SoCal Code Camp Rocks!

This past weekend I attended the SoCal Rock & Roll Code Camp, held at the UCSD Extension campus. This really is a cool idea–let anybody who wants to give a talk, get a few corporate sponsors to pay for dinner and a band, then offer the whole weekend free to anyone. Thanks for all the swag! (now what am I going to do with a lime green backpack?)

It turned out that a lot of smart people signed up to talk. I’m noting here the sessions that I attended, more or less in the order in which I attended them, along with blogs and other references to session materials.

Using SubSonic to built (sic) ASP.NET applications that are good, fast, and cheap

I didn’t actually attend this session, but I heard some good things about it as a potential Object-Relational Modeling (ORM) platform.

Overview of the ASP.NET AJAX client libraries

Calling “Web Services” with ASP.NET AJAX

Rob Bagby is a Microsoft evangelist from Phoenix and an able speaker. He gave these two sessions on the nitty-gritty of AJAX:  the stuff that lets you communicate directly between a web page and the server without refreshing the whole page. links to Rob’s MSDN blog, where there are lots of webcasts, including Latest ASP.NET Client Libraries Webcast Sample Code And Links To All Sessions.

The Next Leap:  Software Factories and the Microsoft DSL Tools

Modeling and Testing with the Class Designer and Object Test Bench

Kevin McNeish is President and Chief Software Architect of Oak Leaf Enterprises, Inc. Kevin helped bring some pretty esoteric concepts down to earth.

The first session covered the Domain Specific Language (DSL) tools available as part of the Microsoft Visual Studio SDK 4.0. He recommended getting the book just released by the Microsoft team, which must be Domain-Specific Development with Visual Studio DSL Tools, ISBN 0321398203.

The second session went into detail about how to use the class designer that is built into Visual Studio, along with the PowerToys for the Visual Studio 2005 Class Designer. Unfortunately, Microsoft has killed, so there is currently no place to download these PowerToys (MSDN forum gripe). Edit:  the PowerToys are now available on CodePlex.

Object Modeling 101

Eric Kaufmann hosted a great session on the basics of object modeling. The audience (myself included) kind of got him off track by peppering him with questions about the real-world CRM example that he was kind enough to show. Finally! a presenter with a similar (database-driven) background, showing actual code for an application I can relate to. Of particular interest was the way his data layer was built using NHibernate for .NET. Eric’s follow-up blog entry includes a link to the book Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design: A Brain Friendly Guide to OOA&D, ISBN 0596008678.

Architecting ASP.NET Applications

Paul Sheriff is the President of PDSA, Inc. This talk focused on his methodology for creating ASP.NET applications, offering lots of practical tips for creating a WebBasePage class, user controls, session variables, exception handling, etc. He referred to a sample application, but I’m not clear where to get it. Paul’s other site is Paul Sheriff’s Inner Circle, a paid membership site for developers.

Building Rich & Interactive Web Applications with ASP.NET AJAX
Why You Need .NET Coding Standards

David McCarter’s AJAX session focused on several of the controls in the Microsoft AJAX toolkit. This talk presented a nice complement to Rob Bagby’s sessions on the more behind-the-scenes use of client libraries (see above).

Although David gave the .NET Coding Standards talk at Code Camp, I didn’t actually hear this talk until Tuesday, when he presented it again at the San Diego .NET Developers Group meeting. This is David’s specialty, the subject of his book VSDN Tips & Tricks .NET Coding Standards, and it was great to hear him talk on it.

David blogs at

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