Jef Claes

On software and life

22 Oct 2012

Post Web.NET Europe

I attended and spoke at Web.NET Europe in Milan over the weekend. This was only my fourth full day- or more conference (Techdays Belgium, TechEd Berlin and HTML5 WebCamps), but it was undoubtedly the best one so far.

The quality of the sessions was definitely not inferior to those of bigger conferences. I especially enjoyed the talks on SignalR, OAuth and scaling data (I included some of my notes below). The strength of this conference doesn’t lie in the exceptional speakers or sessions though, but in its cozy size and the type of attendees it attracts. Being hosted on a Saturday, you already preclude all the developers who merely think of technology as a job. And when you put together those who care about what they do, and want to get better at it, good things happen. This was the first conference where I was able to talk to such a wide range of people - I guess I even spoke to more than six different nationalities - and where it didn’t feel awkward one bit. What helps in attracting such a variety of people, is that the conference is practically free and survives on donations from sponsors and attendees, making it very affordable even if you fly in from outside of Italy. Freelancers also seemed to appreciate that it was on a non-billable day.

In short, I really enjoyed the experience, and it might be just so that weekend conferences make for better conferences. Congratulazioni a Simone Chiaretta and Ugo Lattanzi for making this happen. I’m already looking forward to the next edition.

“Real Time” Web Applications with SignalR in ASP.NET (@A_Giorgetti)

Last year I did a talk on WebSockets at HTML5 WebCamps and although I built a few things that worked, the real-time web in the wild was still very much a mess. SignalR now abstracts all that clutter for you, and provides you with a seemingly clean infrastructure and simple API. Too bad the use for real-time web applications is rather limited in my world - stock ticker or chat application anyone?

OAuth-as-a-service using ASP.NET Web API and Windows Azure Access Control (@maartenballiauw)

I had my first serious look at OAuth in this session, and while it’s probably indispensable for public API’s, it doesn’t seem that trivial to implement. Azure ACS could make this easier though.


Scaling without going crazy (@Ayende)

This was one of the talks I really looked forward to, and it didn’t disappoint one bit. I never got to do anything with big data (data that can’t fit on one machine), but there are really interesting problems and trade-offs in that space - CAP theorem etc.

Some quotes worth giving more thought:

  • Caching often just hides a problem.
  • How is Facebook consistent? It’s personally consistent.