There have been similar events in the past, such as DevTeach and TechEd, that I would have liked to attend, but they were not near where I live and would cost considerably to travel to, never mind attend. So when I found out in the fall about a TechDays event being held in Vancouver, relatively close to home as it were, I was ecstatic. After little more than a look at the presentation listing, I was registered and ready to go. I had to wait until January for the “go” part, obviously. It was a long wait! I made my way to Vancouver on Tuesday, played tourist for the afternoon, and got ready for the start of the event.
On the first day of the event, I arrived at the convention centre and had to stop at the registration desk to pick up a printed name tag and my copy of the learning kit.
Speaking of which, the learning kit was just cool. It was made up like a box of cereal, and was labeled “Techie Crunch”. It contained a bunch of items, including a tuque, trial versions of some software, and full versions of Expression Web and Visual Studio 2008 Professional. That last one, all on it’s own, would be worth the cost of attending! Also included was some literature on Windows Vista, and discount coupons for DevTeach and Microsoft certification exams. Both of those are nice as well, and just might get used.
One other thing that was not in the box is a six-month subscription to TechNet, which provides access to beta and pre-release software for evaluation purposes, without being limited in usage or features. This is a great feature, and I look forward to making use of it.
After the registration, I was free to go to breakfast and meet various people at the event. After that was four sessions, separated by short breaks and lunch. The pattern was much the same the second day. Between the amount and level of material, and all the people I met and talked with, suffice to say I was quite brain-drained both afternoons! But it was a great time. I learned quite a bit, and have plenty of new reading material ahead of me (including reviewing numerous pages of notes). And working with the latest Visual Studio, for that matter. I think my main take-away from the conference is Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). The technology had only been a blip on my radar previously, so I decided to attend two sessions on the subject. They were very illuminating, and showed how WPF can be used as an alternate option with Windows Forms in .NET. And apparently they can even be used together, which is interesting. The technology has me intrigued, and I think I will be spending time on that in the near future. All in all, the experience was a great one, and I would welcome an opportunity to attend another such event. But in the meantime, I’ve got a lot of reading and coding to do! I added a bunch of photos from the event to my Flickr photostream, if you care to have a look.