I’m winding up my last few hours in Vegas sitting in a workshop for developing on MOSS. It’s being taught by Todd Baginski, which is great because his other sessions have been terrific. He’s being assisted by Dustin Miller, also of SharePoint Experts, and Heather. (Missed her last name.)
The session’s just OK, solely because at least half the attendees came completely unprepared. Prerequisites for the course were to have a working dev environment set up, either by building your own or grabbing the MOSS VPC from Microsoft and finishing up installs of Visual Studio and the SDKs. I think the conference registration folks really put Todd, Dustin, and Heather in a bind because they didn’t make the prereqs clear to attendees. As a result we’ve lost most of the morning trying to get attendees up to speed. The three instructors are dealing with it well, with Dustin and Heather scurrying around to get folks set up while Todd hits a lot of great content and demos.
Update: We’re now bagging the hands on labs in favor of having Todd run through more content and demos. That’s a fairly good compromise since we’re moving forward and we’ll have all the lab materials anyway.
I had an interesting short conversation with Todd about testing in the MOSS world. It’s readily apparent to me that nobody’s seriously addressing any form of unit testing for MOSS development, and certainly not anything about test driven development. I think this may be an area I start writing some content on because there’s a serious need for it.
Overall impressions of the conference has been generally positive. The downsides have been some throroughly mediocre speakers who leave tiny fonts on the screen, mumble, cut sessions extremely short, etc.
The upsides have greatly outweighed those cons: I’ve met a large number of folks who’ve been influential in my professional life or community — thanking them face-to-face is a Big Deal for me. I am still staggered that I got to get up on stage for a panel discussion and sit together with Rob Conery, Phil Haack, Joe Brinkman, and Jon Galloway. I’ll probably wake up and find out that was a dream and instead I’m in the drunk tank downtown with some guys named Earl, Bubba, and Adolf. I’ve gotten a great amount of solid expertise and practical tips and tricks from experts like Todd, Neil Iverson, and some other folks.
As I’ve said on this blog many times before, my last major conference was SD West in 2003 and that turned into a hugely life-changing event for me. (Thanks, Josh, Steve, and Michelle!) This conference hasn’t been as big an impact, but only because I’m already on the career track I want — and that was definitely not the case in 2003. That said, I’ve gotten some great motivation to step a few things in my career up a notch. We’ll see how well that pans out over the next six or so months.
I’m looking forward to getting out of here this afternoon and getting home. My wife certainly needs a bit of a break seeing as we’ve continued the pattern of things blowing up when I travel. Last year during a trip a chipmunk got in the house for a couple days. Picture a two-year old boy wandering around the house with a flashlight looking under couches all the time saying “Monk? Monk?” This time it was the neighborhood power transformer blowing up and throwing the house into the dark. That was followed by my daughter coming down with strep throat. Roses and chocolates may be in order…
Final Update: I just got home now and am winding down a bit after a long day. The family’s asleep and since it’s 2:30AM I plan to follow their lead shortly.