While I had intended to drive down early on Sunday morning, I decided sometime Saturday it was more appealing to drive down at night than get up very early to make it in time for some commitments that started at 11:30a Sunday. In the end, David (JAXDUG President) and I drove down Saturday night and picked up Heather from Downtown Disney (she had arrived earlier in the day via plane and caught a taxi over to Downtown Disney, so we gave her a ride back to the hotel).
On Sunday, after going over to the convention center to get registration out of the way, I made my way over to meet up with some other MVP's and meet many for the first time. The next step was the pre conference session I signed up for, Writing Secure Code. At first it was quite disappointing because it was heavy on C++, but after 45 minutes or so it finally got into some managed code issues. While I can say I learned a little, I don't think it was worth the $400 or 4 hours of my time. At any rate…
The day was wrapped up hanging out with the rest of the people from my company who flew in later in the day.
Monday's keynote was quite good. I'm sure the keynote is available somewhere so I won't rehash it. What did stand out to me is the work the Visual Studio and Office teams have done making it easier in Visual Studio .NET 2005 to build Outlook addins with managed code, as well as the mobile enhancements to the Windows Mobile OS and Exchange service pack coming out later this year.
I hit the SQL & Portal Cabanas after the keynote, primarily to do a little research on a WSS->Reporting Services question that a friend asked me to research for him (good ideas came of that as well!).
After lunch, I hit my first breakout session, Microsoft Visual C# 2004: IDE Tips and Tricks. I really like the new code visualization with the class designer, object test bench, refactoring, static code analysis, code snippets, intellisense enhancements, code generation, and most importantly the advances in debugging. Your watches no longer have a massive list of all properties of the object you are watching, it now it's much more organized. When you mouseover an object in your code, you can see a default property for the object. You can even use attributes to tell the debugger what property to show in your own custom class when you're debugging it.
Next was the InfoPath: Introduction to Forms Development session. I know the power of InfoPath, I've just never actually had the chance to work with it. I plan to focus on it quite a bit this week. Not much to say for those who are used to InfoPath development.
The last session session of the day was the MCMS one I had been waiting for: Content Management Server :Accelerating Your Development and Deployment by Arpan Shah. Other than the big Skelta news, Arpan covered the following topics: extensibility, authoring, the IT Hit Web Author, telerik's radEditor, search options, workflow (both OOTB and Skelta), some code examples, and content migration. Yes, that WAS a ton to cover. It was quite a session… packed to the gills and fantastic! By the way, thanks for the drop Arpan! I even got to do a little drop on the book.
I also got to meet some people today to put a name behind the faces such as Sandy Khaund (who runs the GotDotNet project and is working on making it much better), Korby Parnell, Joel Ross (finally meeting at the MCMS session after a day of emails back and forth!), and Bill English (who I had already met, but was nice to see again). Seems everytime I was trying to track Todd Bleeker down, we were missing each other by just a few minutes. I'm sure we'll hook up some point this week. Todd and I have traded emails of late and were going to talk MCMS-SharePoint integration/content publishing (this is something you'll see me write about more in the future).
I'd like to say I'll put a little recap like this at the end of each day, but it's just not likely. I'll post when I can. I'll also blog more about some of the booths and conversations with vendors that stood out to me at a later time.