev, of Telerik, after lunch on Developing ASP.Net AJAX Components. This looked to be a very interesting session and compelling viewing, however Hristo was clearly nervous talking to such a larger audience, I think Chicago 1 was pretty much full, and as English was clearly not his first language his presentation, which was highly technical, was very hard to follow. That said as the session was being recorded I am looking forward to reviewing the session again when I can download the video, and indeed working through the example. This is a very interesting area and one which I would like to experiment with and use in my applications. Hristo works for Telerik and they provide a very extensive series of ASP.Net controls which I have been using for years very successfully.
Of Scott's sessions I attended the first part of End to End Web Sites, Sneak Peek at "Orcas" and WPF/e. I only attended the first session of End To End Web Sites as I saw a similar session at Tech Ed Europe last November so I chose to use the second session to see Bruce's session. Scott's session was great, however I will look at the slides when he posts them on his blog, so I can pick up the new things added which are different to the version given by Matt Gibbs. I enjoyed the session on "Orcas" and I am really excited to see the new tools in Visual Studio "Orcas" and will be looking to cover this more in the coming months. A public beta is expected in the Spring! With a release of sometime later this year. The last session of the day which I saw was on WPF/e, the essential idea behind this is the hosting of WPF content in the browser by ustilising a player downloaded once by the client, an idea which is often compared to Flash. This looks to be a very exciting area and expect to see a WPF/e version of my Code Monkey appearing here very soon.
The mix of clientele was again very different however there were a lot of familiar faces at the event and it was great to mix with designers and have a little insight into their interests, especially as a lot of us work alongside them day by day. Microsoft Event staff did a great job once again. Sausage/Bacon/Egg sarnies as soon as we got there brought massive brownie points, they went down very well with all attendees, along with the rest of the support staff who helped make this a great event.
Overall this was an excellent day and I'm looking forward to the next one already! Now we have two great community events in the form of WebDD and DDD. Make sure you keep an eye on those feeds to keep up to date with what's happening! It was also great to spot quite a few attendees who made the trip down from the North East, I recognised a lot from VBUG. Let me know what you thought of the event too.
WebDD a great event and big thanks to Phil and Dave!