MIX REVIEW

Well I went to MIX UK 07 with a little trepidation, I’m not much of a designer and I’m more a frameworks and SQL kind of guy, albeit in the web space and I’ve never really embraced whole-heartedly the ASP.NET Server Controls stuff, being content to use the ASP.NET process and to work with XSLT to publish my web pages.

MIXUK I have to say though Visual Studio 2008 with Expression Suite looks the business.  I was particularly taken with some of the enhancements relating to Java-scripting and the Expression Blend Designer.  I was also really impressed with a simple but effective demonstration of converting a PDF to an XPS format file (XAML) and then editing it to be used as a data entry form, Mike Hawes from Sage did the demo and you can hear an interview with him on the latest podcast from NxtGenUG.  The speakers included Scott Guthrie, ‘The Man Who Never Stops Coding or Blogging …’ who did some great sessions on writing web apps using a bunch of the new features available.  I enjoyed ‘A Nice Cup of Tea and a Chat’ again with Scott, Phil Winstanley (one of the MIX organisers), Dave Sussman and others.  It was a general open microphone session and we chatted about the effects such technologies might have on BI and Windows applications.

Next day was good with a great session on getting started with XAML by Robby Ingebretsen and Paul Dawson.  Not sure I agreed with everything they said. I felt some of it was fine if you worked in a big company on big projects.  What they advocated with regarding to go watch people and gather information relating to personalities IS good to do, but try convincing customers of SMBs they should fork out for me to go watch them doesn’t seem realistic to me. Notwithstanding that, they made some very good points, and I’m glad I attended.  I managed to grab an interview with Robby after the session which will be on podcast No40 from NxtGenUG.

In the afternoon of the second day Rich and me donned our speaking caps in the loosest sense of the word and delivered an ‘Out of Sync’ 20/20 talk which went well and then did a session of ‘Swaggily Fortunes’ which seemed to go down well too. It was all a bit of a laugh, no content but plenty of swag!

The highlight of the whole 2 days for me was a mini-sneak peek by Simon Peyton-Jones on Transactional Memory – a 20 minute thunderbolt of a session which blew my mind with its content and with its delivery.  Simon is the total enthusiast, but eloquent, witty and clear thinking with it.  Transactional Memory is a simple idea, hard perhaps to implement but simple never the less and is a means to simplify the growing need to make multi-threading computing an "undergraduate experience rather than a publishable achievement" as Simon put it.

To cap that was impossible, but hey I left bearing a copy of Vista Ultimate and Expression Web both of which will be re-appearing as ‘swag’ for some lucky NxtGenUG meeting attendee, seeing as I already have these via MSDN Subscription. Oh and I managed to gather a bit more swag for NxtGenUG meetings too, so watch out for that!

Great 2 Days, thanks to the organisers, events staff and everybody involved.

Cheers

Dave

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About davemcmahon81
Software Developer & Architect, User Group Leader, Speaker, Writer, Blogger, Occasional Guitarist, Man-made Global Warming Sceptic, Climate Change Believer, General Optimist but most of all proud Husband and Dad ...

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