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Dallas Code Camp 2006

Generally I don't look forward to giving up an entire Saturday at work. However, today's Dallas Code Camp was an exception. I had been looking forward to this event all week long, and was not disappointed.

I arrived a bit early and expected to be one of only a few people there. However, I was surprised to find people already streaming into the Microsoft facility in Las Colinas. By 9:00am, the scheduled start time for the opening general session, the lobby of the building was full of attendees with dozens more streaming in. The logistics of the registration process were a bit cumbersome, so when everyone got through we started about 15 minutes late.

After the opening session (during which we found out that there was no Internet access - a big disappointment), attendees split up to attend their choice of six topics per session. For this first breakout event, I sat in on Rob Howard's talk about Community Server. I had a little experience with this product, having downloaded it during the discovery phase of a couple of projects I've worked on. Rob was well-spoken as always, and presented a well-designed and stable product in the 2.0 version. One huge positive for this event was that Rob announced that all attendees would receive a free copy of CodeSmith Professional, a $399 value (thanks Rob).

The second session of the day presented a difficult decision. Offerings includes a session on CLR internals, a chalk talk about converting ASP.NET from 1.1 to 2.0, and a unique discussion on the CLR in SQL Server. However, since I'm already using this product on several projects, I decided to sit in on Jason Kergosien's talk about using DotNetNuke for practical business applications. This session was well prepared and presented effectively, and Jason did a good job of evangelizing those who were curious about DotNetNuke.

Lunch from Subway was provided, and there was plenty of it. Even the lunch period provided two different options - a Q&A panel comprised of several of the presenters, or a talk about becoming an independent software vendor. I sat in on the former, though afterward I wished I had gone to the latter.

After lunch, I sat in on an obfuscation chalk talk with Cory Smith. In my environment, I don't generally distribute software so I had never used any obfuscation tools. It was useful to me though, since I hope someday to work for (or become) an ISV, to hear tales from the trenches of those who must obfuscate to survive.

For the last session of the day, I sat in on a talk by Mathew Roberts. The topic was how to create a reusable script engine using VB.NET. Though the implementation was interesting and the subject was well presented, I can't imagine - at least in my projects - a legitimate use for this.

The closing general session included lots of giveaways, including .NET programming books, Visual Studio 2005, an XBox 360, and a barbecue grill. Though I didn't win anything, it was a lot of fun.

The Dallas Code Camp of 2006 was a great success. Volunteers were plentiful and helpful, and the presenters were well above par. For the most part, everything was well organized and planned. Again, the only complaints I have are the lack of Internet access and the registration chaos, though I"m sure that these issues will be ironed out by the next event. For a developer like me, working solo and in relative isolation, being able to confer with other .NET programmers is always a welcome change. I'll be a vocal champion for any future Code Camp events in or around the Dallas area.

Tim Mitchell

Tim Mitchell is a business intelligence consultant, author, trainer, and Microsoft Data Platform MVP with over thirteen years of data management experience. He is the founder and principal of Tyleris Data Solutions.

Tim has spoken at international and local events including the SQL PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQL Connections, along with dozens of tech fests, code camps, and SQL Saturday events. He is coauthor of the book SSIS Design Patterns, and is a contributing author on MVP Deep Dives 2.

You can visit his website and blog at TimMitchell.net or follow him on Twitter at @Tim_Mitchell.


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