DevHawk World Tour FY2010

As I’ve done the past two years, here’s a list of all the places I’m going in the next fiscal year. Traditionally, I’ve done this post by calendar year, but all MSFT planning is done by FY and so invariably I miss events early in the calendar year but late in the fiscal (like PyCon last year). I’ll be updating this post periodically as I get tapped for more presentations. There are several other conferences I’m considering, submitting sessions for, in discussions with, but these are the ones that are confirmed.


Danish University Tour, Sept 7-11
My FY10 travels first take me to Copenhagen, where I was invited by the local subsidiary to present at four different universities in a single week. Don’t know how much sightseeing I’ll get done, but I’ll sure be talking a lot. My host Martin Esmann writes for Danish ComputerWorld and has a post (in Danish) about my visit. Personally, I am just excited about being featured in something called “”! 😄 Actually, Stud here means “Student” not “slender, upright members of wood” or any other definition of the term “stud”.

I’ll be visiting Aalborg University, Aarhus University, University of Southern Denmark and University of Copehhagen as well as delivering a TechTalk at the Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen, which is Microsoft’s biggest development center in Europe. I’ll primarily be delivering my Iron Languages introductory talk “Pumping Iron”, but there’s also some interest in language development on the DLR so I’ll be talking on that topic as well.

patterns & practices Summit Redmond 2009, Oct 12-16
This will be my third p&p Summit in a row and fourth in five years. This year, I’m doing a talk called “Not Everything is a new Nail() : How Languages Influence Design”. I was supposed to deliver this talk last year, but got side track with my day job and ended up talking about IronPython instead. Keith has made it VERY clear he doesn’t want another last minute substitution again this year.

Turing award winner Alan Perlis is credited with saying ‘A language that doesn’t affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.’ Yet, most programmers rarely venture outside of the comfort zone of statically-typed object-oriented languages. Our heavy use of object-oriented languages influences our thinking to the point that we can?t see alternative approaches at all. This isn?t to say the object-oriented languages are bad, but as is typical in most things, there is no one ‘best’ way for all situations. In this talk, VS Languages PM Harry Pierson will look at a given software development scenario from both the object-oriented and functional perspectives, in order to see how much on an influence language really has on our engineering efforts.


Tech·Ed Europe 2009, Nov 9-13
I knew I was going to be updating this post over time, but I didn’t expect to have to update it so soon! Literally the day after I posted this, I got the speaker invite for Tech·Ed Europe 2009. My session hasn’t been posted yet, but this is the abstract we submitted:

Dynamic Languages on the Microsoft .NET Framework
The Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) adds a shared dynamic type system, a standard hosting model, and support for generating fast dynamic code to the CLR. IronPython and IronRuby are Microsoft’s dynamic language implementations on .NET. In this talk, we’ll show you how to interactively create great .NET applications using dynamic languages. You’ll walk away knowing why dynamic languages deserve a spot in your toolbox!

It’s kind of generic, but given that most of the audience probably hasn’t seen IronPython or IronRuby, having broad latitude in my presentation topic is a good thing. I’ll probably deliver a variant of my standard “Pumping Iron” talk like I’m doing in Denmark. I delivered it recently at an internal event with Jimmy, so there’s lots more IronRuby content than there used to be.

The only bummer about doing Tech·Ed Europe is that I’m only doing one measly talk. I’m asking around – I’d love to do a .NET user group or university talk while I’m in town. Any takers?

Find out what's

Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2009, Nov 17-19
Update: Tech·Ed Europe and PDC are on back-to-back weeks this year so we’ll be sending a teammate-to-be-determined to PDC in my stead. My family is very pleased I won’t be gone for two weeks straight.

Last year, I was on the content team for PDC. This year, that PITA responsibility belongs to someone else so I might actually get real work done in the four weeks leading up to PDC. My team will tell you, last year PDC sucked up 100% of my time for a month as we were driving towards our 2.0 release.

Technically, I haven’t had a talk for PDC accepted yet. But I submitted three and two are looking good (though I assume only one will make it to the actual show) so I thought I’d just go ahead and include it on this post. If/when my talks get accepted, I’ll post links and abstracts. Also, if one of my PDC talks is accepted, I’ll probably submit a talk for SoCal Code Camp as well.

pycon logo

PyCon 2010, Feb 19-21
This will also be my third PyCon in a row, though PyCon last year was a bit of a whirlwind since I had literally just joined the IronPython team. I finally feel like I might have something interesting to present at PyCon this year. Last year Dino and Jim handled the presentation duties from our team (with Michael Foord and Jonathan Hartley delivering a tutorial and Sarah Sutkiewicz speaking on FePy). We already have one announcement that I think is pretty significant lined up and might have a second depending on how hard I can push LCA and management between now and then. Talk proposals are due October 1st, so any suggestions would be appreciated!

DevHawk World Tour 2008

As expected, my new role is going to involve much more travel than my old role. Here’s a list of all the places I’m going / have been this year. I’ll be updating this post periodically as I get tapped for more presentations. There are several other conferences I’m considering, submitting sessions for, in discussions with, but these are the ones that are confirmed.


DevDays 2008
May 22nd – 23rd, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This is a kinda last minute pickup. My boss was originally scheduled to do this. Or should I say, my ex-boss? (I’ve been here less than two months and already scared off my boss! 😄 I’m doing two talks, but I only have the abstract for one of them.

DEV315 – “IronPython” and Dynamic Languages on .NET
“IronPython” is the codename for a new implementation of the Python programming language on the .NET Framework. IronPython is fast—in fact, up to 1.8 times faster than Python-2.4 on the standard pystone benchmark. It supports an interactive interpreter with fully dynamic compilation as well as static compilation to produce pre-compiled executables. It’s well integrated with the rest of the framework and makes all .NET libraries easily available to Python programmers. This session shows how IronPython brings the power of .NET to Python and the power of Python to .NET. At OSCON 2004, the first public release of IronPython was announced. This session demonstrates the latest IronPython version in a range of situations from using GUI frameworks to driving Microsoft Office applications to working with a variety of external libraries. We also discuss other scripting languages on .NET.

I’m also going to do a talk on Dynamic Languages in Web Development, focused on Silverlight and ASP.NET. I got asked to do a second session at the last minute (technically, later than the last minute) so this one has no abstract.


TechEd New Zealand and Australia
Sept 1st – 5th, Auckland, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia

I did TechEd NZ & Australia back in 2004 and had a blast, so I’m looking forward to coming back this year. Content isn’t locked down yet, but I’m looking to do both a dynamic languages session as well as an architecture session. There’s also rumor of a web futures panel discussion that I’ll be participating in.


Oct 27th – 30th, Los Angeles, California

I’m not doing a session, but I’m helping drive PDC content for my group, so I’m assuming I’ll be at the conference in some capacity. I’m thinking we need a dynamic language open space session.

patterns & practices Summit 2008
Nov 3rd-7th, Redmond, Washington

I really enjoy p&p Summit because Keith lets me experiment with somewhat off the wall sessions like “Developer 2.0” and “Moving Beyond Industrial Software”. Frankly, I have NO idea what I’m going to do at this years’ Summit, but I’m looking to stay outside the box like I have in the past.

Morning Coffee 160

I took most of last week between jobs and have spent much of this week getting machines setup, access to builds, etc. Furthermore, RSS Bandit ate my feedlist and I am still soldiering on sans mobile phone so I was pretty much unconnected for about a week and a half.

IPy Stuff

  • Laurence Moroney demonstrates how to configure a web site project in VS08 to use Dynamic Silverlight’s development web server Chiron. I looked at turned it into an exported template, but I think the Start Options are stored in the suo file and I’m not sure how to include that in the template. Maybe it could be set w/ a macro or at worst a GAX recipe?
  • If you’re a regular reader, you might as well get used to the name “Michael Foord”. He’s a developer @ Resolver Systems, makers of the IPy based Resolver One app/spreadsheet hybrid I’ve written about before. He’s also the author of the upcoming IronPython in Action book and the maintainer of Planet IronPython and the IronPython Cookbook. I’m going to try very hard to only link to Michael at most once per day. Frankly, that’ll be tough.
  • Today’s Michael Foord Link: Michael turned his PyCon talk on IPy + SL2 into a series of articles entitled IronPython & Silverlight 2 Tutorial with Demos and Downloads.
  • Ken Levy (who now sits just down the hall from me) clued me into the 1.0 release of IronPython Studio, which is a free IDE based on the VS08 Shell for IronPython (based on code from the VS SDK). Big new feature in this release is support for the integrated VS08 Shell, which means it’ll snap into your existing VS08 installation (well, not express) rather than forcing you to install the 300 MB isolated shell.

Other Stuff

  • Caps had a BIG win last night when they needed it most. Now they’re tied with Carolina for the SE division lead, but they lose the tiebreaker so unfortunately, they can’t make the playoffs without help. ‘Canes have to head back home last night to play Tampa Bay, they have to win tonight and Friday to clinch. Loss in either gives the Caps control of their own destiny. Caps are only one game back of Ottawa, Boston and Philly, none of whom have played well down the stretch. It does mean I have to root for the frakking Penguins to beat Philly, twice.
  • Now that I’m in a job where I’ll be traveling occasionally, I really appreciated Scott Hanselman’s travel tips, though I’m not sure “Don’t look like a schlub” is in the cards for me.
  • Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that Scott Guthrie blogged that the ASP.NET MVC Source Code is available on CodePlex. The project name is “aspnet” not “aspnetmvc” which makes me wonder if they might release the source to more ASP.NET stuff over time.
  • Speaking of Scott Guthrie, today he blogged about unit testing in Silverlight. Jeff Wilcox appears to have the definitive post on the subject, including links to the SilverLight testing framework (it’s included in the SL Controls source code release). He also provides a prebuilt “Silverlight Test” project template for easy download. Personally, I really like the in-browser test runner. I wonder how hard it would be to hook that up to DySL so you could write your tests in IPy? (given that IPy doesn’t have attributes, I’m guessing there’d be at least a bit of work involved in making this happen)
  • Speaking of Silverlight, apparently the next version of Windows Mobile (i.e. 6.1) will support it. Since I’m in the market for a new phone anyway, I’m thinking of getting one of these. Also, it’s nice to see a marketing site for WM 6.1 using Silverlight instead of Flash like WM 6.0 marketing site does.(via LiveSide)
  • Ted Neward turns the news that MSFT is releasing XAML under the OSP into a long and fascinating history lesson that is well worth the read. I’m going to skip commenting on it, beyond advising you dear reader to read this if you haven’t already, except to wonder: how many sides does a “Redmondagon” have?

Things I Didn’t Miss About Traveling

In my MSIT role, I only made two business trips, a training session with Thomas Erl and Tech Ed last year. I did travel for two presentations last fall, but both of those were on the conference’s dime, not Microsoft’s.

In other words, even though I haven’t even officially started on the Dynamic Languages team yet, by going to PyCon this weekend I’ve already halfway to matching my total Microsoft sponsored travel of the past eighteen months. I used to travel all the time – the architect evangelist role I was in when I started this blog had about 35-40% travel. But boy I am rusty. Well, rusty maybe isn’t the term, but I had forgotten how much of a pain it is to travel:

  • When I got to SeaTac Thursday, the Alaska Air desk was mobbed but everyone was just standing around waiting. Their computers had crashed and they were waiting for them to come back up. I asked an Alaska Air employee what the back up plan was, you know in case the computers didn’t come back up. “None” was the response. <sigh> I (and everyone else) ended up wasting a good half an hour before the system was operational.
  • My flight was around 30 minutes late taking off and we had to circle Chicago O’Hare for a good 30 minutes before we could land. Plus it took 15 minutes for them to get the cabin door open.
  • Internet service at the conference and my hotel has been pretty iffy. I’m not surprised by problematic wireless access at a conference (though it was greatly improved by the end of day one), but I wasn’t expecting hardline access in my room to be so bad. Speed has been pitiful when it worked at all. I called tech support (after the hotel staff uselessly sent up an “engineer” with a network cable) and waited on hold 30 minutes before giving up and leaving me a message. They called me back literally 3 hours later, by then it was after midnight. I was still up since I’m on west coast time, but come on!

Once I actually got here, the conference has been great (specifics on that in a future blog post). A lot more stuff than I’d like is going over my head so far, since I don’t have a grounding in Python’s language model yet. But getting to meet folks and chat face to face is the most important reason for going to these conferences in person – most of the presentation content will end up online anyway. I’m also getting to hang out with my new team – we all went for Chicago style deep dish Pizza last night. I think I’m going to fit in just great with them.

However, there’s one other huge difference between traveling now compared to traveling “back then”: I didn’t have kids before. Leaving my wife behind was hard enough. Leaving behind my kids as well is even harder. Explaining to Patrick and Riley that “Daddy has a business trip” and so I won’t be around for the weekend as usual was exactly no fun. I’m taking a few days off in the job transition to make up for it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring the family along on a few trips in the future, like I did for DevTeach. OSCON, for example, has been in Portland five years – that’s just a few hour drive from Redmond.

But maybe I should wait until I officially start the new job before planning my next trip.

The DevHawk 2007 World Tour

After spending almost all of fiscal year 07 (July ’06 thru June ’07) not traveling and not presenting, I’m going to be doing a few public talks to finish out the year. If you, dear reader, are going to one of these please drop me a line. Invariably, it’s the side meetings and discussions that are the most valuable at these conferences.

IT Architect Regional Conference 2007
October 15th – 16th, San Diego, CA

I’m a huge fan of IASA, so I’m thrilled to be doing their west regional conference. I’ve presented to a packed house for the local chapter before, so I think these folks will put on a good conference. They sure have a good selection of topics and speakers.

My session is called “Moving Beyond Industrial Software“. Here’s the abstract:

Computers have been instrumental in ushering in the post-industrial age. Yet, most enterprises today are run with an industrial mindset and the IT department is organized like a factory. This creates a tension between the forces of industrialization that define the organization and the forces of post-industrialization that define today’s marketplace. For example, our post-industrial world is becoming more decentralized by the day. Yet many organizations believe the key to a successful service oriented architecture – a very decentralized system design – is to have a central service repository.

In this session, Harry Pierson will examine this tension, get you thinking outside the industrial mindset and help you think about software development in a post-industrial way.

I’m very excited about this talk.

MS SOA & Business Process Conference
October 29th – November 2nd, Redmond, WA

I’m not presenting at MSSOABPC (that’s a mouthful) but looks like most of my team is going. So if you’re going and want to hang out with the guys who are doing this stuff in the trenches @ MSIT, let me know. Also, I put out the call for anyone interested in a geek dinner. From the agenda, looks like they’re keeping us busy until 8pm every night Mon-Wed, so we can either a) have geek dinner Thursday or Friday or b) have geek beers after one of the receptions in the early part of the week.

patterns & practices Summit USA West
November 5th – 9th, Redmond, WA

I did the p&p Summit back in 2005, a very successful debut of my Developer 2.0 talk. (I’m doing that talk at a different conference this year, details below.) This year, I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to talk about yet. I’m currently slated to talk about the Rome project that I’m doing in MSIT, but given our current slow progress on that project, I’m probably going to talk about something else. I’m thinking either the “Moving Beyond Industrial Software” talk described above or the “Facing the Fallacies of Distributed Computing” talk described below. Any other suggestions?

DevTeach Vancouver 2007
November 26th – 30th, Vancouver, BC

This is a brand new experience for me. Frankly, I’d never heard of DevTeach before my friend Mario Cardnial suggested I submit a couple of sessions. Since it’s only a few hours drive away, I’m bringing the family along. We’ll see how that goes. And when I’m not doing my sessions or hanging out with the family, I might take in a session or two in the XNA track.

Here are the sessions I’m doing:

Developer 2.0
Finding Your Way in the Future of Software Development

The one constant in software development is change. Software development in 2007 is dramatically different than it was in 2000, which was in turn dramatically different than in 1993. You can be guaranteed that the platforms, languages, and tools will continue to evolve. Learn how Harry Pierson, Architect in Microsoft IT, believes software development is going to evolve in the next five years and what you must do today to remain competitive.

Facing the Fallacies of Distributed Computing
Sun Fellow Peter Deutsch is credited with authoring “The Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing”. These are near-universal assumptions about distributed systems that “All prove to be false in the long run and all cause big trouble and painful learning experiences.” In this session, we will examine these fallacies in depth and learn how to avoid them on the Windows platform by leveraging Web Services, WCF and SQL Service Broker.