NDC London: talks

Last three days of NDC London presented a constant paradox of choice, since every hour 7-8 speakers would have parallel sessions in different rooms. How the hell am I supposed to pick only one, if all of them are great? How on earth can you choose between Jon Skeet and Mark Seeman? My way of solving this problem was to spend an hour every evening going through the list of the next day’s speakers and googling their talks from the past. Sometimes this helped me to pick a brilliant talk from someone I had not known yet, sometimes this meant I would go to the Bill Wagner’s talk and… well, more on that later.

Being an old-school geek, I still prefer to make notes on paper, so I have pretty good coverage of what I learned during these talks. Hopefully all the recorded sessions will be available on the web soon (that’s the part I really like about NDC), but before this happens, here’s a list of my observations and learnings from the talks I personally attended.

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NDC London: ASP.NET Core workshop

Apparently last year I was a good boy, because Santa has already made several of my dreams come true in 2017. This week I am visiting London and attending NDC London, one of the greatest and most inspiring conferences I am aware of. Until now I only knew it by watching numerous recorded talks from the past and listetning to these top notch developers on .NET Rocks. Well, this morning I was in an elevator with Scott Allen, whose courses on PluralSight were the major part of my learning materials on ASP.NET some years ago. And when I stepped out of this elevator, first thing I heard was “Hi, I’m Richard Campbell” (that’s exactly 50% of .NET Rocks I just met). I know, it sounds silly, but I actually feel like a little boy meeting his all time football idol or somebody like that.

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Coffee and Links #4

Happy New Year everyone and thank you for reading this blog!

I decided to slightly modify the format of this series, so that the posts have only 3-5 links, but carefully selected and more focused ones. Information overload isn’t a joke and trying to learn everything is often counterproductive (ask me how I know it), while picking your battles and practicing deep reading helps internalize things you read.

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C# 7.0 and Visual Studio 2017 RC

A new Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2017 has been released recently, featuring faster installation and solution loading, an updated project file format, improved IntelliSense, better navigation, and some new built-in refactoring actions covering a significant part of commonly used ReSharper functionality. In this post we will look briefly into these items and will also do a small coding exercise to demonstrate some cool features of C# 7.0.

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Practice makes perfect

Contrary to what you might believe, merely doing your job every day doesn’t qualify as real practice. Going to meetings isn’t practicing your people skills, and replying to mail isn’t practicing your typing. You have to set aside some time once in a while and do focused practice in order to get better at something.

(Steve Yegge, Practicing Programming)

I couldn’t agree more. More often than not we developers tend to write code only during working hours. It’s about eight hours and (hopefully) most of those are spent actually programming, so that seems quite enough, right?

Wrong!

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Some facts about WiX

Before we start, let me ask you a question: do you know what is the oldest still active open source .NET project?

Today I was again listening to awesome .NET Rocks podcast and the guest was Rob Mensching, the guy behind Wix Toolset. WiX provides a bunch of tools to simplify the creation of MSI packages for Windows, and as far as I know, it is one of the most popular open-source implementations in that area. And it is also free! We use it for the product I am currently working on. Hell, even Microsoft is using it: see for yourself that the current .NET Core installer is actually built with WiX! In fact, Rob Mensching used to work in Microsoft on setup and deployment for Office, Windows and Visual Studio. Obviously, he knows more about installers than most people do, enough to build a business around it. So he is now a CEO and a co-founder of Fire Giant, a company providing commercial support for WiX Toolset.

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Current state of .NET

Imagine a software developer working in a typical enterprise IT company. Let’s call him Johnny. Most of the time Johnny works with .NET applications. He’s been writing web apps since the days of ASP (he feels pretty comfortable with Web Forms and IIS after all these years), but he was always too busy doing important things and never really had time to follow the news in the industry. Yeah, he heard some folks in another department are using “MVC”, and somebody mentioned something like “core” or “standard”. And some fellow .NET developers were even talking about Linux at the coffee machine. What? .NET and Linux? Weird!

Or is it?

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