DevConnections Conference - Day 3

Thursday was the last day of the conference, tiring but enlightening
nevertheless. We however had one more day of Post Conf. session before we could head
home. Following are the chronicles of the last day of the conference.

Implement a Data Access Layer with the Visual Studio 2005 Dataset Designer
Brian Noyes

Brian Noyes is a software architect, trainer, writer, and speaker with IDesign. His presentation on the data access layer design was a masterful explanation of how easily this tool can facilitate a decent workable design.

The demos and slides are available here.

Real World ClickOnce:  Slides   Demos
Workflow Driven Windows Applications:  Slides   Demos
Implement a Data Layer with the VS 2005 DataSet Designer:  Slides   Demos

The presentation is also available from the devConnections website. Noyes_VDA302_DataSet Designer

Preparing Code for Debugging
Kathleen Dollard

I tried to attend most of Kathleen’s sessions because she is to-the-point, concise and stay away from the trivial.

My litmus test selection for a speaker usually comprises of the following two rules.

  • Has done development, real development and not a those-who-can’t-do,-teach trainer.
  • Stay away from trivial and address real world problems.

Following are the salient features of her presentation. It was a nice reminder of things you ought to do.

  • The best architecture is a simple architecture.
  • Build structural short routines.
  • Use FxCop; you’ll be amazed to see what you’ve been missing.
  • Use Generics to improve your designs.
  • Always use Source Control Management and do build planning.
  • Use XML Comments to document your code
  • Use Class designer to keep your design understandable and readable.
  • Integrate exception management, Tracing and logging to your code.
  • Use Code Templates to enforce the standards.
  • Use Visualizers to get better understanding of your object
  • Use the
    { }

Pattern to allow global catch of exception in a single place. The class library should inform the calling application what exception has occurred.

After this interesting session we had lunch break and harley raffle.

Black-belt Data Binding

David Sussman

David Sussman did an intermediate course in data binding and how to use it with .NET 2.0 controls.

The code samples will be available here. Here is an interesting topic which David discussed in his last presentation.
SiteMapPath and URLs with spaces

Unit Testing in the Real World

Kathleen Dollard

With quotes like

“The concept of what happen in Vegas stays in Vegas does not apply for this Conference”,

“Test early, after and forever”


Every bug replaces two bugs

  • The bug which was found and is being fixed.
  • The bug in the system which let your bug goes through in the first place.

Kathleen did another excellent presentation on Unit testing as the last presentation of the conference. I felt as this presentation was in conjunction with the previous “Preparing code for debugging” session but this time she emphasized on usage of the enterprise templates, Cruise control (build management) and following Sprints style life cycle approaches.

The big question which was posed in the session was, “Why unit testing?” The answers which came from audience was as follows.

  • To Catch complex logical errors
  • Unit testing is repeatable and hence can be used over the span of multiple releases.
  • It reduces the amount of bugs (of course).
  • To better understand the problem domain
  • To perform regression testing to ensure that the latest fix did not break any existing functionality.
  • Help documenting the use cases.
  • Makes it easier to gauge progress percentage/
  • Feedback is a powerful thing; it helps making better software.

Providing unit testing guidelines, Kathleen dug into the team system unit testing tool which raised an important question of, who is using team system.

Audience ubiquitously said that they are unable to take advantage of the Team System unit testing tools because of the pricing and still working with the open source alternative, NUnit. The speaker recognized this as a problem and asked us to blog about it, hence here it is. I believe testing is an integral part of SDLC and to capitalize on it might seem like a good idea but in the long run, it is going to hurt the platform.

There were several other good sessions for instance designing distributed application using the application designer. Pertaining links are as follows.

Designing a Distributed Application using the Application Designer
Designing Applications with Application Designer
Workflow Across Distributed System Designers

Mark Miller @ DevXpress stall in the expo.

During the ice-cream break we got the tasty Häagen-Dazs and then headed to the Q&A closing session.

With the questions as straight as

  • For how long we would have to Google to find out information on Microsoft website?
  • What are the strategies you’d recommend to Information
  • Why is vista licensing so ridiculous?

I found the Q&A session to be a big disappointment. The questions were not being taken seriously and there was virtually no Microsoft representative on stage to take the lead and answer things in a decent appropriate fashion. Some speakers did a good job in explaining the future strategy and “why’s” of things but overall it wasn’t nearly as good as last year’s Q&A.

With Alex Homer

Digital Guru Book Store

Conference presentation updates are available here.

ASP.NET Connections
VS.NET Connections