Great People and Old Friends at VS Connections

I just got back from the Visual Studio Connections conference in Orlando, Florida for a few days. I went down for a few meetings, and had a really great time.  

I meet Robert Green who on Monday night previewed a free set of soon to be released components called the VBPowerPack. Robert and I talked about why VS 2005 may actually even be better and easier for the newbie than VB6. And I met Joe Binder the program manager for the very cool “My“ namespace feature, who sold me even more on the feature.

I had a nice long chat with one of the nicer guys in the industry, Alex Homer, author of *ton* of books on ASP, ADO, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, and more, and he told me about the three (3!) book projects on which he’s currently working. His Advanced ASP.NET sounds really interesting and I can’t wait to get a copy.

I had a chance to talk briefly with Rocky Lhotka, another one of the nicest guys in the industry and another hugely prolific ASP/.NET writer, and he did his best to get the concept of SOA thru my thick skull. But rather than give you his explanation, which was great, I’ll give him the chance to first blog about it. I finally met Markus Egger whose Code Magazine just keeps getting better and better.  I also finally met Steve Smith of AspAlliance, but somehow we got our wires crossed and never got a chance to talk; sorry about that Steve. Hope to see you at the next show.

I had a nice long catch-up chat with Shirley Brothers, president and founder of the Connections Conferences. I’ve been a hermit for a lot of reasons and we hadn’t spoken in probably four years. Penton acquired her company over three years ago and it turned out to be a great acquisition. I’m really happy for her because it so often turns out to be a nightmare for the acquired. Anyway, her conferences keep getting more attendees each year, and the attendees, speakers, and vendors I spoke with were really positive.  Rene Garcia, president of SoftwareFX and a leading vendor of one of Xtras.Net said he loved it.  One thing’s for sure; Shirley knows how to pick the venue! The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress resort beats the heck out most conference hotels I’ve been to over the years.

I had a really nice dinner Monday with Kathleen Dollard, MVP and author of Code Generation in Microsoft .NET, and later on Tuesday we talked about many fine philosphical points, at least a few of which did involve programming and code generation! And then there’s one of the most consistently positive people in the .NET world: Don Kiely. They ran him ragged with three sessions [UPATE: make that five sessions!] but he still kept smiling.

So much for the name dropping. :)  Traveling can be a real pain, but whenever I go to Microsoft-oriented developer conferences I’m always surrounded by great people and lots of old friends.  This time was no different.