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Devdays 2011 South Africa


Written by:
2011/05/30 11:01 AM RssIcon


Well Devdays 2011 South Africa has come and gone. As always I’ve come away with some fresh new ideas.

But as always I think it could have been better, but then that's probably a personal view point.

However I do believe that Microsoft want some positive feedback. So if you were there, why not give your feedback? What was it that you liked or did not like?

If you would like to leave your thoughts in the comments below, I will be sure to pass them on to the guys at Microsoft.

A good turn out

I was surprised that there were over 900 people attending Devdays 2011 Johannesburg. Substantially more than Cape Town with only about 600 attending. Cape Town want to be called South Africa’s Silicon Valley. Yeah Right, seems to me that they should move that up to good old Johannesburg.

One thing I noticed that it is still predominately a male dominated industry. But a huge improvement from a few years ago. Come on gals, we know you got the brains behind the beauty.

Things I liked

One of the reasons I attend Devdays every year is to come away with fresh ideas. Microsoft is trying a lot of new things so this year we saw some new ideas coming from Microsoft.

Window Phone 7 - There are a lot of exciting things happening in the mobile space. Windows Phone 7 is the latest from Microsoft. Microsoft foresee that they will be #2 in the mobile software market by 2015. What will drive this? Application development is the key. Unfortunately, here in South Africa not much incentive for developing apps for WP7.

Thats all about to change. By year end South Africa will have their own Development Windows Phone 7 Market place. A place where we can showcase, sell, market, our Windows Phone 7 apps. IF this takes off, I believe that there is a lot of money to be made in this segment.

LightSwitchLightswitch, still in beta, is promised to be a simpler and faster way to produce professionally looking applications. LightSwitch is a new addition to the Visual Studio family. I believe that it’s primary market will be Non-programmers.

RazorRazor is a new view engine which promises to make inline coding a breeze. Gone is the inline code template of <%# … %>. Now with a more simpler @ sign any C# code can be inserted into normal HTML pages. Reminds me of PHP.

WebMatirxWebmatrix is a free development tool that allows you to develop great websites that run on either Windows or Linux. That’s right, you read correctly. Web matrix allows you to develop in .net or PHP. Webmatrix is integrated into the Microsoft gallery. Here you can download and use various web frameworks including the likes of Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, Dotnetnuke, and more. Webmatrix also makes use of the Razor syntax and view engine. Webmatrix offers you a one stop for web development, customization and publishing.

MVC3 – MVC should not be new to a lot of the .NET developers. Basically MVC stands for Model View Controller.The Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern is an architectural design principle that separates the components of a Web application. This separation gives you more control over the individual parts of the application, which lets you more easily develop, modify, and test them.

MVC3 includes:

  • Razor view engine syntax support
  • HTML 5
  • Integrated Scaffolding system extensible via NuGet
  • Rich JavaScript support with unobtrusive JavaScript

Brent Samodien – I wish all speakers could be like Brent. He is an entertaining, well versed, and competent speaker. He is also very funny, but at the same time keeps you glued to the topic at hand. Thanks Brent you really made the effort worth while. Your Mafia and Assassin demos were a hoot. This helped many people, beginners, understand the concepts of classes and their interaction.

Other Stuff - Obviously this was not all that was presented. A lot of focus went into cloud computing and Windows Azure. The Cloud is definitely the place to be now days. There are some exciting offers and technology from Microsoft  within this space.

To wet your appetite here is a quick tid-bit. Did you know that Steve Job's Dreamworks Uses Windows Azure?

Other great technology such as Team Foundation Server, collaboration, testing etc also seemed great to attend.  Unfortunately we only had a certain amount of hours to use and I could not attend all talks and all tracts.

Things I did not like

I don’t like to dwell on negativity, but I believe that some helpful criticism is due.

Perhaps it’s me, getting old and all that, but I felt that this years event lacked the wow factor.

I remember attending my first few DevDays events. I was in complete awe as to what Microsoft was doing.

More entertaining speakers. The speakers did know their stuff, but I believe that they could have been a little more entertaining and inventive. You are selling Microsoft technology, don’t bore us with your monotone voice. Don’t do the simple samples like “hello world” and the like. You need to get me excited about Microsoft.

I mean, when I came out of the IE9 presentation, I overheard people still talking about Google Chrome and how much they preferred Chrome to IE. Not Good.

I would have liked to see some of the new technology like Workflow Foundation 4. Not many Developers seem to be using that. Perhaps I am one of the few. I think it is such a great technology that we need to get it out there and make it public.

Your Thoughts

So did you attend Devdays? What were your thoughts? Did you like it, did you hate it? Were you amazed, or was it old hat?

Lets make DevDays South Africa a memorable event each year. To do so the guys at Microsoft would cherish your well thought out criticism on how to improve Devdays for the coming years.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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