When I signed up for MadCamp09 I didn’t really know what to expect. I had heard about BarCamps, the somewhat chaotic geek nirvana day where ad hoc meetings discuss various topics, so I assumed this would be similar. There was coffee, always a good sign, and I was drawn to the possibility of winning a Dell netbook.
Upon arrival, we were segregated into “Developers” and “IT Pros”. I was on the developer track but I felt this was a somewhat artificial division as many of us are both. The IT Pros sessions were on how well Windows7 works with Windows Server 2008 SP2, and the new Exchange server functionality.
Our first developer session was a rundown of some of the tools that .NET developers keep in their toolkit, with an open floor for anyone to comment or make additions to the list. The complete list is here, and I’ll admit there were many that I had not heard of and more than a few that I’ll have no use for, but I learned a ton just listening to the various ways other developers work.
The second session was called “Advanced Silverlight,” and I barely understood a word of it. I’ve never used Silverlight, but I am very much drawn to the potential of cross-platform, rich internet applications auto-update over the wire. I would love to have a client ask me for a Silverlight app soon (hint).
Lunch was provided by MadCamp (sponsored by MITA and Madison .NET Users Group), which gave me an opportunity to chat with developer friends Dmitri Kurakov, Gary Thoreson, and Jim Spellman. One thing we agreed on is there really should be a lunchtime .NET users group on the west side of Madison to go along with the after work one on the east side.
After lunch we got to hear Dave Bost from Microsoft. Dave is an incredibly funny, dynamic speaker who also clearly has development chops. He ran down a ton of new things to look for in Windows7 that we developers can take advantage of to really take our apps to the next level. Some of the features include:
- Windows API Code Pack
- Sensor technlogies, so we can build Wii or iPode like apps.
- Troubleshooting Project Desidnger
- Windows7 Training Kit
And of course he recommended developers join MSDN or the MCP or even BizSparks.
All in all it was a good day. The weather turned nice as the day went on which made me regret spending an entire Saturday cooped up in a classroom, but this is the price we pay to stay on top of things. I would have preferred this happening on a work day, and maybe a few hours shorter…the IT Pros knew by noon who won their netbook, but we had to stay until the end (hint: it wasn’t me, I was completely shut out of prizes).