.NET 4 – Alex Mackey
This is a broad topic to cover in only 1 hour, and what is important will vary depending on what areas you work. Alex did a good job of covering some of the essentials (such as the new runtime and side-by-side deployment) as well as some of the cooler features. Things like co-variance / contra-variance may have gone over the heads of some of the audience, but the presentation as a whole was well done.
The actual presentation itself was also very punchy, with good use of images (a bit of humour helps keep things interesting) and hilighting of the important parts of slides. Plenty of good demo code as well.
Lessons learned from agile – Richard Banks
Some valueable recommendations "from the trenches", although I don’t know if the limited number of slides quite worked. I presume the intention was to make it more conversational, but (for me at least) it did seem a bit lacking. The content fit the ALM side of the conference well.
Build framework enhancements – Stephen Godbold
Continuous integration, or at least daily builds, is a key element / best practice in any modern development practice, and it is good to see the enhancements in this area. There is a good story around extensibility, which the demos showed well, although I do worry whether a workflow based solution is getting too complex (compared to a simple build script.)
Still, even the out-of-the-box features seem a big step forward. The presentation also demonstrated some good practices, e.g. unit testing of custom build enhancements.
Introducing ALM to SharePoint – Jeremy Thake
Having led SharePoint development in the early days of MOSS 2007 the developer experience was pretty much a complete disaster. Ah, the simple joy of being able to hit F5 and debug into a SharePoint component, and on a workstation OS!, or of having a build server deliver a SharePoint deployment package (without third party tools and custom scripts).
The improvements may have been lost on those in the audience who hadn’t struggled with MOSS before, but the presentation did a good job of relating the experience back to the central theme of ALM. Hopefully it convinced those present that SharePoint was now a more viable option.
Agile Database Development – Peter Ward
This presentation was a bit of a disappointment. It failed to deliver on some of the promised content (e.g. unit testing of T-SQL was not covered), and, while it did mention integration with TFS and other ALM features, these weren’t really shown in the demonstrations.
I think demos similar to the Build framework enhancements, showing actual integration with continuous builds, etc would have been better. There was discussion in the talk, but no demo.
Windows Phone 7 Development – Dave Glover
An interesting presentation to end the conference. The XNA demo suffered from technical problems, which did disrupt the flow, but the presenters managed to carry on regardless and did a decent job. Windows Phone 7 will be an interesting platform to watch, but is obviously a version 1 product (e.g. no plans for cut & paste).
The presentation was also quite a different style than others — a long list of discussion points and links to other content, rather than a set of slides, but I think it worked well for the content.