Orlando Code Camp 2009

So this past Saturday has come and gone and I feel smarter for having survived it without my head bursting from the intake of knowledge.  I went to my very first Code Camp put on by the Orlando .NET User group.

To start my day I left Brandon at 5:30 and took the drive to Lake Mary.  Upon arriving it was guess work for those of us unfamiliar with the campus as to where we needed to go.  Some sort of signage would have been helpful.  Once i found other people, equally lost, I parked and started exploring.  Upon entering the buildings of Seminole Community College it was fairly easy to find the Cafeteria where registration was happening, at the other end of the campus.   At registration,  snacks, sodas and most importantly coffee were laid out in the cafeteria.  As far as I can could tell the coffee was going fast and was an integral part of all 8:3o AM sessions.

Speaking of sesions, I went to a few.  I started out with the “Introduction to the ASP.NET MVC Framework” by John Meyer. (aka DotNetZebra).   While I have watched a few videos on ASP MVC,  I really haven’t been given a good lesson on it, which John did.  While not the best presenter, you could tell that he knew what he was speaking about.

Next up on the list at 9:45AM I was  going to go to “Make your Data Dance with ASP.NET Dynamic Data” by Shawn Weisfield, but it had been switched with an afternoon session, which made me available to sit through the standing room only “LINQ Tutorial” by John McFetridge.   I can’t express enough how well presented this session was.   John was excited about LINQ, he was exicited to make us excited about it.  Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t doing inapproriate things to Microsoft in the process but he definately was a fan of LINQ.  I do hope he ends up posting his session notes to the Code Camp website.

Once done, I stayed in the same room for the upcoming “Intro to JQuery” with Ryan Morgan. Now here’s a good presenter.  Once he figured his Mac wasn’t agreeing with all the Microsoft nerds in the room, and a laptop\super computer (without Service Pack 1 for VS2008)  was borrowed we got on our way.  If you ever have the chance to sit in with one of Ryan’s talks, definately do, you won’t be disappointed.   As I knew nothing of JQuery other than its name and its possible  Javascript link due to the synonomous J on the front of its name, this was very informative.  Where have I been for the last couple of  years where all the sweet systems are available to me. Thanks for opening my eyes to the simple things in life.

Lunch.  I made the trek across the campus back to the cafeteria where they had some scrumptious sandwiches and fortunatley power outlets.  My Dell is a few 5ish years old and even with a new battery last year, it tends not to stay alive for very long, so a recharge was in order.  Similarly, since I had been tweeting all morning and had not charged the Blackberry since the day before, it also was in need of some good ole’ electric loving.  A quick hour on the charge for the electronics, some stomach food to charge me and we were back going again.

I took the chance to go early to the next session, which I had decided would be no other than Ryan Morgan again.  “Pure CSS DotNetNuke Skinning” had all the DNN heros sitting in the back row when I walked in, Will Strohl, Darrell Hardy, and I believe Tracy Wittenkeller This is the session I needed to push me into DNN.  I have been checking it out casually over the last couple of weeks but never really jumped in due to the lack of knowledge of how to make it look  good, a requirement that ALL clients demand.  After seeing how very easy DNN is and how very advanced it can be, i decided that I’m going to give it a go.  Stay tuned right here for any growing pains / experiences I have with DNN in the coming weeks.  As most people in the class already were familiar with DNN, and I had indicated my exploratory feelings towards DNN, Ryan gave me one of his latest books “Professional DotNetNuke 5”, sweet score.   Also before the session started the guy in front of me had scored a book on C#, which he had no need for so I volunteered to carry it around all day and store it on my bookshelf at the end of the day, to which he gladly agree.  So add to my bookshelf: Visual C#: The Language

Being so stoked from the last presentation, how could anything else top it?   Leave it up to Jim Zimmerman from Tampa.   The “Advanced javascript with JQuery, Ajax 4 and MVC” was a lively presentation.  Another natural presenter, Jim picked up right where Ryan left off in the intro to JQuery session.  You would almost think they had gotten together and figured out the handoff point, which apparently they did not.  While Ryan showed us the walking portion of JQuery, Jim jumped right into intermediate running.  He invoked some real world examples of how you would put JQuery to work for you.    By far one of my favorite presenters, and he’s local so I’ll be able to pick his brain at the Tampa MVC Group forming up.

Finally, the end of the day has come and now i must decided, do I got see Microsoft’s first Silverlight MVP which could be informative and fun to see where its going, or do I goto see Shervin Shakibi in SSIS?  Decisions, Decision.  Yes, I did the responsible thing and went to SSIS as it will be more beneficial to me than Silverlight at this point in time.  As I told Shervin at  Pub Club afterwards, this session was the kick in the rear I needed for SSIS.  It was just so daunty if you’ve had zero exposure to just jump right in, I’d rather stay with good old fashion DTS packages than trudge my way through SSIS, but with the right primer I think I’m ready.   After taking a quick survey of the attendees, Shervin addressed our level of experience and need.  He kept  it relevant for some strong users, but didn’t lose us SSIS newbies in the mix.  Was such a good mix of quality usage information, I bought him a frosty brew at Pub Club, I can guarantee I got more of that class than he did out of the $3 beer.

So that was my day.  It was long, it was full, and it was very informative.  Pub Club afterwards took us over Jax’s grill in Lake Mary where food was served, beverages flowed and I had the opportunity to talk to almost every one of the presenters  I saw and more.  I don’t believe I was able to really express my appreciate to Fabio, Jessica and all thier behind the scenes folks that made OCC a possibility.