SDD Conference – A look back at Day2

Today was another great day. I arrived early so managed to get some coffee and breakfast in before the first session. Again, the SDD conference had plenty of people on hand to help you get around. I really am impressed with the running and management of it. As I mentioned in my previous post, not all conferences I have attended have been so well organised, and I have been to a LOT of conferences.

Today I had 4 sessions

  • 18 ways your brand new ASP.Net project can be better – hosted by Michael Kennedy
  • From the user to the unit: how to start using tests – hosted by Kevin Jones
  • Power Debugging – hosted by Andy Clymer
  • High performance NoSQL techniques – hosted by Michael Kennedy


SDD Session1: 18 ways your brand new ASP.Net project can be better18 ways your brand new ASP.Net project can be better

Presented by: Michael Kennedy

I really enjoyed Michaels presentation the day before on NoSQL so was hoping this would be a good one to. I wasn’t disappointed! I haven’t done any ASP.NET in anger before, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to end up lost during this session. Thankfully I didn’t. I did take lots of notes though.. 4 pages worth actually. Considering I already have the presentation slides, you might think that is a bit excessive! I learnt a great deal from presentation which is great, since I will soon be embarking on a project to create a website and backend service as a precursor to migrating an application I’m working on into a SaaS based offering. Michael touched on the changes from MVC3 through 4 and up to version 5. I’m glad that I’ll be starting with version 5. He covered some other interesting topics, such as

  • modernizr.js
  • bootstrap
  • base controllers
  • code goo!
  • web essentials (what an awesome add-on)
  • attribute routing
  • SEO
  • caching
  • LESS library
  • JQuery

Phew! It was a packed 1hr30minute session, but, just like the one I attended the day before it didn’t feel rushed and he run to time. Overall, another awesome session! I haven’t had a chance to go through Michael’s blog yet but I expect there to be some great snippets of knowledge there. Michael is also on twitter.



SDD Session2: From the user to the unit: how to start using testsFrom the user to the unit: how to start using tests

Presented by: Kevin Jones

You might notice from the picture that it’s the wrong presentation. Good job Kevin noticed as well :)   Once we kicked off the right session, Kevin took us through the journey of getting started with unit tests. It was a really interesting session as unit tests is something that was new to me around a year ago and has caused me some great pain since! The session underpinned some of the work that I had done, by confirming my approaches, such as user stories (aka persona’s), their uses and how they should be written by people in the business (ideally business analysts) and not the developers! He also covered the following topics

  • Gherkin language (often seen in BDD)
  • Specflow (awesome! Blog post coming soon)
  • Selenium (ui testing for web applications)

Thinking about the comments from the key note, this session and the others I have so far attended, is driving me to reconsider my approach to my teams unit testing strategy.


How can I best capture user stories? Who in my organisation should create the user stories? What should I test? Why should I test it? How should I test it?


Kevin works for Rock Solid Knowledge and can be stalked on twitter.



SDD Session3: Power DebuggingPower Debugging

Presented by: Andrew Clyme

Another session with Andrew, so I pretty much knew what the format was going be like. Informative, lively, but wait… something was different! No code monkey! Missing from the session Andrew was forced to demonstrate his prowess on the keyboard as well as present the session. The session was very imformative. Andrew talk a lot about dumps. Dumps, big and small. Dump targets. Dumps and general dumping. Yes, initially there were some sniggers in the room. Some of the session went over my head, but I still got enough out of it that I can put in to action now as well as pointers on what to go away and spend more time on learning. Andrew covered some interesting points

  • Debugging – how to debug a program in debug and release mode
  • Benefits of shipping your pdb files
  • log files
  • Full dumps and part dumps *snigger*
  • Debugging tools that are part of the Windows Developer SDK
  • Debug Diag program
  • STA, MTA, threads, clrStack and heaps
  • New debugging features in Visual Studio 2013 (it can now read dump files!)

Overall a really indepth and useful session. I haven’t seen a bad session from Andrew yet, so I expect that engaging with Rock Solid Knowledge would be a great experience for any development team.





SDD Session4: High performance NoSQL techniquesHigh performance NoSQL

Presented by: Michael Kennedy

This session was a great follow on to the session I saw Michael present yesterday on NoSQL. Having convinced me to stop steering clear of databases and to start embracing MongoDB in two days, Michael has a lot to answer for! The session presented options with MongoDB when it comes to looking in to the performance of your database. How can we make it faster, what approaches can we take, scalability and reliability. A lot of useful information was presented.

  • The biggest single performance problem – indexes; not enough or too many!
  • B-Tree
  • Indexing
  • Replication
  • Shards
  • Performance analysis and tuning

The session was very good and went in to just enough detail to get me to think about how I should go about constructing my database and the objects within. The session was really good, so good infact, we overrun by 15 minutes until we were thrown out of the room by staff from the Barbican!


In Summary

An excellent second day! The sessions are still running more or less to time, plenty of coffee and snacks, a great lunch, great exhibitors, great atmosphere. I’m looking forward to day3, my last day at the conference.