DevConnections Conference – Day 2

One of the reason I like devConnections, or any other good tech conference for that matter, is inspiration. You see all these intelligent, motivated and driven folks around you working on a wide variety of interesting problems, trying to find the most efficient solutions, evaluating newest technology and being enthusiastic about it. This, I believe, induces the development stimulation in you which usually lasts for a long time (halflife is about a year and then it’s stochastic). Crudely speaking it’s an inspirational ‘fix’ for a coding ‘high’, so it’s a developers rave.

Wednesday was a good day @ dev connections; interesting, informative, useful talks all day long. The details of talks I attended follows but first let me tell you about a quote I found on a session attendee’s T-Shirt yesterday.

print "Content-type:text/html\n\n";
Hvcsjt); $b="Lbssz Wbmm"
;$b =~ y/b-z/a-z/ ; $c =
" Tif ". @a ." hsfbu wj"
."suvft pg b qsphsbnnfs"
. ":\n";$c =~y/b-y/a-z/;
print"\n\n$c ";for($i=0;
$i<@a; $i++) { $a[$i] =~
[-1]){print"and $a[$i]."
;}else{ print"$a[$i], ";

I’ had to google it right there and then and it turned out to be the following quote of Larry Wall.

"The three great virtues of a programmer:
 Laziness, Impatience, and Hubris.
-- Larry Wall"

A Data Driven Approach to internationalization with ASP.NET
Rick Strahl

We have been managing multi-lingual (bi-lingual) applications for over two years by using resource files. As easy at they sound, resource files are not all that great. The management, the changes, the satellite assemblies and providing that there is no auto-extraction of elements in 2003, they could be quite painful. Therefore Rob and I were really looking forward to this session and were not disappointed. Rich did an excellent job explaining the internationalization in a non-trivial, in-depth style. His presentation included (but was not limited to) the following topics

  • Benefits of using data driven approach to localizationApplying SQL queries against resourcesLookup for existing values and back ups (management)Customer Resource Provider model and ResourceProviderFactoryTypeApplication resource localizationImporting the resource file to the databaseClient script and ajax localization samplesLiteral values for escape sequences in localization.
  • Writing a resource provider; basic data driven resource provider (configuration etc needs to be handled manually)

Rick highly recommended the following book from Addison Wesley
.NET Internationalization (Addison Wesley)

References and Links

ASP.NET 2.0 Navigation
David Sussman

Last I saw David speak was in 2003 in a London .NET User group meeting. This time he has flown across the pond for our user group meeting (Thanks David) and talked to us about navigation in ASP.NET 2.0. The topic was interesting and different because it was not a demo of Sitemap data source / controls of ASP.NET 2.0 but more like real world scenarios, making it data driven etc. David discussed topics like ASPXMLSitemap provider, handling of nodes, gotchas, using treeviews, adapter framework, staticsitemapprovider, multi-threading and locking when explicitly handling the paint, using cache invalidation for posting the updates, CSS Menu and much more to list here.He highly recommended [Danny Chen]- Blog of an ASP.NET QA tester blog for reading up on ASP.NET 2.0 features and issues.

The samples will also be available from his website.

For the presentation download, David has said that he is going to clean up the code and will upload it on the conference website shortly. Looking forward to play with his samples and build a new sitemap provider from, lets say an object data source reading from a menuing web service! Lame? Or cool…you decide.

The home of Al and Dave
ASP.NET 2.0 Illustrated

Layout and Navigation in Windows forms 2005
Kathleen Dollard

“Winforms are going to stay; they still have a life of about 3-5 years before WPF takes over” says Kathleen Dollars during her powerful presentation on Layout and Navigation in Winforms during which she presented tons of useful information on the following

  • Effectively adding and managing Controls to winforms Splitter controls, docking and anchoringGotchas in the design and how to work around them/fix themTree view control and Owner drawing using GDI+Panels, fixed panel properties, docking, autosizing, OnDrawNode, Utility SyncADA compatibilityLocalization in table layout and flow layoutMonitoring the selection change
  • Merging during the menus and strips

the best thing about Kathleen's presentation was that it was practical and she addressed the usual blues one would encounter during Winforms development.

Her blog can be reached here.

ASP.NET 2.0 tips and tricks
Rob Howard

Rob Howard, former Microsoft ASP.NET team member discussed multitude of cool techniques, tips and tricks during his presentation including but not limited to

  • Making application offline via App_Offline.htmLoad testingSQL DependencyIHTTPModule usage and register it with IIS for background service.Output cacheHTTP debug proxy
  • IIS 7.0 URL Re-writing / mapping

Rob Howard's Blog

Writing Reliable Code with .NET Framework 2.0
Stephen Toub

This was an in-depth, down to the CLR insightful session providing that you do “unsafe” development otherwise its still something to keep at the back of your head while development. Steve discussed topics like managed debugging assistants, ThreadAbortException, reliability MDA, PrepareConstrainedRegion, safe handles, handle recycling attacks, reliability constraints, escalation procedures, constrained execution regionsm fail fast etc.Very interesting things to explore; Steve’s articles and blog links are as follows.

Stephen Toub’s blog
High Availability: Keep Your Code Running with the Reliability Features of the .NET Framework  (MSDN Magazine)
.NET Matters: Debugger Visualizations, Garbage Collection  (MSDN Magazine)
Bug Bash: Let The CLR Find Bugs For You With Managed Debugging Assistants  (MSDN Magazine) 

Chalk Talk Session – Ajax.NET
Microsoft Corp.

The chalk talk session was a last minute announcement from 7:00 – 9:00. The topic was good but the speakers lost us in first ten minute so Rob, Ajit and I ended up heading to Mandalay Bay Buffet where tasty salmon was waiting for us.

Alex Homer addressing the Enterprise Library

Brian Noyes on Windows Workflow foundation.

The updated slides and samples for devConnections are/will be posted here.

VS.NET Connections

ASP.NET Connections

and last but not least, a fellow attendee and MS MVP Bil Simers writes about DevConnections Day 2, the tweleve days of Vegas