My .Net Unboxed 2015 Wrapup

I had a blast this week at the .Net Unboxed conference in Dallas. The content and speaker lineup was good, the vibe was great, the venue and location was great, and it was remarkably well organized. My hat is completely off to the organizers and I sincerely hope they’re up for doing this again next year.

For my part, I thought my Storyteller 3 talk went well and I was thrilled with the interest and questions I got about it later. I’ll definitely be posting a link to the recording when that’s posted.

Some thoughts and highlights in no particular order:

  • Strong naming in .Net continues to be a major source of angst and frustration for those of us heavily involved in OSS or simply wanting to consume OSS projects. Now that Nuget makes it somewhat easier to push out incremental releases and bug fix releases, strong naming is causing more and more headaches. I enjoyed my conversations with Daniel Plaisted of Microsoft who for the very first time has convinced me that anybody in Redmond understands how much trouble strong naming is causing. I’m still iffy on having to take on the overhead of ilrepack/ilmerge in publishing or doing the “Newtonsoft Lie to Your Users” version strategy. I think that CoreCLR’s much looser usage of strong naming might very well be enough reason for us as a community to hurry up and get our code up on the new runtime. In the meantime, I’ll be closely following the new Strongnamer project as a possible way to eliminate some of the pain for non-CoreCLR packages.
  • I’m not buying that DNX is going to be usable until later next year. I think, and conversations this week reinforced this idea, that I very much like the ASP.Net team’s general vision for vNext, but they’ve just bitten off more than they can handle.
  • Nik Molnar gave me a compliment about my UI work on Storyteller that made my day since I’m infamously bad at UI design and layout. I’m pretty sure he followed that up with “but, [something negative]” but I didn’t pay any attention to that part;)
  • I started to get a little irritated during one talk and wanted to start arguing with the speaker, so I quietly snuck out and went to the other ongoing talk *just* in time to hear Jimmy Bogard telling folks how he made a mistake by copying the old static ObjectFactory idea from StructureMap. I’ve apologized in public dozens of times on that one and I’m sure I’ll have to do it plenty more times. Sigh.
  • I did enjoy Jimmy’s talk on his experiences running OSS projects and appreciated his candor about the earlier decisions and approaches that didn’t necessarily work out. For my money, many of the best conference talks are about lessons learned from mistakes and fixing problems.
  • I definitely appreciated the lack of “let me tell you how wonderful I am and can I have an MVP award now?” talks that so frequently pop up in many .Net-centric “eyes-forward” conferences. I love how interactive the talks were and how engaged the audiences were in asking questions. I especially enjoy it when talks seem to be just a way of jumpstarting conversations.
  • I’ve thought for over a year that the forthcoming “K”/DNX work from Redmond was probably going to suck all the oxygen out of the room for alternative frameworks and I think you’ve definitely seen that happen. On a much more positive note, I think that we might see a resurgence of those things next year as we get to start taking advantage of the improvements to the .Net framework. More and more, I’m hearing about folks treating DNX as almost a reset for .Net OSS, and that might not be a terrible thing.
  • I enjoyed the talk on Falcor.Net and I’m very interested in Falcor in general as a possibly easier – or at least less weird – approach than GraphQL for React.js client to server communication.





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