I just got back from South Africa and I am happy to report that the .NET Developer community is very strong there.
User's Group Meetings in in Johannesburg and Cape Town
- User group meeting in Johannesburg - thanks for setting this up Craig Nicholson.. I had a great time showing off Silverlight 2. We had lot of fun talking about Silverlight wit these slides and demo that I did. I also showed HardRock DeepZoom, the video wall and HSN.TV
- User group meeting in Cape Town - Thanks to Hilton Giesenow for setting this up. This time I did a drill down into the ASP.NET MVC framework. The response was excellent! Thanks folks for your questions and interest! Here is the slides and demo..
Mix Essentials in Johannesburg and Cape Town
We had over 664 developers\designers attend the events in both cities… A little over 3/5th of them were developers and the vast majority of them were active ASP.NET developers. Just about everyone was already on VS2008.
We kicked off the day with keynote highlighting Microsoft’s investment in UX. I got drafted to do a breif bit on to show off some of the great work we are doing in WPF for SP1. So I showed the very cool WPF Bitmaps effects demo ScottGu showed at Mix '08 in Vegas… Judging from the comments afterward, I think it got a few people thinking about what is possible with a desktop applications. People were impressed that the CPU was not being chewed up by this..
For the rest of the day we split up – the designers when to a different room and I kept all of the developers. I did three sessions covering the full web development space. The retention rate was really good… just about everyone stuck around for the end.
Next up I did an hour fifteen minute demo on Silverlight 2 development. I focused on end-to-end development, not just the UI glitz side of Silverlight and the audience responded very where. Rather than going through a bunch of slides I created an application from scratch that does read\write data access via WCF and LINQ as well as local storage via Isolated storage Here is part of the flow I used: http://blogs.msdn.com/brada/archive/2008/06/26/data-focused-silverlight-demo.aspx and http://blogs.msdn.com/brada/archive/2008/06/23/using-asp-net-authentication-in-a-web-service-with-silverlight.aspx. Thanks Scott Morrison for your help with this! Here are the slides I used to kick it off.
I had a great time doing this ajax demo… It was basically a reprise of my Mix 08 talk which is an all demo talk.. I could tell people really loved it! Because I had just come back from Safari, I re-themed it with my pictures.
I split the last talk on the “future of ASP.NET” into two parts… Part 1 was on MVC. The “no viewstate” and the “IDs not mangled” were winners! Folks generally seemed to get that they did not have to move to ASP.NET MVC. The two consistent big asks where for better\more ajax support and some sort of reusable component support. I think we are well on our way to address both of those. Here are the slides and demo I used.
This talk was a real crowd pleaser. I started off by showing how to change an existing site into being Dynamic Data aware and this really drove home the point about the value Dynamic Data adds. http://blogs.msdn.com/brada/archive/2008/06/20/asp-net-dynamicdata-an-introductory-demo.aspx . By this point ½ the room was already sold… but there was much more. I then used the wizard to show off all the customization capabilities of DD. That pulled the rest of them in. http://blogs.msdn.com/brada/archive/2008/06/27/asp-net-dynamic-data-customizing-the-ui.aspx . The questions here were all about support for different data sources. NHibernate, plain old objects, etc. I think we have a great story here and I wish I would have had time to demo it. Here are the slides I used
I had a little fun to close out the event. Through the day I had been throwing out giveaways (t-shirts\balls\hats) whenever someone asked a question or pointed out a bug I had made (there were a few!). But I was left with a big Microsoft keyboard that I didn’t want to through. So I ask for a volunteer to come up and code something on stage like I had done all day! I chose creating a LINQ model over top of Northwind as I did that like 5 different times during the event so I thought it was fair. The victims.. ah, I mean volunteers at the Cape Town and Johannesburg events did well! They started off kind of shaky and made me nervous, but they got in and nailed it! It was a good fun time for all as the audience “helped” out a bit by yelling suggestions. One guy even said “you owe me ½ that keyboard” when he finally go it ;-). Oh, and some folks asked me about the zooming tool I used to zoom in on the screen. It is called ZoomIt.
Here are a few blog posts I have already seen from the event..
I'd love to hear your feedback\thoughts on this... and if you blogged on the event please let me know and I will add your link here.
Oh, and I did spent a few days on Safari at Mala Mala adjacent to Krueger national park. I was amazed at the big game viewing... I highly recommend it. Here are some photos.