Monday, October 09, 2006

Patterns and practices Summit - Day 1

When I attend conferences or training I usually have certain expectations of what I can and cannot get out of them.  My expectations of day 1 of Microsoft's Patterns and Practices Summit where somewhat open because I have never been to the Microsoft campus nor have I been to a conference or training put on by a specific Microsoft group.

So have I been satisfied that I was right to keep my expectations open? You bet!

So how do I communicate that satisfaction to you all?  Well, I'll try to keep it brief and to the point.  I will also update with links and more clarity if needed.  Here it goes...

Keynote:  Principles of Framework Design - Brad Abrams
Expectation: Some key points when designing a framework others will use.
Satisfied? Yes
Brad presented his 5 Principles of framework design.  There was some emphasis on things one might not think about like Simplicity and knowing your users.  Simplicity was what Brad fell back on throughout this presentation.  This re-enforced something's we are working on in my organization.

Dependency Injection Architecture - Brad Wilson
Expectation: none
Satisfied? Yes
This subject was one I didn't really have any insight into prior to this session.  I was introduced to Dependency Injection for the first time.  What is DI?  From what I understand it is about objects that depend on other objects can all be a part of a DI Component that can control the order of instantiation and whether an object is shared as a singleton or as a separate instance each time. More about this later because I want to explore this in more depth given some time.

Enterprise Library 3.0 - Tom Hollander
Expectation: none
Satisfied?  somewhat
At the organization I work for we do not use the Blocks Microsoft gives us in the Enterprise Library.  It was interesting to hear how Microsoft, as a development organization, uses the Agile process.  All features are prioritized and then a "Minimal Credible Release" feature list.  All of the features below the line are candidates for scope cut.  Some of the new features and fixes planned for the 3.0 release sound really interesting.  Read more at tom's blog:

Lunch chat with guys from Microsoft Research - don't have their names - sorry - email me or leave a comment if you have their names.
Expectations: none
Satisfied?  Wow!
These guys presented a tool that is in the research phase for Visual Studio that allows for modeling your application and then generating tests from the model. Cool!  One of the other guys from from my organization, Brooke Hamilton, attended the side discussion following the lunch presentation and he was impressed.  This type of tool can help make sure that your application models - activity diagrams etc.. do not become out of date as soon as you begin your coding.

CSLA Framework - Lessons Learned - Rocky Lhotka
Expectations: none
Satisfied? somewhat
This was an interesting presentation. Rocky talked about some of the decisions he made doing the evolution of his framework and how they can apply to any who are creating frameworks.  One key thought I got out of this presentation was sometimes we make need to make design decisions for the overall good and the 80% rule is in effect.

Application Framework Projects in IT - Johnathan Wanagel
Expectations: Close to my heart.  I had high expectations about this one.
Satisfied? Without a doubt!!
The use and success of a framework has been a struggle at my organization.  We currently have about 6 frameworks or versions of frameworks in our production environment.  The maintenance and support of those frameworks has been a challenge.  Our approach to a framework within our organization has changed since the move to .net 2.0.  We have thought a lot about our past challenges in this area and have come up with what we think is a viable solution given our organizational structure.  I say that because we do not have a specific project team which owns our common code.  We combine an open source approach with a team ownership.  We rely heavily on communication between the dev leads when changes need to occur.  This approach has its draw backs and was not the one recommended by Johnathan but was preferred by him with the absence of a team to own the code.

Architecting for Security - Shawn Veney, CISSP
Expectations: What are the key points of Security within a framework architecture?
Satisfied? Yes
This was a good presentation but I am not sure the audience was appropriate.  Good information about Threat Modeling.  Though, in my day to day duties my concern for security is directly related to authorization and credentials not threats.  Our security group does the monitoring and generates the guidelines associated with security.  I would like to think they have developed threat models for all our applications but I have no insight into this.  For more info visit: and

Generating Skeletal Baseline Applications - David Trowbridge
Expectations: none
Satisfied? somewhat
Global Bank Application Narrator review and demo - good but moved to fast. I missed most concepts early in the presentation.  seemed to be presented with the assumption that the audience had a greater understanding of the material than I had.  Orcas demo of Team Architect.  The questions after the presentation helped me clear up what I was seeing.


All and all it was a day in which I either learned some new things or I had re-enforced some of the design decisions we have made at my organization.  If you are attending the conference I would be interested in your comments.