One of the best aspects of the MVP Summit for me was the chance to meet with people who are outside of my normal circle. Meeting the CodeBetter gang was great. If you don’t subscribe to the CodeBetter feed you really should. The bloggers there are commited to improving the practice of .NET developers and are passionate about communicating those ideas. If ideas like agile, test driven development, and domain driven design mean anything to you, you should look to what those guys are saying, if those terms don’t you need to go there even more.
I spent a lot of time getting validation about the way I feel about development in conversation with Jeremy Miller and Raymond Lewallen, and got the chance to meet Sam Gentile, Scott Bellware and Jeffrey Palermo among others. Being on opposite sides of the pond it is re-assuring to know that we are working in similar ways and using similar toolsets. Having fought a few struggles over ORM tools in my time it was interesting to see many of the guys were using NHibernate and Wilson O/R mapper for their persistance technologies too, and were commited to a POCO persistance ignorance approach. I picked up on couple of tools that had not crossed my radar from these guys, in particular Jeremy’s Structure Mapper and a new Castle project called Igloo.
Besides being able to read about the dialog between MVPs and the LINQ teams over our preferred approach also check out Jeremy’s post which is a manifesto for continuous learning from other communities. The pragmatic programmers make a similar point in their book. The pragmatic guys suggest planning on spending 4-5 hours a week on improving your skills and learning another language a year to broaden your horizons. [BTW looks like the pragmatic guys are talking about Erlang at the moment, which tries to answer issues around concurrent programming, and seeing as those guys also predicted the wave of interest in Ruby it could well be worth looking at the ideas there]. Think of this as going to the gym for software developers. If you don’t keep working out, you are going to get fat and slow, instead of staying lean and mean.
I’ll be posting some ideas about how to use LINQ for SQL from the POCO persistance ignorance perspective in the coming weeks, as I try to formulate my ideas on best practice in that arena.