Atlanta Code Camp 2012
I had a good time attending Atlanta Code Camp 2012. It’s a one day event put on by and for the .Net developer community. Having never been to one of these before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was hoping to learn some things I could use right away, along with seeing what’s happening with Visual Studio 11, so I can look forward to things. I was quite happy with the day, and have lots of things to go work on now.
Every session had a QR code to go to a survey about it as you were there. I thought it was a great idea, but I don’t have a QR reader on my phone, and didn’t feel like installing one. So, in lieu of those survey’s, here is what I did and some thoughts. The first session I attended was a comparison of five ways to import flat files into a database. Yeah, it’s not the most exciting topic in the world, but it’s what I do day in and day out, so I felt compelled to go so I could learn something that would be immediately useful. And I did…there is a SQL Bulk Load component in .Net that I hadn’t seen before. I’ve used the SQL version of bulk load, which always pains me and I make an effort to stay away, but the .Net version was fast and useable. One issue I have with bulk load is that I need to apply business logic to the data prior to loading, and this allowed me to do that. (I.e. validate a date or SSN, or something like that, where it it’s invalid, just throw the whole record out.) Along with this is a SQL Merge command, which I also hadn’t seen. I’ll be searching for information on this.
The next session I attended was on T4 templates. I tried making my own project template at one point, and there’s a butchered one that we use at the office for new projects, but I’m not happy with it. In this session, we talked about how to code in them, and how you can programmatically have them do things. I’m not sure if I’ll use this or not, but it was interested. I hope Richard’s not mad at me for throwing off his whole talk by suggesting he zoom in on the screen. Turned out something that simple was complicated, and the T4 template view doesn’t allow you to do it. Oh well.
Gaine’s “Testing with VS11 fakes” was the next talk. Unit testing is something I can use a lot of help with, and I’m just now learning about mocks, so I thought this would be interesting. It was. Visual Studio 11 has mocks and stubs for testing, and something new, called shims. Shim allow you to “fake” system calls, or at least that’s’ how I’m interpreting it. It intercepts a call, say to DateTime.Now for example, and allows you to insert your own value. So now you can test your date functions against the system clock, using specific dates and time. You can also use it to make fake file system calls. So instead of having to actually write files to disk just to use in your test scenario, you can dynamically create them in memory. Pretty neat stuff.
For session 4 and 5, I attended Chris Eargle’s talks about Lambda functions and patterns. Chris is a evangelist for Telerik, and I talked with him for a few minutes prior to his session. Nice guy and I scored a .Net Ninja shirt…Had to pose like the karate kid for it, but hey, that’s no big deal. I need to look into using some of the Telerik tools, it looks like they have stuff for those of us that aren’t web developers, which is what I thought was all they did.
The Lambda session was great. I wasn’t an expert going into the session, and I’m not one now, at least now I understand where lambda’s came from, and somewhat more how they work. Chris is also a good presenter, obviously quite comfortable in front of a crowd.
The patterns talk was good too, although a bit over my head. My main complaint for it (well, and most the sessions) is that there was about 90 minutes of material, but only 60 minutes to present it, so it felt rushed.
And for the record, lunch was good. I don’t know where it was from, but I enjoyed it, as did the lady who sat next to me. One thing I liked about this whole day was that everyone was friendly. I randomly talked to a bunch of people about coding, staring at computers, and Plural Sight training. (Yeah, they weren’t a sponsor, but their name came up a lot.)
And to give a shout out to the sponsors, THANKS. And to Southern Poly, THANKS. And to the speakers, volunteers and organizing committee, THANKS.
I had a good time at the camp, and will happily go again. Winning some of the door prizes would have been nice, but I’m telling myself that I’m a winner because I learned lots of stuff. (Cheese, anyone?)