Good Times at DevTeach, Vancouver

Last week I spoke at DevTeach in Vancouver which was held at the beautiful Four Seasons in downtown. I love this Canadian conference because the attendees are great – super friendly and social, and ask a lot of great questions. I mostly interacted with folks building applications for the government or working as consultants and wanting to freshen up their .NET skills. It was also nice to see a good number of VB developers here. I gave three talks and ended up in the top 3 speakers overall which was great :-).

Future Directions for Visual Basic and C#

Before the conference I did a joint user’s group talk and about 120 people showed up to see “Future Directions for Visual Basic and C#” which has also been delivered before at PDC and TechEd by folks on the Language Team. I did a flavor of Jonathan Aneja’s TechEd talk but I also included new C# features which I have to say are a welcome relief to me personally. Unfortunately my VM was misbehaving so badly that Visual Studio was running at a snail’s pace. But I joked around and got through it ending up with some good comments and questions. I did the talk again at the conference and my VM was just fine – go figure. As a bonus for the conference attendees I also included a VB REPL demo and it was a hit. Check out John’s TechEd recording for variations of the VB demos that I showed.

Most interesting was the group that attended the talk. It was almost a 50/50 split between VB and C# devs in the room with some cross-over (doing both). I even had 3 C++ programmers attend. I started out with all the new VB features, then showed all the new C# features and then finished up with the new features in both. I had a lot of fun with the session, jabbing at both languages here and there and poking fun in places where one was catching up to the other and vice versa. Here’s the breakdown of new stuff in each language:

Feature VB10 C#4
Auto-implemented Properties Y Y
Collection Initializers Y Y
Multiline & Statement Lambdas Y Y
Implicit Line Continuation Y N/A
Named/Optional Parameters Y Y
Late binding support (dynamic) Y Y
Omit ref on COM calls Y Y
DLR Integration Y Y
Generic Variance Y Y
PIA deployment not needed Y Y
Y = Already exists in VB9/C#3
Y = New in VB10/C#4

Check out the Visual Studio 2010 Language samples and language walkthroughs for details on each of these features.

The C# crowd seemed in particular to like the Named & Optional parameter support commenting that “It’s useful because it saves me writing code”. I actually showed all of the C# 4 features in one method that demonstrated COM interop with Office lifted from this walkthrough. The VB crowd was particularly pleased to see no more underscores and auto-implemented properties. And those that commented in the session were pleased to see the language parity. I’m just glad I didn’t get any rotten tomatoes thrown at me from either side. :-)

Here’s some more resources to check out:

Data Sources and Data Binding with WPF

I’ve done this talk many times before and it’s always a lot of fun. I’ve been blogging on data binding in WPF as well as doing How Do I videos for a while now. This talk takes WPF data binding from a Winforms developer perspective and I try to demonstrate that investments made in your Winforms data sources can be used in WPF. The crowd seemed relieved ;-). I also showed the drag-drop data binding in Visual Studio 2010 building a form similar to what Milind showed in this Channel 9 interview. The team has also been blogging heavily about WPF data binding in VS2010 on the VS Data blog so check it out.

Here’s some more resources to check out:

  • Data Sources and Data Binding in WPF
  • WPF Forms over Data Videos
  • Channel 9 Interview: WPF Drag-Drop Data Binding in Visual Studio 2010
  • VS Data Team Blog
  • Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Beta 1
  • Conquering XML with LINQ in Visual Basic 9

    This has got to be one of my most favorite talks of all time. I’ve written a lot on this topic. I have been doing this one for a couple years now and what’s great about it is that it never gets old. It’s amazing how many folks are still not aware of XML Literals in VB. Only about 10% of attendees had used them before so I started with the basics and worked my way up into the demos. This talk scored very high for me and I think it’s because I show a lot of practical examples of using XML Literals and LINQ to XML. I didn’t show any betas or unreleased bits either and I think folks appreciated that they could go home and get working with it right away.

    I got through all the demos and showed a good amount of Open XML SDK to manipulate Office 2007 documents. I also showed off the VSTO Power tools a bit for viewing the Open XML packages. Amongst the many demos we went through, we built a letter generator from scratch like I’ve shown before here. I also did my famous Virtual Earth demo that people always enjoy.

    Here’s some more resources to check out:

    I also attended a few sessions myself on MVVM and Silverlight so you may see more of that cranking out of this blog at some point. ;-) I look forward to the next DevTeach!