Tuesday, 20 November 2007

How to Test Code that Generates Email

If you're writing code that generates emails, you'll probably want to test it on real addresses, external to your office. One solution I've found useful in the past is to use one of the temporary email generators. Try http://www.guerrillamail.com/ or http://10minutemail.com/10MinuteMail/index.html.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Reflections of a Week at Tech Ed Developers

Got back home from Barcelona at about 2 am this morning. It's been an interesting week in many ways:
  • Flew out on the Sunday, having arrived at the airport just 10 minutes before the check-in desk closed (they closed the M4, resulting in massive delays and forcing us into detours and a few wrong turns)

  • White-knuckle ride in the taxi from the airport to the hotel... felt just like we
    were living in a computer game!

  • Clean hotel within easy walking distance of the conference centre (but why don't
    Spanish hotels have tea-making facilities in the rooms?)

  • Attended some very interesting and useful sessions, including:

    • debugging in a production environment (ie. without Visual Studio)

    • hidden gems in ASP.NET 2.0

    • how to make phones ring in code

    • continuous integration

    • top 10 mistakes developers make

    • XNA game development

    • embedded development (.NET on a chip!)

    • how to make your T-SQL code a gazillion times more efficient in certain scenarios

    • extreme XSLT

  • Took rather too much advantage of the free bar at the country drinks night and had to miss the first session the following day as a result (whoops)

  • Won a remote-controlled helicopter

  • Bagged some swag (including four t-shirts, a stack of magazines, various software
    goodies, a good book on the security development lifecycle, and, of course, the delegate bag)

  • Through the week, actually got to hold some real conversation in Spanish

  • Flight on the way home delayed due to wranglings between the airline and the Spanish immigration authorities over a deported a passenger

On the whole, it was a very worthwhile and genuinely useful event. However, I couldn't help noticing differences between this year's event and the one I attended in 2005. There was less of a wow factor this time (check out the 2005 video, if you can find a copy, to see what I mean). There were also fewer giveaways and leaner facilities (most noticeable was the lack of VOIP, an overall event party and key Microsoft software). I presume these changes are due to the developer event now being separate from the IT professional event and therefore the budget having to be spread more thinly. Additionally, I preferred the old format of four days, plus a pre-conference day. This year, it felt like a four-and-a-half-day event.

One welcome improvement over the 2005 event is the introduction of proper videos of the sessions. These are likely to be a very useful resource and more engaging than screencasts.

Adios amigos.