As I write this I’m riding BART on my way to SFO to fly back to Seattle. I spent two days here in San Francisco where I had a chance to meet and talk with a number of fascinating people. The theme of this trip is Enterprise Library and the excitement is everywhere.
Monday afternoon I sat down with Billy Hollis in the speaker lounge and we had a chance to talk about what he was doing at VSLive. It was a great conversation that I recorded for my new podcast – (coming soon). I also had an interesting discussion with Jackie Goldstein and Deborah Kurata but for some reason the recording didn’t work right (hey it was my first try so I must have messed something up).
Monday night I rode Bart to the east bay where I met with the eBig Best Practices group in Pleasanton. The group was small (about 20) but full of questions and a desire to know more. On the way back to San Francisco I rode with an ex-patriot Ukrainian man and had a fascinating discussion as we reminisced about our careers and the journey from the cold war that would have once saw us as enemies.
Tuesday was a busy day that began with the Eric Rudder keynote at Indigo day. I used to be on the Indigo team in its early days and I was amazed to see how much Indigo has evolved since then and what an absolutely terrific job the team has done with it. I was happy to see that Eric mentioned a project that I am working on which is our Global Bank Baseline Integration Architecture project. This project continues the work that David Trowbridge and team began with the Integration Patterns book and adds to it a working baseline architecture using BizTalk Server 2004 and web services to build a payment processing gateway at our fictional bank. The exciting news is that we are building implementations on both .NET 1.1 web services and Indigo.
Then of course, I just had to sit in to listen to Steve Swartz and Don Box deliver a terrific talk on programming with Indigo that was laced with the kind of humor and wit that only Steve and Don could deliver. Indigo is going to enable many new and exciting architectural approaches that have simply not been possible with the previous generation of web services. As I thought about the opportunities for guidance I remembered some early discussions that I had with Felipe Cabrera from Indigo about the need for new message exchange patterns – we are most definitely going to do some work in this area next year.
At noon I had lunch with a number of the Microsoft west region guys along with several INETA user group leaders where we had a brainstorming session about how patterns & practices can help user groups be more interesting and informative. User groups have the challenge of producing a steady flow of interesting content that draws members and builds community. I have spoken at a number of these meetings and always enjoy the opportunity to do so but I am a limited resource that doesn’t scale very well. One of the guys suggested that we should consider producing a 10-15 minute video segment on various topics that they could show at these user group meetings as a way to help draw people and transition between topics. It is an interesting idea – I’m wondering if we could do it at a reasonable cost and how it would turn out. If I did create a video like this would people use it? Besides INETA groups what other ways would it be useful? I suppose we could offer it streaming on the web and deliver it on our patterns & practices CDs as well.
While at VSLive I was pleased to meet in person a couple of people with whom I have exchanged email but never met in person, Roman Kiss and Scott Watermasysk and to catch up with some folks that I often don’t see outside of events like Richard Turner and Shy Cohen (colleagues from my Indigo days) and David Chappell.
Finally in the afternoon it came time to deliver my sessions. First I gave the Patterns for SOA talk for the Software Architecture Summit which went over pretty well and the room was full with some good questions and discussions afterward. Now for the first time I was able to relate more of the points I was making to the future of these patterns with Indigo which made the talk more interesting.
At 5:45 in the last session slot of the day I got up to speak about Enterprise Library. I wondered if we would have anyone show up because of the slot, but soon the room was full with several folks standing in the back. I’ve always wanted to start a session with something dramatic so I stood up and shouted “WoooHoo! It’s here!” (We have a picture of this but it is a little blurry – but I think you get the point...). I was joined on stage by a couple of members of our patterns & practices customer advisory board Bill Draven and Brandon Bohling of Intel who told the crowd how they are using Enterprise Library to build a layer independent caching facility for service agents in their architecture.
As soon as we finished up there I was off to One Market Street and the Bay.NET user group meeting at the Microsoft San Francisco office. They sent someone to guide me to the location but unfortunately we couldn’t get a cab so we ended up taking a brisk 20 minute walk to get there but I can always use the exercise so I was happy for the opportunity. The Bay.NET group was fairly good size (about 80-100) and once again I told them about Enterprise Library and showed them a demonstration of the configuration tool and our configuration application block. Afterward I spoke with a guy who had lost his job and wanted to hear my story about how I developed my career and the kinds of things I have done to get where I am. Looking back it is interesting how things developed for me...but that is another story.
VSLive San Francisco 2005 is now over (for me anyway) and the word has gone out about Enterprise Library, the sun is rising and it’s a great day to fly home...