We had our fourth successful meeting yesterday evening in the fine offices of Ditmer. A lot of people turned up for this one I guess LINQ is something which is on most .NET developers minds these days as I counted approximately 30 people attending this one. We even had some guys from Nordic Company coming all the way from Copenhagen to attend and Niels Hartvig of Umbraco fame decided to take the trip from Fyn as well which I believe is a testament to the fact that we're doing something right with this thing.
As always I started out by telling everybody about the things we've been doing with the usergroup since the last meeting. This time around we've had a lot going on and I was looking forward to announcing it all and getting people's response on it.
Logo and Web Site
We've got ourselves a logo courtesy Lars Øer who is a regular attendee at the meetings and also a colleague of mine. As you can see we're already using here and on our LinkedIn group (which you should join if you haven't already done so :)). With the logo done we're hoping to move on to the design of the ANUG.dk site and get that done before the end of the year additionally we'd like to provide a more structure schedule for our upcoming events which should make it easier for you to sign up and get an idea of where we're going. we basically need some kind of custom control for BlogEngine.NET so feel free to go nuts and do one if you'd like ;)
November 28/11: Getting Started with Professional .NET
First up is our next meeting which will be for those of you who want to learn same of the basic .NET stuff and tools you're going to need. The session is called Getting Started with Professional .NET and it's scheduled for 28/11 at Scanvægt. More details will follow shortly but the basic idea is to cater to people in our group who are there to get started with .NET and learn a couple of tricks along the way.
December 14/12: Geek Christmas Dinner
For our final session this year we decided to do something a little different and throw a geek Christmas dinner. We really don't think that a session the last Wednesday of December would garner any attendees at all so instead we're doing this. There are 15 seats available for now but we've got the option to bump that number if we see a lot of interest. You need to RSVP no later than 23/11. Due to some planning constraints we have to make attendance binding for this one. As with the November meeting more details will be up shortly.
March 01/02: Code Camp .NET for Beginners
As a follow-up to our November meeting we're going to do a code camp where we'll build a three tier .NET web application using the tools and best practices which are considered essential for a .NET developer. We'll be digging into data access, domain models, UI design.
This will basically be an entire day of .NET where you get the opportunity to get your hands dirty in your own solution with the help of our coaches who'll guide you through the day. I think this is going to be a lot of fun and even better it's a great way of digging deeper than we usually do that the regularly scheduled meetings. Hope to see you there!
We're still looking for a place to hold it but I'm not too worried about that as we've got a number of possibilities already. Also we're looking for sponsors to provide food and drink for the attendees so if you're working at a company that needs some attention feel free to contact me about the details.
Ideas for Upcoming Events
While the group was just getting started we decided to go ahead and put together as many events as we could without taking any input from the attendees but the vision is to allow you the attendee to decide what you want us to talk about. We got together a nice list of topics and surprisingly F# topped it out with the most votes so I guess we're to do an F# session soon, we just need to find someone who knows something about it, hint hint nudge nudge :)
Other topics on people's minds are, number of votes is in the parenthesis, we'll definitely take these into consideration, specifically I'd like to do a couple of sessions of Visual Studio 2008, C# 3.0, and VB 9 with their release imminent.
• VS 2008 (11)
• Silverlight 1.1 (11)
• Team System (foundation + client) (10)
• C# 3.0 / VB 9 (new language features,difference between version, when and why should you upgrade) (9)
• PowerShell (9)
• DLR / F# (8-12)
• WF (7)
• WCF (9)
• ASP.NET MVC Framework (+10)
• Compact Framework (7)
Briefly after JAOO 2007 I was contacted by Kresten Krab Thorup from Trifork who suggested that we do some kind of cooperative effort with the JAOO guys next year. There are no solid plans as of now but it's definitely something we're going to pursue in to get a super star or two to speak at one of our humble meetings.
With my intro done I yielded to floor to Søren Skovsbøll the main attraction of the evening...
ORM and LINQ, Søren Skovsbøll, Ditmer A/S
Søren did a very cool and thorough presentation of ORMs in general and LINQ to SQL in particular. He gave an insightful view into the wonderful wacky world of ORM and all the patterns surrounding the various implementations like NHibernate, LINQ to SQL, and even his own implementation Matternhorn all the while relating the information to LINQ to SQL to give us an idea of what to watch out for when doing LINQ to SQL projects.
Although Søren said that he in no way was an expert on LINQ to SQL I came away with a sense of knowing the product better because of his insight into the general principles of ORMs. When I first saw LINQ to SQL back in 2006 demoed by Anders Hejlsberg I was ready to drink the cool aid and go all out with it. Søren's presentation was sobering as he pointed out not only all the good things about LINQ to SQL but more importantly all the problems, something you won't see from a Microsoft presentation I think :)
I still think LINQ to SQL is a cool product but from Søren's presentation I think it's clear that you need to know what you're getting yourself into before taking the plunge.
Tour de Ditmer, Morten Ditmer, Ditmer A/S
With our break done Morten spent some time telling us about Ditmer and the way they operate as a company. Ditmer is a very agile company with focus on delivering software rather than bickering over contracts with the customer as a result they don't employ contracts at all which Morten felt obligated them even more to deliver real business value to their customers. Another aspect of this is that they've got no sales force; every new project comes in by word of mouth which to me is interesting as I've seen very good ideas tank because they didn't get the attention they deserved. Probably the reason that this is working is the fact that they've got traction in the marketplace already and their network is allowing them to operate like this. As a result they're a very developer centric company which should appeal to most .NET'ers out there :)
There's no question that Ditmer is an great work place where all the right values are in focus. They're even involved with Agile Alliance another plus in my book :)
Open Forum (The Artist Formerly Known as The Nutcracker)
Even though it was getting pretty late most attendees stayed around for the open forum where we had a very good question about how to do internationalization and a step beyond that: How to change logic and appearance based on locale you're currently operating in. In addition we covered scaling an web application for a lot of users across multiple continents. Although people we tired I think we got some good answers and food for thought on this one. As always I encourage you to think on topics for Open Forum in advance so we get the most out of the time we've got.