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MvcConf2: Post Conference Rubdown

So MvcConf has been and gone.  Lots of interesting talks though sadly I hit a ton of technical issues with laggy video and eventually total audio/video loss.  To my ISP – shame on you!  Luckily I did get to see most of the things I wanted (or at least hear).  Here's the final outlay of talk I attended (green for attended, yellow for not attended),

I kind of wanted to attend,

  • Talks that I already had some experience in to see if my thoughts where aligned with others, and,
  • Talks that I had not experience in but had an interest in.

Problem was that in some of these talks I felt a bit out of my depth which wasn't helped by the fact my video was busy drawing part of slides 4 and 5 when the presenter was already on slide 7 :(.  Other times I felt I had already dived deeper than the talk was covering.  I guess it happens!  Anyway enough complaining lets see what we covered,

Real World Application Development with Mvc3 NHibernate, FluentNHibernate and Castle Windsor

Presenter: Chris Canal

I went into this talk wanting to get a quick glance at NHibernate specifically.  I've had no exposure to any of these technologies (bar MVC3 of course) and I think I suffered because of it.  It was very Castle Windsor focused and I think I would have been better jumping into a pure NHibernate talk if there was one.  That said I really should have a look at Castle Windsor.

BDD in ASP.NET MVC using SpecFlow, WatiN and WatiN Test Helpers

Presenter: Brandon Satrom

I recently attended a talk on using Cucumber to provide Automated UI testing on our projects (held internally in our company) so I wanted to see what SpecFlow brought to the table over running Ruby and Cucumber.  I was very impressed with what I seen.  Nice explanation of the theory behind BDD.  I like the whole “Working Software” vs “Working Software That Matters” comparison.

In terms of SpecFlow itself I like the tighter integration into .NET, the ability to debug your steps is very nice and might help increase acceptance in a team when compared to introducing Ruby.  I can see the arguments for using Ruby – Cucumber is a more mature, Ruby is faster to setup and tear down, using the right tool for the right job etc. but I can also see the arguments against.  At least both farmeworks use the Gherkin language so writing the scenarios is done in the same way.  This is something I have to mull over a bit more.

Quality Driven Web Acceptance Testing

Presenter: Amir Barylko

I had a few audio and video problems during this presentation.  It touched on some theory behind Acceptance testing, Green Field vs Brown Field and things like that then dropped into using Cucumber for some acceptance testing.  Having just attended the same type of talk a few days previous there wasn't anything new here, and given the bad connection I skipped the rest of the talk.


Presenter: Scott Guthrie

The Gu talking about stuff – nuff said.  Nice to see him describing how cross pollination of the three platforms (WebMatrix, WebForms, MVC) works (Razor from WM, Routing from MVC etc.).  Also nice to hear that we can expect an MVC release on a near annual basis with plenty of preview releases inbetween!

CQRS and Event Sourcing with MVC 3

Presenter: Ashic Mahtab

Wow – CQRS is something I'd heard of previously and it's a pretty big buzz word in the Silverlight world at the minute so I wanted to check it out.  My head was thoroughly melted after this one.  Quite fast paced and I could have benefited from getting some prior reading in and around the CQRS concept.  Will revisit this once the video and slides are available.

One unexpected thing I got out of this talk was MSpec.  I always wondered how things like cucumber and spec flow handled lower level unit testing and it seems they aren't really suited to that sort of thing.  MSpec, as I have discovered, is essentially a unit level focused BDD framework.  Going to check this out very soon.

Deploy ASP.NET MVC with No Effort

Presenter: Troels Thomsen

Honorable mention here as my connection was flat out dying on this room.  I couldn;t make out video or audio very well.  I did spend a few hours a few days ago looking at appharbor and it looks like, as the name says, “Azure done right”.  Love the use of git as a deployment framework, love the minimal interface, love the pricing model, just love the whole thing – so I'm sorry I had to miss the presentation.  Another one to check out later.

Entity Framework "Code First": Domain Driven CRUD

Presenter: Chris Zavaleta

Having been playing with EF CTP5 recently I wanted this one to see if there was anything worth expanding on.  Turns out there is some nice stuff I didn't see during my tinkering.  Especially around the use of Configuration Categories to break apart the OnModelCreating configuration and the Seeding stuff to populate the DB with data.  Again my audio was dropping off constantly and my video was struggling so I had to drop out early on this one and throw in the towel.

Summing Up

All in all a decent conference I could have done with reading up on some of the subjects before hand.  I will be visiting many of talks again when they come online to get a better picture (pun intended) of the topics.  Big thanks to all involved.

Published in .NET on February 09, 2011