The Portland Code Camp yesterday was a blast. In fact, it was one of the best (un)conferences I've been to so far with a wide variety of topics and I'd like to share my personal Top 3 Best of Portland Code Camp 2009 (but keep in mind that that's 3 out of 5):

Patrick Cauldwell did a presentation titled Building Business Applications in Silverlight 3 which was a great introduction to what's new in Silverlight 3 for business application developers. He started by talking about what's already in Silverlight 2. His conclusion was that while the current version is a good platform for Rich Internet Applications implementing certain features is too much work. He then went on to talk about and demonstrate some of the new features in version 3 like navigation/deep linking and improved validation as well as the .NET RIA Services which are currently available as a preview.

Jason Kelly did an introduction to cloud computing focusing on two offerings which follow the utility computing model, Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure. After talking about the benefits and common usage patterns of cloud computing he compared EC2 and Azure in terms of the feature set and (dis)advantages of each platform. Jason also showed two versions of a simple application demonstrating how to use the Amazon and Microsoft cloud services. He has published his slides as well as the demo applications in a blog post (Portland Code Camp 2009 - Cloud Computing presentation).

The last session I attended was Brian Henderson's Implementing a Rich Interactive Application Design. The content was more general than the title suggests with many good tips on how to do good UI design and improve the user experience (UX) of your application. I highly recommend checking out the slides if you are developing applications without designers or UX engineers on your team and need some practical ideas that can help you deliver a better product; the slides can certainly not replace books or training but those two require time and money and who has those these days (unfortunately, the slides have not been uploaded yet but that should happen within the next day or two so keep checking the session page if they are still missing).


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