Dear Mr Matthys,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to travel to Øredev's school of Devcraft & Softwaredry. Term begins on 10 November.
And that's how my magical adventure to the Øredev conference in the mystical Sweden started. Well actually, my boss didn't write it down so formally, but hey I needed a cool start for this write-up of my adventures , which I personally experienced as "a muggle visiting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry". Anyways, let's cut the Harry crap and move on to the actual story: Ready? Set. Go!
Øredev is an annual conference held in the lovely region of Skåne in Malmö (Sweden) and its main purpose is all about sharing knowledge between developers. It consists of several tracks programmed over multiple days and strikes a perfect balance between business and pleasure!
So Tuesday morning at 03.00am my alarm yells at me "to hit the shower!" and amazingly 20 minutes later I find myself washed up, packed and good to go. Luckily for me, a good friend volunteered to drive me to Brussels airport, where I had to catch a flight at 6.45 to Copenhagen. Of course I was way to early, but I wanted this trip to be as relaxing as possible, so after strolling around a bit in the airport and reading a few pages in "C# in depth 2nd edition" , I found myself aboard the plane. When on a plane, I always pretend to be Maverick from Top Gun and happily start humming "Highway to the dangerzone"
Anyways, I read some more geek stuff and a tad later I boarded a train to Malmö across the Öresundbron. First things first, so I bought a convient card for public transport (thanks to the lovely Svenska flicka) and dropped off my luggage at the youth hostel where I would be staying. I had a very nice afternoon exploring Malmö some more in detail, chatting with the locals to improve my Swedish and enjoying fickan (very strong coffee with cakes). Mostly I didn't get any further than saying "Jag talar bara lite Svenska utan jag talar Engelska", which was fine for most people.
The second day was the start of my über geek program consisting of talks involving HMTL5, CSS3, async & parrallel programming and many more goodies.
As you see, I was quite impressed by this talk , which resulted in a green vote for Robert!
At the end of each session, incidentally, you were able give your opinion about it by leaving a green, orange or red card in a bucket.
And then it was time for lunch. Yummy, I like Swedish food a lot and it was quite delicious. I made some more contact with the other developers and exchanged email addresses, which by the way reminds me of all the mails I still need to write
Next up was a session I was really looking forward to, but which also disappointed me the most, probably because of my high expectations! Anyways, it was about building internal DSLs with C# and - although disappointing - it provided me with some new insights that I can use to make fluent interfaces in my day-to-day coding. And as for the rest, not too much of this session really stuck in my mind...
Ok, time for a session on XAML by Jeff Wilcox. Some nice stuff about Windows Phone 7 & XAML and of course about the gossip about Microsoft abandoning Silverlight. Things to remember from this session: don't use triggers anymore, instead use Visual States (VSM) and a way to escape curly braces...
Then came a session which knocked my socks off, namely the session about CQRS by Greg Young. Woow! I was really dazzled about this one and I still don't fully comprehend his ideas, but basically they are brilliant! I was so amazed by it, that I spent 2 hours reading up on the topic in the hostel in the evening. His session came down to splitting your reads and commands (create, update & delete) and discussed a complete architecture for supporting this and why someone should do this. He has posted a video of approximately 6.5 hours explaining the subject. He was like Yoda explaining stuff to young padawans. I even managed to talk a little bit with him about the subject, but I was still dazzled...
Finally, the last session of the day. My attention was beginning to wander, since an entire day of listening and thinking about development can really tire you out. Anyways, it was about CSS3 and, although I'm not a CSS wizard, I could clearly see some benefits.
After having another delicious meal, attending a performance of a realy funny comedian (well that's quite obvious, right?) and chatting with my Swedish friend ,I was back in the hostel reading about CQRS and totally going wild about the idea!
Second day and today I'm very much looking forward to the talk about John Skeet, the author of the book "C# in depth". But first let's have a look at some other sessions.
The first one handled PFx and was very very good. It illustrated different approaches to recognize the right circumstances (when? where?) for parallel programming and also the types of parallel programming that need to be performed. In short, a really thorough talk which resulted in a green card again! And no, the free book at the end of the session had nothing to do with it...
Off to something which I knew sh*t about but actually was quite innovative, viz. the Rx framework. Presented by the one and only Glenn Block! Basically, Rx allows us to start programming async in a very nice way and really provides a clean way to step away from the old pull model towards a new push model. A good fight between IEnumerable/IEnumerator and IObservable/IObserver
Lunch again and , as usual, delicious food, good coffee & lots of yummy candy. Afterwards I attended a cool talk about personal Kanban and it was so good, that I'm actually using the ideas on a day-to-day basis! Kanban is a very simple Agile methodology and is based on passing tasks as quickly a possible from the backlog to done. One of the most important rules is setting a WIP (Work In Progress) limit. A nice practical application of personal Kanban is putting personal things on the board like "my daughter is sick and this worries me" as a means to communicate to your team that this issue is on your mind and reduces your productivity. A very clean and decent talk!
Architecture in an agile world was so bad that I won't spill another CR/LF on it Well, maybe one more: I should have attented the talk about ASP.NET MVC 3!!!
Then came the most geeky session I ever attented: "Abusing C#" by John Skeet. The man just sat down and coded with us for a full hour, presenting some really really really cool tricks in C#. Does this code look a bit odd to you?
Flag evil = "evil";
Flag good = "good";
Flagset nonEvilButBad = -evil + -good;
To conclude Öredev for me, was a nice talk about making the best of Scrum & Kanban. Explaining how to use the best of both worlds and of course the agile thought: What works for you!
Later on, I enjoyed some more nice food, had some more talks with my Swedish friend and then went off to meet with a former colleague who happened to be in Malmö celebrating his 5 year relationship. We spent the rest of the evening having fun and talking about - yep, you've guessed it! - CQRS...
We promised his girlfriend that we'd be good boys and on Friday we didn't mention a word about computers . Instead, we visited Copenhagen, which is awesome!
So that concludes my magical trip, and I hope I can attend next year
I'll leave you with some interesting URLs, vi ses!