Earlier this month, I presented in Dubai at the second annual TechEd Middle East. TechEd was held under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Dubai, who also visited on-site. There were 20 primary countries represented, and it was an important event for the region. Microsoft Senior Vice President S. Somasegar gave the opening keynote, and made several exciting announcements including VS 2010 SP1, TFS-Project Server Feature Pack, and Load Test Feature Pack. The keynote also featured developer demos by Polita Paulus on Windows Phone 7, and Jay Schmelzer on LightSwitch & Hosted TFS. There were 2,000+ people in attendance, including 80 speakers and 200+ sessions across Dev & IT Pro. My talks did very well, including “The Future of C#” (#4 Dev session) and “VS 2010 Tips & Tricks” (#3 Dev session), and I scored as #2 Dev speaker. Congrats also to Vishal Joshi, who gave several Web talks and scored #1 Dev speaker. Together with Scott Hunter, Brian Keller, and Shy Cohen, we led a Meet The Team session, which yielded great interaction with attendees. I also presented on a Women in Technology panel, which was new in the region and received considerable press. Overall, it was a great experience.
The keynote emphasized new opportunities arising with Microsoft software in the cloud and devices space. Here were the announcements Soma made:
Polita Paulus demoed Windows Phone 7 development, using interesting local applications. Jay Schmelzer demoed LightSwitch, as well as TFS on Windows Azure. Bryon Surface showed the process of building & managing private clouds, and Ayman Sadek showed Lync Server 2010.
This talk covered both asynchronous programming in Visual Studio vNext as well as project codename “Roslyn”. It was held in the main keynote room, so it was a great stage with plenty of space. I showed how to make the Netflix sample app run asynchronously using previous programming models and then using Async in vNext. I also did a similar demo with a Music Player app, but this time I challenged the audience to call out the changes for me. This was a lot of fun, and the crowd did in fact rise to the challenge! Both demos were using the Async CTP. I closed with a section on “Roslyn” and demoed a Paste As VB tool.
Here are the session materials:
Here is the feedback I received:
This talk covered tips & tricks across the languages, IDE, ALM and .NET framework. This includes features like DGML graphs, IntelliTrace, WPF drag & drop data binding, TPL, PLINQ, DLR interop with IronPython, Start Page customizations, Extension Manager & extensions, Pro Power Tools, Navigate To, Call Hierarchy, VB language (statement lambdas, auto prop, line continuation), C# language & COM (indexed properties, optional parameters), and No PIA. It’s a whirlwind tour while building a fun Twitter trends applications. It gives attendees a sense of the breadth of improvements in VS 2010, and they usually leave with a handful of tips they can try out back at the office.
I received a couple of feature requests after the session:
There were 160 women in attendance at the first ever Middle East Geek Girls event, which was a great success. I spoke on the panel, which included women from both inside and outside Microsoft, as well as a variety of ages. Top questions were around successful career strategies and work/life balance. There were a huge range of cultures represented, so it was inspiring to see how we could all relate to the issues and tips on a common level. All shared a passion for technology, and wanted success in both their personal lives and careers. I made some great contacts at this event, and exchanged ideas about how to think about these issues. Tips for career included knowing & sharing with others what you want to do, building a network, and finding great mentors. Tips for work/life balance included making sure your work is something you enjoy, and also scheduling firm personal time. One interesting framework that many found helpful was the idea that we all want to be supermen & superwomen in all aspects in our life at all times, but sometimes we may need to pick & choose which aspect we want to prioritize at various life stages. Another interesting distinction was that whereas in the US, there is an emphasis to get more women involved in math & science in both school and work, in the UAE it seems like there are much higher numbers in schools, but that the drop off happens with work.
Speakers: Brian Keller, Lisa Feigenbaum, Scott Hunter, Shy Cohen, Vishal Joshi
We held this session as a big round circle discussion, to better integrate with the attendees. We had about 50 people by the end, and kept widening the circle during the session. :-) Many attendees were doing web development; many were also working in various government offices. Here were some of the topics discussed:
Other Comments (including some entertaining ones):
At the end, we stayed for about 10min while attendees could rotate in and take pictures with the team.
I staffed the Development Practices table at Ask The Experts, along with local developer evangelists and MVPs. This was the first year that they held Ask The Experts, and I hope it will continue to grow in future years.
Overall, it was a great event! I really enjoyed meeting all the attendees and talking about the development they are doing, as well as the latest Microsoft releases.