Last week I did something that may have seemed a little silly to some, but was a great deal of fun. I left my house at 7am, drove to the airport, flew all the way across the country (from the northeast corner of the U.S. to the southwest corner) to San Diego to give a 2 hour presentaiton to the San Diego Dot Net user group on behalf of INETA.
The silly part was that I spent about 15 hours on 4 different planes to give a 2 hour talk. But I loved doing it!
Frankly, 15 hours on planes gives me more productive work time than I have when I’m working in my home office. Probably a good 10 extra hours! No phone, no email, no distractions. I’m stuck on a plane with my laptop and hopefully a movie that I have no interest in seeing and I can just work work work! Well, the movie on the way out was good and it even made me cry (darn I hate that). On the way back it was Fantastic Four – no interest whatsoever.
The other great part about this trip was that I got to spend some great quality time with a friend as well as an hour by the ocean on Wednesday morning before heading to the airport to return home.
And of course, I got to do one of my most favorite things – present at a user group on a topic that I find fascinating. My talk was about LINQ. Originally I had hoped to “practice” a talk on ASP.NET Databinding with LINQ that I’ll be doing in November at DevConnections. I had added some introductory LINQ information to the beginning of the talk as Brian Loesgen, the group leader, told me in advance that they haven’t had a LINQ talk yet.
At the start of the meeting, I asked for a show of hands on who had used LINQ already – only two people. So I ended up focusing on the intro part and just showing some of the databinding quickly at the end. The intro stuff includes the always fascinating language enhancements that enable LINQ and then a quick tour of all of the LINQ “flavors” – objects, datasets, xml, entities and of course, LINQ to SQL. That is a lot of fun to go over.
I made the executive decision to try to write some C# code on the fly, which never goes well – especially at bed time. If you consider the time zone difference I started the talk at 10pm. But I aim to entertain, and I certainly didn’t disappoint much to a bit of embarrassment on my part. Semi-colons are not an issue. I remembered square brackets rather than parens. But this time it was the spacing that got me. VB just takes care of so many little syntax problems you might forget. C# is 100% unforgiving.
Getting past that, I had a blast and managed somehow to wrap up just about on time even though I could have gone on and on for hours more.
Throughout the course of the talk, I mentioned some great articles and resources and wanted to put them all in one place so here they are:
Great LINQ overview article by Don Box and Anders Hejlsberg
Lambda Epxressoins article for VB coders
VB Deep Dive articles by Bill McCarthy in Visual studio Magazine – There seems to be no list of all the columns, you have to go look in each issue in the archives. Here is Bill’s blog.
The LINQ Project: consolidated starting point for MSDN materials
LINQ best practices for VB (webcast)
Books I mentioned:
Already published Introducing Microsoft LINQ from MS Press
Coming soon LINQ in Action
Blogs I mentioned:
LINQ in Action blog
Scott Guthrie’s LINQ to SQL post series
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