Microsoft Patterns & Practices Symposium 2013

I spent three days last week at the 2013 P&P Symposium on the Microsoft campus in Redmond WA. I had high hopes going in that I'd take home a lot of new and interesting knowledge. I ended up being pretty disappointed. This is a list of the sessions along with the immediate impressions note I made for each one as it finished.

Day 1

  • Keynote: Cloud Unplugged, Scott Guthrie: Scott was good but this was unscripted.
  • Resilient Cloud Apps, Mark Simms: Good info. Check out the Transient Fault Application Block.
  • CQRS, Greg Young: Separating data CRUD operations into commands and reads. Meh.
  • Autoscaling in Windows Azure, Grigori Melnik: Nice info poorly given. Check out the Autoscaling Application Block (Wasabi).
  • Windows Azure Active Directory, Vittorio Bertocci: Bingo! SSO!
  • Closing Keynote: Felicity Aston, British Explorer: 60 days alone on the South Pole.

Day 2

  • Keynote: Windows 8 Unplugged, Ales Holecek: Ugh! Fail!
  • Building a Windows Store App with XAML & C#, Francis Cheung: Demo of Kona framework. Demo app didn't work at all. I don't like many of the the XAML pattern presented.
  • Embracing Async Programming, Chris Tavares: Async in JS. Meh.
  • Building Modern Web Apps, Scott Hanselman: Scott is great but this was the same talk he just gave at build12. Exact same.
  • Windows 8 JavaScript, Christopher Bennage: Ah, no.

Day 3

  • Keynote: Adam Steltzner, NASA: Cool but no relevance.
  • Microsoft and the Internet of Things, Colin Miller: Cool stuff but no relevance. .NET micro seems pretty nice.
  • Introducing Git Version Control Into Your Team, Mark Groves: Git has some nice features but it's not going to replace TFS.
  • The Realtime Web: HTML 5 WebSockets & Beyond, Guillermo Rauch: Nice demo of WebSockets. Check out the framework.
  • Continuous Delivery, Larry Brader: Actually ALM. Very boring and scattered.
  • Closing Keynote: Modern Architecture, Ted Neward: Nothing to do with modern architecture but still probably the best session at the symposium.

In three days I saw almost no code. It was almost all Power Point. I was really looking forward to seeing both Scott Guthrie and Scott Hanselman. Scott Guthrie's presentation was interesting to watch and informative but I was a little disappointed that he'd put exactly zero effort into preparation. He simply opened the floor to questions and answered as many as he could in the hour. Hansleman's presentation was much better but it was the exact presentation he gave at build12 just a few weeks ago. The same presentation down to the jokes he told.
There were some very worthwhile sessions, e.g. Vittorio Bertocci's presentation on Azure AD.There were also some very interesting though totally irrelevant sessions, e.g. Felicity Aston's presentation about her journey across Antarctica. Then there were some truly terrible session which I won't bother to name. Overall I left wanting. The symposium didn't meet my expectations.
As I headed home Thursday evening on the third day I felt the most fitting description for my experience was a word I'd used a couple different times in my session notes. Meh.