Category Archives: Day of .NET

Ann Arbor Day of .Net

Wow I’ve been swamped. There’s so much to blog about in the past couple of weeks so I’m just going to catch some of the highlights.

Ann Arbor Day of .NET was on 5/5/2007. It was fantastic! It sold out at 250 people and of that there were 210 people show up. That’s actually really good as most free events have a 40% droppoff and they had less than 20% droppoff. The only downside on the day was that with less than a 20% droppoff – pizza was a little short at lunch.

They are actually thinking about going to every 6 months instead of every 12 months. I think this would be fantastic!

I kicked off the day with a session on User Experience technologies at Microsoft. I borrowed from some of the materials that we are putting together for the upcoming ArcReady (Check the site for dates and times across the entire central region – Detroit on 5/25 in two weeks for all those that attended Day of .Net). We dipped into WPF, AJAX and Silverlight. My favorite demo is the Silverlight Airlines Demo. It shows a truly out of the box user experience that’s not all glitz and glammor but a truly solid UI for a true business application. Many of the demos, while showing off the platform really well, are marketing apps that show lots of 3D and animation. My customers often look at the glitzy demos and say that they are not doing 3D so they don’t look at the technologies. What they are missing is that there are real benifits here with enabling truly rich interfaces that go well beyond text and pictures.

I had two more 30 minute sessions. In both of those sessions the overwhelming requests were to have more Silverlight content. I had nothing prepared for these sessions but they went really well. In the first session, I pulled Don Burnett, who started Michigan Interactive Designers, out of the crowd and asked him to do a tour around Expression Blend and Silverlight. He got up, completely unscripted, and did a fantastic job! I will definitely be bringing him in to do more demos and presentations – especially when we have a designer based crowd. It turns out that he used to work with Bill Wagner (my former business partner when I was at SRT Solutions) on the Lion King Animated Storybook.

In the second session, I was on my own but I showed Top Banana, the DLRConsole (python and javascript version – IronRuby will be released as a CTP from CodePlex later this year) and talked about the .NET support in Silverlight 1.1 Alpha. Yes – I actually wrote some Python and did a simple overview for people at the conference. It was a fun day!

Here are some of the resources that we talked about during the three talks:

•Windows Forms @ .NET FX Developer Center
http://windowsclient.net

•WPF @ MSDN Developer Center
http://msdn.microsoft.com/winfx/reference/presentation/default.aspx

•.NET 3.0 (WPF, WCF, WF) Community Site
http://windowsclient.net/

•Silverlight
http://www.silverlight.net

•ASP.NET AJAX @ ASP.NET Developer Center
http://msdn.microsoft.com/winfx/reference/presentation/default.aspx

•ASP.NET AJAX Community Site
http://ajax.asp.net/

•DirectX @ DirectX Development Center
http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/

•Microsoft Visual Studio @ Visual Studio Developer Center
http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/

•Microsoft Expression
www.microsoft.com/expression

 

Day of .NET site

Link to Day of .Net in Ann Arbor 2007 – Home

Don Burnett’s write-up of the event.

Link to Don.NET’s WPF Designers Blog: Eastern Michigan Day of Dot Net

 

Organizing A Conference like Day of .Net

John Hopkins (who needs to blog more) wrote a fantastic article on how to run a community based conference. John is speaking from experience as he’s successfully run the Day of .NET two years in a row and he’s been on the board at CodeMash. I was on the organizing committee for both of these as well and can tell you that what John speaks is gospel.

I’m not going to rehash his whole article but to sum up a few points.

              • You can’t be too organized.
              • You can’t do it alone – you need as many volunteers as possible.
              • Venue is critical.

I will say that there are one or two tricks that you can employ that he didn’t think of. One of them is that there are a ton of registration services out there that run from a simple RSVP system to a full blown event engine. You really need some idea of how many people are coming so that you order the right amount of food, satisfy venders, stay safe on the fire codes and more. On the low end, you could just do a Upcoming, Facebook event or something like it with RSVPs. On the high end, you could go with an event company like EventBrite to do that for you. Or you could do what most of us morons do (And I’m including myself in this) and write your own registration engine for the show. This can come in handy if you actually include things like picking sessions that you’re interested in and the like.

He also didn’t talk about communications and such before the event. It was invaluable to have a collaboration site to stick notes, speaker abstracts, vendor contact and all that type of stuff. I’d recommend looking at BaseCampHQ and Sharepoint as possible collaboration implementations.

John’s advice has helped start and successfully run several conferences. It’s worth a read to go check out Organizing A Conference, especially if you’re planning to host a conference yourself.

Day of .Net in Ann Arbor Fall 2007

 Day of .Net May 5, 2007 - See You there!This past weekend I was privileged to attend and speak at the third iteration of the Day of .NET. I was one of the original organizers of the Day of .NET along with John Hopkins and Jason Follas a year and a half ago. They have far surpassed the original vision which was to just do a cool event for South-Eastern Michigan. The Ann Arbor Day of .NET is now one of the staple events in SE Michigan and they have moved it up to an every 6 month cadence.It’s even being exported to a number of other locations including Grand Rapids and Memphis.

The basic tenets are that:
A. Content is king. Over glitz and sponsors and everything else, this conference makes it’s mark by delivering rock solid content year after year. There were talks about .NET 3.0, WCF, LINQ, Astoria, Story Driven Design and Fitness, the Dynamic Language Runtime (my talk 🙂 – more on this topic coming soon), and even XNA. 20 sessions in all + 5 vendor driven half sessions. That’s a lot of fantastic content.

B. See rule A. 🙂

C. Leverage sponsors to cover the costs of the venue, food, T-shirts and more. I know that there’s been talk of requiring some type of registration fee of all the attendees. So far that’s not happened. There are a lot of benefits to the fee based attendance. It means that the variable costs (food, T-shirts and the like0 are covered based on the number of attendees rather that coming out of the flat fees that the sponsors have put in. There’s about 30-40% drop off from registration on free events. That’s because the people registered don’t have any skin in the game and decide that they don’t feel like it or it’s not a priority to show up. This is frustrating to all the organizers because it makes capacity planning really hard and it’s a slap in the face with all of the hard work that they’ve done to make this event amazing.

D. Nobody makes any money off of this. At different points, we discussed paying for different speakers to come in but we keep getting such great speakers that we haven’t ever resorted to that. I’m really hoping that we never have to. in the

E. Maintain your independence. While sponsored in part by Microsoft, there are many sponsors and none of them control the content or anything else – just get their name on the web site and other publicity. The independence of this conference and others like it is crucial. It means that they are able to take chances on “non-approved” content, maintain some level of credibility and attract an audience that would not be interested in a Microsoft or other sponsor driven marketing style event.

All of that being said – the community run aspect of this means a lot of work for the guys that are running the event and it really requires a good committee to do it right. John Hopkins and Jason Follas do a fabulous job year after year and should be proud of their work. I helped out the first year but was too busy with new job to help out last spring so Darrell Hawley stepped up, responsibilities were shifted and they pulled off an amazing event. This year Darrell Hawley was busy so they pulled in Patrick Steele, Chris Woodruff and Jeff McWherter to help out. At this point, there are parts of the event that were really hard that are on autopilot such as the registration system. The first two years were interesting because they didn’t have a registration engine and had to scrounge for one. Now they have one written that is just flicking a switch on and off to control the registration. That’s cool and needed. The web site was really hard the first year and now it’s pretty much writing itself when they add in the speakers, sessions and assignments. The giveaways were really hard the first couple of years but there have been a lot of great strides making that as automated as possible. I’m really impressed by the organizational and leadership abilities demonstrated by John Hopkins and Jason Follas to really make this a repeatable and sustainable event.

Thanks guys!

Day of .Net in Ann Arbor Fall 2007

Question from Day of .NET

I got a question from an attendee at Day of .NET in email. I thought I’d share the question and answers:

“Please let me know when additional WPF, Silverlight, and WCF info is available. How can I obtain these products?”

WPF and WCF – both of these are out right now at part of .NET 3.0. There is a ton of informtion out about these two technologies at http://www.netfx3.com. The technologies are free and available on Windows XP and pre-baked into Vista. Tools for code development are available for VS.NET 2005 as free downloads and are baked into VS.NET Orcas. Tools for design for WPF – you can do some in VS.NET but the design time experience is really best with Expression which has just been RTM’d.

Silverlight is freely downloadable plug-in that is still in beta. Actually, the 1.0 is stil in beta (It supports XAML and JavaScript.) but the alpha of 1.1 is already out which supports the .NET CLR. That supports C#, VB.NET and all of the other .NET languages as well as the Dynamic Language Runtime so there’s support for Python and JavaScript with Dynamic VB and Ruby on the way later this year. The tools for development for the 1.0 Beta is any text editor and Expression Blend 1.1 Alpha. The tools for development of 1.1 alpha with .NET support are available as add-ins for the VS.NET Orcas Beta and the Expression Blend 1.1 Alpha.

 

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Ann Arbor Day of .NET

Wow I’ve been swamped. There’s so much to blog about in the past couple of weeks so I’m just going to catch some of the highlights.


Ann Arbor Day of .NET was on 5/5/2007. It was fantastic! It sold out at 250 people and of that there were 210 people show up. That’s actually really good as most free events have a 40% droppoff and they had less than 20% droppoff. The only downside on the day was that with less than a 20% droppoff – pizza was a little short at lunch.


They are actually thinking about going to every 6 months instead of every 12 months. I think this would be fantastic!


I kicked off the day with a session on User Experience technologies at Microsoft. I borrowed from some of the materials that we are putting together for the upcoming ArcReady (Check the site for dates and times across the entire central region – Detroit on 5/25 in two weeks for all those that attended Day of .Net). We dipped into WPF, AJAX and Silverlight. My favorite demo is the Silverlight Airlines Demo. It shows a truly out of the box user experience that’s not all glitz and glammor but a truly solid UI for a true business application. Many of the demos, while showing off the platform really well, are marketing apps that show lots of 3D and animation. My customers often look at the glitzy demos and say that they are not doing 3D so they don’t look at the technologies. What they are missing is that there are real benifits here with enabling truly rich interfaces that go well beyond text and pictures.


I had two more 30 minute sessions. In both of those sessions the overwhelming requests were to have more Silverlight content. I had nothing prepared for these sessions but they went really well. In the first session, I pulled Don Burnett, who started Michigan Interactive Designers, out of the crowd and asked him to do a tour around Expression Blend and Silverlight. He got up, completely unscripted, and did a fantastic job! I will definitely be bringing him in to do more demos and presentations – especially when we have a designer based crowd. It turns out that he used to work with Bill Wagner (my former business partner when I was at SRT Solutions) on the Lion King Animated Storybook.


In the second session, I was on my own but I showed Top Banana, the DLRConsole (python and javascript version – IronRuby will be released as a CTP from CodePlex later this year) and talked about the .NET support in Silverlight 1.1 Alpha. Yes – I actually wrote some Python and did a simple overview for people at the conference. It was a fun day!


Here are some of the resources that we talked about during the three talks:


•Windows Forms @ .NET FX Developer Center
http://windowsclient.net

•WPF @ MSDN Developer Center
http://msdn.microsoft.com/winfx/reference/presentation/default.aspx

•.NET 3.0 (WPF, WCF, WF) Community Site
http://windowsclient.net/

•Silverlight
http://www.silverlight.net

•ASP.NET AJAX @ ASP.NET Developer Center
http://msdn.microsoft.com/winfx/reference/presentation/default.aspx

•ASP.NET AJAX Community Site
http://ajax.asp.net/

•DirectX @ DirectX Development Center
http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/

•Microsoft Visual Studio @ Visual Studio Developer Center
http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/

•Microsoft Expression
www.microsoft.com/expression

 


Day of .NET site


Link to Day of .Net in Ann Arbor 2007 – Home


Don Burnett’s write-up of the event.


Link to Don.NET’s WPF Designers Blog: Eastern Michigan Day of Dot Net


 




Day of .Net in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids in 2007

Day of .Net May 5, 2007 - I'll be there!WM Day of .Net May 19, 2007 - I'll be there!

 Were you at Day of .NET last year? Couldn’t get enough? This year there will be two Day of .NET events in Michigan! That’s right, you read it right – two Day of .NET events in Michigan! The first will be in Ann Arbor at the Washtinaw Community College on May 5th and the second will be in Grand Rapids at Davenport University on May 19th. These are two distinct events with different speakers and agendas. I’m fortunate enough to have been chosen to speak at both.

I’m talking about Architecting the User Experience and a joint session on Mobility with Dan Hibbitts in Ann Arbor. I’m repeating part of the ArcReady content on What do Architects Do Anyway and Architecture Assets – an Introduction to Patterns and Practices Group.

You should plan on coming to at least one of these events if not both!

Registration for the Ann Arbor Day of .NET

Registration for the Grand Rapids Day of .NET

Day of .Net in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids in 2007

Day of .Net May 5, 2007 - I'll be there!WM Day of .Net May 19, 2007 - I'll be there!


 Were you at Day of .NET last year? Couldn’t get enough? This year there will be two Day of .NET events in Michigan! That’s right, you read it right – two Day of .NET events in Michigan! The first will be in Ann Arbor at the Washtinaw Community College on May 5th and the second will be in Grand Rapids at Davenport University on May 19th. These are two distinct events with different speakers and agendas. I’m fortunate enough to have been chosen to speak at both.



I’m talking about Architecting the User Experience and a joint session on Mobility with Dan Hibbitts in Ann Arbor. I’m repeating part of the ArcReady content on What do Architects Do Anyway and Architecture Assets – an Introduction to Patterns and Practices Group.


You should plan on coming to at least one of these events if not both!


Registration for the Ann Arbor Day of .NET


Registration for the Grand Rapids Day of .NET