Heartland Developers Conference 2007 wrap-up

Once again, for the 4th year in a row, I enjoyed the one conference I make sure to book well in advance. I haven't traveled to conferences as much this year, instead focused on client-related work. This was one conference, however, I was really looking forward to attending and presenting. I am originally from the mid-west (Oklahoma) and have lived in Massachusetts for 12 years now but I always feel more at home when I go to HDC than anywhere I have visited. The layout of the area, the local convenient stores, the people, and the atmosphere remind me a great deal of what I remembered most about growing up in the mid-west.

I gave two talks (which will be posted here later today); one on Service Oriented Design Patterns and my old standby SQL Server Service Broker. My service-oriented talk was packed (and was the first talk right after Ron Jacob's keynote). I wasn't sure the best way to present the talk (as it was a first time topic for me), but my purpose was to separate out real service-orientation from sample web services and to stress you really need a good business reason to build out full SOA implementations. From the comments I heard the next morning, I seemed to have got the message across. The Service Broker talk was a little lighter in number of people, mainly because most people were attending Scott Guthrie's Orcas talk, but I was glad to see everyone in the room for my talk were new to SB and were willing to take a look. There are some nice new features in SQL Server 2008 that have been needed for awhile to make SB more mainstream so I am looking forward to see what kind of applications are developed with the technology.

I also attended Ron Jacob's talk on security. I was originally hoping to do a security talk but I saw Ron already had one slated. He did an excellent job getting everyone interested in taking a serious look at their own issues and not simply blame Microsoft or another vendor if security goes wrong. One very interesting note was Ron mentioned threat modeling but he didn't have time to speak on it at great length yet there were many questions on threat modeling (process, tools, etc.) from the audience. He asked how many have built a threat model before; I was one of two people in a packed room who held up their hand. I would have loved to have given my talk on threat modeling at this conference and will plan on submitting more security-focused topics next time. Speaking with some people at my table at breakfast the next morning, it seemed the primary interest was around threat modeling and security testing.

I would like to thank Joe and Phil for putting on another great show. Both of these guys were so busy those two days (and months before this in preparation). Like last year, a couple of the speakers and these guys went out to Drover's for great Omaha steaks. My flights into and out of Omaha were eventful -- I missed my plane when I was waiting in line to get carry-on bags checked but my luggage went ahead, and then I and everyone else coming from Omaha lost our luggage when we came into Boston on Saturday. Fortunately, I got mine last night, but I really felt for this couple on their honeymoon who were without their three suitcases for a couple of days. Hopefully they got their bags by last night as I did. 

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