Dave Noderer's Blog

November 2007 Entries

Review: "ASP.NET AJAX in Action"

I've just finished reading asp.net Ajax in action by Alessandro Gallo, David Barkol and Rama Krishna Vavilala. ISBN-10: 1933988142

My philosophy about javascript can be summed up in one word "yuk!" I keep hoping that the need to learn javascript will pass as the tools catch up and extend the .net dev environment to the browser client. This is happening with much better tools for debugging and deploying javascript in vs 2008. Still i'm a curious person and am embarrased to admit how little javascript I know and use.

One thing this book gave me was a very good education on javascript and the very powerful engine built into all browsers and i'm walking away with a much better apprciation for what is there and how to use it. After reading the javascript chapter i'll no longer hesitate to use javascript where required.

On the AJAX front the book does a great job of explaining what the simple sever side Microsoft tools will and won't do and explains the events on the browser side in great detail. This is further expanded to describe the interaction with server side events. This all greatly expanded my knowledge of the page life cycle at the browser end.

All of the discussions are with detailed step by step examples in code which i liked a lot.

Great job guys!

Running Code Camps

2007-11-17 - Added organization, Lorins unconference website software and a few other update

A week or two ago a few guys wanting to get some ideas about running code camps. It has taken on a life of it's own but here are some notes I made based on running code camps in South Florida. I'll edit and add to this as the discussion progresses.

 

Organization

  • Very important not to try and do it all  yourself, get others involved.
  • Planning is key
  • Start at least a few months out, lining up venue, sponsors
  • Pay attention to basics. Venue, signage, food, directions.

 

Venue

  • Free is good!
  • Devry universities around the country seem to be open to dev events for no charge.
  • In Florida community colleges charge some fees
  • Best if you can have one large room or auditorium to accommodate everyone and then a bunch of classrooms.
  • Don’t forget plenty of signage the day of the event.

 

Speakers

  • Local / new speakers (chance to grow the community)
  • MVP / RD
  • MS DE’s can help a lot!
  • We still use a word doc signup

 

Promotion

  • Pull in all local user groups
  • Promote to your members
  • MSDN Flash
  • Blogs

 

Sponsors

  • Anti-manifesto but I claim there has never been a code camp without sponsors (Microsoft is a sponsor too!)
  • The cheaper you can do the event, the less you have to worry about this.
  • Recruiters, training companies,  hosting companies and some component vendors will supply money.
  • Don't need a full schedule, just a date to get going. All sponsors want to know an approximate attendance.
  • We don't (no code camp I'm aware of) share the registration list with sponsors.

 

Volunteers

  • User group members
  • We get students from the university where we have the event
  • Many times spouses are willing to put in a Saturday

 

Food

  • Pizza is the easiest (3-4 people per pizza)
  • No food is an option but not normal
  • Easy on breakfast, not everyone will show up at 8am

 

Swag

  • Microsoft (we use as a last resort)
  • Recruiters
  • Component vendors (Infragistics, ComponentONe, Nevron, Ideablade)
  • Magazines (asp.net pro, code, msdn)
  • Publishers (apress, wrox, wiley, sams, etc)
  • Some will give money all will give product.
  • Local companies (training, consulting, large corp)

 

Website

 

Resources

  • Local DE’s are very important
  • MVPs and RDs in the area

 

Evals

  • Can keep it simple, just have blank evals for the speakers to give out and collect for their own use and then have one for the overall event.
  • Don’t get roped into having people spend time manually entering evals afterwards, removes all the fun of code camp!
  • Some have tried online evals after the fact
  • Some use a composite eval with say six sections + a section on the back for the overall conference and use it to give out swag at the end.
  • These are a trade off between easy, response rate and tabulation overhead.