For those of you who are interested and local to the Washington, DC Metro area, I will be giving another dotProject Presentation on Wednesday, July 20th at the DC Linux Users' Group. Details are here.
I alternated between the Usability and the Project Management tracks and caught some great presentations from Sandy Clark on Table-less (CSS-based) Designs, from John Paul Ashenfelter on Open Source Java Tools available to CF developers, from Joel Spolsky (of Joel On Software and FogCreek) on Managing Projects the Joel Way, and an IIS 7 demo.
I've talked about the Tables vs CSS issue before, so I'm not going back into that one.
The IIS demo showed quite a bit of potential. The presenter – he was the IIS Program Manager, IIRC – demonstrated that IIS has come a long way in terms of built-in ability, modules, and configurations. He showed that the config files are now part of the deployment, so it makes life easier for developers. (It's nice to see that they've learned something from the Java/LAMP world…) Anyway, he showed the power of various components, the XML configuration system, and how easy it is to drop/replace existing components with new/customized ones. Unfortunately, I didn't really get the point of presenting it now… it will only be available on Longhorn which is currently slated for Q3 or Q4 of 2006.
Joel's presentation was fantastic. It was essentially a detailed look at The Joel Test with some great examples, statistics, and war stories thrown in. Joel has a great presentation style, but the wealth of information that he shared caused him to go just a bit over and he had to fly through the last few slides. I'm a strong adherent of the Joel Test and CaseySoftware is working to crawl up the ladder. Right now, we're a 6 or 7, but I think we'll be adding a few points in the next few months.
Finally, I found John's presentation fascinating. The beginning of it was focused on introducing CF developers to the Open Source Community, so that was familiar ground, but from there it simply took off. John went into detail about various Java applications he has deployed for various customers and how he's integrated them with CF applications. He talked a great deal about Lucene, Log4J, Ant, and a few others. For people not aware of these tools, they form a solid foundation for doing a variety of things. Between Log4J, Ant, and jUnit, you have the foundation for automating project building and deployment (Questions 3 & 4 on the Joel Test) and the best part is that they're FREE.
After the presentations, I happened across John and sat down and spoke with him for two hours. It turns out that we have some friends of friends in common and have nearly crossed paths a variety of times. If you happen to be going to OSCon in Protland, check out his presentation on Building Open Source Data Warehouses with MySQL and Open Source Tools. I'm sure it will be well worth your time.