A busy month of learning and creating

June turned out to be a very busy month. I started with a weekend in Orlando for the INETA summit, where I learned quite a bit of how user groups are functioning and contributing to the developer community. There were representatives from groups small and big, from all over north America. This meeting definitely inspired me of some activities that can spice up the live of the SCDNUG.

Another huge event that came the week after was TechEd held in the Orlando convention center. This was the first time a attended such big developer event and I was really blown away by the amount of presentations, topics, self paced training options (and entertainment). I tried to stay loyal to SharePoint, but also wanted to expand in the upcoming new technologies from the software giant. There were many excellent sessions on LINQ, WCF, WPF and Silverlight. The overall opinion of our group was that LINQ is one of the biggest improvements in the .Net languages, along with the other improvements coming in Orcas. Needless to say, I am eager to get my hands wet. TDD was all over the place with interactive sessions, BOF and informal conversations in the VisuaStudio booth. IMHO the high point was delivered by Doug Seven who electrified the audience with an impressionable presentation and intro demo. After five days driving back and forth to Orlando and hours of sessions for five days, I closed the show attending a demo showing how to use AJAX.NET in SharePoint. Great plan, still hard to implement in real world applications.

After this I thought I couldn't take it anymore and I don't want to talk about technology at least for a week. Well I was not so lucky, exploring the materials from the show, I found couple of promotional vouchers for certifications. Among them was one from the office launch event. I decided that with the least amount of work l can pass "70-541 Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 - Application Development". So I took the extremely sketchy Preparation Guide and went through the list for about a day or two. Surprisingly I was able to get all pieces from the the SDK, MSDN and blogs, but I would not recommend this for somebody starting with SharePoint. The issue is that the knowledge is very fragmented and without a book or CBT to put a structure in all the bits, mastering SharePoint can be frustrating. Nevertheless I just got the word that I passed it. Who knows I may get back on the certification track again, even though I have mixed feelings about certifications and their value.

Now I am getting ready for my second code camp session in Tampa. I am planning to give a SharePoint introduction for developers emphasizing on the whole picture, not only how to create a web part or how to deploy it, but how to get going with the the first simple SharePoint project. Code camps are great volunteer events from developers for developers. If you are interested in attending Tampa code camp you can register at http://www.tampacodecamp.com/

Right after this on 07/18 is the SCDNUG meeting. We'll have a must see presentation by INETA guest speaker Brian Noyes, who is Microsoft Regional Director for the Mid-Atlantic region. The topic is "Connecting Applications with WCF". To register click here: https://www.clicktoattend.com/invitation.aspx?code=119083. See you there!