If you’ve looked at the TechDays Canada 2009 site this week, you might have noticed the addition of a new track: Developer Foundations. At that point, you might have asked yourself these questions:

  • What’s the Developer Foundations track all about?
  • Why! Do! The! Session! Descriptions! Have! So! Many! Exclamation! Points?!!!

I’ll answer the question about the exclamation! points! first! It’s because the people in charge of the track, Justice Gray and Peter Ritchie, are really exciting about the opportunity to have a track that they really believe in and have been putting heart, soul and viscera into this project. They’ve done a lot of work under an extremely tight schedule in order to have the track ready in time for TechDays Vancouver and TechDays Toronto. The only way to truly capture the enormity of their task is with…a montage!

While most of TechDays’ tracks concern themselves with Microsoft’s tools and technologies, the Developer Foundations track takes a step back to first principles, concerning itself with how you can be a better coder. It’s about writing elegant, maintainable, working code. You’ll learn techniques that get short shrift or don’t even get mentioned in the Teach Yourself X Over Your Lunch Break books. You’ll probably encounter a lot of exclamation! marks!

There are four sessions in the Developer Foundations track:

  1. S-O-L-I-D: The Five OO Principles That Will Change Your Life Forever: “Can’t believe you just got passed over at the club - again - because you didn’t know real object orientation? Thought that the sure-fire way to third base was knowing how to write a constructor? Thought you had the evening all figured out because you read an example of Cat inheriting from Animal? Think again. Annoyed by all those homely elitist jerks that still score all the time because people say they are OO masters? Well, it’s time to turn the tables and learn object oriented programming the way real men and women do it - the SOLID way!”
  2. Going from 0 to 100 Dollars with the .NET You Never Knew: You’ll learn “How generics can be used for more than just collections, the true power of lambdas and anonymous methods, the ins and outs of LINQ to objects, proper error handling beyond try-catch-finally and the importance of regular bathing.”
  3. Layers, the Secret Language of Architects: “Come to the presentation that will show you how to become “the man”! Seams? Design by contract? Services that aren’t prefixed by “web”? Repositories? Anti-corruption layers? (Gasp!) Domain-Driven Design? Do you know how that guy or girl at your office was able to negotiate foot massages and a daily breakfast buffet into their contract? They knew all of these terms and how to use them to build flexible and maintainable systems - and after attending this presentation so will you!”
  4. Refactoring for Fun and Profit: “Are you ashamed of your application? Does your architecture make you want to go home and weep in the shower? Heck, would it be nice if your application seemed to have architecture? This is the presentation for you! Come see how the art of refactoring can help fix your code, fix your house, and maybe even fix your dog! We’re going to show you how to TAKE CONTROL of your codebase without simply tearing everything down and starting over!”

We added this track in response to a call from developers like Justice and Peter for sessions that cover good programming practices. We’re gauging the response to it – if people attend and give it positive reviews, we’ll make it a regular TechDays track. I’d love to see this happen.

We’re calling this “the track so nice, we’re running it twice!” The sessions in Developer Foundations will run on Day 1 and repeat on Day 2! If you’re a developer attending TechDays Vancouver or TechDays Toronto, you have no excuse for catching at least one of the sessions in this track! And thus ends this article and the exclamation points! Ciao!

(This article also appears in my personal technical blog, Global Nerdy.)