Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Alabama .Net Code Camp 2005 Recap


First of all here is a link where you can download a zip file of my presentation.

Introduction to Creating Installation Packages with Microsoft's Windows Installer XML (WiX) Toolset

To run the examples, you should download the latest binary version of WiX and extract the archive to C:\Wix

Then download my presentation and extract it to C:\, add the C:\WiX directory to your path. After this you should be able to work with all of the samples.

The contents of the presentation archive are:
Introduction to Creating Installation Packages with Microsoft's Windows Installer XML (WiX) Toolset.ppt - Presentation File
Guid.vbs - VBScript to generate GUID and place it into the clipboard using some magic IE Automation
xsd_doc.html - HTML Documentation generated from the WiX XML Schema (a bit easier to use than browsing the XSD file directly and reading the documentation)

Here are the other sessions I attended:

Pooling for Performance - Andrew Corley
Very interesting session talking about the advantages of Database Connection Pooling and Object Pooling. SQL Server offers built in support for connection pooling. The .Net Framework makes adding support for Object Pooling completely trivial. Looks like a great implementation. Andrew did a great presentation and will be speaking to the Lower Alabama .Net User Group in the near future about SQL Server 2005 (I believe that will be the topic).

Building High Performance Applications with ASP.NET 2.0 - Russ Fustino
Russ is a Microsoft evangelist so his presentation skills (and wit) were top notch. He showed off some fantastic new enhancements to ASP.Net 2.0.

The ones that really caught my eye were the builtin support for caching pages. You can cache an entire page based on a time duration or cache all but certain portions of a page. Very impressive is a new feature working with SQL Server 2005 that allows a page's dataset to be tied to a set of database tables and be updated by a push from the database server informing the page that the underlying data has been changed, so refresh the cached copy. Really cool stuff. Russ mentioned that the architecture is open so you can write you own broker to work with different databases. The VS.Net 2005 IDE support of creating ASP pages is of course wonderful.

Another awesome new feature is the ability to compile your pages and server side code down to dll files (which will improve the performance). I'm sure it will start a flame war, but I really wish the JSF (Java Server Faces) guys would have emulated MS's ASP.Net. I was not impressed with JSF when we recently evaluated it at work. Sun is very far behind in this regard. That's ok, all of the cool kids are using Ruby on Rails anyway :-)

During this session I saw something that made me think of Kathy Sierra and her Creating Passionate Users concept. After seeing one of the new features I actually saw two developers exchange high fives. They were that enthused about what they would be working with soon. That's is definitely a passionate user base.

Free .Net Tools (log4net, code-gen, reflector and more) - Paul Lockwood
Paul showed off some free tools that enhance .Net development. He showed Log4Net, a great open source logging framework (which I'm very familiar with since it is a port of Log4j). NDoc was another tool Paul showed. It examines assemblies and generates a nice documentation file of the classes and methods. Reflector was the coolest one he showed off. It is a decompiler for .Net code. Get your obfuscator ready because you can really pull out very accurate source code from normal compiled code. A bit scary actually.

DataWindow.NET - David Avera
Dave showed off the new features that will be coming out in DataWindow.Net 2.0 (which is currently in an open beta that you can join here). Some new presentation styles are coming along with support for connecting datawindow objects to .Net DataSets. I have a bit of a bias since I do some work with datawindows through PowerBuilder but I think DataWindow technology is awesome.

A Primer for Secure Coding (Parts I and II) - Brandon McMillon
Brandon went into various forms of attacks that can be raised against systems (Spoofing, Man in the Middle, etc). He described some principles for bringing security into the development process through threat modeling. There was an overwhelming amount of information (he said the slide set was actually a week long course, so we did skip around a bit). We finished up getting into web specific attacks such as Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attacks and everyone's favorite....SQL Injection attacks. All in all a good session. Can't wait for the slides to be posted so I can really pour through the information.

One of the organizers of the event, Microsoft's Joe Healy, posted a recap of the event

All in all it was a great event and I'm glad I was able to attend. I will post a link when I find out where the presentations for the other sessions will be posted. I also would like to say thanks to Rich and Laura for opening their lovely home to Casey and me for the weekend (and for the fantastic Baked Spaghetti).

1 Comments:

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