NYC CodeCamp 6 Recap

The 6th NYC CodeCamp was recently held at Pace University in Manhattan, focusing mostly on the Microsoft technology stack. Waking up at 4am to catch an early train into the city proved to be well worth it – the day was filled with fantastic sessions.  To give you a taste of what you missed, here’s a recap of the sessions I attended:

  • ASP.NET Web Forms vNext: Alive and Kicking by Damian Edwards – Probably my favorite session of the day.  Damian gave an in-depth overview, complete with demos of every topic, of the changes and features coming down the line with ASP.NET 4.5 WebForms.  The team has been focusing a lot of time on addressing many of the annoying pain points in the Visual Studio markup editor, and the model binding that they pulled over from MVC looks to be really clean and handy.  I tried to pull a potential RTM date out of Damian, but he wouldn’t budge.
  • Five Ways that PostSharp Can SOLIDify Your Code by Matthew Groves – Matt went through five practical scenarios where you can use the PostSharp framework and aspects (AOP) to avoid repeating yourself with boilerplate code.  I had already applied a few of the examples he provided, but his demo on using aspects for transactions was interesting.  Unfortunately a handful of attendees kept asking off-topic questions and derailing his presentation, but the overview was good.
  • Building Windows 8 Applications  with jQuery and Wijmo by Richard Dudley – Richard Dudley was hands-down the most energetic speaker of the day.  This was my first intro to Windows 8 development so I was excited to see what the Metro development story was like.  Richard gave a great overview of the new architecture and platform, and built a Metro data dashboard application in HTML5 and jQuery.  The pace was a bit too rapid and there was too much copy/pasting from working demo code to really see what was going on under the hood, but it served well as an introduction.  Overall, I was a bit disappointed in the HTML5/JS development story for Metro – it feels a bit forced.  I do think it’s a smart move to leverage the existing skillets of web developers who may not be comfortable in C# or other languages and allow them to easily create Metro apps, but after seeing it myself, I’ll be developing most of my apps using XAML.
  • Using the EntityFramework 4.1 in Real Web Applications by Adam Tuliper – Although I’m currently using EntityFramework 4.1 in most of my MVC applications, I wanted to attend this session to see how someone else was using it and verify that I wasn’t missing any best practices or other ideas.  Adam really knows his stuff and went through some very detailed demos.
  • Cross-Platform Mobile Development with .NET by Greg Shackles – Before I attended this session, I was under the impression that Greg was going to cover building natives apps for the three major platforms (iOS/Android/WP7) in their native languages (Obj-C/Java/.NET) and how to make porting C# easier to the other two languages.  When it started, I realized the session was really about MonoTouch and MonoAndroid.  At first I was disappointed, but the talk ended up being fantastic.  Greg went over how he architected his .NET and Mono code to easily develop an application for all three platforms using a common “core” project containing entities, logic, data access, etc, and then three mobile applications that consumed it.  Very informative.
  • Indie and Casual Game Development for Windows Phone 7 by Kevin Hoffman – My buddy and colleague Kevin Hoffman gave a great talk about quickly, cheaply, and easily creating games for WP7 without XNA by leveraging cloud offerings like CouchDB and AppHarbor and customizing standard XAML controls to look like game pieces.  The demos went pretty in-depth, covering everything from push notifications to multiplayer chat.
I highly recommend attending events like these – for the price ($15), they’re extremely informative and provide an incredible opportunity to network with other developers.

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