Trip To Devscovery: Day 1

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Got to the keynote this morning slightly early to get through registration and whatnot. They gave us binders with printouts of the slides, which is cool, and CDs with the sample code on them. They gave us 64 MB USB thumb drives, too, which made me think a few things: First, why only 64MB? I can go to Fry’s and get a half gig USB drive for pennies - what am I going to do with 64MB? Second, why hand me a CD with the source code on it and a thumb drive on the side - why not put the source code on the thumb drive so I don’t have all this extra crap to cart around?

Common sense aside, I guess I can’t really complain so much. Maybe.

The keynote was pretty decent, but it ran like 20 minutes over, which, of course, threw off the scheduling for the whole rest of the day. That was pretty irksome because later on in the day there were lectures where we didn’t get to hear everything due to the time issue and we missed stuff I’d have liked to have heard.

The first lecture I went to was on garbage collection in .NET. Most of the stuff in there I had heard, but they went through an interesting bit talking about how garbage collection is handled differently in debug builds vs. in release builds. Apparently references to objects are held longer in debug builds in the event a debugger needs to attach to the assembly. That means garbage collection can’t release memory for all the objects it needs to until the end of their scope, even if they’re not used anymore. That has the possibility of eating your lunch, methinks. Release builds don’t have that problem since the optimizations for garbage collection are in place.

The second lecture was on what’s new in ASP.NET 2.0. The majority of it was spent on DataSource and GridView/DetailsView stuff which, unfortunately, I had already seen. Toward the end they started getting into the Wizard control, some of the user profile stuff, dynamic navigation, and the things I was interested in… but because of the messed up time issue, we didn’t get to see all of that before we had to go to the third lecture.

The third (and final) lecture of the day was on making dynamically extensible applications in .NET. I learned quite a bit there about how servers host applications (sort of like how IIS hosts .NET apps) and there was a lot of low-level discussion on creating AppDomains and instantiating objects from one AppDomain into another. Interesting academic discussion, but I’m still having difficulty figuring out how I might be able to apply some of that in my current work. After the AppDomain discussion we got more into the sort of app extensibility I’m used to - plugins through Reflection. Again we ran into a bit of a time crunch and didn’t get to hear about as much of that as I’d have liked. Interesting stuff, though.

So far I’m a little disappointed. The planning seems to have gone a bit awry, which is unfortunate, but more than that, I haven’t really gotten jazzed about anything in particular that I’ve heard so far. I’m also having a difficult time determining what the intended audience is for some of these lectures - some of the material is pretty beginner/intermediate stuff and some of it is really low-level advanced stuff. It’d be nice to know ahead of time which lectures were addressing which crowds so I could determine my attendance accordingly.

If/when we get feedback sheets to fill out, I’m going to put that.

After the lectures I went and bought a cheap plastic cup at Rite-Aid because I don’t trust the cups they have available in my odd kitchenette here at the hotel. (They don’t have disposable plastic cups like every other hotel I’ve ever been to.) Also got some bottled water for the drinkin’. Had dinner at Qdoba, and now I’m a-bloggin’. Stu and I will probably watch some movies and play some PS2 before retiring for the evening, ready for a new day.

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