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DevLink 2013

Written by Ron Todosichuk on September 23, 2013

Several days before DevLink I was driving to work and catching up on the latest HanselMinutes podcast. Scott Hanselman was interviewing Nicholas Zakas. They talked about web development and the flood of JavaScript libraries. And how developers should use fewer libraries and write smarter JavaScript. I thought that it was a great podcast and was pleasantly surprised to learn that both Scott Hanselman and Nicholas Zakas were giving keynotes at DevLink this year.

Fast forward to DevLink. DevLink started with the opening keynote. Nicholas Zakas gave a talk about the history of the web. How it all started with AOL, Compu-Serve, NetZero, the rise and fall of Netscape and how Microsoft IE got to be the dominate browser when Bill Gates decided to give IE way for free while Netscape was still charging for their browser.

The next day Scott Hanselman gave his keynote on the current state of the web, how we are moving to the cloud, renting hardware and services. He talked about some of the crazy thinks people are doing with html and JavaScript, like PC and Linux emulators http://Jsmachines.net and http://bellard.org/jslinux/. As well as, some really awesome games like http://www.contrejour.ie/ and http://www.unrealengine.com/html5. Why are developers doing these crazy things with JavaScript? BECAUSE THEY CAN! Then he demoed a Pac-Man game written in Excel (http://www.hanselman.com/blog/PacManWrittenEntirelyInExcel.aspx).  Why would someone do this? You guessed it, BECAUSE THEY CAN! He finished his talk by demoing some of the new features coming in the next version of Visual Studio. Like the ability to run a website in Visual Studio, have it render to multiple bowsers. He pressed F5 and IE, Chrome, and Fire Fox opened up. Then he click something in Visual Studio, went to one of the browsers and started editing the text within the browser and was able persist the changes back to the code running in Visual Studio.

There were plenty of sessions to go to during the day. There seemed to be an increase in sessions about third party libraries. Libraries like Twitter Bootstrap, Coffee Script, KnockOut.js, AngularJS, Jasmine, etc. Nevertheless, there were plenty of sessions on Microsoft technologies as well, and even some non-coding sessions. Two such sessions were Gamification of Our World and The Healthy Programmer.

In Gamification of Our World, Brian H. Price talked about how to use gamification to change people’s behavior in a positive way. He mentioned the http://www.thefuntheory.com/ experiments sponsored by VW. In this experiment, VW got more people to recycle by putting a scoreboard and lights on a recycle bin. And got people to throw away more trash because the trashcan made a falling sound, making it sound like it was really deep.

In The Healthy Programmer session, Joe Kutner talked about how small things can make a big difference. Getting up and taking a walk just for a few minutes can help get the blood flowing to the brain and aid in problem solving. Stuck on a problem, take a short walk. You should walk 10,000 steps a day. Not all at once, move about 5 minutes every hour and change positions every 20 minutes.  He also talked about exercise for office workers. Since office worker sits most of the time you need to do exercises that work the core central part of the body. Three exercises he recommends are Side Bridge, Bird Dog, and Curl-Ups. The short version of his message was Walk, Move, Build (the 3 exercise), Plan and Eat Right.

DevLink has so much packed into three days. I attended 12 sessions, 2 key notes, and the closing speaker’s round table. By the last day, I was mentally exhausted. However, it was a lot of fun. Moreover, for the price it is a fantastic conference to attend. I would definitely recommend it.