On Saturday I attended DDD6 down at Microsoft's UK Campus in Reading. This was another great event and a great opportunity to catch up with people and make new contacts. I attended a full complement of sessions and found the day relaxed and useful. The great thing about events such as DDD is that the agenda is selected by the community, the sessions are proposed by the community and the days are organised by the community. Also because of the breadth of topics being covered I was able to cover topics which I wouldn't always be able to.
I started off my day with a session from Dave Sussman on the forthcoming Dynamic Data Controls for ASP.Net. Dave is a great speaker and is also very honest in his opinions, perfectly accompanied with Phil's opinions too and this gave the session a real life feel and led the audience to make their own minds up on the real use of the tools. Essentially the people in the room were the first to see this build of the controls, they provide a good way of creating a quick admin site for a database but beyond that as Dave and Phil said, it is unclear where they would be used.
I saw Gary Short present on his Favourite Patterns next, this is a session which I have been looking forward to seeing and I'm hoping to sort out a date for Gary to come and present at VBUG in Newcastle in the New Year. I enjoyed this session because patterns and practices is an area which I think a lot of developers, myself included, are looking to gain more knowledge and focus in, due to the pressures of time at work this is often where events like DDD can help with delivering content on this type of topic. I enjoyed the session and look forward to learning more as I get further into the path which Gary has started.
Ben Lamb's session - Being Lazy with PowerShell was interesting and gave a quick roundup of PowerShell and why Developers should care about it. The power of CmdLets and the control over the shell which PowerShell gives is great and I will be looking to cover a little more of PowerShell as I look at how it can be used with IIS7.
The penultimate session I attended was organised by Colin Mackay and was a Question Time type panel on the subject of Recruitment. The panel consisted of Sarah Blow, founder of Girl Geek Dinners and Software Engineer, Barry Dorrans, Senior Consultant and Microsoft MVP, Frank Kerrigan, Development Team Lead and Karl Lightfoot, a recruitment consultant. Colin had a series of questions submitted but also questions were taken from the floor in this hour long session. This was a session which I had been looking forward to as this is a topic discussed within the Community at length. Questions covered issues such as balancing evangelism and work; how to get started in the industry; what sort of positions to look for?; Why whiteboards are used in interviews?; Technical Testing methods. This was great session and interesting to hear the issues from the four perspectives on the panel. I'm sure this session could have occupied a lot more time.
Finally I attended Barry's session on Web Services? We don't need no web server. This was a great session, despite Barry's live coding and time issues, and the way in which Barry handled the problems are a lesson to all presenters. The content quality was as usual high and gave a good grounding on WCF and benefits over Remoting. It is very difficult to find a good session on WCF as it can be a very dry topic, however this cleared up a lot of confusion and initial quandaries over WCF and I'm looking forward to having more of a look at WCF - especially with PAS on IIS7 - soon.
Overall another great day and well worth the drive down from the North East.