It's my first trip to devLink and so far it's been well worth the drive. The keynote was a disappointment, but everything after that was great; one important issue with the keynote is that we were a group of mostly developers, and I don't think that was the intended audience for the presentation. I spent the first session after the keynote in the opening session of the open space event. Alan Stevens is leading the open spaces at devLink and explained how open spaces worked and moderated as people contributed session topics. The theme of the open space event is "good enough", as in determining when you've attained the right balance of quality, purity, and business value. The opening session got the open space event off to a good start.
Lunch was next and was unremarkable. I took my normal route and got the vegetarian sandwich, which usually works well. Didn't work so well this time. The good part of lunch is that a group of us went to the open space area and ate lunch and got an early start on the discussion.
The next official session I attended was the open space covering several closely related topics, including encouraging critical thinking and motivating developers. In particular, we discussed how to share the passion that we have as devLink participants with our fellow developers who may not attend this kind of event, or user group meetings, or think about software development after they leave the office. It was a great session.
The next session I attended was Parallel Computing in .NET by Keith Rome of Wintellect. His presentation was directed toward using threads (or not) in today's .NET framework. He began by taking about some basic thread information, including processor cores, and hyper-threading. He then described the circumstances under which you should use threads and when you should not. He did a great job of explaining a complex subject and I left with several things I'm going to take back to a couple of my current clients.
The last session of the day I attended was Steve Andrews speaking about Automation with MSBuild 3.5 and Team Build 2008. Steve gave a great introduction to MSBuild and the various elements of MSBuild files, such as targets, tasks, properties and item groups. He also gave us several tips for working with MSBuild. He then went on to show how to use Team Build to perform builds and schedule those builds. There were a lot of questions/conversation in this session which I really enjoyed. I left Steve's session with a good idea of how to proceed with builds and continuous integration in Team Foundation Server.
Somehow every time I went to the attendee party tonight there were very few people there. The first time I dropped by, I think that most people were still at dinner. And by the second time I dropped by, they were giving away Xboxes and the crowd really thinned after that.
I'm looking forward to doing my presentation on WPF for Developers Saturday morning and I hope I can live up to the great presentations I saw today. Stay tuned for more after day 2.