Microsoft DevDays impressions

Posted on 2008-06-10 22:33:12

This year the Microsoft DevDays happened again in Amsterdam on May 22 and 23. Through work I could go there for free, so I went on the first day. Some general impressions:

Keynote: Why software sucks by David Platt
An interesting keynote, though David made one goof: he asked the audience a couple of questions, one of them was: “how many of you drive a car with manual transmission?”, expecting to get maybe 10% of the hands up, like is usual in the US. Instead, he got ‘round 80% of the hands, and I’m guessing most of the other 20% are those who don’t drive a car at all. I think David should do a bit more research in his audience before asking such questions…

Session 1: 19 deadly sins of software security by Steve Riley
This spot wasn’t filled until the last week before the DevDays itself, so it was a last-minute topic and speaker, and it shows. I went there expecting to be presented with all 19, but nooo… the title of the presentation is also the title of a book (which the speaker didn’t even write), and we got only 5 of them. Three of them didn’t even apply to managed code (buffer overruns, string formatting problems, integer overflows), and the other two (SQL injection and cross-site scripting) were well known to me already. Pointless waste of time.

Session 2: Embedded Development by Robert Miles
A solid presentation about the .NET micro framework, including demo (sadly done through a simulator rather than the real thing). An interesting topic to me, since I did embedded development on wireless sensor nodes for my masters thesis. However, those sensor nodes I worked with had approximately 10KB of main memory, while the .NET micro framework needs a whopping 512KB. I think I rather prefer TinyOS then, which offers more abstraction from the hardware with a much smaller resource footprint.

Session 3: Increasing software quality through better testing with VSTS by Pieter de Bruin
This turned out to be more of a bird eye’s view of the possible options for testing available in VSTS, rather than concrete examples of how you use them. A disappointment.

Session 4: Five Cool Things to Know and Use for Smart Client Development with Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 by Daniel Moth
The title is a mouthful, and there was a lot of material to cover in the time available. It’s a good thing Daniel talks fast… Whether the cool things were so cool after all I’m still not sure about, but I do know that I won’t be using any of those five things in the near future at work.

I left the building a little disappointed: “Is this it? Is this what other people pay $200+ for?”. No, I’d rather spend some time reading Slashdot: much more informative.

Posted in: Work