Session – Microsoft .NET Framework: Overview and Applications for Babies

PDC 2008, Day #1, Session #5, 1 hr 15 min.

Scott Hanselman

There’s no way that I was going to miss Hanselman’s talk.  I’m a big fan of his podcasts—Scott is one of the most knowledgeable tech podcasters out there and he can also be pretty entertaining.  I’m always amazed listening to Scott’s podcasts.  Some guest will be talking about the esoterics of some new platform or service and Scott will just “get it”, quickly grokking what the guy is talking about and end up summarizing it in a nice way.

Scott’s talk didn’t disappoint.  I got to the room early and got a front row seat.  Scott also wins the prize for speaking in the most comfy room at the convention center—the talk was in a cozy little theatre with cushy theatre chairs.

The goal of Scott’s talk was to take a spin around some of the newer (3.5 and 4.0) areas of the .NET Framework.  The vehicle was by extending his WPF BabySmash application to use as many features and services as possible.

BabySmash was the little application that Scott used to teach himself WPF.  He’s blogged about his adventures with BabySmash and learning WPF.

I didn’t take notes during Scott’s session, but let’s see if I can remember the different .NET technologies that Scott dabbled in with BabySmash:

  • Silverlight 2
  • Windows Mobile
  • Surface
  • ADO.NET Data Services
  • Entity Framework
  • New ASP.NET charts/graphs

Basically, Scott ported BabySmash to each of these platforms, or made use of the platform to add some new feature to BabySmash.  It was a great way, using a little app like BabySmash, to illustrate how these technologies fit together.

The grand finale was having all of Scott’s Twitter “minions” go to an online BabySmash web page, which collected metrics about which keys were being pressed.  Scott then displayed a live histogram on an ASP.NET page, showing the distribution of the keys pressed.  It’s a testament to Scott’s popularity that the graph grew quickly, with the frequency for some letters quickly moving into the thousands.

What’s even more amazing is that Scott said he hadn’t tested the Twitter app, at least in a broad/distributed way, until the talk.  Very cool.

I can’t really add much to what Scott writes himself.  So do yourself a favor and check him out at hanselman.com.

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