"Ask The Experts"

I'm managing the "Ask The Experts" booth at Connections this week in NOLA, after an all-day INETA board meeting on Monday. This area at the show floor entrance is put together by Microsoft's Eric Ewing (the guy behind the CodeWise Community) and when we did it at VSLive in February, there were usually a half-dozen speakers hanging out there at any given time. Tons of fun!

Here's a picture from today when things slowed down a bit in the afternoon: (l to r) Steven Smith (from ASPAlliance), Brian Loesgen (INETA board member), Ken Getz, Carl Franklin (who does the .NET Rocks show), Marcie Robillard (the DataGrid Girl), and a 'Softie (forget his name) who supports ASP.NET and deals with the ASP.NET MVPs.

The questions we get are the best part: a truly random selection of everything related to developing for the Microsoft platform. Lots of questions about SQL Server since there's a SQL track here. Thankfully Fernando Guerrero was around in the morning since all the Microsoft SQL guys bailed yesterday, leaving not a single SQL person at the show (or, more importanly, at their booth).

My favorite discussion was yesterday when a guy who develops gaming software for Las Vegas casinos described some of the systems they've been putting in place to monitor all of the games on the floor. Did you know that entire card decks are marked on their edges with barcodes so the monitoring software knows the entire layout of the deck before play even begins?

Another long conversation I had today was with a fellow who's responsible for an airline ticket application that aggregates information to/from web services provided by multiple airlines. We spent 45 minutes diagraming out his application architecture and talking about the design tradeoffs involved at the major functional areas. Fortunately we were next to the Microsoft booth and I was able to co-opt one of their connected PCs to show him all the design guidance available on the Patterns and Practices site.

A surprising number of people are still doing "legacy" Windows development using VB and C++, though they are starting to do new work in .NET. So lots of InterOp questions.

And questions about side-by-side versioning of the runtime. And, of course, tons of tweaky ASP.NET questions. Fortunately, there was always at least one ASP.NET "expert" around to field those (not my strongest suit). Scott Guthrie even came by a  couple of times, but he wasn't there when somebody asked about the next version of Web Matrix, which Scott posted about last month and I just now remembered seeing.


  • waaaah - all my buddies are there and I'm sitting home alone in Vermont, though it's a beautiful day and the sky is blue. Can you see the sky where you are? <g> Boo hoo hoo. See you in Dallas.


  • I don't think you should be surprised that so many people are still doing legacy Windows development. Keep in mind that your job (what the hell do you do, anyway?) keeps you on the forefront of whatever Microsoft is pushing. Most corporate environments are slow to adapt to new technology.

    There's a reason for it, and it's mostly due to management's inept inability to know what the hell technology is about. Hell, I'm just now getting around to .Net development. It's the only good thing about getting laid-off. Now I have time to study and get up to speed. Fortunately for me, I realy like what I've seen so far. It seems so easy once you look at it.

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