In May, I was invited to be a guest presenter at the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Airlift 2008 held in Fargo, North Dakota, USA on the 28th and 29th of May 2008.
I was asked to co-present two sessions with Mike LoPatriello from Luna Development. The sessions were titled (now linked to online presentations):
Customizing the Microsoft Dynamics GP Client with Visual Studio Tools, Dexterity, and Modifier with VBA (click here for direct link)
We had 141 attendees at the Customizing session which discussed the different tools available for customizing the Microsoft Dynamics GP client (user interface) and compared and contrasted the pros and cons of the different tools. This was difficult to present as we had a complete range of skill levels in the audience, from complete beginners right through to experienced, long term Microsoft Dynamics GP developers. We managed to provide the basics of each tool while also showing a few advanced techniques.
The materials for this session are attached at the bottom of this article.
Here is Mike LoPatriello (left) and me looking smart in our presenter shirts:
On the next day Mike presented the Troubleshooting session to 130 attendees. During this session I presented a sneak preview of the Support Debugging Tool which I had developed to help support Microsoft Dynamics GP. I am working with my colleagues to get this tool made available to the Partner and ISV community. The tool was extremely well received and had the audience clapping and cheering each time a new feature was explained and demonstrated.
Each of the two days finished with a Study Hall session, which was a round table discussion where the attendees can ask the presenters questions. I found myself swamped with eager attendees and spent double the allotted 1 hour time slot talking to people.
At the conference, while the sessions were great, some of the best times were had outside of the sessions, where you get the chance to greet and meet the attendees which included many old friends and now lots of new ones. Some of the best moments for me were when people introduced themselves to me and thanked me for my help over the years on the newsgroups. There were many names that I knew from the newsgroups and now I finally had a chance to meet some of them in person. The Technical Airlift was a fantastic community building experience and well worth making a commitment to attend in the future.
Overall, the trip was well worth the 34 hours in transit from Perth (via Sydney, Los Angeles & Chicago) to Fargo. I also spent a day in the Microsoft office in Fargo and had time to have meetings with the teams that I work with. Finally, I spent 3 days attending the Developer Toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 training course which I will train to the Asia Pacific region.
On a personal note: After leaving Fargo, I went home via London to surprise my Father (and his twin brother) on his 75th birthday (3rd June). My brother who was in the UK for the 75th birthday party, picked me up from the airport early in the morning. So when my father came down for breakfast, I was sitting in the kitchen. The expression on his face when he saw me was well worth the cost and effort to organise. After about 36 hours, I flew home to Perth (via Singapore) to arrive for my birthday (6th June) and the party that evening. A very exhausting trip, but well worth it.
28-Jul-2008: Added links to online sessions, for a full list see the Technical Airlift Online Series.
03-Sep-2008: The Support Debugging Tool has now been released, see here for more info.
19-Nov-2008: Added direct links to presentations.