Wednesday, October 12, 2005

First day of Tech.Ed 2005 - Sri Lanka - Rating

At Virtusa we have this habit of rating qualitytative things in a scale of 1 to 5 usually 1 - unacceptable 2 - needs improvement 3 - meets expectations 4 - exceeds expectations and 5 - consistently exceeds expectations. The way we arrive at a final figure for a certain deliverable or individuals performance is by rating number of sub items and taking the average of them. Microsoft also has a similar way of rating using a bar of 0 to 9.

The reason why I wanted to say this is, I want to rate my experience on the first day of Tech.Ed. I’ll be using the Virtusa standard as I am a Virtusan.

The event started two hours late than the initially set expected time. The opening ceremony was some what traditional Sri Lankan styled with dancers, drummers, lighting oil lamps etc. etc. What’s special about the opening ceremony was the entertainment by the group of drummers which extended in to a considerably long time. Music was nice - a few more minutes would have made many developers give up IT and start a career in music. But I won’t take the credit away from the organizers for doing some thing innovative.
My Rating - 3

The first session I attended was Introduction to Visual Studio 2005 by Janakiram. He talked on Generics, Iterators, Partial Classes, and Anonymous Methods. He leveraged the session with the aid of a slid show and he sounded pretty solid until the Q & A time.

The first question was motivated by an example he provided on Anonymous Methods. In his example the signature was omitted from the inline method. So the question was “can’t we access the arguments which are received from the event?”. Pretty straight forward; any one who has read about Anonymous Methods in Language Enhancements knows that you can write the signature just after the delegate keyword and access them. You need not be a developer evangelist to know it. But the speakers answer was No!! And he sounded pretty confidant of the answer! Luckily a person spoke up and showed him that it is possible to do so and he admitted that he was wrong.

Second question was “Can we have a single partial class in two namespace?” much more basic than the first question. What the partial keyword does is acknowledge the compiler that there could be another part of this class in a separate physical file. Any one who knows about namespaces know that they are used to logically separate classes; which allows you to have two different classes in the same project by the same name just by differing the namespace. So the answer to that question is no. But the speaker wasn’t sure about this! He actually wrote a sample app and checked the IL before answering! But couldn’t explain how it could happen. He seemed to be under the impression since the keyword partial was used it may have been possible. He did not knew what the key word is used for!

I believe this is an irresponsible and unacceptable act by Mr. Janakiran. He’s not just another developer but he was representing Microsoft, the company which many of the people present trusted to deliver products and services they could rely on. It’s true that being a developer evangelist doesn’t automatically make you a guru on all Microsoft technologies. But before attending an event as Tech.Ed and conducting a session on a certain topic he should have at least read the relevant material available on MSDN.
My Rating - 1

Next was the lunch break and since I wasn’t there to eat and there was nothing to complain about, I’ll rate it 3.

Next two sessions were “Programming Indigo” and “Transactions in Webservices and WS: other things developers love to hate” by William Tay. He delivered an extensive coverage on both the topics. He kept the attention of the audience intact by few wonderful comics and proved not only his in-depth knowledge on the subject but his abilities as a lecturer. The only problem was the time reserved for his session was not enough to cover the topic. Mostly because he knew inside out of it and wanted to speak about it as much as possible. I believe much good could have been done if he was given a whole day instead of two sessions. I personally appreciate his contribution (I didn’t know 90% of the stuff he spoke about and I believe I understood what he said)
My Rating - 4

Next session was “Managing the Software Lifecycle with VS 2005 Team System” by Yik Joon Ho. He demonstrated the fantastic features of VS 2005 Team System and seemed to have an in-depth knowledge on the product. But he seemed a bit tired probably after a long flight or some thing. But overall he was able to wow the crowd.
My Rating - 3

Next I had the option of choosing between “Upgrading from VB 6 to VB .NET” by Mr. Janakiran again, Given the facts that I’ve been doing for some time and Mr. Janakiran was not able to please me with his first session I looked for the other options at hand. Which was “XML and SQLCLR best practices” by Vinod Kumar or Drive back home as it was past 6 pm. I peaked in to the Vinod’s session but it seemed already started as my previous session got a bit extended due to the fact that there were lots of things to be talked about. So I decided to head back home.

So may final rating for the first day ay Tech.Ed is:

(3 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 3) / 5 = 3

Note that although the overall rating is 3, which is meets expectations; I hope Microsoft wouldn’t educate the speakers so that they would be better prepared when they present themselves in such events in the future.

So folks, stay tuned for day two ratings tomorrow.