Our Microsoft D.E., Thom Robbins, drove up from NH yesterday to present at the VTdotNET user group. It’s a longish drive, so happily it was a beautiful day and he had lots of geek toys to entertain him on the way up.
Our pre-meeting preamble was a little longer than usual, because there is so much going on (starting .NET Newbie sessions in June, considering doing a Code Camp, a few conferences in our area, etc) so Thom didn’t get started until 6:45. Also, because there were so many new people at the meeting, I asked everyone to go around the room and do their 10 second elevator pitch. It took less than 10 minutes and I think was a really valuable exercise.
Then we let Thom go to town. The first and most important thing he did was explain all of the SKUs for VS2005 and Team System. I know there is so much confusion and misunderstanding about that, so it was really important to get that cleared up. There aren’t any huuuuuuge development companies here, outside of IBM. Although there are large companies, like Goodrich (but not with a large group of developers) and IDX which probably has a few hundred developers, none that fit into the typical Foundation Server model, as far as Thom was able to explain. There are a lot of small consulting shops (3-10 employees) and also gobs of indies like me. The rest represent develoeprs who work at non i.t. companies.
There are a handful of people inthe group who have already been either playing with the Beta (and even Beta2) and even someone who is already working on a serious application. Thom went over the IDE and showed lots of new enhancements, and given the short time, highlighted a variety of different things – many new features in ASP.NET (master pages, personalization and membership, the SqlDataSource and ObjectDataSource components) as well as things like Edit & Continue, Code Snippets and partial classes. People who had already been playing with the beta were able to ask Thom pointed questions about things that they were having trouble with. I tried really hard not to say “ooh show them this, show them that” but apparently was not able to control myself quite enough.
It was nice that local Susan Wisowaty was able to make the meeting. She is now working as one of the D.C.C.s but unfortunately is doing this in the midwest and has to travel a lot. Thom is an excellent presenter. I know that even I was watching him as much to learn from his presentation style as much as I was trying to absorb what I could about VS2005.
If Thom didn’t have to make the drive back after the meeting, I’m sure we would have been happy to let him show off VS2005 for as long as he liked! I hate making him drive up to VT, especially when he just drives up just for the meeting and then has to go back, but we really love having him present at the group so everyone truly appreciated his being there.
I think with all of the new stuff coming down the pipes, we could easily have 2 meetings a month. Maybe I’ll have to make a bargain with the devil to get the MSDN events to come back to Burlington.
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