Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tech Ed 06 Day 3


I attended BOF (Birds of a Feather) sessions until 10:00 last night.  I accidentally attended one on developing on virtual machines, which was actually informative, if unexpected.  Next was a very useful session on MSF, where the moderator directed me to David Anderson's Blog for more information.  He also suggested that I Google for "Agile CMMI"

The final session was on migrating to Team Foundation Server and was moderated by Jean-Luc David.  It turns out that Jean-Luc spoke at the Atlanta Code Camp also.  It is odd that we missed each other there.  There was some lively discussion about branching procedures in this BOF.  I enjoyed it completely, and was reassured that we are adopting TFS in a recommended manner at my employer.

I made it to the jam session last night, and didn't get back to my room until 1:30, but I'm feeling fit this morning and ready to take in more tech goodness.


[Update] My first session on "Applying Version Control, Work Item Tracking and Team Build to Your Software Development Project" with Brian Harry, was a big disappointment.  I was expecting some prescriptive guidance for integrating these tools into an existing project.  Instead, I sat through the same presentation I saw last year at Tech Ed.  This introductory/marketing style session are tiresome.  The companion session this afternoon promises to dig into customizing the system.  We shall see, I suppose.

At lunch I finally hooked up with Randy Miller.  We had tried to get together yesterday, but he had a conference call run way late.  Randy was very interested in the issues my company is having in resolving the impedence mismatch between the CMMI KPAs and the MSF process guidance.  He took careful notes, and thanked me frequently for providing detailed feedback.  He promised to put me in touch with David Anderson, who owns the CMMI template in TFS.  Randy assured me that David would be interested in following our progress and assisting us with any problems.  This is why I came to Tech Ed!

 Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tech Ed 06 Day 2


The first session I tried to attend was full!  I can usually walk into a session late and sit on the front row.   Apparantly, LINQ is a popular topic.  I'll catch the replay on the DVD.

I did attend a session on "Evolving to Patterns" which was actually refactoring to patterns.  I discovered that something I've been doing for years is called Dependency Injection.  It's nice to be assured I'm on the right track. 

The speaker recommended Working Effectively with Legacy Code, which looks like a useful text for my current job.  He also liked Refactoring to Patterns.  I plan to check them both out.


[Update] I met Josh Holmes at breakfast this morning.  I also got the skinny from Steve about a cool cigar bar here in Boston. ;-)  Steve is actually blogging again, so check it out.

I had a good, long talk with two members of the SQL Everywhere team this morning.  They were very interested in my concerns about FoxPro interoperability.  I had to take some time to explain the VFP development model, but they listened carefully.  The biggest roadblock I see at this point, is the lack of ODBC connections in SQL Everywhere.  They do support OLEDB connections, but the native SQLCONNNECT() function uses ODBC.  I will download the CTP and play with it when I get home.  I promised to post my feedback to the forum for their benefit.

The BCEC is enourmous and attractive, but it is difficult to navigate.  It is sometimes impossible to get from A to B.  Furthermore, the bathrooms are totally inadequate.  This is a modern building, and I expect an abundance of facilities!

[Update2] I got some time in with Ken Levy, and I was blown away.  It turns out that Live is another case of lousy branding by Microsoft.  Live is actually a collection of Web APIs that the team is attempting to normalize.  They will all eventually have common programming models.  In addition, they are implementing javascript libraries with similar programming models, so that a developer can program against a client side javascript object and allow that to converse with the web services.  I was very excited by this demo.

During lunch, I attended a session on managing requirements with Team Foundation Server and MindManager.  Michael Scherotter put together a tool that provides bi-directional interaction with TFS work item tracking.  This is very exciting for visualizing requirement/task dependencies at various levels in the task hierarchy.

[Update3] I just spoke with Steve Lasker about SQL Everywhere and Visual FoxPro.  He is a former VFP developer, and understood my concerns.  He mentioned that he is in regular contact with Calvin Hsia, which put my mind at ease.  Steve also pointed me to this recent blog entry where Calvin demonstrates working with SQL Everywhere.

[Update4] I just finished the first Birds of a Feather session this evening.  Joel Semeniuk led an informative discussion about project management with Team Foundation Server.  I picked up some tricks about configuring MS Project to work properly with TFS.  I'll share the details once I have tried them out.  More BOF sessions to come.

 Monday, June 12, 2006

Tech Ed06 Day 1


Today was the first "real" day of the conference.  I planned to do too much, and now I'm exhausted. 

Initial impressions: 

Travel:  Boston's airport is bigger than any airport has a right to be. 

The Silver Line is freaking cool!  The articulated bus runs by the airport, then stops at a station where it connects to overhead cables, and the engine shuts off.  Next the bus/trolley travels into its own tunnel.  

Lodging:  Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge is as cool as it looks on the website.  I have no regrets about choosing this funky establishment. 

Food:  There's too damn much of it.  My genetic code tells me to eat when food is available.  Unfortunately, there is always food available.  Breakfast and Lunch were excellent, and the evening reception with free "refreshments" was equally tasty.

People:  I had the opportunity to hang with Eric Sink, Martin Woodward and Don Demask.  I also ran into Matt and Brendan.  I saw Ken Levy, but he was busy pitching Windows Live.  I'll bend his ear tomorrow.  I also ran into Steve Loethen and Drewby.  Steve is my Developer Evangelist, and Drew is the DE in the district north of me.  I hope to get in on some code camps in Drew's district in the coming year.

Technology:  SQL Everywhere looks like a great migration path for users of Jet or Visual FoxPro.  My other sessions where about Team System, and my passions there are well documented.   I'm looking forward to a PowerShell session tomorrow.

I'm off to the jam session. 


[Update] No jam session for me. :'(   I went to the hotel to drop off my bag, and the leopard print robe and faux-fur throw looked soooooo comfy.  I was exhausted, and knew that I wouldn't get the most out of Tuesday if I pushed myself too hard.

 Tuesday, May 30, 2006