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Thursday, March 9

Dev & IT Pro Days 2006

The two Dev & IT Pro Days are already history. Time goes fast these days and also the technological developments. The session that impressed me the most in these two days was the closing keynote of Day 1 : The Networked Society, given by Rob Creemers. Surprisingly this was the only session that wasn't really focused on any particular Microsoft technology. Rob Creemers - an independent market analyst and trendwatcher - talked in an unimitable way about the emergence of Information Technology and its consequences. A lot of topics (globalization, connectivity, outsourcing, employment, society, ageing, ...) were covered in a massive flood of slides with snippets of press articles and quotes of different people. It was fun to watch, but the message he eventually brought was less pleasant and lets us (re-)think about our future. There are still some challenges left for our generation and the generations to come. Those that left before the closing keynote will have slept a little bit more imperturbable than those who attentively watched and lived the session. Great idea from the organizers of Dev & IT Pro Days to include such a non-technical session in the agenda.

Back to the start of Day 1 : I had to follow the opening keynote in a different room because of my sponsor-badge. All delegates could follow it live in the auditorium, but for the occasion I had a Compuware sponsor-badge and those were not allowed in the main room because of a lack of seats. Nothing really new was told or shown : just some attention on the fact that 2006 will be another year of important releases for Microsoft. I believe that the demo about some new (graphical) features in Windows Vista and the demo about Windows Workflow Foundation was the highlight of the session for the attendees. The rest of the day I followed the WinFX-track : Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation. For me the most striking change for developing WinFx applications will be the importance of declarative programming. Developers will be able to declare what they want the system to do, rather than listing a set of methods to achieve their goal. Simplicity and readability will be the greatest benefits of this programming style. I immediately bought the book Programming Windows Presentation Foundation, written by Chris Sells and Ian Griffiths to force me to get some hands-on experience with the new Programming Model.

After a short night of sleep and a litteral early deployment in production at client-side I just arrived in time for the opening session of Day 2. Day 2 was for me the day of the Compuware presentations. Jelle and Steven both did a separate session and a session together. They both endured their test with brilliance! They've been working hard the last couple of weeks to finish all their slides and demos and they must be proud of their job. Their presentations fitted in the Best Practices track of Day 2 and I'm sure that a lot of developers got what they were looking for. The day ended with a short closing Keynote of Rafal Lukawiecki, who again managed to stress the importance of Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF v4.0). MSF provides a seamless experience with Visual Studio 2005 Team System for process automation and guidance within the entire software development life cycle (SDLC).

The organization of this event in Ghent (ICC) was a great success. Nice accommodation, good and enough food, great networking possibilities, ... One small minus maybe : the speakers of the sessions were not mentioned in the leaflet all attendees received. I find it not only important to know the content of a session but I'm also eager to know who will deliver that session. A good speaker can still give some color to a less attractive session, but on the other hand it's also a real setback to follow a very interesting session on paper, given by a lousy (forgive me the word) speaker ...

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