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It is Friday 13th Nov 2009 - which means it is the last day of TechEd Europe in Berlin. Overall I have had a good week – high quality sessions, lots of time with customers and colleagues and a very smooth conference throughout.

I spent the week doing a bunch of things. 9am Monday I was presenting on Entity Framework 4 after 4 hours of sleep and using a brand new VPC after my original failed to load following yet another blue screen from the host (the machine will be flattened next week – perhaps literally!). Then Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I manned the .NET Framework pod in the Technical Learning Centre which was great fun – lots of random questions mixed in with some really fun chats with old and new friends. I also managed to record a some short podcasts which will ultimately get published here on Channel 9. They were:

  • Mike Flasko of the ADO.NET Data Services team talking about Entity Framework 4 and N-Tier (Mikes EF4 session was standing room only)
  • David Robinson of the SQL Azure team talking about SQL Azure today and future and the release this week of a version of SQL Server Management Studio that works with SQL Azure
  • Peli de Halleux and Nikolai Tillmann of the Pex team talking about Pex, Stubs and Moles
  • Peli de Halleux and Nikolai Tillmann talking about their sister teams Code Contracts technology

My discussions with Mike and David left me feeling positive about the next 12 months for technology areas I spend a lot of time on and the Pex guys impressed me so much with where they were taking their technology. They need developers to keep trying it and to keep giving them feedback. Lets not let them down – install Pex today.

Highlights

  • All the developer sessions I did attend were good to very good. No bad ones at all. Which is good as I didn’t get to attend that many.
  • The conference was smooth and the facility worked well
  • The expo area, hands on lab area and TLC area all were great – you could fill the week by taking advantage of those 3 and not attend a single session
  • The 6 interactive theatres that delivered sessions even during lunch were a great addition
  • It was fun to be in Berlin on the 20th anniversary of the wall coming down. Nice one Microsoft.
  • The food and free beer!

Lowlights

  • The keynotes on Monday. Awful. Sorry – but they were.
  • Lack of “general” development session on .NET Framework 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010. I was told that around 45% of the sessions were dev but it never felt that way. The 45% included “edge sessions” like embedded and windows mobile that I think many of the developers attending would ignore (myself included) which sometimes meant you only had 2 or 3 sessions to choose from in any slot. Shame. Presumably we are “keeping our powder dry”  for PDC next week.
  • Distance from conference centre to hotel/central Berlin. For me it required a bus and a train – 45mins door to door, sometimes longer.
  • Lack of developer announcements – but to be expected with PDC just around the corner.

Sessions I would recommend watching when they become available:

  • DAT04-IS Patterns with the Entity Framework – full room!
  • DEV314 A lap around Microsoft Visual Basic - Lisa Feigenbaum rocks at putting lots of content into a session slickly
  • WIA305 What’s New in ASP.NET MVC – nicely done
  • DAT303 Building applications with SQL Azure – well paced session
  • DEV204 Unit Testing Best Practice – this was the same slot as DAT303 which I went to – but lots of folks told me at the pod that DEV204 was great
  • WIA03-IS Securing Microsoft Silverlight – good interactive session that I dozed through – but that was me, not Shawn Wildermuth who did a great job
  • WIA404 Data Driven ASP.NET – Dynamic Data comes of age in .NET 4. Check it out
  • WIA303 ASP.NET AJAX – another good session from Stephen Walther
  • WIA402 Debugging ASP.NET  - Tess Fernandez rocks at this stuff. I don’t really have the need but it was cool to watch
  • There was also a lot of content on SharePoint 2010. SharePoint dev is finally coming of age (and sparked me to create this poll for next weeks MSDN Flash. Feel free to vote)

Oh, and I just had a sneak peak at the eval scores for the event and although we are not quite done yet, the top ranked dev session is… drum roll… DEV307 Parallel Computing for Managed Developers.

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Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 11:52 AM Events/Training | Back to top


Comments on this post: TechEd Europe 2009 Highlights and Lowlights

# re: TechEd Europe 2009 Highlights and Lowlights
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Abs. agree, esp with the low lights. For a Dev the Keynote was a joke, and somewhat set the tone for the conference. I think everyone at TechEd should get free conference material/access to PDC to make up for it. I came to the same conclusion about the TLC area, I could gain more from a 10min chat there than some of the sessions. Some of the sessions I attended were of a high standard but I think the medium has to change since there is now such an active online community
Left by Paulio on Nov 14, 2009 11:35 AM

# re: TechEd Europe 2009 Highlights and Lowlights
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Gotta agree with your assessment, excellent breakout sessions for the most part, I attended one that was really awful, but will spare the blushes of the individual who failed to deliver it late on Thursday afternoon...

TLC was very useful, for some reason I can't put my finger on it just worked better this year than previous years.

The venue was HUGE, and if it's there again next year I'm nicking my kid's roller blades to take with me just to get around.

Finally, the keynotes I think you're being polite, they were truly dreadful! -I've never seen so many people up and leave mid session.

Finally, someone at Microsoft needs to explain the cultural difference between EMEA and North America to the speakers. With many of the speakers from the US, they were obviously used to enthusiastic whooping and cheering mid-session, whereas in EMEA delegates tend to sit and listen in respectful silence (only showing their dissatisfaction by leaving midway) - I felt for some of those speakers who found the lack of feedback disconcerting.

All in all, an excellent week, well worth the investment.
Left by Gary on Nov 18, 2009 12:45 PM

# re: TechEd Europe 2009 Highlights and Lowlights
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I was very disappointed by the lack of developer content. I attended a TechEd in Florida a few years ago with had *much* more interest for developers. It would be helpful if the session titles could be published before we have to make the booking.
Left by davidr on Nov 18, 2009 4:25 PM

# re: TechEd Europe 2009 Highlights and Lowlights
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I also agree with the lowpoints, except distance. The Berlin public transport system is amazing, and cheap.

There were some great sessions, such as Don Symes, Steven Walther etc.
However, some of the developer sessions were of rather poor quality, and I would say the event was probably 40% overpriced given the reduced developer content.

So while I did learn a lot, I would not recommend going next year unless there is a full developer event, or they lower the price to reflect the fact your are putting two events into one.
Left by Mark Hudson on Nov 18, 2009 8:55 PM

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