Monday, August 13, 2007

Tech.Ed 2007 Gold Coast Day 3

The third and final day of the conference was more of a wind-down, but still had tons to see and do. I caught the last bit of the first session on Rules Engine Use in Windows Workflow and then made my way to the seminar on Best Practices for Team Based Software Development. This was mostly about how Team Foundation Server can help organize the common artefacts and work habits of a development team.

The speaker, Anthony Borton, covered the signs of a great team and mistakes that teams can make as well. He then displayed a chart of various stages of the Team Development Maturity Model he had developed with a teammate of his. The stages were:

  1. Chaos
  2. Shared - standard location for team documents and not much else
  3. Tracked - use of standard forms and code
  4. Defined - improving level of automation for common tasks
  5. Instrumented - stabilized metrics and repeatability
  6. Optimized - continual process improvements, tool refactoring, ever-increasing automation

I think this is a fairly descriptive overview of the stages of collaboration a team can achieve, although I'm not sure how concrete or prescriptive it is.

Anthony also talked about the requirement to do code branching and best practices such as structured feature decomposition (which I guess means breaking down the business requirements into smaller units of fertilizer).

Next up, Mike Fitzmaurice talking about Capacity Planning for SharePoint. Lots of interesting information here, which I'll cover in more detail next week. The gist of it was that capacity management is an art, not a science, although there are plenty of metrics in it.

He described a way of dividing a capacity planning study into discrete phases so that issues could be dealt with in a systematic and holistic way.

The first phase is to plan for the software and hardware boundaries. The next is to estimate the performance and capacity requirements. Phase 3 is to plan hardware and storage requirements; and the final phase is to test the design.

Again, he had some great facts, figures, and tips which I'll cover in greater detail in a dedicated post later on.

The final seminar of the day was given in a packed room by self confessed "language geek" Joel Pobar. He's a former Microsoft Program Manager on the common language runtime (CLR) which underlines everything we do .NET-wise. 

This presentation was a virtuoso overview of computer languages features and trends...especially the combination Microsoft is trying to achieve between Static languages, Funtional languages, and Dynamic languages.

Hopping into PowerShell command windows, Joel created language demonstrations on the fly using a variety of languages interchangeably, including JavaScript, IronPython, and the next version of VB.

At one point, to a huge ovation, he created a LINQ to SQL statement that generated xml items in its select element, which were then added to an RSS XML fragment that hadn't even been declared yet, but would exist at runtime!!!!

Now I'd love to talk more about this, but it was so far over my head, I felt like the man-ape trying to figure out the Monolith (but hey, at least the ape figured out tools right after that!)....It was just one of those moments when you know something special is happening but you're not quite sure what it is. So I just went "woooo" when everyone else did, and nodded my head emphatically at various regular intervals :) 

Guess I've got some more lurnin' to do!

After this, all that was left was the wrap-up. The beginning of the end was a locknote speech by the head of the Computer Forensic team of the Australian Federal Police, and then it was time to say goodbye to Frank Arrigo (who is heading to Microsoft Corporate in America), and watch Alan Coulter win $20k worth of prize swag (no idea how he got it home!).

I'm looking over my (long!) blog postings of the three days of Tech Ed - it's amazing how much learning, networking, and fun can be crammed into such a short space of time. This was my first development conference and definitely not my last! Kudos to all the organizers for such a great job.

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