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Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

Oct 25

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Sunday, October 25, 2009 10:25 PM  RssIcon

Yesterday, a colleague and I went to Montreal to participate in the Samedi.NET (a Saturday of nothing but Silverlight).  Read on for my review.  Updated: 10-26-2009 14:52

Samedi.NET Silverlight

Samedi.NET Lecture HallUpdated: 10-26-2009 14:52 

Yesterday, SB and I went to MTL for a Saturday of nothing but Silverlight!  It was cool to participate in the Montreal's .NET Community event.  First impressions, it was a VERY informative day and we both got quite a bit out of the day!


More details?  First, let's get the "constructive critisisms" out of the way.

  • the room was unbearbly warm, by 4:00 the room was stiflying! 
  • there were no breaks scheduled, I understand it's hard to get started again after a break but people ended up leaving for bio-breaks/coffees anyways, and it was not only distracting but when you left (hey when mother-nature yells, she screams!) you miss that material!
  • at the end, during the Q&A, people were asking lots of questions but one presenter was googling/binging for Silverlight sites, STOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!!!!!!!  Do ONE or the OTHER but not both!  With the heat in the room, listening to two/three/four people talking at once AND watching someone fly from site to site, not sitting on one page long enough for any value retention......I felt like I was on a 3D ride at Universal, I was getting sick to my stomach (literally!)  Another reason could be he was bored, if that was the case, disconnect from the projector  (EDIT: this person had good intentions of trying to help the audience by showing relevant websites, so his heart/head were in the right place and that's what counts!)
  • Reset Expression Blend Worksapcefor Expression Blend presenters learn this trick, CTRL+SHIFT+R = reset workspace, presenters were CONSTANTLY resizing the different panes on their laptops, use the keystroke every once in a while to bring things back to a natural starting point
  • Another presenter trick, please please please, hide your Start menu, that'll give me three/four/five more lines of code I can see in one shot

OK, enough of the negative stuff, now for the good/positive stuff!

  • I knew I was in for a good day when a question came up about whether I paid or not (I HAD paid, I had the receipt but it didn't print my name on it DOH!) and the organizers let me in, IMHO they were PRIMARILY concerned with getting the information out more than money grubbing my piddly small amount of dough, KUDOS and good on you .NET MTL!!!!
  • I had to concentrate really hard on the material cause it was in french but I was able to keep up (for the most part) (uh, having most of the demos in C#/Expression Blend helped cause when I was questioning what something meant I could see in the demo......OOOOOOOHHHH "stilling" in french is styling!!!!! AH ok, je comprends maintenant! haaha
  • Microsoft's Christian Beauclair from the Ottawa office was there, VERY cool to see their developer evangelist there to support us, and I mean REALLY supporting us, how many IBM, SUN or Oracle execs do you honestly/REALLY think would do that?
  • Jean-RenĂ© Roy from DevTeach also made the trek from Ottawa for the presentation!
  • Over 200 people attended, yup, there were over 200 people who gave up a Saturday to learn about Silverlight (SL), I thought that was cool, if 20 people showed up I'd have to question Silverlight's traction in the market place but with that much interest, I'm pretty confident SL is around for the next few years
  • Laurent Duveau - MTL SL MVPLaurent Duveau (SL MVP for Montreal area) was there and gave some great presentations!  (I was too self conscious about my french to introduce myself)
  • Guy Barrette (MS Regional Director) was also there and gave the first presentation of the day (SketchFlow) which was VERY enlightening!  So much I think every Product Mgr should have this on their CV, within 10m, Guy was able to convince his audience of it's power, versatility and usefulness.
  • Etienne Trembley (VSTS MVP) was present as well, holy smokes man, the more I dive into who was there, there were a BOAT load of MVPs!  Sweet!
  • not nearly enough power cables, only about a quarter of the people had juice for their laptops, and also no internet access, but that was ok cause it forced people to focus on the material and not their email
  • LOTS of material presented and the day's objective was achieved (build a SL app in one day)!
  • found out about SketchFlow and Expression Designer, two tools you have to include in your toolbox!  SketchFlow for the Product Manager in your company and Expression Designer to help you create cool graphics AND automate/animate them!  Ya, it's too cool!
  • learned about SEO and SL, something I didn't think could be done BUT it can, cool!
  • Styling is sooooooooooo cool with SL, almost makes 508 compliance fun!  Really!
  • Who know there was so much that could be done to animate a button and for so little work?  Very cool stuff!
  • My partner in crime and I got a few ideas for our companies product, very cool!
  • Silverlight is nothing if not XML and panels!  Something you just have to get used to, if you don't like it.......oh well, deal with it
  • SL = Expression Blend, panels (oh the panels), EF, Web Services/WCF, XAML, XAP
  • even french developers use the US keyboard layout, speaks VOLUMES about the // comment characters and how important they are to devs!

I have to say, with so many high power poeople present (MVPs, RD, MS guys) you have to understand/appreciate a lot of people put in a lot of effort into this one day affair.  Merci beaucoup!

Ottawa.NET CommunityAnother part of the reason why I went was to see how it was run.  I would very much like to see the ODNC host such an event in Ottawa!  So if you're in the Ottawa/Gatineau area and are also interested, please leave me a comment!

It was VERY much a worth while day in Montreal.  Very informative and I can honestly say I'm pumped for another four/five/six months for Silverlight/WPF!  Around then, we should be getting VisualStudio 2010, time for another hit!  HAHA LOL

Now it's time to grab a coffee and get coding!


PS Picture's from Christian Beauclair

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9 comment(s) so far...

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

Hey too bad you didn't get down and say Hi!

By Laurent on   Monday, October 26, 2009 8:13 AM

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

I did see you in the washroom, but, well, hhhmm as you can guess, it probably wasn't the best time to make an introduction! :> Next time! By the way, you and another guy (can't remember his name) were by far the best presenters. Your enthusiasm, easy going attitude, adding a bit of humour helped even this anglophone stay tuned! As I mentioned, I'm now pumped for SL for a few months now! :> haha Have a good week!

By phenry on   Monday, October 26, 2009 8:59 AM

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

Something else I forgot to mention that was good about the day was everyone "played" with the same program. Doing this, removed the problem of learning the new solution/application the presenter was looking to demonstrate letting people concentrate on the material. Very smart, lots of coordination before hand I'm sure but well worth the efforts. Kudos guys.

I found the app demo'd on Laurent's blog.
PS No, it's not the flashiest, whiz-bang look'n demo out there, it's not meant to be, it's meant to demonstrate concepts which it does very nicely.

By phenry on   Monday, October 26, 2009 9:06 AM

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

Hey Peter! Thanks for the comments, it's appreciated.

Yeah, it was an oven in there. We asked but we were told that the guys who overlook the AC don't work on the weekends. I guess we'll look for another room next time if they can't fix that for us. If it was hot for you, just imagine how hot it was for us in front!

Yeah, the MS clown was me (and I don't work for MS). I was trying to show sites associated to what people were asking but I realize that it was distracting for the audience. Thanks for pointing this out.

Are you looking to host something similar in Ottawa? Maybe we could work something.

By Guy on   Monday, October 26, 2009 10:32 AM

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

I can help you organize one in Ottawa. I can even ask some of my friends in Montreal to present. I am sure the guys of RunAtSever will be happy to come.

By Jean-Rene Roy on   Monday, October 26, 2009 10:32 AM

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

Hi Guy and JR, thank you for your comments.

Guy, my apologies, I was a bit harsh :< Once my stomach relaxed a bit :> I realized what you were doing when I finally made the connection of your searches to what people were asking/talking about, but then I found myself trying hard to keep track of where you were going then I lost track of what the questions were! DOH! haha As for the oven, ya, I figured you guys knew about it and if it was 2:00 and still hot, I figured you weren't able to change things, just hard to deal with it when you're that hot. And ya, I can only imagine how hot it was for you guys at the front.

I thought you worked for MS but when I went to look at your blog, I realized you were a RD, that's probably where I got the connection (or half the connection). I updated my posting above to include you in there (with your blog, hope you don't mind?). ("Clown" is rough :> I knew what you were trying to do and knew your motivations were honest and figured you weren't bored....I've seen someone actually do that! navigate to sites while the projector was still connected DOH!)

JR and Guy, thank you for your offer, that is fantastic news for bringing this experience to Ottawa/Gatineau! :> Very cool and I'll be in touch! Thanks again. JR, I know first hand about your event organization skills (DevTeach! :>) and would be honoured to work with you on this! Sweet!

By phenry on   Monday, October 26, 2009 10:50 AM

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

Hey Peter, no need for apologies at all. Your comments are spot on and I thank you for taking the time to write them because this is how we get better at doing this. So, merci beaucoup!

We had a blast organizinzing this event. If we can help you, let us know.

By Guy on   Monday, October 26, 2009 11:52 AM

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

Gee! Is "organizinzing" an English word? LOL!

By Guy on   Monday, October 26, 2009 12:31 PM

Re: Samedi .NET Silverlight in Montreal

Yup it is now! :> haha I used to be anal-retentive and want to correct stuff like that, until that is it bit me in the a$$ and lost my team lead. Micro-managing isn't good and I learned it the hard way.

At the end of the day, it's a parallel to me speaking french, I can make my way by, I can understand and can speak enough to communicate myself. I will make mistakes but as long as the person on the receiving end is patient, we'll get along juuuuuuuust fine! :> I've seen this work with Israelis (Jewish and Arabic), french canadiens, Mauritiens, Java, C++, C# developers, Windows and Linux users, it's amazing how easy it is to communicate when you focus on learning and trying!

The long way to say, no worries, I COMPLETELY understood what you meant! :> haha

By phenry on   Monday, October 26, 2009 12:36 PM

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