I went to Alt.NET Seattle on the weekend.
Being from the Entity Framework team, I was a little nervous about how I'd be received. Well I definitely shouldn't have worried... everyone was very civil.
In the broader sense I wasn't sure what to expect either, because while I've been to CodeCamps, .NET usergroups, and even run some Architecture Chats in the past, I've never been to an Alt.NET affair before.
It's all very simple though. About 160 super smart people turn up and propose topics and it just goes from there.
There we some very interesting discussions, like the one primarily driven by Udi Dahan and Oren Eini on message driven architectures.
I liked the suggestion Udi had, paraphrasing now: "when starting out with messaging you should probably look at starting out using messaging between Bounded Contexts, rather than between layers within a single Bounded Context". Now that seems like good advice to me.
I also enjoyed the session hosted by Ian Cooper on DTOs, Messages, and the Presentation Layer... see Ian's write up for some detail on this. It was particularly interesting for me because it touched on the number 1 problem in almost every field: communication. In this particular case the problem was the term DTO. It seems a lot developers use this term everyday, but lots of those developers are not using the official definition. They may use DTO when they are really talking about the Presentation Model or Command Objects for example.
This is classic problem. Not having a shared understanding of your basic terms leads to countless misunderstandings.
It makes me wonder if when communicating with another developer, we should remember to follow the advice of DDD and ensure we've establish a shared ubiquitous language. All too often I think we assume that we already have a shared ubiquitous language simply because we are both developers and are both using the same terms.
Hmm... food for thought.
All in all I had lots of fun.
My only regret is missing Ward Bells topic "Is Persistence Ignorance Necessary?", but that regret is offset somewhat by the fact that I was snowboarding at the time :)
Anyway lots of fun.