About me

Michael L Perry

Improving Enterprises

Principal Consultant


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Dallas TechFest 2011

I presented two sessions at Dallas TechFest this year. I also attended some excellent sessions, hung out with old friends, and made some new contacts. Thanks to Tim Rayburn, Teresa Burger, Shane Holder, and other organizers, this was a fantastic event. They’ve really set the bar high for next year.

My sessions

My first session, Provable APIs, was very well attended. This talk presents techniques that you can use to ensure that people consuming your API do so correctly. These techniques take advantage of the compiler, and the type system in particular. I present samples in C#, but the techniques work well in any statically typed language.

The session was very well attended. We had people using not only .NET, but also Java, and C++. We even had some dynamically-typed languages represented including JavaScript and Ruby. Although they don’t have a compiler and static type system to leverage, they can still use some of these techniques.

The audience was extremely interactive. They posed some excellent questions. They were particularly interested to see a refactoring of the .NET Socket class, with its notoriously error-prone API.

My second session, Correspondence: Occasionally-Connected Windows Phone Apps, was not as well attended. Those that did participate were rather quiet during the theory portion, but started to interact during the demo. Based on their feedback, I will move the demo to the beginning of the talk, and save the theory only for after I get questions about how it works.

The app

The demo for the Correspondence session was actually the Dallas TechFest 2011 Windows Phone 7 app. I got some great feedback from people who were using the app during the conference. I also saw a few bugs that others reported and that I experienced myself. I’ll be rolling out bug fixes for upcoming conferences.

All told, I had 22 downloads of the app. Out of those, I received 2 ratings with feedback, for an average of 4.5 stars. 22 downloads out of a possible set of about 200 attendees, only about 30% of which carry Windows Phones, is pretty decent reach. And to get 10% of the downloads giving feedback is excellent. Sure, the absolute numbers are too low to make any generalizations, but I’ll take what I can get.

The DevLink 2011 app is in the Marketplace now. If you are attending DevLink and you carry a Windows Phone 7, please give it a try.

Old friends and new contacts

Tim, Teresa, and Shane are all old friends, so to see them pull off such an outstanding conference was a real treat. As an added bonus, I got to see a good friend from work present in his first conference. Girish Gangadharan presented on JQuery, and packed the room. Actually, I didn’t see him present because my Correspondence session was at the same time. But I saw pictures, so I know it was a full house.

I also got to meet some new folks. Devlin Liles from Improving Enterprises and Jay Smith from Tyson Foods are active members of the open source community. Their tools help out user groups and event organizers across the country and the technology spectrum. I look forward to working with them on community-centered open source projects.

I had a great time at Dallas TechFest this year. I’m looking forward to following up on all the contacts I’ve made, to applying all the techniques that I’ve learned, and most importantly to participating next year.

Now on to DevLink.