The Microsoft Tech Days were held in the Hague and are two days of developer fun. My employer was so friendly to let me attend the conference. This year there were no real new products or major updates to notice. This left space for more niche sessions about mobile development and some IT pro presentations.
I’ll try to sum up the visited sessions and the online documentation I found later. I tried to pick sessions I am not really familiar with and where I can learn the most.
Sadly I missed the keynotes like a lot other people due to traffic jams. But the recordings are already online: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechDays/Techdays-2013-the-Netherlands
I was planning to go to Philip Japikse session (found no recording!!) about ‘Slice development time with ASP.NET MVC’, but it’s was completely full. (Why are the most popular sessions in the smallest rooms?)
One of the things that Ben Showed us was how to localize your app for multiple languages. He demonstrated the use of the Multilingual app toolkit to do an initial translation with the help of the Bing Translation service. Very nice & easy! Note: this translation should be reviewed before publishing your app to the store.
Alex van Beek – Entity Framework 5 & 6: de stand van zaken
Alex took us through the history of Entity Framework. Version 1 (which was not really good), 4, 4.1, 4.2 and 5. The last part of his session was about the alpha 3 version of Entity Framework version 6 , is also available on NuGet.
Things that I remembered:
- E.F. version 1 is declared as a bad product since it was not usable in production environment
- E.F. version 4 is a giant leap, that’s why version 2 & 3 were skipped
E.F. version 5 has notable features:
- DbContext is a wrapper around ObjectContext object. General complaint about ObjectContext object that it contained too much detailed feature that were not commonly used. DbContext is more straight forward in use and you still can use ObjectContext if want to have more advanced features.
- Multiple diagrams per model (in other words: support for big database modelling)
- Coloring of shapes on the design surface (Shiny!)
- Batch import of stored procedures.
- Enum support (Best practice, explicitly assign a integer to enum values)
- Table-valued functions support
- Spatial data types (Can be useful when you’re creating mobile apps with GEO features). Alex showed us a demo to calculate which addresses where within 20 kilometers of the city Veenendaal within(!) a SQL query. Nice!
E.F. version 6 has these planned features:
Tip: Download the E.F. Powertools extension. (You can reverse engineer your database to code. Only adviced to be used for small database, since you can’t select the tables you want.)
Arie Leeuwesteijn – Async and parallel patterns and application design
Arie talked about C# 5.0 async features, Reactive Extensions, Task Parallel Library and TPL Dataflow. He described the need of parallel computing and the new await and async statements. I don’t have taken notes, so here are some links:
Mads Kristensen – Beyond Visual Studio 2012: What’s coming for Web Developers
Mads Kristensen presented a nice session about Visual Studio being a good IDE also for web developers. His Web Essentials extension contains a lot of features that makes their lives much easier.
Mads demonstrated the Page Inspector feature. Within Visual Studio you get a inline browser window where you can inspect a element that traces back to the .CS sourcecode (Like a HTML developer would do with Chrome Dev Tools). Other highlights of P.I.:
- Live and real time CSS editing (with/without saving the actual file).
- Intellisense for KnockOut Mvvm model
He should also the awesome magic of Zen Coding. Example in html template: ul>li*5>a -tab-tab-. This will create a list with 5 anchor tags.
Another useful extension is the Image Optimizer. This tool combines SmushIt and PunyPNG for optimizing the images.
You should see the recording, Mads had a great talk.