I spent a very pleasant day down at MS HQ in Reading yesterday where the UK Dev Team hosted the last of the current MSDN Roadshow days. We got the following sessions (my titles)

  • Introduction to LINQ fundamentals from Daniel Moth. Looked at the new language features in C# 3.0 that enabled the new LINQ syntax and LINQ to Objects works. Cracking talk with a good bit of wit and great demos.
  • AJAX Development from Mike Ormond. Not sure what the aim of this talk was aside from to alert the audience that ASP.NET now has an AJAX library available for download separately. The problem was mostly that the demos weren't very clear with a lot of code already written which meant you couldn't grasp what was actually being done. It seemed to tell those already using ASP.NET AJAX nothing they didn't already know and didn't cover the benefits of AJAX enough \ what was going on in the background for those new to AJAX to actually form an opinion. Lacked the killer 'cool' demo.
  • LINQ to XML, LINQ to SQL and putting the two together from Mike Taulty. A follow up session to Daniel's earlier in the day and like it, another session that is making me download the March CTP as I speak.
  • Building XAML apps using Expression Blend and Visual Studio from Mark Johnston. This was the session that Jon Harris probably wanted to give at WebDD back in February essentially being a big demo showing how an app could be sketched out in VS, opened directly in blend for proper skinning and then back again in VS for touching up with code behind. OK, it was only 60 minutes long so Mark didn't recreate the New York Times Reader from scratch but we all got the idea and the demo worked well.
  • Developing for Windows Live from Martin Parry. Still at an early stage, the different bits of Windows Live are at various stages of development so Mike was left at a bit of an impasse with what to do here with such a broad topic. We got the reasons why we should use Live and how you create mashups with the bits but the knowledge that it will probably all change again a lot before beta-end left the whole thing with a lot of mights, buts and uninspiring demos. Well, all but the Virtual Earth demo which was done with confidence and did produce some obvious results you'd want to take and improve on.

All in all, well worth going. Each session also concluded with the live equivalent of an MSDN nugget - a ten minute demo of some aspect of developing for Office. All interesting, all easily absorbed.

All the slides for the sessions an be found at www.roadshowresources.com.