Sunday, March 25, 2007

Code Camp

The Dayton/Cincinnati code camp was held today. Alexei, Arnulfo, Monish and I attended.

The Journey

Arnulfo's job apparently was to organize logistics. His "plan" was to have Monish and I meet him at the office at 4:30 (AM) and then go pick up Alexei on the way.

Arnulfo overslept. After hanging out at the office till about quarter of five, Monish called and woke him up. So we were a bit late. We then drove past the meeting point for Alexei, so more back tracking. We used Google maps to get us to our destination, but that was difficult. Many of the side streets we had to take between the freeway and the event were not labeled, or not labeled well. But we eventually made it.

1st Session: Practical Caching in ASP.NET 2.0 - Joe Wirtley

This was an OK session. We are going to be doing some data caching on my current project. The speaker talked a bit about static page and user control caching to. You don't have access to Session from cached user controls, so he showed us a work-around.

2nd Session: Layouts, Styles, Templates in WPF - Drew Robbins

I know Drew has given this presentation a few times, but I haven't seen if for over a year and half. I have to say that WPF is more impressive than its first incarnation. I kind of blew it off at first, thinking it was a neat toy, but seemed like a lot to go through, especially since it wasn't really on the horizon as far as being deployed. But, Drew showed some cool demos so I'm interested. I'll have to pick up Petzolds book and play with it.

3rd Session: Extending ASP.NET with Http Handlers and Modules - Joe Brinkman

This was a pretty interesting session about writing (you guessed it) custom Http Handlers and Modules. The speaker explained the page life cycle, and how sometimes it's more efficient to have a handler respond as opposed to an aspx page. He also showed some cool ways to use Modules to handle some authentication, compression and string substitution. The speaker was from DotNetNuke, and that framework uses several of these, so I'll download it and give it a look.

4th Session: Intro to XNA - Bill Steele

This one was for me. The fact is I haven't made much progress on my project. I downloaded and setup the XNA development tools, and fired up the starter project, but I wasn't really sure what to do after that. There is a little documentation for XNA, but if you don't have experience writing games, it's kind of hard to get your head around. This was a big help. I also learned that the next rev of XNA will be out next month, and that the new version will work with Visual Studio (the current version requires C# Express). I've went ahead and downloaded the framework and Anim8or (the recommended asset creation tool) but will probably wait until next month to avoid having to install Express.

5th Session: Balancing WCF Performance and Security - Darrell Hawley

This was a pretty helpful session that compared and contrasted the differences (both for performance and security, as per the title) of the various WCF bindings. There were some pretty marked differences. It was pretty helpful in determining which binding which binding to use where. One of the big strengths of WCF is the ability to have multiple bindings for the same service AND change these via configuration. So, you can expose your service via WS to the outside world, which provides interoperability, and TCP internally, which provides speed. There wasn't time to go into MSMQ, so I'm going to play with that a little on my own and how it "stacks" up.

6th Session: Improve Your Testing With Open Source Test Tools - Jim Holmes

I already use Team Test for most of my testing needs. Obviously, as good as Team Test is, it doesn't do everything, so I decided to check this out and see what was out there that was new and cool. There were a couple standouts. The first one, Fitnesse, is (according to their website) a tool to compare customer's expectation to the actual results. I also am interested in Pairwise, which is a case generation tool that helps test situations where conditions overlap. Watir looked kind of interesting as well. It basically does the same thing (on the surface) that Team Test’s Web Test does, but where a web test simulates web interaction by comparing query strings, Watir allows you to actually interact with specific fields on a web form. I don’t know what it will really offer that web tests don’t, or if it’s simply a better tool, so I’ll have to check it out. The only “drawback” is that it is Ruby based. I don’t have anything against Ruby per se, but I’d like to not in stall anymore stuff on my computer than I really have to.

All in all it was a great code camp and I got a lot of information and ideas out of the session. I’ll definitely be back next year, and would encourage everyone else who is able to also attend.

Thanks to everyone and CINNUG and The Dayton .NET Developers Group for putting on a great event!


Jim Holmes said...

I didn't get to it in the presentation, but WatiN ( is a .NET-based tool with the same syntax as Watir. You can also use WatirRecorder to get an 80% solution for scripts/test cases.

Dan Hounshell talks about his WatiN experiences on his blog at and

Diana Bender said...

As I said before #4 paragraph, please change from I've went to "I've gone"