Lansing Day of .NET

In one of my favorite tech blogs, Coding Horror, Jeff Atwood blogs about what it means to practice your profession. More specifically, he mentions that you can do your job without practicing your profession. That everyone drives every day, but most people are not professional drivers.

In his post, he brings up several things you can do to become more practiced as a developer. One of those things is "Write a blog". It seems he (who is a developer turned professional blogger) believes that what I have decided to do (write a blog) is worthwhile to my career. It helps me get past my fear that I am just doing this to feed my own ego… which it feels a bit like.

I believe that another thing that is important for practicing your career is going to conferences. On Saturday, I attended the "Day of .NET" in Lansing. I left feeling like I learned a TON! It was a great thing for me professionally.

One thing that I enjoyed about this conference was the fellow attendants. See, this conference was held on a Saturday. I can’t say that I have gone to many Saturday conferences. I think they do this so people who can’t get their bosses to let them go during the week can still go to this conference. The side affect is that the people who attend are the types of people who are truly interested in learning outside of work. The enthusiasm about the conference and the topics was quite a bit stronger than I have ever seen at something like this.

I am starting to understand that this community is not terribly large. I recognized many of the people there from the Ann Arbor .NET Users Group, blogs and podcasts. Many of these people are people that I follow on Twitter because I have found what they have to say interesting through one of the previously mentioned venues. Although most of these people do not know me, I find that their views resonate with what I believe about software.

While at the conference, I sat through several talks. The ones I found most interesting were the Castle Project talks. It is interesting how the technology has progressed (my analysis):

First, there was ruby on rails. They did some really neat things. Then came Java with Hibernate, Spring, etc to try to do what rails did. Then came the Castle Project for .NET, with ActiveRecord (on top of NHibernate), Windsor and Monorails. From there, Microsoft lifted their heads and realized "Hey! We should do this". From there, Entity Framework and ASP MVC were born.

Those ruby folks were really on to something!

Anyways, the conference was good and I learned a lot about Entity Framework, Castle ActiveRecord, Castle Windsor and ASP MVC. I expect to play a lot with these technologies over the next few months, and continue practicing my craft.

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