DevWeek 2013 – My Experience

I was fortunate and lucky enough that my company paid for me to attend DevWeek 2013 for 2/3 of the conference days. I was really excited about going to an event specially for developers. I know it’s cliche, but I was like a kid in a toy shop when I first walked in. There were stalls set up giving out free stuff and information about their products. Oh and a prize draw to be entered at every one for a Surface Tablet! Obviously I set my sights on going around and collecting a memento from each stall. I quickly realised though how all of these things can help me and my company go forward. Serious head was screwed on very quickly.

The day before I had set myself an itinerary of what I wanted to attend. Here was my list:

Day 1 (Wed 6th March)
0930 – Windows 8 UI Design Principles (Dave Wheeler / Mark Smith)
1130 – SQL Server Query Tuning (Klaus Aschenbrenner)
1400 – Securing (ASP.Net) Web API based architectures (Dominick Baier)
1600 – Data Driven Windows 8 Apps (Dave Wheeler / Mark Smith)

Day 2 (Thurs 7th March)
0930 – Design for Testing (Kevin Jones)
1130 – Principles of Programming (Allen Holub)
1400 – Emergent Design (Neal Ford)
1600 – Windows 8 Contracts & Sharing (Mark Smith)

My colleague had recommended that I go see Dave Wheeler’s session to begin with as he was covering some windows 8 stuff and it should be interesting. Straight away though I felt sorry for the guy who was actually there, Mark Smith. He was covering as Dave had injured himself and could not attend (Hope he is better now!). Mark told us he was doing a session in every slot for the week! Over the days I went to a few of Mark’s sessions as I found the first one very good. He kept us interested and mixed it up well with live demos and talking about the theory.

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The next session I attended was SQL query tuning from Klaus Aschenbrenner. This blew me away. I am a bit of a SQL n00b so maybe this is why, but he showed us what is probably simple use of indexes to speed up queries and how the simplest changes can make huge differences to performance. I was impressed by this session and found Klaus to be funny and interesting throughout. So far I had a good start to the week.

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The last session of the day about Data Driven windows 8 apps was great. I’ve been trying to learn more about MVVM and WPF. Mark Smith talked about data binding and showed us some live demos again and how easy it was to set this up. I had already some theory in my head so it was great to tie this in with the practical side.

Day 2 covered less interesting topics to me but I still found some very useful things in the sessions I attended but I won’t go into too much detail.

Overall, I found DevWeek 2013 inspiring and motivating. It has made me realise there are a lot more people doing what I’m doing (Most of them better at it!) and this makes me want to learn and gain new skills. Hopefully one day I’ll get the chance to attend again! I recommend it to any developer that is truly interested in what they do 🙂

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