Uk Techdays

by Jon 8. May 2010 20:34


Uk Techdays Visual Studio 2010 Launch

UkTechDays; was 5 day events developer events hosted by Microsoft at two cinemas in London.  Although the usual goodies were lacking everyone had a great time and I learnt lots especially in development areas that I don't normally come into contact with. Credit must still go out to Microsoft for organising a week of free training/lectures, the quality of the speakers was really excellent.  Unfortunately the free copy of visual studio that delegates received at the both the vs2005 and vs2008 launches wasn’t repeated at the vs2008 launch in London.  But on balance what is most important is about keeping up-to date with the latest changes to the framework and development practices.

If you missed the event, or just want to catch up Microsoft has now made all the videos available here.

I attended the first two days, and took notes until I either got too excited or lost interest, this blog post is a regurgitation of these notes.  As I wasn't able to attend all week due to work and costs, these notes only cover the first two days.

Monday 12th April 2010 – First Day

I arrived in London the night before, and got to the Vue Cinema in plenty of time to get a coffee and get a good seat.

UkTechDays Introduction

Windows Development with Visual Studio 2010 - Matt Nunn, Senior Product Manager, Visual Studio

This session covered lots of new features that developers will benefit from in visual studio 2010

  • Partial String Intellisence - Intellisence has been improved, filtering now works with substrings or the Capitalised letters.
  • Multi Monitor - Windows can be broken off the Visual Studio Development Enviroment, and they can be moved to a separate monitor and docked there instead.  I think this will be great if you have 3 monitors but less useful for laptop based developers.
  • Zooming - Visual Studio 2010 has been rewritten in WPF so zooming is soother and the interface is slicker.
  • Test Driven Development Support – Useful if you have ultimate version of Visual Studio.
  • Extension Manager - Visual Studio extensions are now controlled from a funky new extension manager which appears to work more like a store where you can try, buy and remove extensions and features as you see fit.
  • JQuery - I haven’t used jQuery myself but I know a few people do.  jQuery is now properly supported in vs2010 and Microsoft is collaborating into the Open Source Project.
  • Lean Code Only - Some developer love code so much they don’t care about UIs.  Well Microsoft has now given us a way to develop in a code only view which hides away all the UI stuff. Great if you are writing drivers, or you are a proper geek.

Over the years C++ has been left behind in the visual studio world.  Vs2010 brings C++ upto date.  There was a fantastic demo on an old MFC application and how you can add windows 7 features really easily with visual studio 2010.  If you are a C++ developer VS2010 is defiantly an upgrade you should be looking at.  You get the class wizard back again, and you can do touch screen integration and everything else you would expect to see in windows 7.

Share point was also covered briefly; sharepoint development is much much easier in VS2010, but I think SharePoint is still too expensive for most developers to even consider so I won’t write anything else about it.

Web and Cloud Development in vs2010 - Richard Erwin, Technical Specialist, Developer & Platform Evangelism, Microsoft

There were a couple of demos, but I picked up the following nuggets on windows 7 phone:

  • UI Development for windows phone is vertical the XAML is shown side by side to the WUSIWYG editor.
  • Windows phone emulator is also hardware accelerated on the windows desktop (which is coo and needed because the windows 7 phone has 4 cores!)
  • Windows phone 7 is out later this year, sometime before Christmas

SharePoint and Office Development with Visual Studio 2010 - David Bishop, Principal Program Manager Lead, Developer & Platform Evangelism, Microsoft

I enjoyed this session, I get SharePoint but it’s not an area I work in and I don’t see the point for most developers due to cost constraints so I'm not going to write up my notes. Lots of developers started walking out at this stage, and there were lots of tweets from unhappy devs. However I thought it was a good session, and SharePoint may be something we want to get into later, especially if the cost is made less prohibitive.  If you do SharePoint development or your interested I recommend watching this video on the uktechdays website.

Improving Developer-Tester Collaboration with Visual Studio 2010 - Giles Davies, Technical Specialist, Developer & Platform Evangelism, Microsoft

Again it all looks great, but most developers can’t afford Ultimate Edition and lots of developers switched off. It is a shame as it is all good stuff but unfortunately we won’t get to use all these lovely features.

Unveiling the new and useful features of .NET Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010 - Giles Davies; Richard Erwin; Mike Taulty; Eric Nelson; Mike Ormond; Mark Bloodworth

Ohh this was very meaty, it was split over two sessions reaching out until lunch because there were so many demos and so much information I’m just going to give brief bullet points.

  • Implicit Line continuation – No need to have those nasty underscores
  • C++ has a new dynamic keyword
  • Com Interops are better, comtypes are embedded in dotnet, ie a comtype library is no longer needed.
  • Web.Config and other config files have been imporved, we have different config files for different deployments.
  • Performance monitoring features, allows you to see what is going on in more detail it is a nice graphic display of how your code works. I think this is going to be fantastic for deep analysis of services running on multi core machines.
  • Caching in Asp.net is much more efficient
  • Session state can now be compressed
  • There is a new code block <%: which will automatically html encode
  • Webforms can now generate pure CSS friendly XHTML strick
  • Support for ASP.net MVC
  • Webforms isn’t going to be dropped, but It is clear MVC is going to be the recommended technology for web development.

Mike Taulty then took over and did a load of demos, RIA Services look fantastic, and defiantly something I want to look into in future

  • Visual Studio loves XAML based applications
  • XAML apps are made really simple if you want, you can write a Silverlight app without writing a single line of code if you want.
  • XAML is like windows forms point and click development, if you want it to be

Some other nuggets from the morning sessions

  • Entitiy framework 4 is a leap forwards as it fixes problems people experienced in older versions
  • Support for foreign keys on objects in EF4
  • You can take a group of properties and easily convert them into a complex type in the editor
  • If you use a stored procedure it will automatically create a matching complex type that works, which is a sensible outcome
  • Lazy Loading is on by default
  • POCO looks cool, but it isn’t in the initial release of vs2010, it is a code only interface to a database
  • In POCO you create a pure class, populate a few with data and save them to the database without writing ther database code
  • Parallel.Invoke will automatically split work across multiple cores efficiently

A Perspective on Agile Development - Colin Bird, Founder, Ripple Rock

It was a good session but you got the feeling Colin was trying to sell his services over demonstrating Agile best practices. I know I am not agile yet, but I intend to get there by continuously improving myself and our business practices. I am not going to big bang to agile I am going to get there in small steps. There were some great bullet points from this session:

  • Everything should be production ready all of the time
  • Agile is binary, it is either completed or not
  • Don’t commit part of the solution
  • Limit your work to what you have started and only do one thing at a time
  • Don’t Create a technical Debt
  • Lots of refactoring is needed all of the time
  • You need unit tests, performance tests regression tests
  • You need lots of interaction between people
  • Your aiming for Every bit of work you commit to be a mini waterfall. Analyse the problem, Design, Develop, Deploy and Test EACH time you commit changes
  • Look at implementing continuous integration
  • Agile is reactive to change
  • Encourage change and feedback from customers
  • Automate as much as possible, especially deployment try and deploy as much as possible

Fun Programming with Visual Studio - Rob Miles, Academic from University of Hull, Microsoft MVP

This was by far the best session of the two days. I am defiantly having a go at writing a game. XNA is a fantastic way into software development and it is something they should be teaching in schools across the country. Rob impressed the audience and showed us it is really simple to make a game that you can deploy to an xbox360, windows 7 phone or run on your home pc. His new book looks like it will be fantastic for beginners.

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