Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My Experience at Visual Studio Live

Culture / Technology

If you’re a frequent reader of RightPoint “Thoughts” you might have read my blog post about networking for developers. If you did read it, treat this post as part 2 and if not, you can read those articles in any order you’d like.

As you might know, I’m actively participating in the tech community life by sharing my knowledge with fellow developers at meetups, code camps, and conferences. About a month ago I was honored to speak at Visual Studio Live conference in Boston. I would love to share my experience with you. 

This year Visual Studio Live (VS Live) is celebrating 25 years as one of the most respected, longest-standing, independent developer conferences. The conference is produced by the publishers of MSDN Magazine, as well as sponsored and supported by Microsoft. That was my second conference where I was invited as a speaker (the first one was Visual Studio Live in Las Vegas in March).
Usually at big conferences there’re at least a couple of hands-on workshops and this time the organizers decided to schedule them before, so attendees could dive into the code right from the start. Officially the conference started after two days of workshops. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to be there for the hands-on training, but I've heard attendees found them helpful and interesting.

Content and Ideas from VS Live

VS Live provides a wide variety of topics. People from all over the world come to hear talks about the latest and greatest technologies. ALM/DevOps, Cloud computing, Database and Analytics, Native client, Software practices, Visual Studio/.NET Framework, Web client, Web Server are the main tracks in the conference. I attended as many sessions as I could, but sometimes I wished I could be in two places at the same time. 

It was a great idea to set up two unparalleled sessions: a keynote and a general session. Jasmine Greenaway and James Montemagno fascinated everyone with the wide variety of tools and opportunities for developers. Technology is changing and improving every day and as developers, we have a great opportunity to learn and influence technologies of the future.

I really enjoyed Adam Tuliper's talk about .NET Core and .NET Standard "Getting to the Core of the .NET Standard". He explained in detail the differences between .NET framework, .NET Standard and .NET Core. Adam also provided a list of useful tools and technics for using newer .NET Standard libraries in older .NET framework projects. Later the same day he had another session where he provided real example of porting legacy code to .NET Core. Those two sessions definitely got me excited about .NET Standard and .NET Core.

I’m always fascinated by Nick Landry’s talks about virtual, augmented, and mixed realities. He encouraged everyone to try creating simple mixed reality apps but providing step-by-step instruction and showing it using Unity. Nick not only knew everything about mixed reality, but also has lots of great motivational stories. If you see him as a speaker at a conference I recommend you checking his session even if you’re not a game developer.

Now let me talk a little about myself. I presented 2 talks with my former colleague Willy Ci: “Cognitive Services in Xamarin Applications” and “Computer, make it so!”. I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge with the audience. Attendees were very interested in both topics and asked questions. The first session was about Microsoft Cognitive services and their integration in Xamarin apps. The second session was about virtual assistants like Google Now, Siri or Cortana. I provided information about the most popular virtual assistants and then Willy showed our demo on how to create a Cortana skill from scratch using Language Understanding Intelligent Service and Azure.

Conferences can be a great opportunity to learn new technologies, see real world examples and demos, and mingle with tech people from all over the world. If you have a chance to go to one, do it. And if you see a friendly RightPointer stop by and say hi, we're always happy to meet new and old friends.

Veronika Kolesnikova is a Web Developer at Rightpoint. Follow Veronika on Twitter and LinkedIn.